Advancing in Great Strides Under the Banner of a Global Community of Shared Future
Historically speaking, 2021 was a year of great significance for both China and the world.
This was a year in which the Chinese people advanced bravely in great strides with their heads held high, and brought about historic transformations.
We celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. Over the past century, the Party has led the people in writing a magnificent chapter in the history of human development, and the Chinese nation has embraced the tremendous leap from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong. President Xi Jinping has declared that China's rejuvenation has become a historical inevitability, while the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee comprehensively summarized the major achievements and historical experience of the Party over the past century and sent out a resounding call to advance bravely on a new journey and contribute to the success of the new era we live in. We have responded to the greatest changes and the most serious pandemic of the century with composure, made new progress in fostering a new development dynamic and promoting high-quality development, and gotten off to a good start with the 14th Five-Year Plan. With greater self-confidence and self-reliance, the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people are bursting forth with incredible energy for building a modern socialist country.
This was a year in which human society went through great turmoil and moved forward under immense pressure as changes swept the world.
Looking over the global landscape in 2021, it is apparent that the world entered a period of turmoil and transformation as the pandemic spread freely and once-in-a-century changes accelerated. The impacts of the pandemic Covid-19 have continued to ferment, recovery of the global economy has been hindered by setbacks, challenges to development have intensified, the gap between the global north and south has expanded, and new areas of weakness, poverty belts, and sources of upheaval have constantly emerged. Human society has suffered multiple crises, global governance has gone through profound changes, and the international order has been confronted with serious challenges. With all countries trying to figure out how to respond, humanity now needs to make the right choice.
We have now arrived at a crossroads, and two vastly different paths lie before us. One path will bring us back to the Cold War mentality, creating division and antagonism between opposing blocs. The other path is guided by the common welfare of humanity, and leads to unity and cooperation, openness and mutual benefit, and equality and respect. The contest between these paths will have a profound impact on the future of humanity and the world.
This was a year in which China overcame challenges, made enterprising advances, and steered changing times through its diplomatic endeavors.
With President Xi at the helm charting our course with great foresight, China's diplomatic service has upheld a compassionate global vision as we have worked in the interests of the country and the people. We have broken new ground amid profound global changes, turned crises into opportunities among complex situations on the international stage, and fostered a favorable external environment through struggle and cooperation. We have always stood on the right side of history, on the side of human progress, on the side of international equity and justice, and on the side of developing countries. We have continued to champion cooperation over confrontation, to open up rather than closing our doors, to focus on mutual benefits instead of zero-sum games, and to treat others as equals while opposing bullying. We have worked with all peace-loving countries and peoples to keep the wheels of human development rolling toward a brighter future.
Continuing to aim high and look far, and steering our changing world in the right direction
With a firm grasp on the shifting global landscape and keen insight into the changing times, President Xi has put forward a whole raft of major proposals including building communities for the promotion of world health, harmony between humans and nature, and global development. This brilliant illustration of head-of-state diplomacy has enriched the concept of a global community of shared future in step with the times. In 2021, Xi Jinping had 79 visits or telephone conversations with foreign leaders or heads of international organizations, and hosted or attended more than 40 important diplomatic events via video link, creating one space after another for mutually beneficial cooperation and bringing together powerful synergy for building a global community of shared future. From Latin America to the Middle East, from the BRICS to the UN, and from ecological protection to digital governance, the project of building a global community of shared future has consistently made active progress on all fronts and in all areas, acting as a shining beacon of truth in an uncertain world. For five consecutive years, this concept has been written into resolutions of the UN General Assembly. It has thus become a banner leading the trends of the times and human progress.
A launch ceremony for the Malay edition of Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 21, 2021. PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER ZHU WEI
Keeping the world on the right path, and building consensus for upholding the international order
Confronted with the contest between true and false multilateralism, we have held high the torch of true multilateralism. We solemnly commemorated the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful rights of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations. We have taken a clear stance in emphasizing that there is only one international system, i.e., the international system with the United Nations at its core; only one international order, i.e., the international order underpinned by international law; and only one set of rules, i.e., the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We have exposed the true nature of false multilateralism in various forms, and stood opposed to those who form self-serving cliques under the flag of multilateralism, who use the so-called rules-based international order as an excuse to impose their own rules upon the international community, and who seek to draw up lines of division on the basis of ideology. We have remained committed to advancing the democratization of international relations as well as making efforts to put international relations on a legal footing. Responding to the false notion of a struggle between democracy and authoritarianism concocted by certain countries, we have explained our successful endeavors with whole-process people's democracy, defended the true spirit of democracy, and championed the correct outlook on democracy. We have cleared up muddied waters and separated facts from falsehoods on the international stage, revealing the elitist and conceited brand of democracy practiced by certain other countries for what it really is. Opposing monopolization of the right to define democracy and opposing division of the world along ideological lines are now becoming the common call of people around the world.
Showing the world that China is a responsible major country making major contributions to the global fight against Covid-19
Remaining steady on the course of unity and cooperation, we have championed global vaccine cooperation, and launched vaccine partnerships through the Belt and Road Initiative. We have consistently stood at the forefront of anti-pandemic cooperation, advocated that vaccines should be a public good, and promoted fair distribution of vaccines. In removing stumbling blocks exacerbating the immunization gap, we were the first to commit to making Covid-19 vaccines a global public good, to support waiving of intellectual property rights for vaccines, and to launch cooperation on vaccine production with developing countries. We have provided more than 2 billion doses to more than 120 countries and international organizations, accounting for a third of the total volume of vaccines used worldwide outside of China. China's vaccines have thus become the people's vaccines, the world's vaccines, and accessible vaccines. We have extended assistance to other developing countries in their time of need, announcing that we will supply Africa with an additional 1 billion doses, provide ASEAN countries with an additional 150 million doses as aid, and work with 20 countries to set up local vaccine production. In these efforts, we have adopted a multipronged approach and raced against time to ensure that vaccines outrun the virus. While remaining committed to thoroughness as the golden rule, we have opposed politicizing Covid-19's origins tracing, issuing a joint report on this subject with WHO experts and demonstrating our willingness to cooperate in the spirit of openness and transparency. More than 80 countries around the world have sent letters to the WHO expressing opposition to politicizing virus' origins tracing, and more than 25 million Chinese netizens have signed an open letter calling on the WHO to investigate the Fort Detrick lab. The coronavirus is the common enemy of all humanity, while the virus of politicization is an accessory to the pandemic's devastation. Humanity will ultimately prevail over both of these viruses.
Advocating openness and cooperation, and providing valuable momentum for driving economic recovery
In the face of rampant protectionism, President Xi has clearly stated that openness and connectivity are the trends that will prevail. We must break down walls instead of building them, open up instead of closing ourselves off, and fuse together rather than decoupling, and strive to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced, and beneficial to all. We must devote our energy to development, which is the key to everything. Xi Jinping has put forward the Global Development Initiative, which aims to align with the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and promote synergy between countries for bringing about greener, healthier, and more robust global development. This initiative has garnered a positive response and support from the UN and other international organizations as well as close to 100 countries. We have pushed for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement to take effect, and applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, thus taking new steps toward regional cooperation against the headwinds of protectionism.
We have consistently expanded high-level opening up, sharing China's opportunities with the world through shorter negative lists, a better business environment, and more intensive efforts to open up at the institutional level. The Fourth China International Import Expo drew in both more countries and more companies, with participants from 127 countries and regions as well as close to 3,000 companies. We have driven forward joint development of the Belt and Road despite obstacles, and the Third Symposium on the Belt and Road Initiative drew up a new blueprint in this regard. China-Europe freight train services have become a stabilizing force for global supply chains, and the China-Laos rail line has helped Laos achieve its long-held dream of becoming a land-linked country. With the support of 145 countries and 32 international organizations, the Belt and Road is becoming a belt of prosperity benefiting the world and a road of wellbeing benefiting the people.
Deepening strategic communication, and constantly injecting positivity into the stable development of major country relations
The Chinese and Russian heads of state have had four phone calls and video meetings. They have formally announced the extension of the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, enriching the traditional friendship between the two countries with new contemporary meaning. China and Russia have spurred shared development through pragmatic cooperation across the board, and safeguarded global stability through high-level strategic coordination. The relationship has thus set an example for how major countries and neighboring countries should get along with each other, and become a pillar of international equity and justice. President Xi has had two telephone conversations as well as a video meeting with US President Biden, in which he clearly defined a strategic framework of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and mutually beneficial cooperation, thus steering healthy and stable development of China-US relations. We have highlighted three bottom lines and presented the US with two lists of actions that it should take, making it clear that the US side must not challenge China's path and system, must not attempt to obstruct China's development process, and must not violate China's sovereignty or territorial integrity. Meng Wanzhou returned home safely after being unlawfully detained for more than 1,000 days in a triumph of fairness and justice. China-EU relations also saw new progress amid challenges. Xi Jinping conducted two video meetings with the leaders of France and Germany, and the Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries was held successfully. The China-EU Agreement on Geographical Indications officially came into effect, steady progress has been made on showcase projects for the Belt and Road, and positive results have been achieved through cooperation between China and the EU in areas such as upholding multilateralism, strengthening global governance, and responding to climate change.
A worker inspects a Covid-19 vaccine vial, September 29, 2021, the day that the joint vaccine project between Algeria and China officially went into production. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, China has championed global vaccine cooperation initiatives, and made huge contributions to the global response. XINHUA
Moving forward hand in hand and working with neighboring countries and developing countries in the pursuit of development and renewal
We have consistently deepened consensus with neighboring countries that our futures are tied together, and witnessed our prospects grow increasingly broad as we have worked together to build a better community. President Xi celebrated the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations alongside leaders of ASEAN countries. It was also announced that China-ASEAN relations would be elevated to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership, representing a major new leap for bilateral relations. The two sides have also reached consensus on seeking alignment between the Belt and Road and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific in key areas of cooperation. Solid progress has been made in the development of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Economic Belt, and there is growing recognition that our futures are linked together by this river we share. Premier Li Keqiang attended the East Asian leaders' meetings on cooperation, which have helped expand new space for cooperation on the digital economy, the blue economy, and the green economy. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization accepted Iran as an official member, and the first offline (C+C5) foreign ministers' meeting was held between China and the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. We have maintained good momentum in friendly relations and cooperation with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, and Mongolia, and this has become a positive factor for stabilizing the regional landscape. Chinese and Japanese leaders have reached consensus on building a relationship between the two countries that fits the needs of this new era. China and India have kept isolated friction in border areas under control, and worked hard to improve and develop relations. We have pushed for the establishment of a new mechanism of dialogue between the foreign ministers of neighboring countries on the Afghan issue, provided emergency humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, and launched the "pine nut air corridor" in an effort to help ordinary Afghans. We have offered guidance to the new government of Afghanistan in implementing policies that are inclusive, combat terrorism, and promote good neighborly relations, as well as in countering terrorist organizations like the Turkistan Islamic Party. We have supported the implementation of the five-point consensus between Myanmar and ASEAN, resolutely opposed inappropriate external intervention in this regard, taken active steps to mediate with the aim of cooling down tensions, and encouraged efforts to restart Myanmar's democratic transition.
South-South cooperation has remained intimately tied to the desire of developing countries for renewal, and opened up broad new prospects. China-Africa cooperation has grown into a new surge. President Xi attended the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, where he described how the spirit of friendship and cooperation between China and Africa is based upon "sincere friendship and equality, win-win for mutual benefit and common development, fairness and justice, and progress with the times and openness and inclusiveness." He also outlined four proposals for building a China-Africa community of shared future in the new era and announced nine programs for cooperation with Africa, marking a new milestone in China-Africa relations. Steady progress has been made in relations between China and Latin America. The Third Ministerial Meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States set the roadmap for cooperation over the coming three years, while more concrete advances have been made in high-quality joint development of the Belt and Road in Latin America, and continued progress has been made in sectors including energy and electric power, transportation, and communications. Trade between China and Latin America has broken the US$300 billion mark for four years running, and a China-Latin America relationship for the new era that is equal, mutually beneficial, innovative, and open and has a positive impact on people's lives is developing at a faster pace. The strategic partnership between China and Arab states has ascended to new heights. We proposed a five-point initiative on achieving security and stability in the Middle East, a four-point solution for settling the Syrian issue through political means, and a three-point approach for implementing the "two-state solution" between Israel and Palestine, offering support and encouragement for countries in the Middle East to embark on a new path of independence and self-improvement. We released the China-League of Arab States Cooperation Initiative on Data Security with the League of Arab States (LAS), and have consistently enriched the substance behind the China-LAS community with a shared future. We also held the first China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting, reaching a number of important outcomes including commitments to build emergency supply stocks, a poverty reduction and development cooperation center, and a climate change response cooperation center. The emergency supplies project was already officially launched. The facts prove that China has always stood firm in the camp of developing countries, and that we will always forge ahead hand in hand with them with the belief that we breathe the same breath and share the same fate.
