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Chinese diplomacy upholds peaceful coexistence

By Wang Fan       

This year commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Grounded in these principles and guided by the policy of peaceful development, China has played a significant role in fostering global stability. These principles harmonize with China’s Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative, and Global Civilization Initiative, alongside the vision of constructing a shared future for humanity through the concept of building a community with a shared destiny.

In the past more than 10 years, Chinese diplomacy guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy has garnered heightened effectiveness due to its burgeoning national prowess, propelling China into a more pivotal position within the global governance framework. China actively engages in the political resolution of major regional hot-button issues such as the Korean Peninsula security, the Iranian nuclear situation, Afghanistan, and the Israel-Palestine conflict. It endeavors to uphold the authority and unity of the UN Security Council, supporting mediation efforts authorized by the council. China actively promotes the establishment of a security mechanism in the Gulf region and facilitated the historic diplomatic reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Regarding the crisis in Ukraine, China consistently bases its stance and policies on the merits of the situation itself, maintaining an objective and impartial position to actively encourage peace talks and mediation, injecting positive energy into global and regional peace and stability.

The world is taking notice of China’s stance and policies regarding the resolution of pressing regional and international challenges, underscoring the need for more nations and regions to heed its insights and approaches.

The concept of “self-discipline for the benefit of others” is deeply rooted in traditional Chinese culture, focusing on the relationship between oneself and others. In international politics, this mindset involves contemplating the dynamics between “self” and “others.” China advocates for “mutual benefit and assistance,” balancing self-interest with the interests of others to achieve a win-win outcome. The concept of “self-discipline for the benefit of others “transcends the Western philosophy of self versus others, offering insightful approaches to addressing regional hot-button issues. Within the context of benefiting others, the notion of “fulfillment” is noteworthy. Traditional Chinese philosophy advocates for mutual benefits, nurturing the beauty in others and mutual empowerment. This profound ideological foundation underpins China’s approach to resolving contentious issues. From an international security perspective, a country must accurately assess and consider the security of others to ensure its own genuine security.

China believes in taking into consideration other countries’ security concerns while safeguarding its national security. It has always upheld the international order based on the United Nations Charter, and insists that disputes and differences be settled through peaceful negotiations and that the settlements are acceptable to all parties involved.

China has always adopted an objective stance on regional and global issues while ensuring that the concerns of all disputing parties are addressed. In contrast to some Western countries, China believes in inclusiveness and mutual learning, and encourages countries to resort to dialogue instead of engaging in confrontation, in order to maintain the world order.

It also advocates for countries to appropriately handle their differences and disagreements, and cooperate with each other without compromising their core interests and values. China’s idea of seeking common ground while reserving differences encourages countries to cooperate on issues of common interest despite their differences, and resolve their differences through dialogue.

By doing so, countries can safeguard their interests, expand their common interests and address the uneven distribution of benefits, because the common interest of countries is development.

China’s principles for dealing with hotspot issues are derived from long-term diplomatic experience and based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

First, China is increasingly involved in mediations to resolve hotspot issues. As the third party in such issues, China emphasizes the importance of greater common good rather than shared interests, although the latter is equally important, because shared interests can be served by promoting greater common good.

Without setting specific preconditions for resolving regional disputes and conflicts, China has been calling on disputing parties to exercise restraint to settle their differences. As a fair mediator, China believes the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, which is part of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, is the best way to achieve win-win results.

Besides, China does not attach political strings or impose its will on other countries; instead, it treats every country, big or small, developed or developing, equally and attaches equal importance to every country’s interest while helping them boost their economic development so they can solve the problems on their own.

Second, many problems can be solved only through the efforts of a group of countries. While helping solve such problems, China treats both the symptoms and the root causes of the problems. It advocates for countries to adopt stopgap measures to solve the problems in the long run, but takes both temporary and final solutions into account when dealing with hotspot issues. The idea is to use temporary plans to reach a final solution.

Also, China attaches great importance to both security and development, and supports countries to boost their development. China is devoted to employing the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative to help build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Third, China has always advocated for the peaceful settlement of international disputes. Adhering to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, China does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, promotes regional development, helps maintain regional peace, and encourages countries to seek common ground while shelving their differences.

China opposes the United States-led Western countries violating UN resolutions and imposing sanctions on other countries because such actions intensify contradictions and make the related parties antagonistic to each other. And unlike the US-led West, it upholds that the global order should remain centered on the UN.

Moreover, China advocates that traditional security challenges be also addressed through non-traditional security cooperation. Traditional and nontraditional security threats are intertwined in today’s world, making cooperation in non-traditional security areas essential to safeguard a country’s national security, and strengthen traditional security governance.

Yet there is no single way of dealing with traditional and non-traditional security concerns, so China promotes regional development and cooperation to address such concerns.

And fourth, the shortage of security mechanisms is a major reason behind the emergence of regional hotspot issues, making political communication among related parties even more important. To be sure, China’s cooperation and cultural exchanges with other countries have created favorable conditions for establishing regional security mechanisms and resolving such hotspot regional issues.

The author is president of China Foreign Affairs University.

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