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Dialectical Unity of Xi Jinping's Thought on Diplomacy

As an important part of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, Xi’s diplomatic thought, characterized by its dialectical unity of several relationships, is of essential and profound significance for the theoretical development of Chinese major-country diplomacy and the realization of the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has been exploring, innovating and providing guidance for the advance of China’s diplomacy, with an insightful grasp of the future of mankind, the trend of the times and the strategic direction of China’s relations with the rest of the world. General Secretary Xi Jinping has put forward a series of new proposals, initiatives, concepts and theories on diplomacy, and has gradually formed his innovative thought on diplomacy featuring distinctive characteristics of the time. Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy addresses new issues facing China’s diplomacy by relying on and utilizing the Marxist position, viewpoints and approaches. It answers such key questions as what major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics is and how this concept can be carried out, and defines the guiding philosophy, basic principles, primary tasks, strategies and tactics of conducting external work in a new era. Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy is a scientific theoretical system which is rich, comprehensive and profound.1 It is an important component of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and a guiding principle with a solid theoretical foundation for the development of the major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. To better understand Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy while studying and implementing the decisions made at the 19th CPC National Congress and the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we should start with Xi’s statements concerning foreign affairs, combine them with China’s diplomatic practices, delve deep into its rich connotations and intrinsic nature, and acquire a profound understanding of its theoretical height, depth and scope, in order to appreciate its innate dialectical unity.

Unity of Continuity and Innovation

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, China’s diplomatic work has discarded outdated practices and established new models, undergoing different stages from diplomacy aimed at consolidating the newborn government, diplomacy featuring socialist alliance of “leaning to one side,” diplomacy of revolutionary anti-imperialism and anti-hegemony, all the way to the independent foreign policy of peaceful coexistence. Into the 21st century, China’s diplomatic work is keeping pace with the times and forging ahead towards a new phase of peaceful development. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, Xi Jinping has inherited the great cause of Chinese diplomacy created by previous generations of CPC central leadership, advanced with the times and been continuously exploring and innovating in accordance with changing circumstances at home and abroad. This has injected new vitality into China’s diplomacy, improved the quality of China’s diplomacy, and opened up new horizons for major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.

The continuity of Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy is epitomized by the following three points. First, consistency with the fundamental guidelines, principles, and polices of China’s diplomacy established by the CPC Central Committee since the reform and opening-up. An overview of Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy reveals that his statements, concerning China’s commitment to peaceful development, democratization in international relations, multi-polarization in the world, solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries, and good-neighborly and friendly policy, is of the same root as the relevant decisions taken at successive CPC National Congresses. It represents not only the continuity but also the stability and predictability of China’s foreign policy. Second, following the basic pattern of China’s diplomacy. Benefiting from his longterm diplomatic practices and profound understanding of patterns in foreign affairs, Xi Jinping is able to strategize, maneuver and handle complex situation with consummate ease. Third, inheritance from fine traditions of China’s diplomacy. Since the founding of New China, Chinese diplomacy has remained firm in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and has stood for the equality of all countries, big or small. China has been adhering to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and opposing hegemonism, power politics, and other antagonistic practices. These longheld principles have evolved into China’s fundamental beliefs and traditions in conducting foreign affairs.

The outstanding and grand innovations in Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy, which best reflect the uniqueness and characteristics of the new era, are the essence in his system of diplomatic ideas.

First, the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind. Xi Jinping has put forward a series of ideas and propositions such as an Asian community of shared future, responsibility and interests, and a community of nuclear security since he first proposed a community of shared future for mankind in 2013. In January 2017 at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Xi Jinping delivered a speech in which he systematically elaborated on the fundamental philosophy, principles, content, and practical paths of the initiative. By consistently enriching its meaning, he has gradually developed this concept into a vital backbone of his system of diplomatic ideas. The proposal of building a community with a shared future for mankind is not only a new diplomatic value featuring distinctive characteristics of the times, but also the theoretical foundation upon which the 19th CPC Congress set the objectives of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.

