We are republishing this wide-ranging and valuable article by Yang Jiechi, Chinese politburo member and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2007 to 2013. The article describes the basic goals underlying the CPC’s foreign policy since its inception: maintaining a peaceful environment for China’s development, and contributing to a peaceful future for humanity. Yang describes the four major periods of the CPC’s foreign affairs work, and presents his vision of how China will engage in international relations in the coming period. The article originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, the leading theoretical journal of the CPC.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Having been founded for 100 years, this major Party is right in its prime. China is now on course to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, thus realizing the first centenary goal. Building on this momentum, we will embark on a new journey toward the second centenary goal of fully building a modern socialist country. Around this historic point of advancing from the first centenary goal to the second one, it is of great significance that we take a thorough and systematic review of the glorious journey traveled by the Chinese people under the leadership of the Party. It will inspire the whole Party, the entire nation, and all ethnic groups to rally more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, press ahead on the new journey toward a modern socialist country, and work tirelessly for realizing the Chinese dream of great national rejuvenation.
The Party’s foreign affairs work forms an important part of the Party’s century-long history of extraordinary struggle, and represents a key component of the overall work of the Party and the nation. It is a testament to the Chinese nation’s great leap from standing up to growing rich and to becoming strong. Right now, our foreign affairs work faces a more complex situation, more onerous tasks, and a more glorious mission. It requires us to turn to history for the strength to forge ahead, to have a keen grasp of China’s historical position and the overriding development trend in the world, and to spare no effort in advancing major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
I. The development of the CPC’s foreign affairs work over the past century
Over the last hundred years, generation after generation of Chinese Communists have relied on the Chinese people and rallied and led them in an unrelenting endeavor to usher in bright prospects for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Throughout this historical process, the Party has made sure that its foreign affairs work conducted at every historical stage serves to defend China’s national interests and dignity and contribute to the development of the Party, the prosperity of the country, and the renewal of the nation. The Party’s foreign affairs work over the past century could be divided into four periods:
1. The New Democratic Revolution period (1921-1949)
In this period, our Party’s foreign affairs work started from scratch and steadily expanded in scope, laying a solid foundation for achieving the goals of the New Democratic Revolution and for the development and diplomatic endeavors of New China.
First, exploratory efforts were made to develop the Party’s foreign policy and approach to external exchanges, and to put forth thinking and theory for the external work at the Party’s founding stage. The Party’s foreign interactions were defined by a political party orientation and internationalism, largely involving the Soviet Union and the Communist International. After Japan staged its war of aggression against China, the Party adopted the strategic policy of forming national and international united fronts against Japanese invasion. During the war of liberation after Japan was defeated, Comrade Mao Zedong, in light of the changing circumstances at home and abroad, made the famous conclusions about the “two camps” in the world, pointing out that “all reactionaries are paper tigers.” He also laid down the three major policies of “setting up a separate kitchen,” “sweeping the house clean before inviting guests over,” and “leaning to one side.”
Second, initial steps were taken to establish institutions, organizational framework, and guiding principles for the Party’s foreign affairs work. In November 1931, the Provisional Central Government of the Chinese Soviet Republic was set up in Ruijin. It consisted of nine commissariats and one bureau, including the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs. In January 1939, the Southern Bureau of the CPC Central Committee was established in Chongqing with Comrade Zhou Enlai serving as its Secretary. On 1 May 1947, the Foreign Affairs Group of the CPC Central Committee was officially established in the town of Sanjiao in Linxian County, Shanxi Province.
Third, valuable experience was accumulated in the process of handling external relations. The CPC was founded with a great deal of international assistance. At the Zunyi Conference held in January 1935, the leadership position of the correct Marxist guideline chiefly represented by Comrade Mao Zedong within the CPC Central Committee was established for the first time, and the Party’s principle of independence in handling foreign relations was reaffirmed. During the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the Party observed and analyzed the outside world with a more flexible approach, and took the initiative to engage with the United States, the United Kingdom and other Western countries.
