It is my great pleasure to have you at this joyful occasion to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Let me first extend a warm welcome to all our guests from the diplomatic community, and say a big thank-you to our comrades from the various Chinese ministries, provinces and municipalities for your strong support to our country’s foreign affairs.
The past year saw continued profound shifts in the international landscape, and a further build-up of factors of instability and uncertainty. Amid a complicated international situation and great changes unseen in a century, we forged ahead under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, and made new strides in China’s foreign relations with a clear sense of purpose.
During the past year, we established Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy as the fundamental guideline for conducting China’s foreign affairs in the new era. We advocated the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and, keeping in mind the common interests of all countries, provided Chinese perspectives and proposals on navigating the once-in-a-century changes in our world. The international community is looking to China with higher expectations. As China moves closer to the center of the global stage, it has a more distinct and prominent role to play.
In 2018, China was an important force for stability. In the face of challenges to WTO rules and multilateralism in general, China stood up to safeguard its lawful rights and interests. At the same time, conscious of international expectations, we have been working with the United States to put our trade friction back on the track of dialogue and consultation, thus providing a positive outlook for the world. Growing at a high level, China’s comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with Russia has remained rock-solid and served as a source of strategic stability in the world. China enhanced communication and coordination with Europe and reached consensus on upholding the multilateral process and addressing various global challenges. China’s relations with the rest of the world made steady progress, helping to make the world a more stable place.
In 2018, China was a strong advocate for openness. At important occasions throughout the year, including the conference commemorating the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up, the first China International Import Expo and the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference, President Xi Jinping conveyed a clear message to the world of China’s unwavering commitment to further reform and opening-up, and announced important initiatives to open up the economy. Despite the rise of protectionism and headwinds against globalization, China stood firmly on the right side of history. With concrete actions, we demonstrated our sincerity and resolve to share development opportunities with the world and build an open world economy, playing our due role in safeguarding open and inclusive development of the world economy.
In 2018, China was an important driver of cooperation. Last year was the fifth year since President Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative. Building on the outcomes so far, we sought higher-quality development of Belt and Road projects. With growing interest from the world, another 60-plus countries and international organizations signed Belt and Road cooperation agreements with China, bringing the total number of such documents to nearly 170. A number of major Belt and Road projects saw solid progress. At the same time, historic achievements were made in China’s cooperation with other developing countries. At the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which attracted unprecedented participation, over 100 new cooperation measures under eight major initiatives were unveiled, and China and Africa undertook to build an even stronger community with a shared future. China’s cooperation with Arab, Latin American and Caribbean countries was also brought to new levels.
In 2018, China was an important promoter of peace. Seizing the opportunity of a major turnaround on the Korean Peninsula, China encouraged the North and the South to improve their relations. We also supported the resumption of dialogue between the US and the DPRK to build mutual trust. China worked with like-minded parties to uphold and implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with the aim of maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East. Regarding the Rakhine situation, China proposed a three-phase approach and encouraged Myanmar and Bangladesh to reach a broad agreement on the return of displaced persons. The China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue, set up on China’s initiative, produced important common understanding on advancing the peace process in Afghanistan. China also played an active mediating role on the Syrian and Palestinian issues, meeting its due responsibility for promoting regional peace.
In 2018, China was an important upholder of the international order. At international summits such as the G20, APEC and BRICS, President Xi Jinping took a clear stand against protectionism and unilateralism and called for a stronger commitment to the UN-centered international system and rules-based multilateralism, steering those summits to a series of pioneering, pace-setting and institutional outcomes. Calling for joint efforts to build a community with a shared future for mankind, China sought to promote a more equitable and fair system of global governance. In a turbulent world, China emerged as a pillar of stability.
In 2018, China was an important engine of development. Defying economic difficulties and downward pressure, China acted on the new development philosophy and achieved a medium-high GDP growth rate of 6.6 percent, hitting all economic targets for 2018. The Chinese economy now exceeds 90 trillion RMB yuan, with imports and exports totaling more than 30 trillion RMB yuan. It must be noted that consumer spending contributed as much as 76 percent to economic growth last year, which speaks volumes about the structural improvement and upgrading of the Chinese economy and sets the stage for sustainable, high-quality development. The figures I have just cited show that China continues to perform with full vigor its role as the most important engine of global growth, and it will maintain its irreplaceable role in the world economy.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Over the past seven decades, especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, China has broken new ground on the diplomatic front and the Chinese nation has made substantial contributions to global peace, prosperity and progress. We will make a comprehensive review of this great journey and carry forward the fine traditions of China’s diplomacy. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, we will put into action Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy in every aspect of our work. We will remain true to our mission and make unremitting efforts to open up new prospects for our major-country diplomacy with distinctive Chinese features.