Second, the Belt and Road Initiative. The initiatives of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road were first put forward by Xi Jinping in September and October 2013 respectively, and have found resonance globally ever since. Subsequently, Xi set out the objectives of building the Belt and Road into a road for peace, prosperity, opening-up, innovation and exchanges among civilizations. Plans were laid out for future cooperation under the Belt and Road framework. A series of flagship projects were launched on the ground. A network of win-win cooperation is coming into being, centering on the Eurasian continent and reaching out to continents and oceans around the world. And an international cooperation platform has been put into place for countries to synergize development strategies, complement each other’s comparative strengths, enhance connectivity and development featuring inclusiveness and openness. By injecting new ideas into the theories of economic belt, economic corridor, foreign aid, regional development, regional cooperation, and economic globalization, the Belt and Road Initiative has evolved into an emblematic opening-up strategy and created a bigger innovative space for China to drive regional and even global economic development.2 As a milestone, the grand initiative is expected to occupy a significant chapter in diplomatic history, and become the brand of Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy.

Third, the principle of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests. By drawing from the essence of China’s traditional culture, Xi Jinping introduced the concept of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests from Confucianism into diplomacy and occupied the moral high ground. Xi Jinping points out that China should uphold the right approach to dealing with justice and interests in international affairs: politically, uphold justice and fairness in foreign affairs, abide by international laws and the underlying principles of international relations, and advocate equality in international relations; economically, based on the whole landscape and a long-term vision, remain committed to pursuing mutual benefits and common development, and promoting China’s well-being as well as the prosperity of others; culturally, respect civilizations from different countries and nationalities, and advocate the right attitude towards traditional and contemporary cultures. Xi Jinping believes that different countries and regions have formed interconnected and interdependent ties with each other thanks to rapid development of economic globalization and regional integration, thus requiring that the outdated zerosum thinking, namely the pursuit of winning at the expense of others, must be rejected in international affairs. Justice and interests can only be obtained when they are taken into account at the same time. A win-win situation can only be achieved when justice and interests are in balance. We should adhere to the right approach to justice and interests and uphold justice while pursuing shared interests. That means we should act in good faith, value friendship, champion justice and uphold morality. It is not only the moral requirement of traditional Chinese culture, but also a reflection of contemporary China’s code of conduct in international society. It is not only an innovation of China’s thought on international cooperation and development, but also a guiding principle of China’s diplomacy.

Forth, the statement of building a new type of relations among major countries. Xi Jinping, proceeding from the ideological guideline of seeking truth from facts and keeping abreast with the times, laid out the proposal of forging a new type of major country relations, based on China’s own strengths and the international power structure. Moreover, he has been actively promoting this initiative. Xi systematically introduced the concept of a new type of China-us bilateral relations featuring no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation when he met with President Barack Obama during his visit to the United States. This concept, despite passive response from President Obama, has won recognition from the Trump administration and has made vital contribution to the healthy and stable development of the bilateral relations.

Fifth, a holistic approach to national security. On April 15, 2014, Xi Jinping chaired the first meeting of the Central National Security Commission and delivered an important speech, in which he systematically articulated the holistic approach to national security. He pointed out the must to take a holistic approach to national security, which would put people’s security as a top priority, political security as a fundamental task, economic security as the basis, military, cultural as well as social security as guarantee, and promoting international security as support, so as to forge a path for national security with Chinese characteristics. Giving equal weight to internal and external security, China will promote peace, win-win cooperation and a harmonious world externally while pursuing development, reform, stability and safety domestically. Attaching equal importance to homeland and people’s security, the Party and the government should put people and human in the first place, uphold national security for the people and by the people, and foster stronger public support for national security. Safeguarding both conventional and unconventional security, China needs to build a comprehensive national security system that integrates political, homeland, military, economic, cultural and social security, as well as security in science and technology, information, ecology, resource, and nuclear power. Valuing both development and security, China should always keep in mind their interdependence: development provides the foundation for security while security serves as the precondition for development. Highlighting both its own security and the world’s common security, China will strive to build a community with a shared future, and join efforts with all other parties towards the objective of mutual benefits and common security.

Sixth, the concept of global governance. Xi Jinping has made several statements regarding global governance, the most systematic of which was delivered at the 27th group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on the current structure and system of global governance on October 12, 2015. During this session, Xi Jinping delved deep into the background of reforming the global governance system, stressed the significance of promoting the reform, explicitly laid out the fundamental principles of China’s response to it, and proposed a Chinese approach to the key points of reforming the global governance system. He stressed that we should respond to the undergoing changes in a coordinated way, promote idea innovation of global governance and advocate a global governance philosophy of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.4 At the opening session of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2017, Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech entitled Jointly Shoulder Responsibility of Our Times, Promote Global Growth. In the speech, Xi made an in-depth analysis of the outstanding problems facing the world economy, and profoundly interpreted such issues as the global governance structure, the multilateral system, opposition to trade protectionism, and strengthening win-win cooperation from the perspective of economic globalization. He proposed the rebalancing of economic globalization and stressed the need to forge a dynamic growth model, an open and mutually beneficial cooperation pattern, a fair and reasonable governance approach, as well as a balanced and inclusive development path, which indicated a new direction for global governance toward peace, development and win-win cooperation.

Xi Jinping has also made a series of new statements and proposals on other diplomatic issues, which together with the above statements comprises a significant part of his thought on diplomacy.

Unity of Following International Trends and Leading Domestic Situation

With the overall international and domestic developments in mind, Xi Jinping has formulated scientific and comprehensive strategies for China’s all-round diplomacy by closely following the global trends and combining it with new characteristics of domestic socio-economic development. He laid out the Chinese approaches and initiatives which meet both international and domestic demands.

Xi Jinping emphasized that understanding the mega trend of world development and keeping in pace with the times is an extremely important subject that requires continuous input and frequent accommodation. China’s development must follow the global tide. It requires us to adopt a global perspective and grasp the underlying trends of the times. An accurate, clear and insightful understanding of the fluctuating international situation is needed as well as the ability to discern the intrinsic nature, and especially long-term trends from a deceptive facade. The complexity of the fluid international arena should not be underestimated, but it is more important to recognize the irreversible momentum of global multi-polarization. The setbacks of world economic adjustment should be fully considered, but it is more important to realize the unstoppable progress of economic globalization. The acuteness of international conflicts and confrontations should be adequately expected, but it is more important to learn the unchangeable theme of peace and development in our era. The endurance of competition on the international order should be squarely anticipated, but it is more important to discern the inevitability of international system reform. The uncertainty of China’s neighboring environment should not be understated, but it is more important to appreciate the general tide of prosperity and stability in the Asia-pacific region.

First, a deep understanding of the law of global development and transformation. In his observation of international trends based on objective facts, Xi Jinping has precisely grasped the law of global development and transformation, scientifically analyzed the status quo, characteristics and underlying trends of the international situation, and unveiled the inherent law of world development. As he once indicated, “It is a world where peace, development and win-win cooperation have become the trend of the times. The old colonial system has long since disintegrated, and bloc confrontations during the Cold War have long gone. No country or group of countries can dominate world affairs single-handedly. It is a world where emerging markets and developing countries in large numbers have embarked on the track of fast development. Billions of people are moving towards modernization at an accelerating pace. Multiple growth engines have emerged in regions across the world. And the international balance of power continues to evolve in a direction favorable for peace and development.”6 Xi Jinping has made objective and cool-headed analysis and judgment on international hotspot issues, regional turmoil, international financial crisis, global nuclear security, transnational terrorism, climate change and cyber security, which lays down the theoretic foundation for China to develop corresponding strategies.

