The annual Foreign Minister’s press conference during the “two sessions” in China is an important window for the world to observe and understand China’s foreign policy, especially this year. On March 7, Qin Gang, Foreign Minister of China, appeared at the press conference of the First Session of the 14th National People’s Congress and answered questions from Chinese and foreign journalists on China’s foreign policy and foreign relations. This is the first Foreign Minister’s press conference since the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and it is also the first time that Qin Gang has attended the Foreign Minister’s press conference since he assumed the post, which has attracted great attention from the outside world.
Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s answers at the press conference showed the confidence of a major country, conveyed the Chinese diplomatic voice and injected confidence and strength into the turbulent world.
Promote peace through cooperation and contribute new wisdom to universal security. The world today is not peaceful. Various traditional and non-traditional security threats, such as geopolitical conflicts, bloc confrontation, terrorism and ecological destruction are intertwined, and hegemonic and bullying behaviors, such as bullying, extortion and zero-sum game are exerting harm. To solve the global security dilemma, achieve universal security and lasting peace, the world pays more attention to China.
In April last year, President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Security Initiative (GSI) for the first time at the Boao Forum for Asia, advocating a new security road featuring dialogue instead of confrontation, partnership instead of alliance, and win-win instead of zero-sum. In February this year, China successively issued the Global Security Initiative Concept Paper and China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis, which pointed out the direction and path for solving the international security dilemma and building a world of lasting peace.
On the Ukraine issue, Qin Gang pointed out that China is neither a maker of the crises, nor a party to the crisis, nor has it provided weapons to any party in the conflict. China’s core proposition in resolving the Ukraine crisis is to mediate and promote talks. China has always made independent judgments based on the merits of the matter itself.
Promoting talks for peace has always been China’s consistent proposition in handling hotspot disputes. We are willing to be promoters of security and stability, partners in development and prosperity, and propellers of unity and self-improvement.
On March 10, Saudi Arabia and Iran reached the Beijing Agreement with the support of China. China, Saudi Arabia and Iran signed and issued a joint statement announcing that Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to resume diplomatic relations. The improvement of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran has opened the way for peace and stability in the Middle East, and set an example for resolving contradictions and differences between countries through dialogue and consultation. China is an initiator of the talks in the Middle East, and even more an activist of the practice.
Promote development through opening up and create new opportunities for common prosperity. In recent years, protectionism and unilateralism have risen, and “decoupling and breaking the chain” has stirred up the world. All countries look forward to China’s plan as to the building of an open and inclusive world with common prosperity. On September 21, 2021, President Xi Jinping put forward a Global Development Initiative (GDI) in line with the situation, which pushed the development issue back to the core of international agenda and sent out a strong voice of the times to achieve common development and prosperity. At present, the GDI has been supported by more than 100 countries and many international organizations including the United Nations. On behalf of China, Qin Gang once again stressed that China firmly adheres to the opening-up strategy of win-win results, aims at development through opening-up, and serves domestic high-quality development. He added that China opposes “decoupling” and unilateral sanctions, safeguards an open and inclusive world economy, and will provide new opportunities to the world with its new development.
The Report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) pointed out that it’s necessary to advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization. Chinese modernization has broken the myth that “modernization equals westernization”, created a new form of human civilization, and brought important enlightenment to all countries in the world, especially the developing ones. Chinese modernization, based on the practice in China, has distinctive Chinese characteristics, and is highly compatible with the general trend of independent exploration of development paths suitable for each country’s national conditions, which will provide new development opportunities for China to cooperate with other countries in the world.
Take multilateralism as the path to provide new solutions for global governance. Today’s world is plagued by changes and turbulence. What happened to the world? What should we do? Mankind once again stands at the crossroads of history. President Xi Jinping pointed out the proper way of global governance from the height of the world, history and mankind. Qin Gang said that China’s diplomacy takes multilateralism as the path to promote the construction of a community of shared future for mankind, the democratization of international relations, the development of global governance in a more reasonable direction, and contribute more and better China’s wisdom and China’s solutions to addressing common challenges facing mankind.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and China will hold the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. In the past ten years, the BRI has galvanized nearly US$1 trillion of investment, established more than 3,000 cooperation projects, created 420,000 local jobs, and helped lift almost 40 million people out of poverty. The reason why over three quarters of countries around the world and 32 international organizations have joined the BRI is because this initiative is a high-quality public good.
Refute lies with facts and write a new chapter for China-Africa cooperation. The year 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s proposal of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, and pursuing the greater good and shared interests. This concept was initiated in Tanzania and Africa, and now it has become the basic policy guiding China’s solidarity and friendship with the vast number of developing countries. China has always given priority to Africa in its diplomacy. At the beginning of this year, Foreign Minister Qin Gang followed the tradition of Chinese foreign ministers visiting Africa at the start of a new year, and chose Africa as the destination of his first visit after assuming the new post.
Recently, some countries discredited China’s cooperation with developing countries and provoked bilateral relations with false accusations such as the “debt trap”. In fact, according to statistics, multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors account for more than 80% of the sovereign debt of developing countries, which is the biggest source of debt pressure for these countries. During his visit to Africa, Qin Gang said that China took the lead in supporting the African Union to join the G20. China has always been committed to helping Africa alleviate the debt pressure, actively participated in the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), and signed debt relief agreements or reached a consensus with 19 African countries, making it the country with the largest amount of debt relief among G20 members. The so-called “debt trap” of China to Africa is a discourse trap imposed on China and Africa. China’s projects and cooperation in Africa have contributed to Africa’s development and improvement of people’s livelihood, and African people have the last say in this.
Today’s world is not peaceful, turmoil and change are intertwined, unity and division collide, and opportunities and challenges coexist. China’s diplomacy on the new journey is an expedition full of glorious dreams and a voyage across stormy seas. At present, China has made remarkable achievements in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the exchanges between China and foreign countries have resumed to an orderly manner, and the “acceleration button” of China’s diplomacy has been pressed. China’s diplomacy will take safeguarding the country’s core interests as its mission, resolutely oppose all forms of hegemonism and power politics, and always be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of the international order, bringing more certainty to the turbulent world.
The author is Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania.