By Wang Yi
State Councilor and Foreign Minister of
The People’s Republic of China
The year 2021 has been a year of historic importance for both China and the world.
This year, the Chinese people have forged ahead in great strides and achieved historic changes. We celebrated the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Over the past century, the Party has led the people in writing a remarkable chapter in the history of human development, and the Chinese nation has achieved the tremendous transformation from standing up to growing prosperous and becoming strong. General Secretary Xi Jinping solemnly declared that the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has entered an irreversible historical process. At its Sixth Plenary Session, the 19th CPC Central Committee fully reviewed the Party’s major achievements and historical experience over the past century, and sounded a clarion call for forging ahead on a new journey and making still greater contributions in the new era. While responding with composure to changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century, we have made new advances in fostering a new development paradigm and pursuing high-quality development, and got off to a good start in implementing the 14th Five-Year Plan. The over 1.4 billion Chinese people, filled with an even stronger sense of self-confidence and self-reliance, have unleashed a mighty force for building China into a modern socialist country.
This year, human society has experienced turbulence and transformation and moved forward with fortitude in a changing world. In 2021, the world has witnessed a persistent and unchecked pandemic, accelerating changes unseen in a century, and a period of turbulence and transformation. The persistent impact of the pandemic, setbacks in global economic recovery, mounting difficulties standing in the way of development and widening North-South gap have all created new areas of weakness, poverty belts, and sources of instability. With human society facing multiple crises, global governance undergoing profound changes and the international order confronted with severe challenges, countries around the world are looking for answers and humanity is required to make the right choice.
Standing at the crossroads of our times, we have observed two opposite trends at play. One is to revert to a Cold War mentality, provoke division and antagonism, and stoke confrontation between blocs. The other is to act out of the common good of humanity to strengthen solidarity and cooperation, advocate openness and win-win results, and promote equality and respect. The tug of war between these two trends will shape the future of humanity and our planet in a profound way.
This year, China has actively pursued its diplomatic agenda despite difficulties and steered the changes of our times. Under the firm guidance of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s broad vision and overall leadership, China has conducted diplomacy with a global vision to serve the nation and our people. We have opened up new vistas amid global changes, turned crises into opportunities in a complex world, and fostered an enabling external environment through struggle as well as cooperation. We have all along stood on the right side of history, and on the side of human progress, the side of international equity and justice, and the side of the vast developing countries. We have chosen cooperation over confrontation, openness over isolation, mutual benefit over zero-sum game, and equality over power politics and bullying. Together with all peace-loving countries and peoples in the world, we have endeavored to keep the wheels of human development rolling toward a brighter future.
Looking beyond the horizon, we have worked to steer the world in the right direction amid turbulence and changes. General Secretary Xi Jinping, with a keen understanding of the changing international dynamics and the trend of the times, has put forward a number of major initiatives, including building a global community of health for all, a community of life for man and nature, and a global community of development with a shared future. These proposals have enriched, in keeping with our times, the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind. He is personally involved in the planning and successful conduct of head-of-state diplomacy. In 2021, General Secretary Xi Jinping had 79 meetings and phone calls with foreign leaders and heads of international organizations, and chaired and attended 40 important diplomatic events via video link, thus helping expand the convergence of interests in win-win cooperation and forge strong synergy for building a community with a shared future for mankind. The endeavor to build a community with a shared future for mankind, a vision radiating the light of truth in a changing world, made progress across the board, from Latin America and the Caribbean to the Middle East, from BRICS to the United Nations (UN), and from ecological conservation to digital governance. This vision, having been included in resolutions of the UN General Assembly for five years in a row, serves as a great banner pointing the way forward for our times and humanity.
