Xi kicks off Switzerland visit

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2017/1/16 0:28:39

President explains ‘community of common destiny’ in local media

Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews a guard of honor next to Swiss President Doris Leuthard upon his arrival for a state visit on Sunday at Zurich Airport. Xi is due to address the World Economic Forum in Davos. Photo: AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews a guard of honor next to Swiss President Doris Leuthard upon his arrival for a state visit on Sunday at Zurich Airport. Xi is due to address the World Economic Forum in Davos. Photo: AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Zurich on Sunday at the start of his visit to Switzerland, during which he will attend the Davos World Economic Forum for the first time and visit international organizations. 

Xi is expected to speak of China's vision for the world economy at Davos and expound on the idea of "a community of common destiny" in his visit to the United Nations office in Geneva. He is expected to project China as a leader of a globalized and open world economy amid the rise of populist politicians in the West, including US President-elect Donald Trump who threatens to impose protectionist tariffs and build a wall across the US-Mexican border.

Swiss media published an article by Xi on Friday to help Swiss people better understand the concept of "a community of common destiny." At the beginning of the article, Xi cited the well-known Swiss poet and Nobel laureate Carl Spitteler as saying that there is no greater happiness than having friends who share the same outlook and destiny.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, since Xi first proposed the concept of a "community of common destiny" in late 2012, it has gone on to shape China's approach to global governance, giving rise to proposals and measures to support growth for all.

Xi has also come up with a new security concept that is designed to pool efforts to build universal, sustainable and comprehensive security.

"The community of common destiny is a concept created by China. Although the West and the UN also had similar mottos, the community of common destiny is a greater and broader concept. Apart from environmental protection, it also covers the  economy, politics, diplomacy and security," said Wang Yiwei, Director of the Institute of International Affairs and the Center for EU Studies at the Renmin University of China.

"When people from the West hear 'destiny' they might imagine that it is a religious concept so we've considered replacing 'destiny' with 'future.' Some Europeans don't even believe that China will share the future with them, because they believe China's future is getting better and better by absorbing strength from globalization, but their future is not very optimistic due to the negative impact of globalization," Wang said.

They would like to hear more specifics, so Xi's speech on Wednesday is highly significant and will draw attention from the world, Wang said.

New globalization

It is painfully true that the world is now struggling with a slow and weak economic recovery and a debate over globalization, as  anti-globalization sentiments increase in the West, especially in the US and a few European countries, said Pang Zhongying, director of the Center for the Study of Global Governance at Renmin University.

The core of the community of common destiny is interdependence between countries, he said. At this stage of globalization, most countries cannot survive without cooperation and trade with the outside world, but currently Trump is emphasizing his "America First" policy and accuses China and Mexico of stealing US jobs.

"Many right-wingers in the West, just like Trump, are mistaken in their belief that China took all the benefits from globalization and is making the West suffer," Pang said.

Pang described the idea of "the community of common destiny" as the "soul of the new globalization."

China has contributed a lot to global economic growth and the West also benefits from it; the problem is that the elites took the benefits and did not share them with the grass roots, Pang added.

"Anti-globalization will not only harm China but also everyone else, and the problem we have now is the inequality within our societies, which means only a few elites and developed states took the majority of the benefit and didn't share equally to the grass roots and developing states. We need to reform rather than overthrow globalization as a whole," Pang noted. 

The way-out is the One Belt and One Road initiative, Wang said, which will make more developing countries and those stuck in the lower classes have new opportunities to share China's growth, so China can make the international community support and understand China's rise and the concept of the community of common destiny. 

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