Fourth, cadres were trained to carry out foreign-related work in New China. During its 13 years in Yan’an, the CPC Central Committee cultivated a contingent of foreign affairs cadres that followed the Party’s command with loyal commitment to the people. After the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression was won, Comrade Zhou Enlai accompanied Comrade Mao Zedong to Chongqing for talks with the Kuomintang (KMT), and subsequently led the CPC delegation in protracted negotiations with the KMT authorities for more than a year. Many participants in those negotiations went on to become the backbone of the foreign-related work after the founding of the People’s Republic. In 1948, the Central Foreign Affairs School was established, and most of its first group of students engaged in the foreign-related work of New China. Moreover, many cadres with rich experience in revolution followed the decision of the CPC Central Committee and switched to foreign-related work.
2. The socialist revolution and construction period (1949-1978)
In this period, the main task of the Party’s foreign affairs work was to break the isolation, containment, encirclement and intimidation against New China from hostile Western forces, safeguard our independence, sovereignty and security, and strive for a peaceful international environment conducive to socialist construction.
First, to counter hegemonism and the threat of war and expand friendly cooperation with the outside, some important theories and concepts were introduced, including the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, the “intermediate zones,” and the “three worlds” theory. In the 1950s, China agreed with India and Burma to take the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence as the basic principles guiding their relations. Chairman Mao Zedong put forward the strategic thinking of “two intermediate zones” in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the theory of the “three worlds” in the 1970s.
Second, great efforts to establish and develop friendly and cooperative relations with countries around the world culminated in two major waves of establishment of new diplomatic ties. On 3 October 1949, the Soviet Union became the first country to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic, setting off the first wave of diplomatic recognition. The second wave came in the early 1970s, when the Party seized the opportunity presented by changes in the international landscape. By 1976, China had established diplomatic relations with 113 countries, which accounted for the vast majority of countries in the world at the time.
Third, proactive efforts to develop relations with major countries resulted in significant breakthroughs. Recognizing the evolving international configuration in the 1970s, Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai made a major decision of strategic foresight. In February 1972, US President Richard Nixon visited China. On 28 February, the Sino-US Joint Communiqué was issued in Shanghai, starting the process of normalization of relations. This was a momentous event in the history of China-US relations. In September 1972, Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka visited China and the two sides signed a joint communiqué, achieving the normalization of relations. China also established formal relations with the European Community.
Fourth, China’s national sovereignty and security were firmly upheld, and its international standing was significantly elevated. After a tenacious struggle, China won a great victory in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea. The victory boosted the Chinese people’s confidence and pride in their nation, safeguarded New China’s sovereignty, security and revolutionary achievements, and raised China’s international standing like never before. China firmly defended its national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Meanwhile, breakthroughs were made in the development of national defense and science and technology, including achievements in the project of “Two Bombs, One Satellite” (nuclear bombs, missiles and satellites).
Fifth, active steps were taken to take part in international affairs and uphold the noble cause of world peace and development. Premier Zhou Enlai headed a delegation to the Bandung Conference in Indonesia in April 1955, opening the door to extensive exchanges between China and countries in Asia and Africa. On 25 October 1971, the 26th session of the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758 by an overwhelming majority to restore all of the PRC’s lawful rights in the organization. As a founding member of the UN and a permanent member of its Security Council, China has contributed significantly to upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, defending world peace, promoting shared development, strengthening friendship and cooperation between countries, and advancing the progress of humanity.
3. The new period of reform and opening up and socialist modernization (1978-2012)
In this period, the main task of the Party’s foreign affairs work was to support China’s economic development, create an enabling environment for reform and opening up in terms of cooperation, neighborhood, security and public opinion, and break new ground in external relations.
First, on the basis of sound assessment of the theme of the times and the underlying global trend, the policies and guidelines for foreign affairs were put forward. Following the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in late 1978, Comrade Deng Xiaoping put forth the judgment that peace and development are the two great issues for the world of the times and that a world war is not likely to happen, and the focus of the Party’s work was shifted to economic development. At the critical juncture of drastic changes in Eastern Europe, Comrade Deng Xiaoping stressed that we must uphold the Four Cardinal Principles1 to keep China on the right course. Following the Fourth Plenary Session of the 13th CPC Central Committee in 1989, sanctions imposed on China by Western countries were broken. Comrade Jiang Zemin put forward the building of a new political and economic order that is just and equitable and called for respect for diversity of civilizations. Comrade Hu Jintao put forward the building of a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity through joint efforts with people of all countries. China’s standing and influence as a major emerging country were universally recognized.