Standing up for ourselves, and putting up strong lines of defense for protecting our national interests
Confronting all sorts of attempts to bully us and violate our rights, we have stood up for ourselves without backing down, putting the confidence and self-reliance of the Chinese people and the resolve and determination of the Chinese nation on full display. We have sent out stern warnings and launched strong countermeasures in response to the attempts of the Taiwan authorities to seek "independence" by relying on the support of the United States as well as the attempts of certain countries to use Taiwan as a pawn to counter China, exerting a strong deterrent effect against the bluster of forces seeking "Taiwan independence." We have resumed diplomatic relations with Nicaragua, bringing the total number of countries with which we have diplomatic relations to 181, and international support for the One-China Policy has become further consolidated. We have invited people from various countries to visit the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, exposing falsehoods with truth and facts. We have taken vigorous steps to stop interference of foreign forces in the affairs of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and continued to build upon positive progress in the region's return to order. Through the UN Human Rights Council and other multilateral platforms, we have stood up to malevolence with righteousness, illustrated China's achievements in the development of human rights, hit back against attempts to use human rights as an excuse to stir up trouble, and drawn together the support of close to 100 countries. A total of 173 countries jointly proposed an Olympic Truce that was adopted by the UN General Assembly, demonstrating the international community's firm support for the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Remaining mindful of the country's most fundamental interests, and fulfilling our responsibility to serve the interests of domestic development and the people in our diplomatic endeavors
We successfully held events to promote Hubei Province and Xizang Autonomous Region to the world and provided support for international exhibitions including the China International Fair for Trade in Services and the China International Import Expo, building new bridges for various areas in the country to open up more broadly. While implementing targeted and long-range prevention and control measures to maintain the success we have achieved in fighting Covid-19 domestically, we have set up "fast tracks" and "green channels" in order to ensure smooth domestic and international economic flows and spur a new development dynamic. We have advanced the Spring Vaccine action plan in countries around the world, and provided assistance for millions of Chinese citizens located in over 180 countries to get vaccinated against Covid-19. The 12308 consular assistance hotline has provided 24-hour help to citizens overseas facing difficulty. More than 500,000 calls have been made to the hotline, and our embassies and consulates overseas have handled approximately 60,000 relevant cases. We have launched worldwide risk assessment and early warning services, helped business people traveling overseas improve their ability to protect themselves, rapidly evacuated citizens residing in highly dangerous areas, appropriately handled major terrorist attacks, and made every effort to save citizens who have been kidnapped. Our mobile consular services application is now fully operational, and these services are now always at hand through the cloud.
China has forged ahead in its diplomatic endeavors through once-in-a-century changes, demonstrating confidence and composure in competition between major countries and capturing a series of hard-earned achievements. The key to this has been Xi Jinping's efforts in charting our course, as well as the sound guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Foreign Relations. While celebrations for the CPC's centenary were ongoing, the Outline for the Study of Xi Jinping Thought on Foreign Relations was published. Meanwhile, development of the Center for the Study of Xi Jinping Thought on Foreign Relations has progressed at a faster pace, and study and implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on Foreign Relations on the diplomatic front is constantly driving deeper. Our diplomatic endeavors over the past year have shown that Xi Jinping Thought on Foreign Relations has brought about unity between our historical mission and the tide of the times, between our national spirit and the spirit of internationalism, and between China's impressive bearing and our compassion for the world. It has constantly glowed with the light of Marxist truth and demonstrated the intellectual force to advance the times, and it represents the fundamental source of reference for major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era that must be upheld over the long term.
Amid great upheaval on a shifting landscape, we must stick to the right course and keep pushing ahead.
The year 2022 will be an important year in which global changes will deepen and expand and we will be met with both opportunities and crises. It is also a crucial year in which the Chinese people will advance toward the Second Centenary Goal in confident strides. On the diplomatic front, we will rally even more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core. We will strengthen our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central Party leadership; stay confident in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics; uphold Xi Jinping's core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and uphold the Central Committee's authority and its centralized, unified leadership; and we will keep in mind both domestic and international imperatives. We will work hard to foster a more stable and favorable external environment for the great endeavors of the Party and the country.
First, we will make every effort to support important events.