We will continue to follow peaceful development. Peaceful development represents the overarching direction of China’s foreign policy. The choice of peaceful development has its root in the 5,000-year Chinese culture and is further shaped by the CPC’s sense of its historical mission to pursue the greater good of humanity. China will stay the course of peaceful development. We shall never seek hegemony or expansion. In the year ahead, we will continue to promote a community with a shared future for mankind, uphold equality between countries of all sizes, adhere to non-interference in others’ internal affairs, and work toward a new form of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation. Likewise, we hope other countries will pursue peaceful development as well, as that is the only way to achieve universal and genuine peace on this planet we share.
We will continue to advance cooperation for win-win results. Pursuing cooperation for win-win outcomes is an abiding goal of China’s diplomacy, as it serves the shared interests of China and all other countries, and conforms to the trend of the world. In the year ahead, we will follow the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits, and work with all relevant parties to make the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation a success and facilitate more quality and fruitful cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. We will fully deliver on the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, and strengthen cooperation frameworks between China and ASEAN, the Arab states, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and other regions. These efforts will elevate China’s mutually beneficial cooperation with other developing countries to a higher level.
We will continue to safeguard the international order underpinned by multilateralism. Multilateralism is a key tenet of China’s diplomacy. It is the result of much soul-searching after bitter lessons of the two world wars in the 20th century, and has since served as an important safeguard for global peace and development. In the year ahead, we will work with other countries to support the role of the United Nations in achieving global peace and development, and call on all countries to abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. China will strengthen cooperation with all other parties within the G20, APEC, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), BRICS and other frameworks to promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and that of the Paris Agreement, and contribute to a global response to global challenges through multilateral cooperation.
We will continue to build partnerships. Building partnerships is a creative approach China has adopted in developing state-to-state relations. By choosing dialogue and partnership over confrontation and alliance, this approach goes beyond the zero-sum thinking and rejects the winner-take-all practice. It provides an effective avenue for building a new type of international relationship, and ultimately a community with a shared future for mankind. In the year ahead, we will make full use of celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties to advance our high-level strategic coordination with Russia on all fronts. We will follow through on the important consensus reached between the Presidents of China and the US, and work with the US to properly handle differences and frictions and stay committed to a China-US relationship centering on coordination, cooperation and stability. We will work with European countries to uphold multilateralism and improve global governance. We will enhance political trust and practical cooperation with our neighbors and the wider developing world.
We will continue to play a mediating role in regional hotspots. Safeguarding peace is a bounden duty of China’s diplomacy. In the year ahead, we will continue to present Chinese proposals and solutions, strive to play a bigger role and make greater contributions to resolving regional and international hotspots. This year will be a critical year for bringing about a substantive breakthrough on the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue. We will work with the rest of the international community to support the DPRK in keeping to the goal of denuclearization and encourage the US to demonstrate its readiness to move in the same direction. We hope to see new and important outcomes from the second DPRK-US summit, leading to parallel progress in achieving complete denuclearization and establishing a peace regime on the Peninsula. We will continue to uphold the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)on the Iranian nuclear issue, mediate a proper settlement of the Rakhine issue, take a constructive part in the political process in Afghanistan, and work tirelessly for resolving such hotspots as Syria and Palestine.
We will continue to serve China’s reform and development. Promoting China’s development is an inherent goal of China’s diplomacy. We are in the final stage of winning the critical battle against poverty and attaining the first centenary goal of finishing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. In the year ahead, we will keep our domestic development needs firmly in mind and do our level best to foster a generally favorable external environment. We will leverage our diplomatic strengths to counter various risks and challenges and to help explore diverse markets. We will continue to present Chinese provinces to the world, facilitate major projects like the planning and development of the Xiongan New Area and the 2022 Winter Olympics, and do our fair share for fighting poverty.
We will continue to defend China’s legitimate rights and interests. This is a sacred mission of China’s diplomacy. China has all along respected other countries’ legitimate rights and interests. At the same time, we shall never allow any infringement of China’s legitimate and lawful rights and interests. In the year ahead, we will continue to uphold the one-China principle, safeguard our national sovereignty, security and development interests, reject any external intervention or provocation on issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Xinjiang, Tibet and maritime affairs. We will stand up for our development rights in economic, science and technology, innovation and other fields, and oppose any unilateral moves or bullying against China.
Ladies and gentlemen,
A new year brings new hopes. China looks forward to working with all other countries, come rain or shine, to embrace a brighter future for all of us.
To a peaceful and prosperous world;
To China’s friendship and cooperation with your countries and organizations; and
To the health and happiness of all the distinguished guests present.