President Xi transforms China's diplomacy

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/29 23:13:39

Series shows Xi as confident leader on foreign trips

Major-Country Diplomacy, a six-episode documentary series, began broadcasting on Monday, displaying China's achievements in diplomacy and its change in strategy since the 18th National Congress of Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012.

The series, jointly produced by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, Xinhua News Agency and China Central Television, is available on both TV and new media platforms.

The documentary includes an extensive range of interviews and stories covering many significant diplomatic events, including the G20 summit in 2016 in Hangzhou and the Belt and Road forum in Beijing in 2017.

China has broken new ground in diplomacy under the central leadership with a series of new ideas and strategies, according to the producers of the documentary, Xinhua reported. Scenes of President Xi Jinping's diplomatic activities are featured in the program, demonstrating an image of a confident and hardworking national leader.

The documentary also demonstrates that China will play a more active role in contributing to world peace and stability, as well as prosperity and progress of mankind, Xinhua reported.

56 countries, five continents

According to the documentary, in the five years since Xi became Chinese president, he has spent 193 days on foreign visits to 56 countries across five continents.

During his busy schedule, sometimes Xi did not even have time to have a proper meal.  Zhou Yu, an interpreter from the foreign ministry, said in the first episode that "He [Xi]usually doesn't have time to dine. On a foreign visit, the president's bodyguard gave me a box of biscuits before we got in the car to go to the next bilateral activity, and he asked me to let the president at least eat something during the trip."

Xi has made great efforts to promote people-to-people exchanges between China and other countries. Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui said in the documentary that "President Xi negotiated with foreign leaders 96 times, and gained great achievements to provide Chinese citizens more convenience to visit other countries."

By July 2017, Chinese citizens could visit 64 countries and regions around the globe without a visa, the documentary said.

In the first episode, the documentary also showed that Xi is a leader with cultural confidence and a sense of duty over publicity and inheritance of Chinese culture. During a meeting with German sinologists and scholars from the Confucius Institute in Berlin in 2014, Xi said "Some former leaders of China told me that, as China's leaders, we can't lose 5,000 years of Chinese culture and civilization. We should pass them on to the next generation."

"Some foreign politicians talk a lot [about China], but when I asked one of them 'have you been to China?' He said 'Regrettably, no' and then I asked him 'have you been to other Asian countries?' and he said 'No, I haven't been to Asia yet.' I told him that I really admire your confidence because I will not judge and evaluate a country that I haven't been to," Xi said at the meeting.

Transition in diplomacy

"The People's Republic of China's diplomatic priorities can be divided into three stages. The first stage, the Mao era, was fighting for survival; the second stage started from Deng Xiaoping's era, which was fighting for development; now we are in the third stage under the leadership of Xi, which is fighting for dignity," Jin Canrong, associate dean of the Department of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.

"In the second stage, China's diplomatic mission was to maintain a peaceful external environment for development, which is to reserve and increase national power, so we kept a lower profile before. Now, times have changed," said Hua Liming, a former Chinese ambassador to Iran.

In 2015, Xi ordered the Chinese naval fleet in the Gulf of Aden to evacuate Chinese citizens from Yemen, and the navy also evacuated 279 foreigners from 15 countries, including Pakistan, India, Singapore, the UK, Italy and Belgium. This was the first time that China has used its naval vessels to conduct an international evacuation, the documentary said.

Currently, multi-polarization and globalization is reshaping the international order. China is standing on a historic stage to realize its rejuvenation, so the opportunities and the challenges are unprecedented, said Su Ge, president of the China Institute of International Studies.

"China has started to use its national power to protect its interests and people overseas; to gain leadership of international governance, and to reform the current international political system," Hua said.

Newspaper headline: Xi transforms diplomacy

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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