The 20th National Congress of the CPC will be the preeminent political event for the Party and the state in 2022. We will ensure that all foreign affairs-related work is properly performed, effectively convey the story of the CPC to the world, and forestall and defuse external risks and challenges, in an effort to help make the 20th National Congress of the CPC successful. The world is waiting eagerly for the Beijing Winter Olympics, which is sure to be a wintry spectacular. We will promote the Olympic spirit of friendship, solidarity, fair play and mutual understanding and extend a warm welcome to guests from around the world while opposing the politicization of the Games, and strive to bring the world confidence and joy and inject it with courage and energy by hosting an Olympics that is streamlined, safe, and splendid. Head-of-state diplomacy is the highest manifestation of China's diplomatic efforts. With a focus on major diplomatic events that China is hosting and multilateral summits such as the BRICS Leaders' Meeting and the China International Import Expo, we will ensure effective political planning and provision of services so that the guiding role of head-of-state diplomacy is brought to bear.
Second, we will respond proactively to post-pandemic challenges.
The only way that the world will ever make it out of this pandemic is by defeating it together. We will stick to the main theme of solidarity in the face of the pandemic, and promote a global community of health featuring strong pandemic countermeasures and cooperation in the spirit of caring. We will vigorously advance the upgrading and updating of vaccines as well as cooperation on research and development of medicines to treat Covid-19, and adopt effective measures to close the immunization gap. We will work to maintain the overall atmosphere of international solidarity in fighting the pandemic, improve global public health governance, build multiple lines of anti-pandemic defense, and form international synergy for countering contagious diseases.
A China-Europe freight train traveling from Suifenhe rolls through snowy forests, December 17, 2021. Between January and November 2021, approximately 14,000 trips were made by trains on the China-Europe freight train network, representing a year-on-year increase of 20.3%. PHOTO BY QU YIWEI
Third, we will push forward the implementation of two major initiatives for development and cooperation.
The Global Development Initiative is a public good geared toward the needs of the world. We are prepared to work closely with UN bodies and other countries to advance the implementation of cooperation through this initiative in full alignment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and with a focus on eight key sectors. By doing so, we will champion the principle of putting development first, restore cooperation on global development, spur global economic recovery, and help developing countries achieve leapfrog development. The Belt and Road Initiative is the largest platform for open cooperation. With "hard" connectivity as our target, "soft" connectivity as our support, and "heart" connectivity as the bond between the people, we will work with our partners to promote deeper and more productive cooperation on high-quality development of the Belt and Road.
Fourth, we will deepen and expand our global partnerships.
We will stand shoulder-to-shoulder and back-to-back with Russia as we deepen strategic cooperation between our countries, and together we will act as a pillar of stability, peace, and equity on the global stage. We will strengthen high-level strategic communication between China and the EU, sticking to dialogue, cooperation, and mutual benefit as the main themes in a continued commitment to be partners rather than adversaries. We will step up integration of development with neighboring countries, deepening the merging of interests and people-to-people connectivity across the board and joining hands to build a shared neighborhood that is peaceful, prosperous, beautiful and friendly. We will remain a sincere and reliable partner to developing countries, offering support to boost their capacity for independently driven development and defending their legitimate rights and interests in development.
Fifth, we will work hard to put China-US relations back on the right track.
The year 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of President Nixon's visit to China. China and the US should again seek a thaw in relations, act on the consensus reached between our two heads of state, stick to the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and mutually beneficial cooperation, and abide by the guidelines of the three China-US joint communiqués. We should promote a return to reason in the US's policy on China, push China-US relations back onto the right track, and work together to find a way for these two major countries with different systems, cultures, and stages of development to coexist peacefully on this planet. This will benefit the people of our two countries and of the entire world.
Sixth, we will firmly defend our nation's core interests.
We will fight determinedly against any attempts to violate China's sovereignty, security, or development interests, and respond to any actions that jeopardize the Chinese people's legitimate rights and interests with effective countermeasures. We have never submitted ourselves to others, never preyed upon others, and will absolutely not be subjected to any acts of coercion or blackmail. Taiwan has always been a part of China's territory. China's sovereignty and territorial integrity shall not be violated, China's push toward full national reunification cannot be stopped, and China's determination to counter any attempts to manufacture "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan" cannot be shaken.
Though we are now passing through a storm, we must not fear. The tide of human progress continues to surge, and the Chinese nation is advancing toward rejuvenation with unstoppable momentum. On the journey that lies before us in this era, we must see that China's diplomatic endeavors follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Foreign Relations, uphold the idea of building a global community of shared future, and strive to open up new horizons for major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. We must work in the service of national rejuvenation, and make greater contributions toward human progress.
Wang Yi is State Councilor and Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China.
(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 1, 2022)