Second, active responses to new expectations on China from the international community. As Xi Jinping stated, China has entered the critical stage of national rejuvenation. China’s relationship with the world is undergoing profound changes and it has never been so interconnected with the rest of the international community. China’s dependence on the world and engagement in international affairs are deepening, so as the world’s dependence and influence on China. The world now expects more and demands more from China. At the UN Sustainable Development Summit in 2015, Xi Jinping reviewed China’s contribution to global development, and made solemn commitments of promoting international aid. He squarely opposed some biased criticisms of China as a “free-rider,” explicitly pointing out that “China will always be the contributor of world development and adhere to the path of common development. All countries are welcomed to board the train of China’s development.”7 China will continue to adopt a win-win strategy of opening-up, and is ready to share its development experience and opportunities with other countries.

Third, answer to people’s new aspirations for diplomacy. Through more than 170 years of hard work since the Opium War, the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has promised a bright prospect. As China develops into the second largest economy, a major military power as well as a leading nation in science and technology, it is striving to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. Now, China has never been so close to the achievement of the goal. Against the backdrop of China’s booming international exchanges and expanding overseas interests, China’s diplomacy has attracted more attention and higher expectations from its people. As pointed out emotionally by Xi Jinping, “The aspirations of the people to live a better life must always be the focus of our efforts.” With such deep feelings, he identified the development of China’s overall strength, the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation and the new aspirations from people both at home and abroad. He has developed various new thinking, new connotations, new policies and arrangements for the vision, mission, function and institution of the major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era. Over the past five years, China’s allround diplomacy has made notable achievements, which is highly recognized and widely praised by both Chinese people and the international community.

A thorough implementation of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics will promote the overall adjustment, transformation, institutional reform and innovation of China’s diplomacy and lead it to a new venture with new contributions to the new era.

Unity of Policy and Practice

As the lifeline of diplomacy in any country, foreign policy reflects national willpower and represents the trends and values to which the country’s fundamental policy extends externally. The diplomatic ideas of a country’s top leader, who usually plays a significant role, provides guidance for the decision-making of foreign policy. In a series of reports and speeches, Xi Jinping has reiterated various aspects of China’s foreign policy, and laid out recommendations and measures concerning specific issues. These policy interpretations have formed the foundation and framework of his thought on diplomacy. In his two key speeches at the Peripheral Diplomacy Work Conference and the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs respectively,

Xi Jinping combined the essence of foreign policy and the inherent requirement of diplomatic practice. His comprehensive elaboration on a series of foreign policies has clearly reflected high-level unity of policy and practice in his thought on diplomacy. This unity represents the latest achievements in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context. It is a combination of Marxismleninism, the Mao Zedong Thought, the Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development and the contemporary changes in global and national conditions.

While interpreting China’s development path, Xi Jinping pointed out that China would adhere to the path of peaceful development and unwaveringly safeguard world peace and security, and refrain from seeking hegemony, engaging in expansion or interfering in the internal affairs of others. Instead of being hollow slogans, these proposals must be implemented in China’s diplomatic work. In fact, China has been following a path of peaceful development, striving to uphold world peace and security, and opposing war and power politics. For example, on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, China has stayed committed to upholding decisions taken by the UN Security Council, peacefully resolving the issue through dialogue and negotiation, and maintaining peace and stability of the Peninsula.

In the elaboration of China’s neighboring diplomacy, Xi Jinping remains firm in promoting friendship and partnership with neighboring countries, putting forward the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness and announcing the policy of forging friendship and partnership as explicit proclamation for China’s relations with its neighbors. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core has, with continuous innovations, kept enhancing the friendship and partnership with neighboring countries by laying out new cooperation proposals such as the China–pakistan Economic Corridor, the Bangladeshchina-india-myanmar Economic Corridor, the Lancang-mekong Cooperation mechanism, and the China-mongolia-russia Economic Corridor. By implementation and upgrading, China’s good-neighborly policy has made new progress for China’s peripheral diplomacy, significantly advanced cooperation with neighboring countries, and promoted joint socio-economic development and prosperity in the region.

While explaining China’s relations with developing countries, Xi Jinping stresses that China should continue to promote mutually beneficial and winwin cooperation, stand together with developing countries, safeguard their interests, and uphold fairness and justice for them. The series of solutions and approaches of South-south cooperation he put forward at the UN Sustainable Development Summit is a vivid illustration, which will guide the direction of China’s cooperation with developing countries in the new era.

