China’s Expanding “Circle of Friends”

China appeals for new-type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and for a community of shared future for mankind.
by Wen Siyuan
January 15, 2017: Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during a welcome ceremony held by the members of the Swiss Federal Council in Bern, Switzerland. by Xie Huanchi/Xinhua

Chinese culture values friendship and believes that friendship should be based on sincerity. Chinese foreign policy is deeply rooted in this idea. Since 1949, especially after the beginning of its reform and opening up, China has always developed friendship and cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping as the core, China has kept close with “old friends” and also made many “new friends” by strengthening cooperation with those countries. China’s sincerity has gained acclaim from the international community and its “circle of friends” is still expanding. In the global context, Chinese foreign policy is keeping up with the trends of the times and also sticking to Chinese tradition, forming a diplomatic philosophy with Chinese features, Chinese style and Chinese confidence.

China Strives for an Equal “Circle of Friends”

The relationship between friends needs to be equal, and friends should respect each other. This also applies to friendship between nations. China holds that all countries, regardless of size, strength or level of development, are equal members of the international community. China promotes democratic international relations and suggests that the internal affairs of countries be run by themselves, while international affairs be solved through discussion of all concerned countries, rather than dominated by one country or several countries. China promotes an international environment of justice and equality. China attaches importance not only to developing relations with major powers, but also to actively deepening cooperation with small and medium-sized countries, especially developing countries. China strives to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, who are the cornerstones of China’s diplomacy.

China Strives for a Win-win “Circle of Friends”

At present, the world has become a global village, in which the interests of various countries are intertwined. Although the world is facing more challenges, the Cold War mentality is against the trend of the times. No country can stand alone, and win-win cooperation is the right choice. China actively promotes win-win cooperation, and advocates cooperation to replace confrontation and win-win outcomes to replace zero-sum games. The old mindsets of “I win, you lose” and “the winner takes all” should be abandoned. It upholds that when a country pursues its own interests, it should take other countries’ interests into consideration, and that a country should promote common development while seeking its own growth. China is a “doer rather than a talker” in promoting win-win cooperation. Based on the principles of planning together, building together and benefiting together, the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative conveys its response to the desire of relevant countries to strengthen cooperation and hopes to set up an international platform for cooperation. The idea of the Belt and Road Initiative came from China, but the benefit will flow to all countries, and it is a common cause where the participating countries roll up their sleeves and pitch in together.

China Strives for a “Circle of Friends” Featuring Mutual Communication and Learning

The world’s various civilizations are the fruits of the wisdom and contributions of different nations. Those cultures cannot be divided into bad and good, or high-grade and low-grade. They are just different, and with local characteristics. China upholds that diversity and difference are the engine and dynamic of world development. Countries featuring different social systems, different development modes and different traditions can learn from each other and coexist in harmony. Over the years, China has actively communicated with various countries and set up mechanisms for high-level cultural exchanges with international organizations and countries like the U.S., Russia, the UK, France, the EU and Indonesia. The exchange between people from different cultures can lubricate the solving of conflicts, accelerate mutual understanding and promote common development.

Nowadays, China’s unique “circle of friends” shows great vitality, indicating the international community’s recognition of Chinese diplomatic philosophy. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, President Xi Jinping has paid state visits to many countries and has also welcomed many state leaders to China. Xi has set foot on five continents and has met heads of state from different types of countries, which has enabled China to form a comprehensive, multi-level, wide-ranging diplomatic structure. China is actively developing relations with major powers, promoting friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with neighboring countries in the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, and strengthening unity and cooperation with developing countries to realize the complete coverage of the overall cooperation mechanism in developing countries. China sticks to multilateralism and supports that international organizations with the UN as the core play a greater and more positive role in international affairs.

China hopes to make more friends and continually expand its “circle of friends” globally. China appeals for new-type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and for a community of shared future for mankind. China’s diplomatic philosophy will not only provide a guarantee for the Chinese people to realize the “two centenary goals” and the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, but also contribute to the peace and development of mankind.