Wang Yi Delivers a Speech at the Council on Foreign Relations of the United States (US)

On September 28, 2018 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was attending the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the United States (US), delivered a speech titled “Opportunities or Challenges, Partner or Rival” at the Council on Foreign Relations of the US.

Wang Yi expressed that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of the Joint Communiqué between China and the US on establishing diplomatic relations. It is necessary for us to objectively examine the changes that have taken place in each other with the telescopes of history, calibrate bilateral relations, and well grasp the direction of future advancement. Thanks to the unremitting efforts made by several generations of leaders from both sides as well as the efforts of people from all walks of life in both countries, China-US cooperation has yielded significant results over the past 40 years, promoting respective development and benefitting people on both sides. At the same time, however, as two countries with significant differences in historical culture, social systems and development levels, doubts, differences and even frictions may emerge as both sides interact more closely with each other and their interests are more intertwined. It is not surprising and there is no need to panic either.

Wang Yi pointed out that the deep-seated crux of the problems we face at present is that some American friends believe that once China develops, it would seek hegemony, and even challenge and replace the US leadership in the world. This is obviously a huge strategic miscalculation. Unfortunately, this kind of suspicion with its own imagination is spreading, which magnifies existing contradictions, creates new doubts and makes it more difficult and complicated for China and the US to resolve specific problems. I want to make it clear to you that China will surely take a development path different from that of a traditional power. This path with Chinese characteristics determines that China will not repeat the old path in which a strong power would surely seek hegemony, and that China will neither become another US, nor challenge or replace the US.

Wang Yi pointed out that China follows a path of peaceful development. The Chinese people have never had the gene of external expansion. Today, adhering to following the path of peaceful development has been written into the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the Constitution of the Communist Party of China. China follows a path of win-win cooperation. On the ancient Silk Road, we upheld openness, inclusiveness, mutual benefit and win-win results. China's reform and opening up aims to integrate and cooperate with all countries in the world including the US for development. The joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping has grown into the most popular platform for cooperation in the world. China follows a path of seeking common ground while shelving differences. Gentlemen seek harmony but not uniformity. We always believe that all countries can live in harmony and exchange with and learn from each other. Regardless of the past, present or future, China will neither copy models of foreign countries nor require other countries to copy China's practices.

Wang Yi stressed that China has become a force for safeguarding world peace. We have peacefully settled the border issues with most of the neighboring countries on land, have sent the most military personnel to peacekeeping missions among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as have become the second largest financial contributor to peacekeeping operations of the UN. China has become the engine driving global growth. We served as a ballast stone to stabilize the world economy in the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 and the international financial crisis in 2008. With the transition from high-speed growth to high-quality development, China is bound to increasingly expand opening up and bring more development opportunities to the world. China has become an example of eradicating poverty and backwardness. Nearly 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty, covering more than 70 percent of the global total. In addition, we actively help other developing countries implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. China’s foreign aid aims to elevate the independent and sustainable development capacity of each country, and China respects the needs of the recipient country in the first place. China has become an ally of the cause of international counter-terrorism. We actively help relevant countries enhance the capability building of counter-terrorism, and help fundamentally remove the breeding grounds for terrorism. China has become the partner mediating hotspot issues. We actively push for the contact between the US and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and easing the relations between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the DPRK. Thanks to China’s adherence and the efforts from various parties, important turn, like what we have seen this year, occurs on the Korean Peninsula situation. China has become a pillar safeguarding international order. We have actively integrated into the current international system and joined nearly all the important inter-governmental international organizations, playing an increasingly significant role in the global governance system.

Wang Yi said that is China, which adheres to the path of peace, cooperation and openness, an opportunity or challenge on earth? Is China, which plays an active and constructive role in the international arena, a partner or a rival? It is believed that anyone who harbors no prejudices will make a rational judgment. China-US relations are the common assets of the two countries, which need our joint attention. The current China-US relations are again at a crossroad. If the two sides take a positive and tolerant attitude toward each other, expand and deepen positive cooperation, and properly manage differences and contradictions, we will open up better prospects. It is hoped that the far-sighted figures from all circles of both countries will take concrete actions to maintain the healthy and stable development of China-US relations and jointly steer the bilateral relations in the right direction.

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