All in all, foreign policy is abstract, but putting it into action is pragmatic and concrete. With specific policy objectives in mind, Xi Jinping is able to provide practical strategies and approaches instead of empty statements in the elaboration and declaration of China’s foreign policy. These policy-oriented requirements and arrangements with Chinese characteristics explicitly reflect the practicality of China’s diplomacy, which makes policy interpretation highly instructive and practical.

Unity of Strategy and Tactics

In the great endeavors of advancing major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, Xi Jinping builds himself into a strategist with tremendous courage and fresh ideas. A series of his proposals, such as major-country diplomacy, peripheral diplomacy, developing-country diplomacy and global governance, form grand strategies with the penetrating power that cuts through time and space.

The Belt and Road Initiative is Xi Jinping’s grandest conception. With the Silk Road tracing back thousands of years ago, the world is expecting the revival of its glory. Connecting China and the international community, this initiative aims at achieving shared growth through wide consultation and joint contribution. To put the Belt and Road Initiative into action, a specialized institution has been set up by the Chinese government to formulate, carry out and promote relevant policies. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was established under China’s initiative and the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held. A combination of these tactical measures together with the grand conception has facilitated the realization of the Belt and Road Initiative. With a great number of cooperation projects emerging in the past few years, more and more nations have reaped tremendous development benefits.

Forging a new type of international relations is another major strategic conception in Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy. This is a magnificent vision laid out by the Communist Party of China based on changing times and the future of mankind. As the objective of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, it was written in the report of the 19th CPC National Congress. It aims at exploring a new path of international relations with mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation at its core. The establishment of this diplomatic objective has clarified the relationship between a rising power and an established power, thus alleviating the world’s suspicion concerning the peaceful rise of China. These new proposals and ideas have laid the foundation for pursuing a new type of China-us relations featuring no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and offered a clear path for China’s relations with other major countries. The deep integration of strategy and tactics has made notable achievements, including the enhancement of China-russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, the arrival of a “golden era” for Chinauk relations, and the steady development of China-eu comprehensive strategic partnership. The new type of international relations will develop and improve further as China keeps integrating the conception into its foreign policy and practice.

From the perspective of concrete operation, Xi Jinping stresses the importance and necessity of improving diplomatic capability. He asks all diplomats to grasp gaming skills and improve negotiating capabilities. With a profound understanding of the essence of diplomacy, Xi Jinping unveils the fundamental principles of diplomatic skills and approaches, and regards gaming as a basic skill in foreign practice. His thought provides guidance for Chinese diplomats to take advantage of the game theory in dialogues, consultations and negotiations. It also sets more demanding qualifications for training diplomatic talents.

As a major country in the world, China has to cope with a multitude of hotspot issues, regional conflicts, international crisis and diplomatic disputes. It requires diplomatic strategies and tactics to appropriately formulate the Chinese position and policy on these global issues based on priority and merits. Xi Jinping has put forth a whole range of principles guiding China’s diplomatic strategies and policies. He places high importance not only on top-level designing and strategic planning, but also on practical operations and tactical moves. He is thus able to address core issues adeptly and ensure well coordination among various fronts, achieving a high degree of balance between firm commitment to principles and appropriate flexibility in policy implementation.8 Having a good command of strategy and tactics, he is able to come up with sound policies concerning complex relations including major powers, neighboring countries and multilateral relations, as well as international and regional hotspot issues, which demonstrates his courage in diplomatic decision-making, his flexibility in diplomatic gaming, and his adeptness in diplomatic art.

Unity of Idealism and Realism

Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy is rich in idealist visions. To borrow terms in diplomatic theory, it can be dubbed as a kind of neo-idealist diplomacy.

