How shall countries answer the question of our times?
The world today is going through momentous changes unseen in a century, changes that are consequential to the world, to our times, and to history. The COVID-19 pandemic still drags on with cases surging here and there. The world economy is getting more fragile. The geopolitical environment remains tense. Global governance is seriously inadequate. Food and energy crises are compounded with one another. All this poses formidable challenges to the global development.
Faced with these challenges, what shall countries do to answer the question of our times — “what is wrong with this world, what we should do about it”? The recently concluded 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has offered China’s solution.
Here are some key words: Peace, Development, Cooperation, Mutual benefit and a Community of mankind with a shared future. According to the Congress, that has laid out the goals, tasks and guiding policies for the cause of the Party and the country in the next five years and beyond, China will stay committed to its foreign policy goals of upholding world peace and promoting common development, and it is dedicated to promoting a human community with a shared future.
China adheres to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in pursuing friendship and cooperation with other countries. It is committed to promoting a new type of international relations, deepening and expanding global partnerships based on equality, openness, and cooperation, and broadening the convergence of interests with other countries.
China adheres to the right course of economic globalisation. It strives to promote trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation, advance bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation and boost international macroeconomic policy coordination. It is committed to working with other countries to foster an international environment conducive to development and create new drivers for global growth. China opposes protectionism, the erection of “fences and barriers,” decoupling, disruption of industrial and supply chains, unilateral sanctions and maximum-pressure tactics.
China is prepared to invest more resources in global development cooperation. It is committed to narrowing the North-South gap and supporting and assisting other developing countries in accelerating development.
China plays an active part in the reform and development of the global governance system. It pursues a vision of global governance featuring shared growth through discussion and collaboration. China upholds true multilateralism, promotes greater democracy in international relations, and works to make global governance fairer and more equitable.
China is firm in safeguarding the international system with the United Nations at its core, the international order underpinned by international law and the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. It opposes all forms of unilateralism and the forming of blocs and exclusive groups targeted against particular countries.
China works to see that multilateral institutions such as the WTO and APEC better play their roles, cooperation mechanisms such as BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation exert greater influence and emerging markets and developing countries are better represented and have a greater say in global affairs.
China is actively involved in setting global security rules, works to promote international security cooperation and takes an active part in UN peacekeeping operations. China plays a constructive role in safeguarding world peace and regional stability.
Not only does China write its commitments into the report of the Congress but translates it into action. President Xi Jinping points out at the Indonesia 17th Summit of the Group of 20(G20) that it is imperative that all countries embrace the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and advocate peace, development and win-win cooperation. All countries should replace division with unity, confrontation with cooperation, and exclusion with inclusiveness.
All countries should join hands together to answer the question of our times — “what is wrong with this world, what we should do about it” — so as to tide over difficulties and create a better future together. The President stressed once and again the importance of international cooperation in his speeches and during his meetings with leaders of other countries. He said at the Summit, “Solidarity is strength, but division leads nowhere. Living in the same global village, we should stand with each other in the face of risks and challenges. Drawing ideological lines or promoting group politics and bloc confrontation will only divide the world, and hinder global development and human progress. With human civilisation already in the 21st century, the Cold-War mentality has long been outdated. What we need to do is to join hands together and elevate our win-win cooperation to a new height.
Countries should respect each other, seek common grounds while reserving differences, live together in peace and promote an open world economy. No one should engage in beggar-thy-neighbour practices, building ‘a small yard with high fences,’ or creating closed and exclusive clubs.” President Xi reiterated the same position when he met with two presidents from Africa during the summit. When meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, he said, China stands ready to work with South Africa in deepening China’s solidarity and cooperation with Africa. The two countries will step up coordination on international affairs and work together on global challenges including climate change, food security and energy security. When meeting with Senegalese President Macky Sall, he said, China will work in solidarity and coordination with Senegal to jointly uphold international fairness and justice and the common interests of developing countries. China actively supports the African Union in joining the G20.
All in all, building a human community with a shared future is the way forward for all the world’s peoples. An ancient Chinese philosopher observed that “all living things may grow side by side without harming one another and different roads may run in parallel without interfering with one another.” Only when all countries pursue the cause of common good, live in harmony and engage in cooperation for mutual benefit will there be sustained prosperity and guaranteed security. It is in this spirit that China has put forward the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative and it stands ready to work with the international community to put these two initiatives into action.
China is committed to building a world of lasting peace through dialogue and consultation, a world of universal security through collaboration and shared benefits, a world of common prosperity through mutually beneficial cooperation, an open and inclusive world through exchanges and mutual learning and a clean and beautiful world through green and low-carbon development.
China sincerely calls upon all countries to hold dear humanity’s shared values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom; to promote mutual understanding and forge closer bonds with other peoples; and to respect the diversity of civilisations. Let us allow cultural exchanges to transcend estrangement, mutual learning to transcend clashes, and coexistence to transcend feelings of superiority. Let us all join forces to meet all types of global challenges.
Although this is an era fraught with challenges, it is also an era brimming with hope. The Chinese people are ready to work hand in hand with people across the world to create an even brighter future for humanity.
Maoming is China’s Consul General in Lagos.