Keeping to the right way forward, we have built important consensus for upholding the international order. Facing the contest between true and fake multilateralism, we have held high the torch of true multilateralism, and commemorated the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People’s Republic of China in the UN. We declared unequivocally that in today’s world, there is but one international system, i.e. the international system with the UN at its core; there is but one international order, i.e. the international order underpinned by international law; and there is but one set of rules, i.e. the basic norms of international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We have laid bare the nature of fake multilateralism in its various manifestations, and rejected attempts to form exclusive blocs under the pretext of multilateralism, to impose one’s own rules on the international community under the excuse of a “rules-based order”, and to divide the world along ideological lines. We have also firmly promoted greater democracy and rule of law in international relations. Facing the false juxtaposition of democracy versus authoritarianism fabricated by a certain country, we have set forth China’s success in practicing whole-process people’s democracy, safeguarded the true spirit of democracy, and promoted a right understanding of what democracy is about. We have refuted false narratives to set the record straight, and revealed the truth about a self-important, “superior” model of democracy. As a result, to oppose monopolizing the definition of democracy or dividing the world along ideological lines is becoming the call of more people around the world.
Fulfilling our responsibility as a major country, we have made significant contribution to global COVID response. We have stayed the course of solidarity and cooperation, launching the Global Vaccine Cooperation Action Initiative and the Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on COVID-19 Vaccines Cooperation. We have been a pace-setter for closer international cooperation, upheld the primary feature of vaccines as a global public good, and stayed at the forefront of efforts for equitable distribution of vaccines. We have endeavored to bridge the vaccine divide. China was among the first to commit to making COVID vaccines a global public good, to support waiving intellectual property rights on the vaccines, and to start joint production with other developing countries. To date, we have provided over two billion doses of vaccines to over 120 countries and international organizations, accounting for one-third of the total number of vaccines administered outside China. Chinese vaccines have become “vaccines for the people”, “vaccines of the world”, and “vaccines truly accessible”. We have provided badly needed assistance to other developing countries, pledging another one billion doses of vaccines to Africa and an additional donation of 150 million doses to ASEAN countries, and carrying out joint production in 20 countries. We have raced against time and taken multi-pronged actions to see that vaccines are delivered to those in need no matter where they are. We have upheld the “golden rule” of taking a science-based approach and rejected politicization of origins tracing. China and the World Health Organization (WHO) have released a joint report on the origins of the virus, demonstrating a commitment to openness, transparency and international cooperation. Over 80 countries have written to the WHO to express their opposition to politicization of origins tracing. More than 25 million Chinese have joined the online petition calling for the WHO to investigate the Fort Detrick bio-lab. While the coronavirus is the common enemy of mankind, the “political virus” has fueled the spread of the pandemic. In the end, both the coronavirus and the political virus will be defeated by humanity.
Committed to openness and inclusiveness, we have added momentum to promoting economic recovery. In face of rising protectionism, General Secretary Xi Jinping points out explicitly that openness and integration is the overall historical trend. We must dismantle not build walls, we must remain true to openness and oppose isolation, and we must pursue integration and reject decoupling, in order to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all. We have focused on development as the solution to all problems. General Secretary Xi Jinping has put forth a Global Development Initiative, which aims to complement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and create synergy among countries to achieve more robust, greener and more balanced global development. The Initiative has received endorsement and support from the UN and many other international organizations as well as some 100 countries in the world. We have facilitated the entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, taking new steps toward regional cooperation in the face of protectionist headwinds. We have opened up China’s economy at higher standards and shared China’s opportunities with the rest of the world through a shorter negative list, better business environment and greater institutional opening-up. The fourth China International Import Expo (CIIE) drew a record number of 127 countries and regions and 3,000 companies. We have overcome various difficulties to further advance Belt and Road cooperation. The third symposium on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has drawn up a new blueprint. The China-Europe Railway Express has become an anchor of stability for global supply chains. The China-Laos Railway has helped Laos achieve its dream of becoming a land-linked country. With the support of 145 countries and 32 international organizations, the BRI is fast becoming “a belt of prosperity” benefiting the world and “a road of happiness” benefiting all peoples.
