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Gao Hucheng: Let Chinese Dream Lighten a Beautiful World


On April 1, a signed articleby Mr. Gao Hucheng, the Minister of Commerce—Let Chinese Dream Lighten a Beautiful World: Study and Implement General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Economic Diplomacy Thoughtwas published in the magazine Qiushi.

Let Chinese Dream Lighten a Beautiful World: Study and Implement General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Economic Diplomacy Thought

Since the 18th Communist Party of China(hereinafter referred to as “CPC”)National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping as the General Secretary accurately grasped the change and development trend of the international pattern, and put forward a series of significant strategic thinking of economic diplomacy with creativity, realizing a grand starting of the diplomacy of a large country. Well studying and understanding Xi Jinping’s economic diplomacythoughtis of great significance to comprehensively deepen reform and expand opening up and realize the goal of “two centenaries” and the Chinese Dream.

I. Inheritance and Development

The understanding and exploration of the law of economic diplomacy of CPC is being improved during the long-time revolution and construction. After the foundation of new China, under the international pattern that the two camps of the East and the West were mutually contradictory, the CPC’s first generation of central collective leadership with Comrade Mao Zedong at the core highlighted that China should vigorously develop economic cooperation with socialist countries, and on the basis of peaceful coexistence and equality and mutual benefit, learn from foreign countries all that are worth of learning. Guided by this diplomatic thinking, CPC earned a relatively stable international environment for the economic development of the new China, and successfully established an independent and relatively integrated industrial and national economic system, making China become an important force on the international arena.

After the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee, the CPC’s second generation of central collectiveleadership with Comrade Deng Xiaoping at the core, made an important judgment that the theme of the current world is peace and development, and implemented reform and opening up decidedly after calmly analyzing the international environment. Right at this period, China established the reform direction of market-oriented socialism, developed economic and trade contact with various countries in the world, and actively participated in international division of labor and cooperation, which rapidly enhancedChina’s comprehensive national power. The rapidly growingopen economy injected age connotation to diplomatic activities, and economic diplomacy mainly serving opening up came to the forefront.

After the Cold War, with the breaking of the system barrier of the two camps, countries of the former Soviet Unionand Eastern Europe began to participate in the market economy, and economic globalization developed rapidly. The CPC’s third generation of central collectiveleadershipwith Comrade Jiang Zemin at the corecorrectly judged the international situation, pointed out that “adapt to the new situation of economic globalization and China’s entering into WTO, participate in the international economic and technical cooperation and competition in larger scope, wider field and higher level and broaden economic development space so as to comprehensively enhance level of opening up”. Under the guidance of the important thinking, China vigorously implementedthe new strategy combining “introducing in” with “going out”, so that our foreign trade continuously grew, making China begin to cut a figure oninternational economic and trade arena. Economic diplomacy has become an important wayto participate in economic globalization, improve the level of open economy, and safeguard national interests.

Since the 16th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central CommitteewithComrade Hu Jintao as the General Secretary, on the basis of sticking to the basic national policy of opening up, pointed out that China should “unswervingly stick to the road of peaceful development” and “unswervingly stick to the open strategy of mutual benefit and win-win”, which has promoted a new development of the Party’s economic diplomacy thought. China’s persistence inpromoting regional and global common development with its own development not only effectively safeguarded and broadened its own economic and trade interests, but also made great contributions to safeguard the common interests of developing countries.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central CommitteewithComradeXi Jinping as the General Secretaryprofoundly understanding the evolution of international pattern, unswervingly adhering to the socialist road with Chinese characteristics and sticking to the combination of domestic and foreign markets, politics and economy and bilateral and multilateral development, put forward a series of important strategic thinking of economic diplomacy, from the construction of new pattern of relationship between great powers to adherence of right idea of moral and profit, from policy of “Sincere, Real, Close and Honest” towards Africa to the theory of neighboring diplomacy of “Close, Honest, Benefit and Compatible”, from the proposalof establishing Asian infrastructure investment bank to planning of the strategic conception of Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, all of which have enriched the theoretical connotation of economic diplomacy of a socialist country, opened up a new view of economic diplomacy in the age of globalization and formed a new thought and arrangement of China’s economic diplomacy in new period.

II. Scientific Connotation

The economic diplomacy thought of Comrade Xi Jinping systematically answers the significant issues onthe methods for China to carry out economic diplomacy and to stick to the road of peaceful development, endowing a global meaning to the Chinese Dream of China’s 1.3 billion population.