Second, relations with other major players were deepened under an overall diplomatic agenda that identifies major countries as the key, the neighborhood as the priority, developing countries as the foundation, and multilateral fora as an important stage. In January 1979, China and the United States established diplomatic relations. In August 1978, China and Japan signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship. In May 1989, relations between China and the Soviet Union were normalized. In 1991, China and ASEAN launched the dialogue process. At the turn of the century, China worked actively to steer relations with other major countries toward the 21st century, to enhance friendly ties with neighboring countries, and to strengthen friendship and cooperation with other developing countries.
Third, the overall layout of opening up was expanded and deepened, with major development achievements scored. China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, and coped well with the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the international financial crisis in 2008. China’s economy became the second largest in the world in 2010 from the 11th in 1978.
Fourth, through more active engagement in multilateral diplomacy, China became deeply involved in international mechanisms and played a part in creating new mechanisms. In June 2001, the first Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in Shanghai. In October that same year, the ninth APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting was held in Shanghai. In August 2008, China hosted the 29th Summer Olympics in Beijing. In May 2010, China hosted the 41st World Expo in Shanghai.
4. A new era for socialism with Chinese characteristics, since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012
In this period, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core and under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, historic achievements have been scored and historic changes made in the cause of the Party and the country. At this new historical starting point, General Secretary Xi Jinping, demonstrating the strategic vision and sense of mission of the leader of a major country and keeping in mind the overarching strategic context of the Chinese nation’s great rejuvenation and major changes unseen in a century in the world, has led us in continuously breaking new ground in major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era, resulting in major, remarkable achievements in the Party’s foreign-related work. China’s international standing and influence have risen to unprecedented heights, and China is moving ever closer to the center of the world stage and making new and greater contributions to the development and progress of humanity.
First, Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy has been developed and its guiding position established. As an important part of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy represents a major theoretical outcome of applying the fundamental tenets of Marxism to the practice of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, a crystallization of the governance philosophy of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core on the diplomatic front, and a fundamental philosophy and guide to action for China’s external work in the new era. Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy has ten core principles2. It spells out the historical mission and the overall objectives of China’s external work in the new era and outlines the set of policies and principles that must be upheld. It profoundly reveals the essential requirements, inherent laws, and future direction of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era. With a firm grasp of the prevailing trends in domestic and international development, General Secretary Xi Jinping has drawn a series of important conclusions, including that the world is undergoing changes unseen in a century and that China’s development is still in a period of important strategic opportunity. General Secretary Xi has put forward a series of new ideas, propositions and initiatives that have distinct Chinese features, reflect the ethos of the times, and lead the trend of human development and progress. They include building a community with a shared future for mankind, fostering a new type of international relations, and jointly pursuing Belt and Road cooperation.
Second, the strategic and guiding role of head-of-state diplomacy has been fully leveraged as China actively engages in home-ground diplomacy and major international events. General Secretary Xi Jinping has attended a host of important multilateral meetings: the high-level events commemorating the 70th and 75th anniversaries of the United Nations, the G20 Summit, the BRICS Summit, the SCO Summit, the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, and the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. At these meetings, General Secretary Xi expounded China’s propositions on major issues concerning world peace and development and the future of humanity, upheld and acted out multilateralism, and effectively charted the course for global transformation and development. General Secretary Xi successfully presided over major home-ground diplomatic events, including the G20 Hangzhou Summit, the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the Shanghai Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), the China International Import Expo (CIIE), the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations (CDAC), the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting, and the China-Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) Summit. With China playing a leading role, these events have yielded a host of important breakthroughs and significantly enhanced China’s global influence and its ability to shape the international agenda. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, General Secretary Xi attended the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit and the virtual opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly, and chaired the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against Covid-19. In his important remarks delivered on those occasions, General Secretary Xi announced major cooperation measures to fight the coronavirus, and called on the whole world to build a global community of health for all. At the Leaders Summit on Climate, General Secretary Xi put forward six initiatives3 to be followed when tackling the challenge of climate change and strengthening global environmental governance, and called for joint efforts to foster a community of life for man and Nature. Since the start of the pandemic, General Secretary Xi has had online and in-person talks and meetings, telephone conversations, and exchanges of messages with more than 100 foreign leaders and heads of international organizations, setting the direction for and injecting strong impetus into China’s efforts to grow its relations with other countries and promote international solidarity against Covid-19.
