|Global Vision and Firm Commitment as a Major Country|
An Overview Given by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi
This year marks the 75th anniversary of victory in the World Anti-Fascist War and the founding of the United Nations (UN). It is a year commemorable to all countries around the world. However, the sudden onslaught of COVID-19 has brought unprecedented shocks, accelerated the evolution of the international landscape and created many uncertainties for the future of humanity. Faced with the crisis, most countries have called for greater solidarity and cooperation. Yet a certain country is going against this overwhelming trend, putting its own interests first and pursuing a beggar-thy-neighbor approach; it is even provoking hostility and division. Where is the world headed in the next 75 years? This is the question on the mind of all countries.
At such a critical juncture on which hinges the future of humanity, President Xi Jinping has recorded video messages for a series of important video conferences, including the High-level Meeting to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the UN, the General Debate of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, the Summit on Biodiversity, and the High-level Meeting on the 25th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women. Following his attendance at the high-level meetings marking the 70th anniversary of the UN in 2015 and his speech at the UN Office at Geneva in 2017, this is the third time President Xi has spoken at the UN and given China's voice, solution and proposition at the world's most important multilateral platform.
In his important statements, President Xi, with a keen understanding of the times and the world and taking account of the long-term, common interests of humanity, provided comprehensive and systematic answers to such key questions as what kind of a world humanity will face in the post-COVID era, what role China will play in the world and what kind of an international order we all need. He took a clear stand and unequivocally reiterated China's firm commitment to multilateralism, the authority of the UN, the path of peaceful development and mutually beneficial cooperation, and the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind. His important statements, demonstrating the global vision and firm commitment of China as a major country, have been welcomed and highly regarded by the international community. It is widely agreed that President Xi's statements and proposals will have positive and far-reaching impact on the evolution of the international landscape, both now and in the future. To be more specific:
First, new impetus has been injected into the global COVID-19 response.
COVID-19 is a global public health crisis to confront humanity since World War II. International solidarity is much needed in overcoming it. Against this backdrop, President Xi put forward a range of important initiatives and proposals and demonstrated a strong sense of responsibility for the wellbeing of humanity.
First, sharing China's experience. China was among the first to stem the spread of the coronavirus and reopen the economy. In this process, we have gained much experience and developed practices that could be of useful reference to other countries.
President Xi elaborated on China's experience in fighting COVID-19, including its people-first, life-first commitment, science-based approach and well-calibrated measures. According to many countries, China's experience, gained through extraordinary efforts, has been proven effective in practice, and reinforced their confidence and strength in defeating the virus.
Second, making China's initiatives. President Xi underscored the imperative of solidarity and partnership in the face of such a grim challenge. He urged fully leveraging the crucial leadership role of the World Health Organization (WHO), pursuing collaborative responses across national borders, and opposing politicization and stigmatization.
He proposed that comprehensive and normalized response measures be instituted to restore economic and social activity and vitality in an orderly way. President Xi also drew attention to the needs of developing countries, especially African countries, and called for timely and robust measures in debt relief and international assistance.
Third, fulfilling China's responsibility. China both advocates and more importantly, actively pursues global cooperation against COVID-19. Under the personal direction of President Xi, China engaged in a biggest-ever global humanitarian action in the history of the People's Republic, and provided assistance to countries in need to the best of its ability.
In addressing the 73rd World Health Assembly last May, President Xi announced China's five major initiatives in support of global COVID-19 response. We are making steady progress in the vaccine development. Once available and deployed, the vaccines will be made a global public good and provided to developing countries on a priority basis, as a concrete step in fulfilling China's earnest commitment.
Second, new consensus has been forged on the reform of the global governance system.
In the world today, unilateralism is undercutting the international order and bullyism challenging the norms governing international relations, presenting real threats and challenges to world peace and stability. The global governance system needs to be reformed and brought up to date - this is a task of our times that we in the global community must take on.
China is a founding member of the UN that was the first to put its signature on the UN Charter. It has also been a firm supporter of multilateralism. How China views global governance and what position it takes is of great interest to all parties. President Xi set out China's views on this subject in an all-round fashion, with a dialectical perspective on what should remain unchanged and what should be changed in today's global governance system.
What should remain unchanged? The purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the pursuit of multilateralism. President Xi stressed the UN has stood one test after another, and the UN Charter remains an important guarantee for world peace and development.
