China on journey toward a more active multilateral player

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016-3-31 17:50:22

Chinese President Xi Jinping joined dozens of world leaders in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit, a multilateral event offering countries a platform for dialogue on matters of global significance.

The Washington summit will focus on issues relating to nuclear proliferation and security. Xi will make a keynote speech sharing China's nuclear policy, and offering suggestions on how to improve global nuclear security.

Chen Xulong, a research fellow with China Institute of International Studies, said that since the new leadership assumed office in late 2012, China has been much more active in multilateral diplomacy.

Over the past decade, China has gradually formed a foreign policy that treats "major power relations as the key aspect, relations with the neighboring countries as the top priority, relations with developing countries as the foundation, and multilateral diplomacy as an important arena."

In 2015 alone, Xi attended a series of UN summits, the Paris Climate Change Conference, the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in the Philippines, the G20 Leaders Summit in Turkey, the Asian-African Leaders' Meeting in Indonesia, the BRICS Summit in Russia, and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in South Africa, to name a few.

In 2014 he attended the Third Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands and hosted the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Beijing.

In September this year, Xi will again welcome world leaders to China as Hangzhou hosts the G20 Summit.

Experts believe that multilateral diplomacy with a democratic nature coincides with China's commitment to the democratization of international relations.

Zhou Hong, deputy director of the Academy Division of International Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that while connectivity has brought the world closer, challenges can no longer be addressed by just one or two countries. Thus, multilateral diplomatic activities are gaining traction.

As China continues to grow from strength to strength, it is able to make more contributions to global issues. In fact, it has been doing a lot in this respect.

China helped defined the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development during the UN summits in 2015. While at the Paris Climate Change Conference, China made crucial contributions to the "Paris Agreement," which divided up responsibility between developed and developing countries.

Moreover, China uses multilateral events to advocate approaches that differ from those promulgated by the loudest voices in the room.

Western powers have created the current diplomatic systems and their ways of thinking dominate multilateral meetings. There thoughts and approaches are sometimes at odds with the reality of developing countries, Zhou said.

China, which has has offered inspiration to developing countries through its own journey to prosperity, is also acting as a bridge between developed and developing nations in multilateral diplomatic venues, according to Zhou.

Since 2014, the Belt and Road Initiative has become the mainstay of China's foreign policies, and dozens of countries along the "Belt and Road" are excited by the opportunities it will bring.

Earlier this year, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was launched in Beijing to support infrastructure projects in developing countries, an area often overlooked by other international organizations.

Experts believe that the more active role in multilateral venues tally with the development of China's approach to foreign policy.

In late November, 2014, China convened a key meeting on foreign policies. Xi said on that meeting that China will promote a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation.

In an article published on the last day of 2015 by the CPC's flagship newspaper, the People's Daily, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the theory driving foreign policy was underscored by China's concept of a community of shared destiny.

The two concepts, the new type of international relations and the community of shared destiny, were elaborated by Xi at several multilateral occasions.

"China is turning from a participant in international affairs to an active leading player," Ma Zhengang, a former senior diplomat and vice president of China Public Diplomacy Association, said in an article published earlier in February.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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