Third, efforts have been made to promote the major initiative of Belt and Road cooperation, in order to open new ground in all aspects of opening up and international cooperation. General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward and promoted the major initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Belt and Road cooperation follows the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, the philosophy of open, green and clean cooperation, and a high-standard, people-centered and sustainable approach. It aims to promote policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity and achieve high-quality development. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has become a public good well received around the world and an important platform for building a community with a shared future for mankind. China has successfully hosted large events including the CIIE, the China (Beijing) International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), and the China-ASEAN Expo, pushing China’s openness to an unprecedented level. In 2020, for the first time in history, China and ASEAN became each other’s largest trading partners, and China became the largest trading partner of the European Union (EU) and the world’s largest recipient of foreign investment. China concluded within schedule the negotiations on a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with the EU, signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement with relevant parties, and announced that it will favorably consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), demonstrating its firm commitment to openness and cooperation.
Fourth, efforts have been redoubled to advance the agenda of China’s external work in all dimensions, at different levels, in various areas, and with multiple facets in order to forge a global network of partnerships. China has deepened its comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era and maintained a high level of strategic coordination with Russia. China has underscored the need for the United States to work with China in the same direction to build a relationship featuring no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. At the same time, China has fought resolutely to counter US rhetoric and action that undermine China’s interests, and firmly safeguarded China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests. China has strengthened communication and cooperation with European countries and the EU to foster China-EU partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilization, deepen cooperation in such areas as climate change, environmental protection and the digital economy, and jointly uphold multilateralism. China has vigorously promoted friendship and cooperation with neighboring countries, steadily enhanced relations with countries in Northeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and the South Pacific, and further expanded cooperation with ASEAN and other regional organizations. China has continued to deepen its solidarity and cooperation with developing countries in Africa and in Latin America and the Caribbean, and forged closer ties with the African Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
Fifth, China has worked actively to take forward the reform and development of the global governance system by contributing to the world the China wisdom, China vision and China solution. At the UN General Assembly and on other important occasions, General Secretary Xi Jinping solemnly proclaimed China’s commitment to upholding the international system centered on the United Nations and the international order underpinned by international law, and fought back the so-called “rules-based international order” trumpeted by some countries. With regard to peace and security, economy and society, ecological advancement, climate change and mutual learning between civilizations, General Secretary Xi comprehensively outlined important concepts including China’s vision on international order and on global governance, new concepts on security and development, and concepts on human rights, on ecological conservation and on inter-civilization exchange. Stressing that matters concerning everyone should be handled through consultation, General Secretary Xi firmly rejected unilateralism and acts of bullying, effectively countered talks of “clash of civilizations” and of the superiority of one race over another, and pointed the way forward for the transformation of the global governance system and the international order. General Secretary Xi announced China’s goals for peaking carbon dioxide emissions and achieving carbon neutrality at the General Debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, and announced new measures for nationally determined contributions at the Climate Ambition Summit, thus leading the way to reinvigorate the global response to climate change. As a result of China’s initiative as well as the active response and joint efforts of various other parties, several mechanisms such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) have been established and grown into multilateral financial institutions with major international influence. China has actively pursued peaceful settlement of regional hotspot issues like the Korean Peninsula issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and Afghanistan, stayed deeply involved in rules making in such areas as the ocean, the polar regions, outer space and the fight against corruption, and carried out international counter-terrorism cooperation, playing China’s due role as a responsible major country.
Sixth, effective steps have been taken to forestall and defuse risks and challenges of various sorts, in order to resolutely defend national interests and dignity. On such major issues as the Taiwan question and those related to Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, maritime affairs, Covid-19 and human rights, we have demonstrated both courage and capability to fight for China’s political security and safeguard national interests and dignity. We have firmly upheld the one-China principle on the Taiwan question, and won a number of tough battles over issues related to Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and human rights, leaving no chance for any external forces to meddle in China’s internal affairs. We have responded forcefully to infringements and provocations at sea to maintain overall stability in the South China Sea. We have resolutely opposed unilateral sanctions and “long-arm jurisdiction.” We have put into practice the principle of serving the people through diplomacy by building our capacity to safeguard our interests abroad. We have engaged deeply in the reform of international institutions including the WTO, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, in order to defend the legitimate rights and interests of China and other fellow developing countries.