Deepening strategic communication, we have added impetus to the steady growth of China’s relations with other major countries. The Chinese and Russian presidents have had four telephone conversations and virtual meetings, and officially announced the extension of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, enriching the traditional China-Russia friendship in the new era. China and Russia have advanced common development through all-round, practical cooperation, and upheld global stability through substantial strategic coordination. This relationship has set a good example for major-country relations and interactions between neighbors, and become a pillar of international fairness and justice. In his two telephone conversations and one virtual meeting with President Joe Biden, General Secretary Xi Jinping clearly outlined a strategic framework of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation for China-US relations, charting the course for the sound and steady growth of this relationship. We have set clear “three red lines” and put forward “two lists of key concerns”, urging the US not to challenge China’s path and system, obstruct China’s development process, or infringe on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Ms. Meng Wanzhou’s safe return to China after being held illegally for over 1,000 days represents a powerful example of justice prevailing in the end. China-EU relations have been further advanced amid challenges. General Secretary Xi Jinping has attended two video summits with French and German leaders, and a China-CEEC Summit has been held via video link; the China-EU agreement on geographical indications has come into force; steady progress has been made in flagship Belt and Road projects; and China and the EU have achieved positive outcomes in such areas as upholding multilateralism, enhancing global governance, and tackling climate change.
Working in concert, we have pursued common development and rejuvenation with our neighbors and other developing countries. We and our neighbors have deepened the consensus on building a shared future, and made further progress through joint development efforts. General Secretary Xi Jinping and leaders of ASEAN countries have cerebrated the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations and announced the elevation of the China-ASEAN relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, marking a big step forward in China-ASEAN relations. The two sides have reached common understandings on promoting synergy between the BRI and the priority areas of cooperation outlined in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. Solid and substantive progress has been made in building the Lancang-Mekong Development Belt, further driving home that drinking from the same river, people in this region share a closely linked future. Premier Li Keqiang has attended the leaders’ meetings on East Asian cooperation and explored new potential in cooperation on digital economy, blue economy and green economy. Iran has been admitted to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the first offline foreign ministers’ meeting between China and five Central Asian countries (C+C5) has been held. China’s friendship and cooperation with the DPRK, the ROK and Mongolia have maintained good momentum, serving as positive factors in regional stability. Chinese and Japanese leaders have reached common understandings on developing a bilateral relationship that answers the call of the new era. China and India have effectively managed and controlled frictions in certain border areas, under a shared commitment to improving bilateral relations. China has worked for the launch of a new mechanism of the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the Afghan Issue among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan, provided emergency humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, and opened an air freight corridor for Afghan pine nuts, bringing real benefits to the people of Afghanistan. We have encouraged the new Afghan administration to follow a policy of inclusiveness, counter-terrorism and good-neighborliness and to fight all terrorist organizations including the East Turkistan Islamic Movement. China has supported Myanmar in working with ASEAN to implement the five-point consensus and in firmly opposing undue external intervention. We have made active mediation efforts to help deescalate the situation, and encouraged the restart of the democratic transition process in Myanmar.
We have responded to the developing countries’ aspiration for rejuvenation, and opened up new scope for South-South cooperation. Cooperation between China and Africa has reached a new climax. While attending the eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation via video link, President Xi Jinping highlighted the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation featuring sincere friendship and equality, win-win for mutual benefit and common development, fairness and justice, progress with the times, and openness and inclusiveness. He put forward a four-point proposal for building a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, and announced nine programs for cooperation with Africa. This is a new milestone in China-Africa relations. Relations between China and Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries have made steady progress. A three-year roadmap for cooperation was formulated at the Third Ministers’ Meeting of the China-CELAC Forum (CCF); high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with LAC countries has been further substantiated; new progress has been made in energy, electricity, transportation, communications and other areas of cooperation; China-LAC trade has remained above US$300 billion for four consecutive years; and more efforts have been made to foster a China-LAC relationship for a new era characterized by equality, mutual benefit, innovation, openness, and benefits for the people. The strategic partnership between China and Arab states has scaled a new height. China has proposed a five-point initiative on achieving security and stability in the Middle East, a four-point proposal for the political settlement of the Syrian issue, and a three-point vision for the implementation of the two-state solution, to support and encourage countries in the Middle East to set out on a new path of independence and renewal. China and the League of Arab States (LAS) have issued the China-LAS Cooperation Initiative on Data Security, adding a new dimension to the China-Arab community with a shared future. We have held the first China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which yielded important outcomes including the setup of a joint emergency supplies reserve, a poverty reduction and development cooperation center, and a climate action cooperation center. The emergency supplies reserve was officially launched early this month. Facts have shown that China is always a staunch member of the developing world. It will keep forging ahead hand in hand with fellow developing countries toward a shared future.
