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Upholding Multilateralism to Tackle Global Challenges

By Wang Yi Source: Updated: 2020-11-10

Upholding Multilateralism to Tackle Global Challenges

- Remarks by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi At the Global Advisory Board Meeting of The School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University


Beijing, 7 November 2020

Distinguished Guests,

It gives me great pleasure to be part of the Global Advisory Board meeting of the School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University. Since its founding a year ago, the board has served as an important platform for experts and scholars in China and around the world to engage in discussions of theories and practices of public management. By focusing on challenges of global governance, this year's meeting is highly relevant as it seeks to answer the calls of our time as well as the international community.

COVID-19, which continues to spread and is re-surging, has put people's health and lives in jeopardy, plunged the world economy into deep recession, and accelerated the evolution of the international architecture. Meanwhile, international cooperation against COVID-19 is being undermined by scapegoating. World economic recovery is threatened by protectionism. And the existing international order is eroded by unilateralism and bullying practices.

Facing this common challenge, can the international community choose solidarity over division, opening-up over isolation, and cooperation over confrontation? This has put the wisdom, conscience and courage of humanity to a grave test. What has happened since the start of COVID-19 has proved time and again that humankind is a community with a shared future, multilateralism is the right way forward, and that strengthened global governance is an urgent necessity.

Throughout its response to the coronavirus, China has put lives and well-being of its people front and center, and has taken a science-based approach guided by a strong sense of responsibility. We have, with concrete actions, acted on the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind. Domestically, we mounted a decisive and effective campaign that quickly brought the virus under control. Internationally, we actively participate in and promote global cooperation. We launched the largest emergency humanitarian operation in the history of the People's Republic, sending 36 medical expert teams to 34 countries, and extending assistance to over 150 countries and international organizations. Working with other countries, we put in place "fast tracks" for travels, "green corridors" for the flow of goods and "lifelines" for the transportation of food, to keep industrial and supply chains stable and open and facilitate speedy global economic recovery. China has withstood this tough test. We hope our experience will be a source of confidence and strength for the global fight against COVID-19.

Distinguished Guests,

At the high-level meetings marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN), President Xi Jinping, with an all-round consideration of this changing world, articulated China's firm commitment to multilateralism, the path of peaceful development, and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. He announced a host of proposals and initiatives aimed at tackling global challenges and advancing common development, and shared his vision on how to carry forward multilateralism and strengthen global governance in a post-COVID era. China believes that:

Pursuing shared benefits through cooperation and consultation is a fundamental principle. Countries, regardless of their size, wealth and strength, are all equal members of the international community. They have equal rights to develop, to pursue a better life, and to participate in world affairs. The global governance system must be built by all countries. No country should pursue selfish interest or seek unilateral dominance. It is important to increase the voice and representation of developing countries, ensure that countries enjoy rights and opportunities while being bound by rules on an equal footing, and different countries, classes and groups can share the dividends of global governance. 

Safeguarding international rules and order is the cornerstone. International relations must not be allowed to return to the law of the jungle. Relations among countries and their interests should only be regulated by mechanisms and rules. A coherent global governance structure should be rooted in respecting sovereign equality, non-interference in domestic affairs, peaceful settlement of disputes and other basic norms of international relations. All must oppose hegemonism and power politics, reject unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction, and jointly uphold international fairness and justice.

Commitment to openness and connectivity is the right direction. Both history and reality tell us that openness leads to progress while seclusion brings backwardness, and economic globalization is an unstoppable trend of the times. To address deficiencies in global economic governance requires discarding all forms of protectionism, safeguarding the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, increasing trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and enhancing openness and connectivity for mutual benefits.

Forging a sense of a community with a shared future provides the right guidance forward. Humankind lives on this one and only planet. Countries, increasingly interdependent in an indivisible community, need to look out for each other and work in solidarity. Countries must discard ideological biases, and transcend ethnic and cultural differences. They should uphold the values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom shared by all of us, and jointly look after our home planet and make it better.

Distinguished Guests,

China will continue to hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefits, uphold the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, and keep to the purpose of our foreign policy for maintaining world peace and promoting common development. We will share experience, offer solutions, and contribute to the efforts in resolving prominent issues in the world, so as to bring more stability to the increasingly fluid international landscape and inject more positive energy to a global economy on the verge of recession.

China will continue to take an active part in international cooperation against COVID-19. We will continue to share useful experience with other countries, and do our best to help countries and regions in need of stronger capacity. We will continue to give full support to WHO in leading the global response and advance the building of a global community of health for all. We will deliver on our commitment of making successfully developed vaccines a global public good to enhance their accessibility and affordability in developing countries, and contribute to an early, full victory against the virus across the world.

China will continue to firmly defend multilateralism. We are not selective with multilateralism. Instead, we embrace the principle of safeguarding the UN-centered international system, the international order underpinned by international law, and UN's central role in international affairs. We will take an active part in the international efforts to make global governance more inclusive and multilateral mechanisms more effective, so as to meet the real needs of tackling global challenges.

China will continue to safeguard world peace and stability. We will adhere steadfastly to the path of peaceful development, and foster friendship, cooperation and partnership with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. We will continue to advocate the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. We will facilitate peace talks on flare-ups as best as we can. We will actively tackle non-traditional security threats such as climate change, cyber security and terrorism. We will remain committed to pursuing greater democracy in international relations and fairness and justice in the world.

China will continue to promote global sustainable development. We will achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and win the battle against poverty by the end of this year. Extreme poverty will be eradicated for the first time in China's history. While working hard toward our own goals, we also empathize with the rest of the world. We will continue to implement in real earnest the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, deepen international cooperation on agriculture, poverty alleviation, climate change, women and children and bio-diversity, and join hands with other countries in the pursuit of common development. 

China will continue to vigorously promote opening-up for mutual benefits. Striving for opening-up and win-win is the fundamental strategy of our diplomatic work. At the opening ceremony of the third China International Import Expo, President Xi Jinping underlined China's commitment to expanding all-round opening-up and exploring more efficient ways to connect domestic and foreign markets and share factors of production and resources. The China market will be a market for the world, a market shared by all, and a market accessible to all. This important message was warmly welcomed by the international community. China has decided to foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. This is a logical choice as China's economy enters a new stage with growth primarily driven by domestic consumption. It also reflects the inherent trend in the development of the major economies. As the new paradigm takes shape, the China market will grow in size and capacity, thus providing broader space for countries around the world to access the market and share the opportunities. With domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other and the mutual opening-up between China and the world, fresh impetus will be injected to both the Chinese and world economy. 

Distinguished Guests, 

President Xi Jinping pointed out that the world has entered a phase of change and transformation, and that humanity now stands at a new crossroads. The world today needs multilateralism, solidarity and cooperation more than ever before. Every choice we make, and every action we take today, will shape the world tomorrow. Let us work together to build a community with a shared future for mankind, and stride forward on the path of multilateralism and cooperation. Once again, I wish this meeting a full success!

Thank you!