Seventh, continuous efforts have been made to step up exchange and mutual learning with countries around the world. In communicating to the world Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, we have explained in great depth the very nature and fundamental purpose and principles of the CPC, expounded China’s path, system, direction of development and strategic intentions, and highlighted the important new opportunities that China’s new development dynamic will bring to countries around the world. We have shared with the world our experience and achievements in fighting Covid-19 and showcased our contributions to the global response. We have increased experience sharing on governance with relevant countries. And we have called for equal-footed dialogue, exchanges and mutual learning, and common development among civilizations.
Eighth, the full authority of the Party Central Committee over foreign affairs has been upheld, and the centralized, unified leadership of the Central Committee over foreign-related work has been enhanced. In line with the Central Committee’s overall arrangement for comprehensively deepening reform, the Central Leading Group for Foreign Affairs has been reorganized as the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs to ensure top-level design, overall planning, better coordination, holistic advancement and solid implementation of foreign-related endeavors. Under the centralized, unified leadership of the Party Central Committee, foreign exchanges involving the Party, people’s congresses, the government, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the armed forces, local authorities, and people’s organizations have developed vigorously, and a synergized framework in which the Party exercises overall leadership and coordinates all aspects of foreign affairs has been steadily consolidated.
Since its 18th National Congress, the Party has scored historic and pioneering achievements in external work. These achievements are fundamentally attributable to General Secretary Xi Jinping’s personal command, direction and commitment, to the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core and the great strength of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, to the right guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, and to the concerted endeavor of the whole Party and the entire nation.
II. Looking back at the glorious journey of the CPC’s foreign-related work over the past century since its founding, we have drawn the following important experience and inspiration.
1. We must always uphold the guiding position of Marxism to steer the Party’s foreign-related work in the right direction.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has noted, “The history of the CPC is a history of constant adaptation of Marxism to the Chinese context, and a history of constant theoretical innovation and creation.” The truth and scientific nature of Marxism is amply reflected in the Party’s foreign-related work. The Party has always analyzed international developments and historical trends through the lens of the fundamental tenets of Marxism, and has always used the Marxist worldview and methodology to observe, understand and transform the world and to properly handle China’s relations with the rest of the world. It has constantly advanced innovation in diplomatic philosophy and practice as well as the systems and mechanisms for conducting foreign relations, thus gradually forming a system of diplomatic theories that both reflects the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method and has distinct Chinese features. Since the 18th National Congress, the Party’s innovation in theory and practice of foreign-related work has entered a new stage and new period, and Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy has been formed. This will continue to lead us toward new advances in major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
2. We must always follow the people-centered development philosophy to firmly adhere to the fundamental purpose of the Party’s foreign-related work.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has stressed, “The century-old history of the CPC is a history of fulfilling the Party’s founding mission, a history of breathing the same breath as the people, sharing the same future, and staying truly connected with them.” The fundamental purpose and goal of the Party in its foreign-related work is to serve the people wholeheartedly, and to realize, safeguard and develop the fundamental interests of the broadest majority of the Chinese people. Through contributing to the cause of the Party and the country, foreign-related work may help people meet their expectation for a better life, and get a stronger sense of benefit, happiness and security from the Party’s foreign-related work. In recent years, on multiple occasions of political upheaval, war and turmoil, and major natural disasters in other parts of the world, we have taken resolute and effective measures to protect the safety of Chinese nationals abroad to truly deliver on the Party’s people-centered governance philosophy in every aspect of foreign-related work.
