When President Xi Jinping spoke of a community with a shared future for mankind at the 70th UN General Assembly in September 2015, he was describing a world where peace, development and cooperation lead to mutually beneficial outcomes.
Against the backdrop of lingering regional issues and lackluster world economic growth, Xi's proposal is a response to mounting global challenges. The past several years have witnessed tangible progress made by China in reaching these aspirations, efforts that have given substance to the idea and that have consequently made it more appealing.
China has been committed to promoting partnerships worldwide. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the number of countries and international organizations that China has partnered with exceeds 100, and unlike the alliances established under a Cold War mentality that are prone to destabilizing international relations, these partnerships seek mutual benefits and inclusiveness. President Xi astutely pointed out that partnerships can be developed between likeminded countries as well as between those willing to seek common ground by putting aside their differences. Transcending social systems and development levels, these relationships offer a new model by which countries can get along.
The Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, proposed by Xi five years ago, is a testament to the cooperative forces at work in China's bid to build a shared future. The Belt and Road Initiative, as it is commonly known, is designed to enhance connectivity along and beyond the routes of the ancient Silk Road. By the end of 2017, China had signed agreements with 80 countries and organizations under the framework of the initiative. Chinese companies have set up overseas economic and trade cooperation zones in countries along the routes, with investment from China creating hundreds of thousands of job opportunities in these places.
As the world grows more interconnected than ever, its constituent countries will see their interests and destinies further intertwined. As this process unfolds, China is poised to forge more partnerships. China's solution is characterized by respect for others' development paths and a balance between its own interests and the common good of all.
As national legislators and top political advisors gather in Beijing for their annual full sessions in March, the evolution of China's diplomacy over the next five years is likely to be high on the agenda. Despite the vicissitudes of the international landscape, Xi's vision for a community with a shared future will remain a constant theme, and the idea will gradually become a reality as countries commit themselves to the pursuit of shared progress through consultation and collaboration.