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Build a New Type of International Relations Featuring Win-Win Cooperation
--China's Answer to the Question "Where Are the International Relations of the 21st Century Heading" By Wang Yi Minister of Foreign Affairs People's Republic of China

(Published on the Front Page of Study Times)

20 June 2016

In the world history since the formation of the nation states system in modern times, the international community experienced both hot wars and cold wars, witnessed the trend of development and progress, withstood the ordeals of confrontation and conflicts, and shared the benefits of communication and integration. All through these years, to build a model of international relations for peace, justice and stability remains a relentless pursuit of all countries. As the trend toward a multi-polar world, wider application of information technology, economic globalization and cultural diversity gains momentum, the international community is entering a crucial phase where changes are taking place in the world's landscape and systems. "Where are international relations heading", this question of our times thus cries out louder for an answer. Against such a backdrop, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as its General Secretary has put forth, in a timely fashion, the important thinking of building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, an important vision that will guide the development of international relations in the 21st century.

Building a New Type of International Relations

Featuring Win-Win Cooperation Has Become an Important

Guiding Philosophy for China's Diplomacy

In March 2013 during his visit to Russia, General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward, for the first time, the proposition to build a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation. In November 2014, General Secretary Xi stressed at the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs that one cannot live in the 21st century with the outdated thinking from the age of Cold War and zero-sum game and that it is important to keep abreast with the times, facilitate the building of a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, and translate the vision on win-win cooperation into all aspects of external cooperation, including political, economic, security, cultural and other fields. Building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation has since become an important guiding philosophy for China's diplomacy. In September 2015, General Secretary Xi said at the UN headquarters during the summits commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN, that it is vital to carry forward the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, build a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, and make concerted efforts to foster a community of shared future for mankind. His remarks were widely acclaimed by the international community. Building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation has since become a vision widely recognized and accepted by countries of the world.

The vision to build a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation embodies the fine diplomatic tradition of New China, conforms to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter about sovereign equality, peaceful settlement of international disputes, and international cooperation, and suits the trend of the times. It is an innovation that goes beyond traditional theories of international relations and boasts profound theoretical and realistic significance.

First, it is a vision that takes a community of shared future as the common goal in handling international relations. Over the past five centuries and more, colonialism, imperialism and hegemonism have all led to confrontation, division, turmoil and conflict, for which mankind has paid a huge price. The vision on building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, based on insightful observations of the world's situation and the evolution of the international landscape, is a forward-looking thinking on the future direction for the human society. It features an overall plan and roadmap for achieving a community of shared future in five dimensions, namely, a partnership of equality and mutual accommodation, a security structure of justice, joint contribution and shared benefits, a development prospect of openness, innovation, inclusiveness and reciprocity, inter-civilization exchanges that uphold unity without uniformity, and an ecological system that respects nature and nurtures green development. It is a vision that reflects China's keen sense of responsibility for the world as a major country to share weal and woe with other countries and opens up new prospects of enduring peace and prosperity for the whole world.

Second, it is a vision that takes common interests as the important foundation for handling international relations. In today's world, countries are increasingly inter-connected and inter-dependent with their interests more closely inter-woven. To create a peaceful and stable environment and pursue common development and prosperity reflects a rising need and represents a growing political will. The vision to build a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation views and handles international relations from a holistic instead of piecemeal approach, and encourages countries to protect and promote the common interests of mankind while safeguarding their own interests and takes it as an important premise in viewing and handling international relations. The vision highlights the importance of common interests of mankind, and maintains that countries should respect each other and treat each other as equals on the basis of shelving differences and seeking common ground, and that they should work to build and expand shared interests, so as to achieve peaceful and harmonious co-existence of countries despite their differences in social systems, development paths and cultural traditions. This is a vision that responds to the trend of the times and thus lays a solid foundation for sustained, steady and sound development of international relations.

