ON March 23, 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed for the first time the idea of building a global community of shared future at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), when he paid a state visit to Russia at that time. The purpose of proposing that idea was to answer a question raised by the world, by history and by the times: “Where is humanity heading?”
Standing at a crossroads, humanity is faced with two opposing options. One is to revert to the Cold War mentality that deepens division and antagonism and stokes confrontation between blocs. The other is to act for the common wellbeing of humanity, strengthen solidarity and cooperation, advocate openness and win-win results, and promote equality and respect. The tug of war between these two options will shape the future of humanity and our planet in a profound way.
To build a global community of shared future is to pursue openness, inclusiveness, mutual benefit, equity and justice. The goal is not to replace one system or civilisation with another. Instead, it is about countries with different social systems, ideologies, histories, cultures and levels of development coming together to promote shared interests, shared rights, and shared responsibilities in global affairs.
President Xi Jinping’s vision of a global community of shared future elevates humanity beyond the tiers of hegemonism and power politics, posing a challenge to realism in international relations. This vision reflects the common aspirations of all civilisations – peace, development, unity, coexistence, and win-win cooperation.
The concept of a global community of shared future has deep roots in China’s profound cultural heritage and its unique experience of modernisation. It carries forward the diplomatic traditions of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and draws on the outstanding achievements of all other civilisations. It manifests China’s time-honoured historical traditions, distinct characteristics of the times, and a wealth of humanistic values.
China considers humanity in the first place as a foundation of all successes in global politics. The five elements of building a global community of shared future include: to build partnerships in which countries treat each other as equals, engage in extensive consultation, and enhance mutual understanding; to create a security environment featuring fairness, justice, joint efforts, and shared interests; to promote open, innovative, and inclusive development that benefits all; to increase inter-civilisation exchanges to promote harmony, inclusiveness, and respect for differences; and to build an ecosystem that puts Mother Nature and green development first.
In 2017, President Xi Jinping proposed five goals to realise China’s vision of building a global community of shared future, including: to build a world of lasting peace through dialogue and consultation, to build a world of common security for all through joint efforts, to build a world of common prosperity through win-win cooperation, to build an open and inclusive world through exchanges and mutual learning, and to make our world clean and beautiful by pursuing green and low-carbon development.
If you review the history of China’s diplomacy, you will find that China always make efforts to ease tensions between countries, promote international cooperation, and advance international justice. China opposes the concept of “might is right”, and calls for an equal and orderly multipolar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalisation.
This was revealed by President Xi Jinping when he addressed the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs held in Beijing from 27th to 28th December, 2023.
“An equal and orderly multipolar world is one in which all countries, regardless of size, are treated as equals, hegemonism and power politics are rejected, and democracy is truly promoted in international relations. … A universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalisation is one that meets the common needs of all countries, especially the developing countries, and properly addresses the development imbalances between and within countries resulting from the global allocation of resources.” Xi said at the conference.
According to President Xi’s address, China will continue to provide aid to developing countries, including soft and unconditional loans
President Xi challenges the mindset that one civilisation is superior to another, calling for appreciation of the strengths of other civilisations. He said that there is no universally applicable development path, and a development path that continuously benefits the people is the most viable one.
With the vision of building a global community of shared future, China has been striving to maintaining world peace and promoting international cooperation so that such challenges as poverty, climate change, contagious diseases, and technological divides can be better tackled.
Actually, China is a game-changer in global politics. Its vision of a global community with a shared future reflects the general consensus and common expectations of the international community, and conforms to the trend of the times. This is why China’s presence in Africa and other parts of the world is continuously increasing and welcomed by the people of relevant countries. Indeed, the vision of a global community of shared future draws a new blueprint for a better world.
The writer is a senior lecturer at Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim Centre for Foreign Relations, Email: email@example.com