Xi’s neo-idealist diplomacy features rich and far-reaching connotations, of which the most essential part lies in the following aspects. First, it connects the Chinese Dream with the World Dream. As Xi himself pointed out, “To realize the Chinese Dream, peaceful development must be honored. We will stay on this path and continue to pursue a mutually beneficial strategy of China will not only purse its own development, but will also take due responsibility and make greater contribution to the world.China’s development will benefit not only the Chinese people, but also people of the world. The realization of the Chinese dream will bring the world peace instead of turmoil, and opportunities instead of war. This injects new dreams and fresh pursuits to China’s diplomacy. Second, it inflects a heartfelt care for building the community with a shared future, xi Jinping always proceeds from humans’ ultimate mission and prospects, and integrates his thinking closely with the present and future of the shared future of mankind. The concept is not some hollow wish or prayer with no substantial meaning; it is not trivial preach either that is targeted only to a short period or a single event. The conscientious dedication to the community with a shared future for mankind adds a human touch to China’s diplomacy, and is easy to arouse resonance of other countries. Third, Xi’s diplomatic thought has a genuine feeling of standing together through thick and thin. In his meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on June 19, 2013, Xi explicitly pointed out, “ Zero-sum thinking has become obsolete. we must blaze a new trail of win-win cooperation at its core and work together to address difficulties and challenges.” Later,Xi repeatedly expounded on the community with a shared future for mankind, a diplomatic concept with Chinese cultural genes, on multiple occasions, and gradually won recognition form countries worldwide. Proposing an approach to addressing various global challenges, the objective of the community with a shared future is to build n open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity. Forth, the diplomatic thought of the Chinese leader demonstrates a vision of common and sustainable development. At the UN Sustainable Development Summit, Xi Jinping delivered an important speech entitled “Seek Common and Sustainable Development and Forge a Partnership of Win-win Cooperation,”in which he emphasized that the post-2015 development agenda adopted at the Summit would chart a new course for global development and offer new opportunities for international development cooperation. “The international community should, by taking the agenda as a new starting point, jointly seek an equitable, open, comprehensive and innovation-driven development path in an effort to achieve common development of all countries. We need to ensure equitable development to make sure development opportunities can be accessed more equally...stick to open development and deliver its benefits to all..seek comprehensive development to make the groundwork of development more solid; uphold equity and social justice, and achieve harmonious coexistence between man and society and between human and nature.”At the CPC i Dialogue with World Political parties high-level Meeting held in December 2017, xi called on the international community to build a world of universal security free from fer, build a world of common prosperity free from poverty, build an open and inclusive world free from isolation, and build a green, clean and beautiful world.

“The Communist Party of China strives for both the well-being of the Chinese People and human progress. To make new and greater contributions for mankind is our Party’s abiding mission”, General Secretary Xi Jinping said in the report delivered at the 19th CPC National Congress. Xi’s words declared the objective and mission of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era, demonstrating to the world that China’s diplomacy not only takes the well-being of the Chinese people in mind, but also has a broader commitment to the common progress of mankind.

The idealism inherent in Xi’s thought on diplomacy is extraordinary and inspiring. Meanwhile Xi’s diplomatic thought also reflects down-to-earth realism that always keeps abreast of the times. First, it proceeds from reality. Most of Xi’s remarks, articles and directives on the diplomatic work are based on the real diplomatic practices. Drawing on Marxist viewpoint and methodology in a flexible manner, Xi has made a scientific judgment of the international situation and kept in mind both China’s internal and international imperatives. While adopting a pragmatic approach, Xi’s diplomatic thought also breaks away from conventions and established routines, pointedly proposing specific suggestion, initiatives and solutions and putting them into meticulous implementation. This is well reflected in China’s dealing with global governance, relations with major and neighboring countries, multilateral diplomacy, South-South cooperation, security and diplomatic strategies, military exchanges, scientific and educational cooperation, public diplomacy as well as overseas Chinese affairs. Second, Xi’s thought on diplomacy pursues concrete analysis for concrete issues. When coping with international issues and diplomatic affairs, Xi’s response is not based on any existing dogma or empiricism, but on a materialistic standpoint, balancing the cost and benefits and keeping the general trend in mind. It puts results first and takes a flexible approach to properly handling various issues. Third, Xi’s diplomatic thought takes protecting the interest of China and the Chinese people as the mission. When elaborating on the basic principles of China’s diplomacy, Xi has repeatedly vowed to safeguard the national core interest and emphasized that no country should fantasize about letting China trade away from those core interests. When talking about protection of China’s overseas interest , Xi explicitly demanded that China’s diplomacy practice that principle of serving the people and improve the mechanism and institution of consular protection and safeguard the legitimate interests of overseas Chinese nationals and organizations. The realist diplomatic proposal and concepts s=Constitute an important part of Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy, which the Party and government institutions of all levels, especially those departments in charge of foreign affairs, need to earnestly put into practice.