Being brave and adept in carrying out our struggle, we have built a strong line of defense for safeguarding national interests. Confronted by various acts of infringements and bullying, we have stayed unflinching and fought back resolutely, demonstrating the self-confidence, self-reliance and perseverance of the Chinese people, and the resolve, determination and integrity of the Chinese nation. In response to the attempt of the Taiwan authorities to seek American support for independence and the intention of a very few countries to use the Taiwan question to contain China, we have issued stern warnings and taken forceful countermeasures, deterring the separatist forces for “Taiwan independence”. We have restored diplomatic relations with Nicaragua, raising the number of countries having diplomatic ties with China to 181 and further consolidating the international consensus on one China. By inviting people from around the world to Xinjiang, we have busted lies and falsehoods with facts. We have resolutely opposed external interference in Hong Kong affairs, and sustained the good momentum of Hong Kong returning to law and order. We have foiled anti-China moves at multilateral fora such as the UN Human Rights Council, by presenting to the world China’s achievements in human rights advancement. We have fought back attempts to stir up trouble under the pretext of human rights, and won the overwhelming support of nearly 100 countries. We have successfully rallied 173 countries in co-sponsoring and adopting an Olympic Truce resolution, showcasing strong international support for the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Keeping in mind the country’s top priorities, we have done our utmost to serve domestic development and the interests of our people through diplomacy. We have successfully hosted promotion events for Hubei and Tibet, and supported the China International Fair for Trade in Services, the CIIE, and other international events hosted by China, in a bid to build new bridges for different localities to open up wider to the world. We have introduced targeted COVID-19 protocols for incoming travelers prior to their trips to secure the gains in pandemic control at home, and opened “fast tracks” for the travel of essential personnel and “green lanes” for the shipment of emergency COVID-19 supplies to ensure unimpeded domestic and international circulations and to support the fostering of a new development paradigm. We have launched a Spring Sprout program to get Chinese nationals abroad vaccinated against COVID-19, so far benefiting millions in 180 countries. Our consular service hotline 12308, running 24/7 to help Chinese nationals facing difficulties abroad, has received over 500,000 calls this year. Our diplomatic missions abroad have processed about 60,000 consular protection and assistance cases. We have provided risk assessment and alert services around the globe, helped Chinese enterprises and personnel operating overseas enhance security and self-protection capabilities, evacuated Chinese from high-risk areas, responded properly to major terrorist attacks, and worked all-out to rescue Chinese hostages. The China Consular Affairs app has been launched, and a mode of “Internet plus consular services” has been introduced to make consular services more easily accessible.
Over the past year, China has conducted diplomacy amid changes unseen in a century, maintained composure and confidence in major-power interactions, and scored a succession of hard-won achievements. This has been made possible with the strong leadership of General Secretary Xi Jinping and the clear guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy. As we celebrate the centenary of the Party, a Study Outline for Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy has been published, the development of the Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy Studies Center has gained speed, and members of China’s foreign service are studying and implementing at greater depth Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy. What we have achieved in China’s diplomacy over the past year fully shows that Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy closely integrates both our historical mission and the trend of our times, both China’s national character and internationalism, and both a Chinese perspective and a global vision. It radiates the light of truth of Marxism, generates the intellectual strength that drives the times forward, and provides the fundamental guidance that we must follow in the long run in conducting major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
Despite dramatic changes in the world, justice will always prevail. The more challenges we face, the more imperative it is for us to break waves and forge ahead.
