拨乱反正 相互尊重 合作共赢
Righting the Wrongs and Committing to Mutual Respect and Win-win Cooperation
Speech by State Councilor Wang Yi
At the Opening of Lanting Forum on Promoting Dialogue and Cooperation and Managing Differences: Bringing China-US Relations Back to the Right Track
Beijing, 22 February 2021
Good morning and good evening. During the Chinese Spring Festival season, visionary people from China and the United States are gathering at Lanting to discuss the future of China-US relations. This is indeed very important. Let me begin by extending, on behalf of the Foreign Ministry, our New Year greetings to all the friends who have been caring for and supporting China-US relations over the years.
As we bid farewell to winter and usher in spring, the change of seasons shows that the chills of winter will eventually melt away and the hopes of spring are just around the corner. Humanity must not lose confidence facing the unprecedented common challenges of the global pandemic, economic recession and climate change. We must stand up to them with courage, solidarity and responsibility. As two major countries, China and the United States should first take care of their own stuff and at the same time, they should also work together for the common good of humankind. This is the expectation of the international community and the due responsibility of major countries.
On the Lunar New Year’s eve, President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden had their first telephone call. President Xi underscored China’s principled position that it is willing to work with the Unites States, in the spirit of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, to focus on cooperation, manage differences, and promote sound and steady development of China-US relations. The two Presidents had in-depth exchange of views at length, and agreed that the two countries should enhance mutual understanding and avoid misperception and miscalculation; they should treat each other with candor and sincerity and not seek conflict or confrontation; and they should unclog communication channels and facilitate exchange and cooperation. This very important phone call has oriented China-US relations that had been struggling to ascertain its bearings at a crossroads. It has also sent out the first encouraging news of this spring for the two countries and the whole world.
In the past few years, China-US relations deviated from the normal track, and ran into the biggest difficulties since the establishment of diplomatic ties. The root cause was that the previous US administration, out of its own political needs, seriously distorted China’s future path and policy, and on that basis, took various measures to suppress and contain China, which inflicted immeasurable damage to bilateral relations. Today, to right the wrongs and bring the relationship back to the right track, the walls of misperceptions must be torn down first to clear the way for knowing, observing, and understanding China as it is.
China is a country that always upholds and promotes people’s democracy. Over a long time, Western countries have either seriously distorted or misunderstood China on democracy. In fact, democracy is not a patent of a few countries. It is a common value of humanity. There are various ways to realize democracy, and there is no fixed model or standard answer. True democracy must be rooted in the realities of a country and serve its people. The socialist democracy practiced by China upholds the organic unity of the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the running of the country by the people, and law-based governance. It is a whole-process democracy. Important legislation and policy-making must go through set procedures and extensive discussions, and the final decision must be made on the basis of scientific and democratic deliberations. It is the most representative democracy where people’s matters are widely consulted for the greatest common denominator that suits the will of the whole society. For example, when drafting the 14th Five-year Plan, the Chinese government placed importance on the views from various sectors, and collected over one million comments and recommendations from online channels alone. Facts have shown that China’s socialist democracy embodies the will of the people and fits the country’s realities. It is thus endorsed by the people, and has made special, important contributions to the progress of political civilization of humankind.
China is a country that is always committed to protecting and promoting human rights. As the largest developing country, China takes a people-centered approach to human rights. We believe that the rights to subsistence and development are basic human rights of paramount importance. At the same time, we strive for comprehensive and coordinated development of economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights. Over the past 70 plus years since the founding of the People’s Republic, China’s per capita GDP has risen from less than US$30 to over US$10,000. More than 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty. We have eliminated abject poverty for the first time in China’s thousands years of history. Places inhabited by ethnic minorities, such as Xinjiang and Tibet, have stood out as shining examples of China’s human rights progress.In the past 60 years and more, Xinjiang’s GDP expanded by over 200 times, with per capita GDP growing by nearly 40 times. And its average life expectancy increased from 30 to 72. In fighting COVID-19, we have made the utmost efforts to protect the right to life and health for each and every Chinese, and at all cost, we have curbed the spread of the virus in the fastest possible speed, and have done our best to raise the cure rate and lower the fatality rate. This has made it possible for the society and the economy to recover quickly.
China is a country that always values and safeguards world peace. China has benefited from world peace in its development, and has contributed to world peace in turn with its development. In the past 70 years and more, we didn’t provoke any war or occupy one inch of foreign territory. We seek to settle differences through dialogue and resolve disputes through negotiation. We have no intention to export ideology. Nor do we attempt to overturn the government of any country. We always stay on the new path of state-to-state relations to seek dialogue instead of confrontation and teaming up instead of ganging up. We actively participate in the good offices on hotspot issues. China is the second largest contributor to the UN’s regular budget and peacekeeping assessment. It is also the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
China is a country that always advocates and pursues win-win cooperation. We take win-win cooperation as an important principle in our diplomacy. We believe in shared interests and common good. We help fellow developing countries with sincerity and good faith, and we do not attach political strings or impose our wills. In the past seven years since we launched the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s trade in goods with partner countries surpassed US$7.8 trillion, and direct investment in those countries topped US$110 billion. All this has been helpful for local employment and economic growth. Despite the global economic recession, China has hosted international import expos for three years to share with other countries the Chinese market opportunities. At the moment, China is following the new development vision, fostering a new development paradigm featuring “dual circulations”, with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other, and advancing opening-up at a higher level. This means a bigger market and more development opportunities for other countries.
China is a country that always practices and upholds multilateralism. China firmly believes in multilateralism. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of China’s lawful seat at the United Nations. During these five decades, China has upheld the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, supported the UN in exercising its authority and playing its due role. We believe that all countries are equal, regardless of their size. And we firmly promote greater democracy in international relations. We never seek to form small circles targeted at other countries. We never take actions unilaterally outside the authorization by the UN. When unilateralism and protectionism ran amok in the last few years, China immediately stepped forward to resist the tendency, and took concrete actions to uphold the basic norms of international relations and safeguard the common interests of developing countries. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres put it, China has become a backbone of multilateralism and an indispensable and trustworthy force for world peace and development.
China now is in an epoch-making year. We will celebrate the centenary of the CPC. The American people have come to know about the CPC for at least 85 years since Edgar Snow visited Yan’an in 1936. From the revolution years to reform and opening-up, from completing the building of a moderately prosperous society to fully building a modern socialist country, the CPC is always committed to the eternal great cause of the Chinese nation. It is showing even stronger vigor and vitality at its 100th anniversary.We know that the new US administration is reviewing and assessing its foreign policy. We hope that U.S policy makers will keep pace with the time, see clearly the trend of the world, abandon biases, give up unwarranted suspicions, and move to bring the China policy back to reason to ensure a healthy and steady development of China-US relations.