3. We must always focus on the central tasks and serve the big-picture interests to foster an external environment favorable to China’s development and security.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has stressed the importance to “take into account both the domestic and international imperatives, work on development and security as two top priorities, focus on the overriding theme of peaceful development and national rejuvenation, safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, endeavor to foster an international environment conducive to peaceful development, and preserve and extend the period of important strategic opportunity for China’s development, so as to provide solid guarantee for accomplishing the Two Centenary Goals and realizing the Chinese Dream of great national rejuvenation.” It has always been the fundamental task of the Party’s foreign-related work to foster an international environment favorable to China’s peaceful development. Since the founding of New China, we have constantly adjusted our foreign policies in light of the evolving international landscape and global trends in different periods to serve the central tasks of the Party and the country. Since the launch of reform and opening up, China has been actively integrated into the world economic system, promoted economic globalization that is open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all, championed the development of an open world economy, and deepened economic, trade, and investment cooperation with countries around the world. As China enters a new stage of development, foreign-related work must be oriented toward implementing the new development philosophy, fostering a new development dynamic, and achieving high-quality development. Focusing on the strategic priority of expanding domestic demand, we will pursue opening up and mutually beneficial cooperation in a larger scope, to wider areas and at deeper levels. We will promote steady and sustained high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and foster new strengths in international cooperation and competition.
4. We must always adhere to an independent foreign policy and to the path of peaceful development.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has pointed out that to “take the path of peaceful development is a strategic choice of the CPC made in line with the trend of the times and China’s fundamental interests.” We have unswervingly followed an independent foreign policy, and formulated and promoted foreign policies suitable to China’s conditions on the basis of China’s own national attributes, position and strength, and the international environment. We have unswervingly pursued the path of peaceful development and a win-win strategy of opening up, and steadily advanced our diplomatic agenda based on the principles of independence, peace and mutual benefit. We have worked to foster a framework of major-country relations featuring overall stability and balanced development, strengthened good neighborliness and friendly relations with neighboring countries according to the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness and the policy of forging friendship and partnership with neighboring countries, enhanced solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries by prioritizing the greater good over our own interests and following the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and actively engaged in multilateral diplomacy to build and deepen a global network of partnerships with other countries.
5. We must preserve the fighting spirit and always be prepared and skillful in responding to various challenges to resolutely defend China’s sovereignty, security and development interests.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has emphasized, “While adhering to peaceful development, we will never relinquish our legitimate rights and interests, or allow China’s core interests to be compromised. No country should ever expect China to trade off its core interests or swallow the bitter fruit that undermines its sovereignty, security and development interests.” In the face of a constantly shifting international environment and external risks and challenges, the Party has always kept up its fighting spirit, always taken a holistic approach to national security and coordinated the development and security imperatives, and has spared no effort to uphold China’s fundamental interests. As China continues to grow stronger, we are to encounter still greater obstacles and risks and face even more arduous tasks in upholding our sovereignty, security and development interests. This makes it all the more imperative that we undertake a great struggle with many new features of the times.
6. We must always stand alongside developing countries and steadily enhance solidarity and cooperation with developing countries.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has observed that “China’s international status as the world’s largest developing country has not changed” and that “China always takes developing countries as the foundation of its foreign policy. China will place the greater good above its own interests, and always remain a reliable friend and sincere partner for other developing countries.” To uphold China’s developing-country status is required by the Party’s basic line as well as the country’s actual condition, and it is also an important policy that we will firmly adhere to in foreign-related work for the coming period. Over the long term, China will continue to stand hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder with other developing countries to realize common development and shared prosperity.
7. We must always seek truth from facts and continue to pioneer and innovate to open up new horizons in the Party’s foreign-related work.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has noted that “seeking truth from facts is a fundamental tenet of Marxism, as well as an absolute requirement on Chinese Communists as they work to understand and transform the world, and a basic approach by which the CPC should think, work and lead” and that “pioneering and innovating is always a historical duty that Chinese Communists shall take upon themselves.” Seeking truth from facts, pioneering and innovating are the real secrets behind the Party’s continued success. They are also the important principles for ensuring that the Party’s diplomatic theories and practice keep up with the times, are carried forward and make steady new progress. The Party establishes China’s foreign policies by always acting on the common interests of the Chinese people and people around the world, taking into consideration the evolving international situation, and making judgment on the real merit of each matter concerned. Through exploring and summarizing the underlying laws and methods of foreign-related work, the Party has built on past experience and broken new ground in advancing major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.
8. We must always integrate efforts to uphold China’s interests with those to promote common development of the world, and work for a community with a shared future for mankind.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has underlined that “to make new and greater contributions to mankind is our Party’s abiding mission” and that “we call on the people of all countries to work together to build a community with a shared future for mankind, and to build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.” The CPC is a political party that strives for the well-being of the Chinese people and for the cause of progress of mankind. The Party and the Chinese people are a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of the international order. We firmly support the UN’s central role in international affairs, and firmly uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Guided by the Party’s lofty ideals and lasting pursuit, we will always hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, always stand at the forefront of the times, and always work with other countries to advance the noble cause of peace and development for mankind. This accords with the common aspiration of all countries for peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit.