The year 2022 will be an important one for global developments, with both crises and opportunities. It is also a critical year for the Chinese people as they strive with confidence toward the second centenary goal. Members of the diplomatic service will rally even more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, 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, 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 Party Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership. We will keep both the domestic and international imperatives in mind and endeavor to foster a more stable and favorable external environment for the great cause of the Party and the country.
First, we will make every effort to ensure the success of major and important events. The 20th CPC National Congress will be a most important event in the political life of the Party and the country in 2022. We will endeavor to do a good job on the external front in all directions, present the CPC story to the world, and forestall and defuse external risks and challenges in preparation for the successful convening of the 20th National Congress of the Party. The Beijing Winter Olympic Games, a big event for winter sports, will draw worldwide attention. We will promote the Olympic spirit of “mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play”, warmly welcome friends from around the world while rejecting the politicization of the Olympics, and work to bring the world greater confidence, joy, courage and strength with a streamlined, safe and splendid Games. Head-of-state diplomacy is the highest form of China’s diplomacy. We will strengthen political planning and ensure good services for home-ground diplomacy and multilateral summits including the BRICS Summit and the CIIE, so that head-of-state diplomacy will fully play its guiding role.
Second, we will take proactive steps to tackle the challenges in the post-COVID era. The only way for the world to emerge from the pandemic is by working together. We will continue to promote the spirit of solidarity in fighting COVID-19 and advance the building of a global community of health for all featuring both robust COVID response and heartwarming cooperation. We will actively promote cooperation in vaccines upgrade and drug research, and take effective measures to close the immunization gap. We will uphold global solidarity against the pandemic, improve global public health governance, and work with all other countries to build lines of defense against the virus and create global synergy for responding to pandemics.
Third, we will work for the implementation of the two major initiatives on development and cooperation. The Global Development Initiative is a public good for the world. We will work closely with UN agencies and other countries to align the Initiative with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and follow through on cooperation in the eight key areas of the Initiative. We will champion a development-first vision, reinvigorate global development cooperation, promote global economic recovery, and help other developing countries achieve leapfrog development. The Belt and Road Initiative provides the biggest platform for open cooperation. We will work with BRI partners to further deepen and substantiate high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with hard connectivity as the direction, soft connectivity as the support, and people-to-people connectivity as the bond.
Fourth, we will expand and deepen global partnerships. We will continue to deepen shoulder-by-shoulder, back-to-back strategic cooperation with Russia, making it a pillar of global stability, a bedrock for peace, and a force for fairness and justice. We will strengthen high-level strategic communication with the EU, focus on the mainstream of dialogue and cooperation, stick to the keynote of mutual benefit, and continue to be partners and not adversaries. We will pursue integrated development with our neighbors and deepen convergence of interests and people-to-people affinity to jointly build a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and amicable home. We will remain a sincere and reliable partner for other developing countries, support them in building capacity for self-generated development, and defend their legitimate rights to development.
Fifth, we will make efforts to bring China-US relations back on the right track. The year 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s visit to China. The two countries should review the spirit of that ice-melting trip, follow through on the common understandings reached between the two presidents, observe the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, abide by the three China-US Joint Communiqués, steer America’s China policy back to reason, and bring China-US relations back on the right track. The two sides need to jointly explore how two major countries with different systems, cultures and development stages can coexist in peace, for the good of the people in both countries and around the world.
Sixth, we will firmly safeguard China’s core interests. We will resolutely fight off any attempts to infringe upon China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and we will firmly and effectively repulse any moves to undermine the Chinese people’s legitimate rights and interests. We have never been subordinate to anyone, we have never plundered others, and we will never give in to any coercion or blackmail. Taiwan has always been part of China’s territory. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are not to be infringed upon. The general trend toward China’s complete reunification is unstoppable, and China’s resolve to oppose any attempt to create “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan” is unshakable.
In a volatile world, we should stay cool-headed and not be affected by any distractions. Seen in the broader context of human development and progress, the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation represents an unstoppable trend. On our new journey in the new era, members of the diplomatic service will follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy and hold high the banner of building a community with a shared future for mankind, to break new ground in major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era and make greater contributions to China’s rejuvenation and to human progress.