On 19 October 2018, the Daily Telegraph and its website published a signed article by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming entitled China’s focus is on peace, co-operation and hard work. The full text is as follows:
A quote believed to be attributable to Mark Twain goes like this: A lie can travel half-way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. This time round, a US politician bragged about “rebuilding China” in front of the whole world against international common sense. The public must be told the truth as soon as possible.
The truth is, no one in the world has the capability to “rebuild China”, a country of 1.4 billion people. The Chinese people have the right to pursue a better life, like every other country and people. To this end, China has resolved to seek a development path and a social system that suit it.
After 40 years of reform and opening up since 1978, China has, through relentless exploration, blazed a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics based on its national conditions. This is the path that has led to profound changes, tremendous prosperity in China and better life for its people. China’s development achievements are not a handout from others but the results of decades of hard work from the Chinese people. No one can claim the credit but the people of China. The Chinese people are best positioned to judge whether this path is successful in improving their life.
China’s path is also one of mutually-beneficial cooperation with other countries, which has created huge opportunities for the rest of the world. The Chinese people will not be swayed from this path, nor can anyone stop them from marching forward. China’s reforms will continue on all fronts and its opening up will continue to expand. While improving the life of its own people, China stands ready to share the benefits of development with the world rather than to challenge or replace anybody.
The Western traditional belief of power politics, that “a strong country is bound to seek hegemony” and thus “China is bound to challenge and replace the US leadership”, has led to the current escalation of trade disputes between the two countries. But this is a big miscomprehension of China’s development intentions, because China is pursuing a path of peaceful development untrodden by the established powers.
Historically, China had been one of the most powerful countries in the world for centuries but never colonised or invaded any other country. Nor has the People’s Republic of China started a single war or conflict over the past 69 years since its founding. Today, peace, development and win-win cooperation are the trend of the times. As the world’s largest developing country, China takes as its ultimate goal to provide a better life for its people rather than challenge or replace the leadership of others, and works for harmony and stability at home as well as a peaceful and tranquil environment overseas. These are the rationale for China’s pursuit of peaceful development. It is time for the US to shake off the shackles of outdated ideas of invasion, expansion, hegemony and bullying, and come round and appreciate China’s win-win cooperation with the world.
China’s approach to cooperation with other countries is characterised by honouring commitments and upholding justice. It is not self gain at the expense of other countries, but it nonetheless entails a firm safeguard of sovereignty, security and right to development. In the recent trade disputes triggered by the US, China had no other choice but to take necessary countermeasures.
Personal experience tells me that in China-US relations, cooperation is the only right thing to do. The two had better work with each other than against each other. That is why China has responded to the US concerns over trade with the utmost patience and sincerity, and has insisted on addressing the disputes through dialogue and consultation. By contrast, the US has frequently gone back on its word, ignored good advice and showed an obvious lack of sincerity for equal-footed negotiation and consultation, hence, the escalation of the situation.
Inevitably, an increasing number of industries and regions in the US are feeling the strain of the tariff measures and making their voices heard. It is absurd and against common sense to blame this on so-called “China’s interference in US domestic affairs and midterm elections”. As early as the 1950s, China proposed the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, one of which is “non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs”. Since then, China has all along sought friendly ties with other countries on the basis of these principles. While the US interference has left a global trail of troubles, notably in the Middle East, China has never interfered in the internal affairs of anyone.
On the contrary, China is committed to safeguarding the common interests of mankind, promoting world peace, contributing to global development and upholding the international order, and never retracts from its pledges made to international conventions or applies double standards. As a founding member of the UN and a permanent member of its Security Council, China has been actively engaged in the current international system by joining almost all major inter-governmental organisations and signing more than 300 international conventions.
China is the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget and the largest contributor among the P5 of peacekeeping personnel. For 10 consecutive years, China has carried out escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, ensuring the safe passage of more than 6,000 merchant ships from various countries, including the US and the UK. With regard to the international development agenda, China has provided close to 400 bn yuan (£44bn) of aid to more than 160 countries and international organisations.
China has also actively helped other developing countries to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by setting up mechanisms such as the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund, the China-UK Peace and Development Fund and the South-South Climate Change Fund.
US actions, however, have been exactly the opposite: willfully undermining established rules of multilateralism and free trade, making groundless accusations against the win-win economic cooperation and trade between China and other developing countries and playing them off against one another, and frequently imposing sanctions on other countries through “long-arm jurisdiction”. On top of all these is cherry-picking international laws and agreements that serve US interests.
Such “double standards” have damaged US international credibility even in the eyes of many European countries, including the UK.
Where light inches forward, darkness retreats. As promoters and beneficiaries of globalisation, both China and the UK are against unilateralism and protectionism.
The two countries should join hands with the international community to firmly safeguard the world economic order and multilateral trade regime, uphold international justice, and urge the US to reject the “zero-sum game” and stop bullying. This is the way forward to safeguard the common interests of mankind and ensure peace and prosperity in the world.