Addressing the concern about the world fracturing into two separate systems, President Xi pointed out that there is but one system in the world, and it is the UN-centered international system; there is but one set of rules, and it is the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the UN Charter.
These important statements set the tone for the reform of the global governance system. All countries need to follow a constructive approach to improve and strengthen the existing system. Self-conceit and arbitrary withdrawal from international treaties and organizations are not helpful, still less creating divisions, seclusion or decoupling.
Where do we need change? As the times evolve, we need to enhance international coordination to tackle the ever-increasing global challenges and threats. And we also need to seek shared benefits through cooperation and consultation, and better reflect the collective rise of developing countries, which has become a fact to be reckoned with in international politics.
President Xi called on the UN to stand firm for justice, uphold the rule of law, promote cooperation and focus on real action. These four propositions epitomize the great expectations of the global community on the UN. President Xi stressed that no country has the right to dominate global affairs, control the destiny of others, or keep advantages in development all to itself. Even less should one be allowed to do whatever it likes or practice exceptionalism or double standards. He also underscored that priority should be given to addressing non-traditional security challenges such as public health, the issue of development should be highlighted in the global macro framework, and the representation and voice of developing countries in the UN should be increased.
People with a sense of justice can easily tell right from wrong. President Xi's resounding statements struck a chord with the majority of the international community, and charted the right course for reforming the global governance system.
Third, new proposals have been put forth for global economic recovery.
COVID-19 has plunged the world economy into the most serious recession since World War II, and taken a heavy toll on the economic and social development of all countries. Moreover, the backlash against globalization and rise of protectionism has aggravated the global downturn, and posed severe challenges to development. At this critical moment, President Xi made the following proposals to effectively remove the main obstacles holding back global recovery and development.
- Commitment to openness and integration. The march of the humanity toward openness and integration is unstoppable. Economic globalization is as much a historical trend as an indisputable reality. As illustrated by President Xi, burying one's head in the sand like an ostrich in the face of economic globalization or trying to fight it with Don Quixote's lance goes against the trend of history. We should remain committed to building an open world economy, uphold the multilateral trading regime with the World Trade Organization as the cornerstone, and work to ensure the stable and smooth functioning of global industrial and supply chains. These powerful statements demonstrate China's vision and sense of responsibility to forge ahead against all odds and charted the future course for the world economy.
- Commitment to win-win cooperation. President Xi encouraged countries to see each other as members of the same big family, pursue win-win cooperation and the common interests of all as each work to safeguard its own interests, and expand the converging interests of all. He underlined that China will not pursue development behind closed doors. Rather, it aims to foster, over time, a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. Consistent with the trend of peace, development and cooperation, these statements reflected China's openness and readiness to share its huge market with the rest of the world, and projected its image as a responsible country promoting win-win cooperation through real actions.
- Commitment to reform and innovation. The progress of human society is always achieved through overcoming difficulties and challenges with constant reform and innovation. President Xi stressed that we should not dodge the challenges of economic globalization. Instead, we must strike a proper balance between the government and the market, fairness and efficiency, growth and income distribution, and technology and employment so as to make sure that development delivers benefit to people from all countries, sectors and backgrounds in an equitable way. President Xi made many important observations on the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation and the transition to green and low-carbon development. He also called on all countries to pursue innovative, coordinated, green and open development for all. All this has pointed the way forward for the sound and sustained growth of the world economy.
Fourth, a new benchmark has been set for promoting global ecological progress.
Turning the Earth into our beautiful homeland is a responsibility shared by all humanity. Since the start of this year, the world has been struck by frequent natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. It once again prompts us to reflect on the relationship between man and Nature.
In his statements, President Xi made the appeal that humankind should launch a green revolution and move faster to create a green way of development and life. He put forward four proposals, namely, increase the drive for building a beautiful world, build synergy for global governance on the environment, increase the potential for high-quality economic recovery after COVID-19, and strengthen the power of action to tackle challenges to the environment. These insightful views and important announcements have contributed to the promotion of global ecological progress.
China attaches great importance to building an ecological civilization, and stands committed to pursuing the path of green, low-carbon and sustainable development. Guided by the philosophy that lucid waters and lush mountains are more precious than mountains of gold and silver, we are making solid progress toward building a beautiful China.
In 2019, China's carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP dropped by 48.1% from the 2005 level, and the share of non-fossil fuel in primary energy consumption reached 15.3%. Annual investment in renewable energy had exceeded 100 billion dollars for five years in a row, and the stock of new energy vehicles in China accounted for over half of the world's total.
