China is embracing the world

By Cong Peiwu, Chinese Ambassador to Canada

When I was posted to the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa for the first time about 20 years ago, many Canadian friends often discuss the topic “whether China will grow strong or not” with me, for China had just joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). Over the past two decades, China has become the second largest economy in the world, playing a more and more constructive role in international affairs. And I find my Canadian friends are now more interested in the topic “how will a stronger China handle its relations with the world?” This is also a question the international community is generally interested in. In fact, China has always stayed committed to a path of major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, and has offered the answer with concrete actions.

China’s path features an independent foreign policy of peace. However strong China may grow, China will never seek hegemony, expansion, or a sphere of influence. By the same token, the Chinese people will never allow any foreign force to bully, oppress, or subjugate us. This is our abiding philosophy and policy since the founding of the People's Republic of China. On July 1, 2021, at a ceremony marking the centenary of the Communist Party of China, General Secretary Xi Jinping solemnly declared: China will remain committed to promoting peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, to an independent foreign policy of peace, and to the path of peaceful development. We will work to build a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. Today, China is the second largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations fund and the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the P5 of UN Security Council. More than 2,400 Chinese peacekeepers are on duty across the globe. China has also set up a standby force of 8,000 members and a police squad of 300 peacekeepers for UN peacekeeping missions, who are ready to go anytime when needed to safeguard world peace.

China’s path features opening-up, mutual benefit and win-win result. As a Chinese saying goes, “A single flower does not herald spring; and one single tree does not make a forest.” Marx and Engels once said that, “the more the original isolation of separate nationalities is destroyed by the developed mode of production, commerce, and division of labor between various nations naturally brought forth by these, the more does history become world history.” History and reality have proved the scientific value of this prediction. If we insist on viewing the world from the perspective of “a global community with a shared future”, the world is full of cooperation opportunities. China has entered a new development stage, and is following the new development philosophy and formulating a new development paradigm. China has been implementing, and will always promote high-quality development of the Belt and Road cooperation, and provide new opportunities for the world. Countries along the Belt and Road have all become more prosperous because of cooperation with China, and none of them are caught in the so-called “debt trap”. A World Bank report suggests that when fully implemented, the Belt and Road Initiative could increase global trade by 6.2 per cent and global real income by 2.9 per cent, and give a significant boost to global economic growth.

China’s path features multilateralism that safeguards the international order. The world affairs must and can only be handled through consultation and cooperation under the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. China will firmly practice true multilateralism, and will continue to champion cooperation over confrontation, to open up rather than closing our doors, and to focus on mutual benefits instead of zero-sum games. 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the People's Republic of China's  lawful seat in the United Nations. Over the past five decades,  China, holding high the banner of multilateralism, has firmly safeguarded the UN-centered international system, upheld the international order underpinned by international law, and bolstered the central role of the United Nations in international affairs. We never seek to form small circles targeted at other countries and always resist unilateralism and protectionism without hesitation. China is the second largest contributor to the UN's regular budget, and has joined almost all universal inter-governmental organizations, signed more than 600 international conventions. As a firm supporter to the Paris Agreement, China aims to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. China has provided more than 700 million doses of vaccines and concentrates to over 100 countries and international organizations around the world, and will provide another $3 billion U.S. in international aid in this field in the next three years.

Yann Martel, a famous Canadian author wrote in Life of Pi: “When you understand life and self are not used to overcome but to get along!”. I think we need to learn to live on our own, and more importantly, learn to get along with others and the world. We shall help each other in achieving success. Facing the global challenges such as the epidemic, climate change, and economic recovery, the Chinese people would like to work with the people of the world to overcome the difficulties, for our interests and destinies are closely connected.

Standing at a new historical starting point, China will continue to embrace the world, set a good example in upholding the international order, and honor its responsibilities for upholding world peace. China will continue to work relentlessly to promote common development and make contribution to addressing global challenges. China is committed to working with all countries including Canada to jointly promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.