First, deeply understand the overall requirements of planning the domestic and abroad situation as a whole. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that to welldevelopdiplomatic work, one should take both domestic and abroad situation into consideration. Domestic situation is the goal of “two centenaries” and the Chinese Dream of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation; and the international situation refers to seeking for a favorable external environment for China’s reform, development and stableness, safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, maintaining the peace and stableness of the world and promoting common development. The thought of “Two Situations” is based on the accurate judgment of the historical development phase of China. There are only 7 years left to comprehensively build up a well-off society from this year to the centenary of the foundation of CPC and only 35 years left to complete the building of a socialist modernized country and realize the Chinese Dream of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation to the centenary of the foundation of PRC. One must sustain effort when a task is nearing completion. The rise and decline of great power in the history tell us that the closer we are to the goal of comprehensive rising, the more risks and challenges we are faced with. Internally, the system condition, economic foundation and national mentality which support the development of a great power all come to a key period of transformation and adjustment, represented by the violentchange of social structure, the intensifiedinterestcollision and frictions and themore arduous and heavier tasks of reform and development; externally, the rise of a great power will inevitably bring about deep adjustment of the pattern of international power. All parties will undergo running-in, gambling even intense conflict over and over again. External pressure and challenges increase unprecedentedly. At such a historical moment, economic diplomacy must obey and servethe goal of “two centenaries” and the Chinese Dream, create development conditions, win development opportunities, resolve risks and challenges, closely connect China’s development with international development and connect the interests of Chinese people with the common interests of people of other countries andactively participate in international affairs to make efforts to contribute to the global development.

Second, deeply understand the basic starting point of making full use of China’s comparative advantage. ComradeXi said that, at a time of globalization, all the countries should make full use of its comparative advantages, jointly optimize global resources allocation, improve global industrial layout, build the global value chains of mutual benefits and firmly maintain and develop an open world economy. As a developing country, China enjoys obviousadvantages, especially the greatest advantage of labor force. The abundant workforce resource will especially inject constant vigor for the economic development and industrial upgrading in the wake of the conversion ofadvantage in quantity to the quality. China’s domestic market has developed very fast. In 2013, the commodity retailing market ranked the scond among the globe with a value of USD3.78 trillion and a growth rate of more than 10%, secondary to USD4.53 trillion of the U.S.. Market is the rarest resource at a time of globalization and the increasing expansion of market has provided China with great opportunityto participate in global competition and cooperation. China’s adherence to opening up is an important source of the world economy growth. Since 2008, China’s incremental economic value has accounted for nearly 30% of that of the world. Besides, China has established high-level economic dialogue mechanisms with some large powers such as the US, established more than 170 bilateral economic cooperation mechanisms (for example, joint committee) with the relevant countries and regions and has been the first largest trading partner of more than 120 countries. China topped other global countries in terms ofexport volumeof more than 170 products. We could also know that the system competence is a competence of the highest level. China is stimulating the system bonus through comprehensive and deepening reform, which will certainly render great and comprehensive support for China’s economic and diplomatic development.

Thirdly, deeply understand the scientific approaches of overall consideration and concrete solution to concrete question. Economic diplomacy is the arts of state-to-state game, which requires not onlygreat vision and careful thoughts, but alsothe development according to law based on distinctionmade between the general andthe individual and realization of the combination of generality and individuality, the principle and the flexibility based onseizure of the individual from the general towork out measures tosuit the concrete situation. As the market economy has become a universal choice of the countries, the demands of interests have been diversified and many traditional concepts of international relations are hard to cover the various interests among different countries in modern times. China’s international economic cooperation has covered more than 200 countries and regions around the world, wherethe development level, nation & culture, religion & belief, economic structures and the motivations for economic cooperation differ from one another, as well as the expectations and demands towards China. Therefore, in economic diplomacy, we should on theone hand, keep the general goal in sight and take an overall consideration, catch the main contradiction and the main aspect of the contradiction; on the other hand, we should make specific classifications according to different countries and matters, find specific position and seek cooperation in the most familiar language and warmest ways. Comrade Mao Zedong used to metaphor this work as playing the piano: a piece of good music requires a coordinated rhythm of the ten fingers. Comrade Xi Jinping also pointed out recently that we need to work with overall consideration in a balanced way, highlight the key points to drive an overall development; sometimes, we need to pay attention to the big issue while relax control over small ones and sometimes focus on small issues to promote the big ones. That’s to say, play the piano with ten fingers. These thoughts are full of materialist dialectics wisdom and shed light on the foreign affair work.

Fourthly, deeply understand the value orientation of insisting the right ideaof moral and profit. The nature of market economy is exchange economy. There is no denying that wemust, on the premise of country interests, carry out the economy diplomacy against the backdrop of globalization, which is the nature requirement of market economy. However, the contents of interests are abundant: there are immediate interests and long-term interests; pure economic interests and morality and value interests; partial and local interests and strategic and whole interests; how to measure in the face of the interests reflects the level and pattern of our diplomacy. China’s traditional commercial culture advocates the importance of morality and stresses to prefer benefits to justice. Mozi, a philosopher in ancient China said that “love each other and benefit each other”. China’s traditional views also object to the mercenary and self-interest orientation in economic exchanges and give the economic behaviour a meaning of morality and value. Comrade Xi Jinping has reiterated that we should establish a right idea of moraland profit, insist justice and morality in politics and win-win cooperation and common development in economy. Especially in dealing with the relationship with developing countries and the neighboring countries, we are obligedto provide the poor countries with help within our ability, even to valuejustice above the benefit and can never be mercenary. “The right ideaof moraland profit” descends from the traditional Chinese culture and is the flexible use of the traditional commercial culture in market economy, reflecting the nature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is different from the pragmatic orientation of mercenary and self-interest in international exchanges, and directsanorientation for China to further expand and develop friendly relations as well as win-win cooperation with the neighboring and developing countries at new times and carry forward a large country image of just and fair.

