By Qamar Bashir
Former Press Secretary to the President, Former Press Minister to the Embassy of Pakistan to France, Former MD, SRBC
Amidst the thunderous echoes of Chinese success in every realm – from economic summits to cyberspace frontiers, from military might to diplomatic triumphs – President Xi during a meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held to discuss Work Relating to Foreign Affairs in Beijing (27 to 28 of Dec 2023) unleashed a new wave of global engagement. This “New Era of Diplomacy” paints China as a nation standing tall, its voice confident, its actions assertive, yet its hand outstretched in friendship. Here, aggression finds purpose, not malice; strength, not submission. No longer does China cower; it leads, not with threats, but with the quiet assurance of one who knows their place on the world stage.
At the outset, the CPC unequivocally expressed unwavering confidence in President Xi’s leadership, affirming that Chinese diplomacy will continue to draw guidance from Xi Jinping’s ‘Thought on Socialism’ with ‘Chinese Characteristics’ for the ‘New Era.’ This vision for diplomacy is rooted in fostering a global community with a shared destiny, emphasizing strategic planning aligned with evolving times, problem-oriented approaches, and a commitment to innovation. It’s a resolute stance, driven by historical responsibility and a fervent spirit of innovation, propelling major-country diplomacy with distinct Chinese attributes.
The new vision tackles the fundamental question: “What kind of world do we build, and how?” It answers this by offering a compelling future rooted in the Chinese Communist Party’s worldview, perception of order, and values. This vision, far from opposing the common aspirations of the global community, aligns with them through ‘Major-Country Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era.’ This framework prioritizes a shared future, seeking to transform a conceptual proposition into a tangible reality. It aims to build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world characterized by lasting peace, universal security, and shared prosperity. This shift from promising vision to practical action marks a crucial evolution, shifting from mere ideas to a “scientific system” that guides concrete steps towards the desired future.
Emerging from a period of remarkable economic and social development, President Xi Jinping has outlined a compelling diplomatic vision that seeks to not only secure China’s place as a leading power but also to reimagine the very architecture of the international order. This vision rests on two pillars: pragmatic inclusivity and assertive action, both aimed at forging a future that is more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable for all.
Amidst a world undergoing profound transformation and turbulence, President Xi underscored that the fundamental elements shaping world history – the trajectory of human development and progress, the complex dynamics of politics, and the aspirations for a shared global future – remain steadfast. In light of these enduring realities, he articulated the need for a new diplomatic offensive contoured to navigate the rapid advancements across diverse spheres of human endeavor. This offensive, he emphasized, must pave the way for a prosperous and inclusive future for the global community.
Rising from the ranks of global powerhouses, China seeks not a throne, but a bridge and closer ties among nations, societies, and civilizations through sharing of economic, social, and scientific advancements. “We can no longer afford the destructive dance of superpowers like the USSR and USA, whose bullying postures left behind only ruin and retaliation. Afghanistan’s embers still smolder, a stark reminder of the USSR’s fatal misstep. The World Trade Center’s hollow silhouette whispers echoes of 9/11, a testament to the fleeting nature of unchallenged might”. China’s New Era of Diplomacy is not merely a policy shift; it’s a bold invitation to rewrite the narrative of human history. It’s a world where power serves progress, not domination, where every voice joins the chorus, and where together, we rise to our shared destiny.
This framework aims to elevate China’s global influence, appeal, and power to shape the world stage on a new level. By fostering a favorable international environment, it will provide unwavering strategic support for China’s transformation into a great modern socialist country, paving the way for the comprehensive rejuvenation of the Chinese nation through its unique path to modernization.
Marking a shift from passive engagement, the new Chinese diplomacy signals a transition towards a more assertive and proactive stance on the global stage. It champions the vision of an equitable and multipolar world, advocating for inclusive economic globalization that benefits all nations. Size, they argue, should not dictate influence, and hegemonic power plays are firmly rejected. Instead, the new framework promotes genuine democratic principles in international relations, adhering strictly to the UN Charter and its universal values. Upholding core norms guiding international interactions and embracing true multilateralism are central pillars of this approach.
It rejects the pitfalls of protectionism and isolationism, advocating instead for an open and interconnected world where trade and investment flow freely across borders. This inclusive approach prioritizes the upliftment of underserved nations, recognizing that shared prosperity hinges on bridging development gaps and creating opportunities for all. China commits to playing a proactive role in this endeavor, providing targeted assistance and fostering partnerships that empower developing countries to participate actively in the global economic landscape.
However, pragmatism alone is not sufficient. China’s vision is marked by an assertive stance in defending its core interests and promoting its ideals. It firmly opposes attempts to stifle globalization or manipulate security concerns for unilateral gain. China’s voice resounds on the world stage, advocating for open dialogue and multilateral cooperation as the cornerstones of a stable and peaceful international environment. Unilateralism and power politics find no refuge here, replaced by a system based on mutual respect, adherence to international law, and the collective pursuit of common good.
It actively engages in multilateral forums, pushing for reforms that level the playing field and ensure equitable access to resources and opportunities. From tackling climate change to fostering technological advancements, China seeks to work in tandem with the international community to build a more sustainable and resilient future for all.
This vision has the potential to reshape the global order, offering a compelling alternative to the power politics and zero-sum games that have characterized international relations for decades. The success of this endeavor hinges on China’s unwavering commitment to its stated principles, its ability to translate vision into action, and its willingness to cooperate with other nations in crafting a brighter future for all.
To actualize President Xi’s visionary diplomacy, China is forging a new breed of diplomat: armed with sharpened minds honed by advanced training, empowered by nimble institutions, and driven by a data-fueled, forward-looking spirit. This reenergized vanguard will bridge the gap between vision and reality, working in symphony with other ministries to execute the CPC’s directives with unwavering precision. China’s diplomatic makeover is not mere reform; it’s a global game-changer, poised to redefine the contours of the world order with confidence and innovation. Watch this space: China’s diplomats are ready to lead.
President Xi’s bold diplomatic vision stands as a beacon illuminating a path toward a world where strength isn’t measured by dominance, but by collaboration. It beckons us to envision a future where nations, regardless of size or wealth, stand as equals on a stage of mutual respect and shared aspirations. It calls for a world where the shackles of power-based politics and unilateral actions are replaced by the symphony of unanimous decisions, resonating with the values of justice, equality, and the sanctity of every life. It’s a future where the rule of law isn’t a choice but a collective commitment, where the upliftment of human rights isn’t a debate but an inherent truth. This isn’t just a diplomatic evolution; it’s a moral imperative—a shared journey toward a world where prosperity, peace, and respect aren’t privileges but rights for every nation and every individual.