China also tops the world in the expansion of forest cover. With more than 70 million hectares of land afforested in the last ten years, China has put in place "green Great Walls" to protect people's homes and turned deserts into oases, creating one miracle after another.
From the conclusion of the Paris Agreement to the full implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and from promoting green cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative to engaging in global ecological and environmental governance, China has all along committed itself to building a clean and beautiful world.
In recent years, while fulfilling its international obligations to high standards, China has continuously set for itself new goals and made new commitments one after another. In his statements, President Xi solemnly announced that having met its 2020 climate action targets two years ahead of schedule, China will scale up its nationally determined contributions, adopt even more forceful policies and measures, and strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. These ambitious targets have shown to the world that China is firmly committed to the new development philosophy and stands ready to make new contributions to global climate response. President Xi's major policy announcements have been widely commended by the international community.
Fifth, new impetus has been given to the global cause of women's development.
In his address to the UN high-level meeting on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and the fifth anniversary of the Global Leaders' Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, President Xi shared a heart-stirring story of a medical worker, one of the many great Chinese women who have made outstanding contribution to China's battle against COVID-19.
The reason why Chinese women play an important role in driving the country's development is because the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government always value and support women's development. In the past 70-plus years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, gender equality has been made into a basic state policy. The status of women has been notably improved, and remarkable progress has been achieved in women's development. China has put in place a legal system for fully protecting women's rights and interests, and is recognized by the WHO as one of the ten fast-track countries in women's and children's health.
Over the past decades, women's development in China has also been a unique contribution to the global cause of women. Noting the challenges facing women's development globally, President Xi called for efforts to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on women, strive for genuine gender equality, ensure that women advance at the forefront of our times, and enhance global cooperation in advancing women's development. He also proposed to hold in 2025 another Global Leaders' Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment.
President Xi's insightful views have demonstrated China's vision on and commitment to women's development, and will chart the course for the all-round development of women.
Sixth, a new sense of responsibility has been demonstrated in support of the core role of the UN.
The UN belongs to the people of the whole world. It serves all countries and at the same time, relies on the support from all parties. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China always firmly supports the UN and provides the world with public goods. It is the second largest contributor to the UN regular budget and peacekeeping budget; it has dispatched more than 40,000 peacekeepers over the past three decades, more than any other permanent member of the Security Council.
The major initiatives and the measures that President Xi announced at the high-level meetings marking the 70th anniversary of the UN in 2015 have all been executed. Among others, the Peace and Development Trust Fund between the UN and China, supported as many as 52 projects between 2016 and 2019 in the peace and security field alone. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke highly of China's support and the role it plays, noting that it is thanks to China's support that the UN is better-positioned to perform its duties.
At this year's General Assembly, President Xi announced a set of new initiatives and measures, including: providing US$50 million to the UN COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, and US$50 million to the China-FAO South-South Cooperation Trust Fund (Phase III); extending the Peace and Development Trust Fund between the UN and China by five years after it expires in 2025; donating another US$10 million to UN Women in the coming five years; and setting up a UN Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Center and an International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals. These initiatives are part of China's proactive efforts to advance global peace and development. They are also the solid actions taken by China to support multilateralism.
The new statements and proposals by President Xi at this year's General Assembly further enriched and expanded Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy in both theory and practice. Five years ago, President Xi outlined the pathway for building a community with a shared future for mankind from five aspects at the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly. Three years ago, he further expounded on the overall design for shaping a better world along five lines of efforts at the UN Office at Geneva. At this year's General Assembly, he summed up four important lessons that COVID-19 reminds the international community as people reflect on epidemic response.
These three important addresses at the UN have enriched the theoretical framework on building a community with a shared future for mankind, and guided the innovation in theory and practice of our major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. They constitute important components of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy. With their theoretical and epoch-making significance, they will provide a powerful intellectual boost to China's diplomatic work in the future.
Change is the constant of the world. Although we live at a momentous time of profound changes unseen in a century, we still believe that no matter what difficulties and obstacles may lie ahead, the pursuit of the Chinese nation for rejuvenation will not be stopped, the just cause of multilateralism will not be halted, and the prevailing trend of peace and development in the world will not be reversed.
All members of the Chinese diplomatic service will continue to rally closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, earnestly implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, work proactively to advance major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era, and make greater contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind with all countries.