Unity of Chinese Traditional Values and Human Civilization

During the civilization evolution over thousands of years, china has accumulated a rich heritage of national culture , which deeply edifies and nurtures its diplomatic work. Familiar with Chinese traditional culture, Xi Jinping has flexibly applied the wisdom therein in almost every speech on the diplomatic occasions. Citing the sayings and mottos by ancient sages and masterminds, Xi interprets the current puzzles facing the world with Chinese traditional wisdom and proposes the Chinese solution. As pointed out by Xi, China must have its own distinctive major-country diplomacy, enriching and developing its diplomatic ideas to demonstrate the unique Chinese characteristics , style and manner. The conscious application of the essence of the Chinese traditional culture in contemporary diplomacy has greatly influenced the formation of new values in China’s foreign policy.

While skillfully guiding China’s diplomatic activities with traditional ideas, Xi has also taken the common values of mankind in mind. First, he advocated the concept of peace and development as well as win-win cooperation. On international platforms such as United Nations, the Group of 20, the Shanghai cooperation Organization and other China-hosted multilateral diplomatic occasions, Xi Jinping has reiterated his understanding of the concepts complying with the trend of the times, stressing that “ to have a keen grasp of global developments and follow the underlying trend of the times is a crucially important and constant task that requires our abiding attention. China must keep abreast with the global developments if it is to achieve its development.”

Second, Xi has been pioneering the ideas of equity , justice , democracy and freedom. “ When the great way prevails, the world community is equally shared by all.’Peace , development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom represent the common values of the mankind , and the future and fate of the world must be in the hands of the countries. There is a long way to go before we realize these goals. In today’s world,countries are interdependent on each other and share weal and woe. We Should inherit and advocate the mission and principles of the UN Charter, establish a new type of international relations with win-win cooperation at the core, and build a community of shared mankind destiny.

Third, Xi calls for mutual learning in handling relations among civilization. In his speech at the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, Xi Jinping expressed his support for diversity , equality and inclusiveness of civilization. The civilizational diversity of different countries and nations should be protected, instead of mutual isolation, mutual exclusion or mutual replacement, while exchange and mutual learning among civilizations should also be strengthened , so that world civilizations will prosper. While all countries and nations cherish and preserve their own culture, they should at the same time recognize and respect the culture of other countries and nations. Regardless of strength and size, the civilizational legacy of every country and nation deserves recognition and respect.

In summary, Xi Jinping’s diplomatic thought reflects the essence of dialectical materialism, which refers to understanding diplomatic issues from a philosophical perspective and guiding diplomatic practices with the new philosophy. This realizes the dialectical unity between theory and practice. Xi applies the theory of contradiction to understand and interpret the principal contradiction in international relations, utilizes the law of the unity of opposites to identify the patterns of relations among major powers, and employs the universality and particularity of diplomacy to address international hotspot issues. In addiction, he justifies the importance of building a global network of partnerships with the law of identity, and systematically elucidates the community of shared future, common interests and responsibility for mankind by introducing the concept of value. These theoretical explorations are precious new topics in Chinese diplomatic philosophy that are worthy of careful study and in-depth research.

Theoretical Significance of Xi Jinping’s Thought on Diplomacy

The dialectical unity of Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy has made notable contributions to the theory of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.