9. We must always work to unite all forces that can be united.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has made it clear that “China remains firm in its commitment to strengthening friendly and cooperative relations with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and to forging a new form of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation.” Guided by the belief that while those sharing the same ideal and following the same path are partners, those seeking common ground and shelving differences are also partners, China has steadily developed partnerships with countries and regions around the world. We do not draw lines along ideology or form exclusive blocs. Instead, we are committed to developing friendship and cooperation with other countries on the basis of shared interests and win-win cooperation. Such an approach has won us more and more friends the world over.
10. We must always emphasize the importance of cultivating a strong contingent for foreign-related work that are loyal to the Party, the country and the people, and are politically solid, professionally competent, have high integrity and are strictly disciplined.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has emphasized that those engaged in foreign-related work must always keep a sense of dedication to remain loyal to the Party and to the service of the country, a sense of enterprise to keep making new headway and active contribution, a sense of initiative to embrace constant learning and self-reform, and a sense of responsibility to exercise Party self-governance and rigorous Party discipline. General Secretary Xi Jinping cares deeply about and attaches great importance to the building of a strong contingent for foreign-related work. At the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs in 2018, he highlighted the importance of building such a contingent in external work under new circumstances by intensifying education on ideals and beliefs, and by boosting professional competence and overall preparedness. He encouraged all those engaged in foreign-related work to redouble their efforts and work in real earnest, demonstrate new morale and break new ground, and write a new chapter in China’s major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era. Over the years, generation after generation of people engaged in foreign-related work, with utmost loyalty to the Party, the country and the people and through selfless dedication, have worked unremittingly and contributed a significant part to the cause of the Party, the country and our people.
In the final analysis, of all the experience we have gained, the most important is unswerving commitment to the Party Central Committee’s centralized, unified leadership. This has provided the fundamental guarantee for the Party’s foreign-related work to triumph over all difficulties and secure one victory after another through the past century. History and reality have both proven time and again the utmost importance of unswerving commitment to the Central Committee’s centralized, unified leadership over foreign-related work. Only with unswerving commitment to the Central Committee’s centralized, unified leadership over foreign-related work can we keep to the right direction in a changing international environment; can we stay united in mind and action, remain confident and focused, and forge ahead with courage and determination at major historical junctures and in critical moments; can we ensure holistic planning and coordination and bring together all strengths and resources available to fight tough and protracted diplomatic struggles in the face of complex and challenging situations; can we better coordinate the domestic and international imperatives as well as the development and security priorities, and gain an even broader strategic perspective so as to score still greater achievements in the central tasks of the Party and the country. In short, as long as we stay firmly committed to the Party Central Committee’s centralized, unified leadership over foreign-related work, firmly uphold General Secretary Xi Jinping’s core position in both the Party Central Committee and the Party as a whole, and firmly uphold the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the Party Central Committee, we will undoubtedly overcome any difficulty or obstacle on our way ahead and accomplish the historic mission of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
III. External work at the current stage and in the period to come
The Covid-19 pandemic has precipitated the momentous changes taking place in the world. International relations are undergoing continued and profound realignment. Global uncertainty and instability are on the rise. The world has entered a period of turbulence and transformation. Major global forces are speeding up strategic readjustment. And the interplay between change and unrest in the global landscape has become more evident. On the other hand, the general trend and direction of global development remain unchanged. Peace and development are still the theme of our times, and the international community still desires prosperity, stability, and win-win cooperation. China’s efforts to build a community with a shared future for mankind, to foster a new type of international relations, and to uphold and practice multilateralism are in line with the trend of the times and tally with the interests of all countries, and have won more and more recognition and support from the international community.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. It is also the first year to comprehensively implement the 14th Five-Year Plan and the Long-Range Goals through 2035. In conducting our external work, we must follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, take a coordinated approach to the domestic and international imperatives as well as the development and security interests, keep in mind China’s new development stage, follow the new development philosophy, foster a new development dynamic, and pursue high-quality development. We shall continue to champion the cause of building a community with a shared future for mankind, and maintain a correct outlook on history, on the bigger picture and on the role of our country. We shall sharpen our awareness of risks and opportunities, accurately recognize change, skillfully respond to change, and take the initiative to adapt to change. We shall seize opportunities amid crises and open up new horizons on a shifting landscape, and do our very best to create a sound external environment for fully building a modern socialist country at home.
