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Ever Greater Role
China moves toward global center stage
By Chen Xulong | NO. 45 NOVEMBER 9, 2017

Michael Beary, head of Mission and Force Commander of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon awards Chinese peace-keeping soldiers in Lebanon on September 2, 2016 (XINHUA)

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China has maintained a more active attitude toward the promotion of diplomatic concepts and practices with Chinese characteristics. During international interactions, China upholds equity and justice, provides quality public goods globally, shoulders responsibility and makes great contributions.

To address major challenges and problems facing global governance, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a series of new concepts—including ideas on global governance, security, development and globalization—with the aim of building a more rational, balanced and fairer global governance system that benefits all. China upholds the concepts of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation and promotes the long-term goal of creating a community of shared future for mankind through practical actions.

Greater responsibility

Major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics has promoted global connectivity. In the 21st century, connectivity within Asia and around the world is multi-dimensional and multi-tiered, featuring transportation infrastructure connectivity, coordination on regulations, policies and standards, and people-to-people exchanges and aiming at the promotion of friendship, mutual trust and cultural communication. The connectivity proposed by China promotes policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds.

Over the four years since it was launched, the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has evolved from a proposal into concrete action, from an idea into fruitful results. It has become an open and inclusive platform for international cooperation and a widely welcomed global public good for the global community. More than 100 countries and international organizations show support for and actively participate in the construction of the Belt and Road. The initiative has been incorporated into important resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN), the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council. Construction of the Belt and Road has already been given credit for preliminary achievements, with a handful of landmark projects already paying off. China has aligned its development strategy with those of many other countries, and infrastructure connectivity has been remarkably improved. In May, China successfully hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which produced fruitful results and greater momentum for joint endeavors under the initiative.

The inspiration behind China's proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative is the desire to realize common development and prosperity among the countries along the routes. Based on a commitment to creating a community of shared future for mankind, the initiative emphasizes equal and mutually beneficial practices featuring extensive consultation, joint contributions and shared benefits. The initiative has generated new vitality and vigor in Eurasia.

Safeguarding world peace

China has made many important contributions to world peace. It is firmly committed to standing for peace, making peace and keeping peace in international affairs. It has contributed vision and wisdom to address international flashpoints, including the issues of Afghanistan and Syria, the Iranian nuclear issue, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the Israeli-Palestinian and South Sudan conflicts.

During the 2014 Ebola outbreak, which snowballed into an international public health emergency, China quickly offered Africa a helping hand. China not only delivered rounds of relief goods and funds to Ebola-stricken countries, but also sent more than 1,000 medical workers and infectious disease specialists to the front lines and established treatment centers in affected areas. These efforts won wide international recognition.

China has remained committed to peacefully resolving disputes concerning sovereignty, territorial integrity and maritime rights and interests with its neighbors through dialogue and consultation. While firmly safeguarding its sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests, China has actively advocated a "dual track" approach in addressing the South China Sea issue. Namely, the relevant disputes should be resolved peacefully through friendly negotiations between countries directly involved, and peace and stability in the South China Sea should be jointly maintained by China and ASEAN nations. This approach has won understanding and support from most countries in the region.

Of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China dispatches the most peacekeeping personnel. So far, more than 20,000 military personnel, police and civil affairs officials from China have served in UN peacekeeping missions. President Xi proposed the establishment of a $1-billion China-UN Peace and Development Fund to support multilateral cooperation and boost world peace. Furthermore, the nation joined the UN peacekeeping standby mechanism and organized an 8,000-strong standby peacekeeping force as well as a peacekeeping police unit.

Cargo ships loaded up with Indonesian products in Indonesia's Makassar on April 21 prepare to sail to Xiamen City, east China's Fujian Province (XINHUA)
Contributing to global development

China actively participates in the global development agenda and has made many important contributions. In 2015, when attending summits marking the 70th anniversary of the UN, President Xi announced a series of Chinese measures to efficiently implement the Post-2015 Development Agenda. These efforts include establishing an Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation, continuing to increase investment in least developed countries, setting up international development centers, and exempting outstanding debt due by the end of 2015 arising from intergovernmental interest-free loans granted to least developed countries and landlocked and small-island developing countries. At the High-level Roundtable on South-South Cooperation co-hosted by China and the UN in 2015, President Xi announced that in the following five years, China would provide support for developing countries in fields including poverty reduction, agriculture, trade, ecological protection, climate change, medical facilities, education and training.

China has played an important leadership role in enhancing global cooperation on climate change. After reaching the groundbreaking Joint Announcement on Climate Change with the United States in 2014, China submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on time. China also announced the establishment of a 20-billion-yuan ($3.02 billion) South-South Climate Cooperation Fund. At the 2015 Paris climate change conference, President Xi outlined China's position on climate change and global climate governance. Along with other leaders, he made important contributions to the formulation of a comprehensive, balanced, ambitious and binding post-2020 agreement on climate change. In 2016, with President Xi dispatching a special envoy to a high-level signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement, China continued its trailblazing role from Beijing to Paris on to UN Headquarters in New York.

The author is Director of the Department for International and Strategic Studies at the China Institute of International Studies

The article first appeared on the China-India Dialogue magazine

Copyedited by Chris Surtees

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