First, concerning the development path of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, Xi Jinping’s thought goes with the trend of times featuring peace, development and win-win cooperation, sticks to peaceful development, and rejects the notion that China will follow footsteps of powerful countries seeking hegemony. The opposition of power politics, war and zero-sum games, as well as an emphasis of China’s rise as peaceful, cooperative development that brings win-win outcomes is also reflected in Xi’s diplomatic thought. These policy propositions have gone beyond the conventional wisdom of seeking hegemony once becoming strong and the traditional theory of power politics, and have also broken away from the old framework of major-power struggle for dominance and diplomatic balance of power. They forcefully denounce the various arguments of the “China threat”, and effectively rebut the inevitability of “Thucydides Trap” which claims that an emerging power is bound to challenge the established power and give rise to military conflicts.

Second, on the issue of development stage of Chinese major-country diplomacy, Xi Jinping has made an objective judgment that China is moving unprecedentedly closer to the world center stage, and clarified China dual identity of a big country and the largest developing country in the world, which requires China to enhance the major-country diplomacy with its own characteristics and make greater contributions to mankind. The judgment based on China’s basic condition, national identity and international status, not only establishes a fundamental guideline for future design of diplomatic principles and policies, but also prevents blind handling of international relations that loses touch with reality and divorces from the current developmental stages.

Third, as with the fundamental task of Chinese major-country diplomacy, xi Jinping pointed out that the essence of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics is to serve the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, the international peace and development, the establishment of a new type of international relations, and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. He also highlighted China’s commitment to such issues as war and peace, nuclear security, cyber security and climate change that concern not only China’s own security but also the future of mankind. All this demonstrates China’s perception as a distinctive major country to the whole world. These new ideas reshape the conventional theory of international relations, and form a renewed objective summary of different levels of diplomatic philosophy.

Forth, regarding the momentum of Chinese major-country diplomacy, Xi Jinping’s thought highlighted a transition in foreign policy as the inevitable path of the major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. Emphasizing an active study of new circumstances and reinforcement of strategic coordination and top-level design, Xi jinping’s diplomatic thought features the innovation of diplomatic mechanisms, the consciousness of overall situation, the emphasis of bottom-lone thinking, the defense of the core national interests, and the enhanced protection capability of overseas interests.

Fifth, to create a more favorable external environment of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, Xi Jinping pledged China’s commitment to building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, promoting economic globalization, enhancing the multi-polarization of international structure, and building a more secure and stable international environment5. Highlighting the indispensability of exchange and mutual learning among civilizations, i indicates that China should absorb and utilize the advanced achievements of world civilizations, including those from developed capitalist nations, to develop China’s own major-country diplomacy.

Sixth, Xi Jinping had identified upholding socialism with Chinese characteristics as the political foundation of Chinese major-country diplomacy. This exhibits to the international community China’s diplomacy with socialist values at the core , and explicitly demonstrates the overarching direction of China’s diplomacy, which is to stay true to socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Seventh, with respect to the strategic priority of Chinese major-country diplomacy, Xi Jinping puts neighborhood diplomacy first and advances the new type of international relations with win-win cooperation at the core in a holistic way. Through the Belt and Road Initiative, China is promoting the infrastructure connectivity and civilizational exchanges of countries along the routes based o n the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and mutual benefits, in order to achieve common prosperity and community with shared future for mankind.

Finally, on the leading forces and supporting forces of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, Xi Jinping stressed the leadership of the Communist Party as the fundamental guarantee. The Party’s leadership of foreign affairs must be continuously strengthened and the institutions and mechanism for diplomacy should be reformed. In this process, a broad patriotic united front must be relied on, which embraces all socialist working people, all builders of socialism, all patriots who support socialism, and all patriots who stand for the reunification of the motherland and devote to national rejuvenation. The people’s armed forces under the Party’s leadership will always be the strong backbone of Chinese major-country diplomacy, and party-to-party diplomacy in an important approach for the Chinese Communist Party and world political parties to sharing governance experience, conducting civilizational exchanges and dialogues, promoting the new type of international relations, and facilitating the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Remark: The author of this article is H.E. Dr. Zhao Yongchen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to Grenada. This article is orginally published in <China International Studies> in May 2018. 

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