1. We will leverage the leading role of head-of-state diplomacy to make holistic, coordinated plans for external work.
We will follow the main theme of events attended by General Secretary Xi Jinping to steerexternal work across the board. We will fully tap into the positive effects of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s attendance and remarks at the World Economic Forum Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda, the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 and the Leaders Summit on Climate,
and make well-thought arrangements for General Secretary Xi’s attendance at the G20 Summit and other important multilateral gatherings. We will spare no effort in ensuring success of the foreign-related aspect of commemorations marking the Party’s centenary, and play a good host to major multilateral events such as the second UN Global Sustainable Transport Conference and COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
2. We will pursue all-round opening up and cooperation to facilitate the fostering of a new development dynamic.
We will remain committed to innovation-driven development, and bolster international cooperation and exchanges on science and technology. We will further deepen reform and expand opening up, improve the business environment, and promote the mutual reinforcement of the domestic and international circulations. We will advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and move faster to build a Silk Road for health, a digital Silk Road and a green Silk Road. We will continue to make good use of such important platforms as the CIFTIS, the CIIE, and China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair). We will deepen bilateral, multilateral and regional economic and trade cooperation, and build a network of high-standard, globally-oriented free trade areas. We will deepen cooperation with other countries on pandemic response and jointly promote global economic recovery.
3. We will follow a systemic approach to advance China’s diplomatic agenda on all fronts.
We will seize the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia to strengthen the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era. We urge the United States to follow through on the spirit of the telephone conversation between the two presidents, work in the same direction with China, jointly observe the principle of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and carry out in-depth cooperation in areas like climate change to promote sound and steady development of China-US relations. We will enhance coordination and cooperation with Europe, and deepen cooperation in climate change, digital economy and other areas. We will pursue sound interactions with neighboring countries, promote mutually beneficial cooperation, and work for an upgraded relationship with ASEAN. We will leverage the pace-setting role of such mechanisms as FOCAC, the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, and the China-CELAC Forum to expand solidarity and cooperation with all developing countries. We will appropriately handle regional and international hotspots such as the Korean Peninsula issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and Afghanistan.
4. We will resolutely safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development interests.
We will thwart the plots of international forces conspiring against China so as to safeguard the security and integrity of our political authority and our system. We will take proactive steps to win diplomatic battles related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, Covid-19 and human rights. We will uphold China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and maintain overall stability in the region and in relations with other major countries. We will step up international counter-terrorism and law-enforcement cooperation, and protect the lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens and businesses overseas.
5. We will promote reform and development of the global governance system.
We will continue to safeguard the international system centered on the UN and the international order based on international law, uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and promote true multilateralism by honoring the core values and basic principles of multilateralism while reforming and improving the global governance system on the basis of extensive consultation and consensus-building. We oppose the forming of exclusive blocs along ideological lines, and are against acts of practicing unilateralism in the name of multilateralism. We will actively steer the direction of WTO reform, uphold China’s status as a developing country, and safeguard the multilateral trading system. We will take an active part in the reform process of the World Health Organization, engage deeply in global public health governance, and work for a global community of health for all. We will continue to strengthen new mechanisms such as the AIIB, the NDB, and the Silk Road Fund. We will vigorously promote international climate cooperation, and take part in international governance initiatives related to cyberspace, the deep sea, the polar regions and outer space.
China is set to accomplish the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and has already started a new journey toward fully building a modern socialist country. 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, enhance confidence in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and uphold General Secretary Xi Jinping’s core position in both the Party Central Committee and the Party as a whole as well as the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the Party Central Committee. We will resolutely follow through on General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important instructions and the Party Central Committee’s decisions and plans, work with even greater initiative and enthusiasm, and keep breaking new ground in China’s major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era, all in an effort to provide strong support for a good start in fully building a modern socialist country, make new and greater contributions toward the Chinese dream of great national rejuvenation, and score even more remarkable achievements in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.