Third, seeking win-win outcome is our basic principle in handling international relations. Western theories of international relations worship the law of the jungle which leaves the weak at the mercy of the strong and regard zero-sum game and winner-takes-all as an unalterable tenet. However, as we often say in China, "A single flower does not make spring, while one hundred flowers in full blossom bring spring to the garden." The vision of building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation rises above the zero-sum mentality of the Cold War and maintains that the social system and development path independently chosen by a country should be respected, that countries must have an enlightened view of its moral responsibility and national interests, and that every country, while pursuing its own development, should be sensitive to the interests of all sides and strive for win-win outcomes for all. This vision meets the common aspiration of the international community and suggests a new possibility of building a more just and equitable international order.

Fourth, cooperation is our preferred approach to handling international relations. The world is undergoing major development, transformation and adjustment. Thanks to the subdued risk of major-power confrontation, the phenomenal development of science and technology and booming regional cooperation, countries are faced with important opportunities never seen before. However, global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, and energy and resources security are also on the rise. In this context, no country can achieve security all by itself. A beggar-thy-neighbor approach or the alliance-or-confrontation mindset will lead nowhere. Coming together to share opportunities and meet challenges is the only viable way for us to handle state-to-state relations. The vision of building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation approaches international relations from a strategic perspective of world peace and development. It aims to replace confrontation with dialogue and cooperation, and calls for all countries to work together to effectively address the widening array of global challenges and settle the major issues affecting human development and progress by expanding mutually beneficial cooperation. This is a sure path for the development of international relations under the new circumstances and injects a strong impetus to the global endeavor to increase exchanges and cooperation and prevent conflict and confrontation.

China Has Worked Energetically to Build a New Type of

International Relations Oriented Toward Win-Win Cooperation

China not only advocates but also actively pursues the new type of international relations. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, under the leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the General Secretary, we have been making steady progress in building the new type of international relations of win-win cooperation, thus advancing our major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.

Politically, we are exploring a new path for state-to-state relations. China took the lead among major countries in making the establishment of partnerships as a guiding principle for state-to-state relations. Committed to having dialogue rather than confrontation and forming partnership rather than alliance, we have forged partnerships of various kinds with more than 80 countries, regions and regional organizations. As a result, China's global partnership network is taking shape. It does not have any hypothetical enemy and is not targeted at any third party, thus keeping our relations with other countries peaceful, equal-footed and inclusive. We are working to set up a framework for major-country relations featuring overall stability and balanced development. Solid efforts have been made in building a new model of major-country relations with the United States. Our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with Russia has maintained high-standard performance. China-EU partnerships of peace, growth, reform and inter-civilization dialogue have yielded fruitful results. Solidarity and cooperation among BRICS countries have been deepened. We are committed to a neighborhood diplomacy of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, and working with other countries in Asia to build a community of shared future. Cooperation has been unfolding at different levels in various fields and has broadened our converging interests. We have developed an enlightened view of moral responsibility and national interests, strengthened solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, built a cooperation framework that covers all developing countries and regions, and elevated our cooperation with them to a new level.

Economically, we are forging a new framework for inclusive development. China actively advocates fair, open, all-round and innovative development across the world, and calls on all countries to improve the capacity, environment, partnership and coordination mechanism for development and contribute their share to the strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy. We have taken an active part in the discussions and cooperation on sustainable development within the UN frameworks as well as the formulation and adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. On the basis of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefit, we are advancing the Belt and Road Initiative (i.e. the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road) and aligning our development strategies with countries along the route so as to inject a strong impetus to the development of the Eurasian continent and the world at large. To improve connectivity, we are working on major mutually beneficial projects as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, with important "early harvests" already achieved. We are vigorously deepening production capacity cooperation with other countries and extending such cooperation across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas so that other parts of the world will benefit more from China's development. We initiated the founding of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road Fund and the BRICS Development Bank to improve the global economic governance architecture. We will take the G20 Hangzhou Summit as an opportunity to encourage all G20 members to advance reform, innovation and coordination. This will be China's contribution to the building of an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy.

