Remarks by Ambassador Jiang Jiang duing Discussion with MEDAC Students at the Chinese Embassy in Malta

China and Its Diplomacy

12 January 2018

Prof. Stephen Calleya,

Members of the faculty,

Students, and friends,

Welcome to the Chinese Embassy.

I am so happy to host you here, and see so many young faces from different countries. Seeing you reminds me of my happy days as a student in the UK, and that was over thirty years ago.

But what I gained from those memorable days and months has stayed with me untill today. I learned one needs not only to speak his mind, but also to listen, to observe and to experience.

We live in a world of diversity, yet there can be unity in diversity. We may be different in terms of origin, upbringing, and career trajectory, and hence see and do things differently.

However, with an open mind and a constructive approach, by putting ourselves in others’shoes instead of following the crowd or clinging to stereotyped conclusions, we can make our world a kinder and warmer place.

I understand, diplomacy is the language we all speak here, by profession or by education.

Thirty years as a career diplomat, I have travelled to some eighty countries, and had the privilege to experience, firsthand, many momentous events in history.

And as I look back over the past three decades, I must say our world today is undergoing transformational change. And my country, China, and its diplomacy, have come a long way.

Let me share with you some figures:

A World Bank report concludes that, between 1987 and 2015, the number of Chinese living in abject poverty dropped from 836 million to 56 million, and poverty will become history in China by 2020. Also in the World Bank finding: China’s GDP per head has surged from a mere 300 US dollars in 1987 to over 8,000 today.

These figures encapsulate China’s ability, and more importantly, its philosophy for development. That is, as President Xi Jinping eloquently stated in his 2017 New Year message, “On the march toward prosperity, no one must be left behind.”

At the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held last October, President Xi Jinping outlined the blueprint for China’s development till the middle of this century:

We will achieve socialist modernization in China by 2035, and develop China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful in the middle of the 21st century.

This ambitious blueprint is grounded in the reality of the times, and highly responsive to the aspiration of the Chinese people. It embodies China’s vision on development, development that is all-round and benefits all by 2050.

Here I wish to emphasize that China’s development represents an opportunity to the world. China’s development is open in nature, as we have been following an opening-up policy over the past forty years or so. According to IMF and World Bank statistics, between 2013 and 2016, China contributed to 31.6% of global economic growth annually. It is expected that the figure would rise to 34.6% in 2017, higher than the combined figure for the United States, the Euro zone and Japan. Indeed, as the world second largest economy and the largest trading nation, China has become an engine and anchor for global economic growth.

At the 19th CPC National Congress, President Xi Jinping set out the objective of China’s diplomacy in the new era. That is, to forge a new form of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, and build a community with a shared future for mankind.

I was in Beijing not long ago for the annual ambassador’s conference. When meeting with us, President Xi Jinping encouraged us to think in big-picture terms, adopt a global perspective, and work hard for the good of the country and the good of the world.

China will pursue all-round diplomacy, expand the network of partnerships worldwide and make as many friends as possible.

China will pursue the “Belt and Road” initiative with all interested parties for common progress and prosperity.

And China will play an active part in global governance and multilateral affairs, and safeguard the interests of the Chinese people and the common interests of mankind.

We will do better in telling the story of the Chinese Communist Party, the story of China as a nation, and the story of the hard-working Chinese people to deepen the understanding and friendship between China and other countries.

The truth is, the centuries-old Chinese culture runs in the veins of China’s diplomacy.

Throughout millennia, Confucianism has been advocating a world of common good for all, a world where one does not do to others what he doesn’t like himself, a world where justice and harmony prevail over selfish interest and brute strife.

You may know, the Chinese character for “force” as in “military force” or “use of force”, is composed of two parts: one part meaning “to stop”, the other, “weaponry”. It contends that great power is to be used for maintaining peace. China did not, does not, and will never seek hegemony.

The world today is moving towards multipolarity, economic globalization, increased use of information technology and cultural diversity.

Notwithstanding competition, countries are more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. No nation can meet the challenges facing mankind alone, and no country can seal itself off from the rest of the world. That leaves us the only choice to build a community with a shared future and protect the planet we call home together.

It is with this in mind that China has pursued cooperation on the Belt and Road initiative under the principle of planning together, building together and benefiting together.

Since the initiative was set forth in 2013, China has signed, through equal consultation, cooperation agreements with more than 80 countries and organizations, carried out cooperation on industrial capacity with over 30 countries on an institutional basis, and set up 75 economic and trade cooperation zones in 24 countries. Chinese companies have invested more than 50 billion US dollars in countries along the Belt and Road, and created nearly 200,000 local jobs. These numbers speak volumes for the mutual benefit the Belt and Road initiative has delivered.

Many European countries have proposed to synergize their development strategies with the initiative, and expand practical cooperation with China in broad areas.

China welcomes such keen interest. Europe has long been China's important strategic partner. China and Europe are not caught in any direct conflict of geopolitical interests, or heavy historical baggage. We are indispensable markets for each other, and win-win cooperation has been the mainstream of our relations.

Recent years have seen new headway in China-Europe partnership for peace, growth, reform and progress of civilization. Practical cooperation has been booming and people-to-people exchange is flourishing.

Despite the uncertainties Europe faces, China’s policy toward Europe has been consistent and firm. We support the European integration process, welcome EU’s unity and development, and believe in managing differences on the basis of mutual respect.

We hope our two sides will work to expand converging interests and explore new areas in regional cooperation to enhance the strategic dimensions of China-Europe relations. China and Europe must and can be partners globally to make our contribution to a more invigorated, inclusive and sustainable globalization process.

Students, Friends,

An old Chinese adage says “The ocean becomes vast by admitting hundreds of rivers; a man becomes great by being open and inclusive.”

I hope you will find today’s trip a rewarding experience. As you see our changing world with your eyes, ears and minds wide open, I wish you all the gains and progress you can make. And most importantly, I look fervently forward to seeing your valuable and meaningful contribution to the noble cause of world peace and common prosperity.

Thank you!

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