On the security front, we have actively contributed our ideas to safeguarding international and regional security. Faced with the complex international and regional hotspots and global challenges, we have championed an outlook featuring common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, put forth the "three principles for settling hotspot issues" and followed the approach with distinctive Chinese features in seeking solutions, thereby making important contributions to the political settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue, issues of Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan and the Korean nuclear issue. We call for a dual-track approach to handle the South China Sea issue to firmly uphold territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and at the same time commit to joint efforts with other countries in the region in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea. We take an active part in international counter-terrorism cooperation, call for addressing both the symptoms and root causes of terrorism, and oppose double standards. China has been deeply engaged in the UN peacekeeping operations. China is the largest troop contributing country among the permanent members of the UN Security Council and the second largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping missions. China is in the process of joining the new UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System, building a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops and establishing a permanent peacekeeping police squad. Chinese naval ships have provided escort services to over 6,000 Chinese and foreign vessels passing through the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast in the past seven years. China has also played an active part in promoting international cooperation on cyber security and climate change and offered a growing number of public goods in the interest of world peace and security, fulfilling its responsibility as a major country.

On the cultural front, we have worked hard to boost exchanges and mutual learning among different civilizations. Exchanges and mutual learning add to the diversity and richness of civilizations. China has all long stood for protecting the diversity of civilizations. It believes in respecting the choices countries make of their own social systems and development paths and replacing confrontation and conflict among civilizations with exchanges and mutual learning. China has pushed for exchanges, mutual learning and integration among ethnic groups, cultures and religions for them to seek common ground and live in harmony. China has established mechanisms for cultural and people-to-people exchanges with the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the European Union, Indonesia and other countries and regional organizations to enhance exchanges and cooperation in science and technology, education, culture, health, tourism, sports and among youth and women. We have initiated the Tai Hu World Cultural Forum with the mission of strengthening cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world, inviting eminent people from various countries to discuss ways to promote dialogue and cooperation among civilizations. China has proposed to hold the Asia Civilization Dialogue Conference to increase interactions among the youth, civil groups, local communities and the media and to form a network of think-tank cooperation so that civilization exchanges will serve as a bridge to greater mutual understanding among Asian peoples and a platform for promoting regional peace and cooperation.

China Is Committed to Working with Other Countries

To Pursue Win-win Cooperation and Write a New Chapter of International Relations in the 21st Century

Great truth is often expressed in a simple way. The vision of building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation echoes the trend of the times and answers the need of reality. It embodies rich and profound dimensions, and is expressed in a simple and down-to-earth way. It has born distinctive Chinese features and high relevance to the whole of the world. In a nutshell, realizing win-win cooperation in international relations requires that we expand common interests instead of pursuing our own interests at the expense of others', strengthen dialogue and cooperation instead of having antagonism and confrontation, pursue win-win benefits and all-win outcomes instead of zero-sum game, and build a community of shared future instead of sowing dissension and discord. This vision is a major innovation in the theory and conduct of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, and its value and significance are increasingly coming to the fore.

The vision of building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation has received high appreciation and warm response from the international community. It is widely believed that this vision advocated by China is designed to promote cooperation underpinned by shared interests, avoid conflicts and settle disputes or reach agreement through dialogue. Hence, it is a highly positive and progressive vision. This vision can also be put into practical operation and it is a vision that the whole world needs to have. China's firm commitment to this vision will inspire other countries to join hands in advancing the progress of mankind. As the idea of win-win cooperation is embraced by more people, the international relations featuring equality, inclusiveness and sustainability will prevail.

As an old Chinese saying goes, "Great truth meets the aspiration of all." China is ready to work with other countries to apply the vision of win-win cooperation, write new chapters in international relations in the 21st century, and create a brighter future of dignity, progress and security to be enjoyed by all.

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