III. The Basic Principles

Diplomacy is an extension of internal affairs. The key of studying and implementing the economic diplomacy thought of Comrade Xi Jinping is to place the foothold of economic diplomatic work on creating favorable external conditions for the reform and development.

It is necessary to adhere to the strategy that diplomacy serves economy. Economic activity is the basis of human society, and economic exchange is a major form of external exchangeactivities. Economy has accounted for an increasing proportion in diplomacy after World War II with the deepening of economic globalization, and economic diplomacy has become the most important part in diplomacy forboth the developed and developing countries. China has always highlightedserving China’s developmentin China's economic diplomacy since the reform and opening up, whichhas provided a guarantee for domestic reform and development. It is put forward in the 18th CPC National Congress that economic construction should be the most important part in China’s development, and it is necessary to adhere to the strategy that development is the top priority. It is emphasized in the Decision on Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening Reforms (hereafter refer to as the "Decision") passed by the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee that it is necessary to adhere to the important strategy that development is the key to solve all the problems of China, and we should focus on economical construction on the basis of the practical situation that China will remain at the early stage of socialism for a long time to come, which determines that economic development will remain the essential task of economic diplomacy in a relatively long period. Thus, domestic economic development and the reform and opening up remain a basicstandpoint. It is necessary to closely follow the changes in world's political and economic structure and the technology revolution, and maintain the important strategic opportunities for China's development, and make efforts to maintain a peaceful and stable international environment as long as possible so as to serve domestic reform and development.

It is requiredto adhere to the basic state policy of opening up. Opening up and economic diplomacy are complementary and inseparable. Opening up is essential for economic diplomacy and only through opening up canwe carry out economic exchanges with foreign countries and develop economic diplomacy.Economic diplomacy would become water without source and a tree without roots if opening up isstagnant. A higher the level of China's opening up, a more diversified economy and a closer tie of interests will be more conducive to stabilization of the relations among major powers, balance of the pattern of interests and increase of the space for maneuver on economic diplomacy. In turn, properly using economic diplomacy will also help to improve the external environment for development, and promote the opening up. At present, China's reform has entered a crucial stage, and it is requiredto further promote domestic reform and development through a higher level of openingup so as to create a “bonus” for China's long-term economic development. The Decision of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee has put forward the construction of opening-up economic system and to push forward the reform by opening up, which is the main task for opening up as well as an important part in economic diplomacy. We should well plan economic diplomacy through an open mind, and promote economic diplomacy through expanding the opening up, and push forward opening up and deepen the reform through economic diplomacy.

It is requiredto give play the role of trade and economic cooperation as the main channel. Economic diplomacy must be practical so that it could serve China’s development. Trade and investment are the main form of economic exchanges among countries, as well as the main platforms for economic diplomacy. Reviewing China’s economic and diplomatic practices, China became more confident in diplomacy with an expansion of cooperation scale in trade and economic cooperation. Over the past 30 years, themaintenance of an overall stable political, military, economic and security relations by China with big powers is mainly due to the closer bilateral economic ties and common interests with their interests. Next, it is necessary to maintain the role of trade and economic cooperation as the main channel in economic diplomacy, and push forward in omni-directional, multilevel and wide-range manner, the economic and trade exchanges and cooperation between China and the world on the basis of comparative advantages and the focuses on resources, markets and technology, giving full play to the role of trade and economic cooperation as the ballast and thruster in bilateral relations, and promoting to turn a new page in China's economic diplomacy, so as to achieve the strategic goal.

It is requiredto adhere to the concept of mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation. Economic cooperation is not a zero-sum game, and could produce a synergy effect. The characteristics of economic diplomacy, in this regard, are in line with the connotation and essence of mutually benefits and win-win. Mutually benefits and win-win areto adhere to common development through opening up, and expand common interests of all countries and regions, and adhere to own development during the world development, and promote common development of the world thereby, seeking for a path that the pursuit of self-interests and promotion ofthe common interests of the world are harmonious and complementary. It is necessary to implement the concept of mutually benefits and win-win in economic diplomacy, adhere to cooperation and development in line with the overall and long-term interests of China, avoid zero-sum thinking and create a favorable international environment. The process to realize Chinese dream is a process to achieve common development and mutually benefits and win-win with other countries.

From shore to shore it is wide at high tide, and before fair wind a sail is lifting. Now, we are closer than ever to China’s goal of great renewal. We believe that under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the General Secretary, China's economic diplomacy willadhere to peace, development, cooperation and win-win with all countries in the world, whichwill certainly create border space for the goal of “TwoCentenaries” and the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of Chinese nation, as well as China's path of peaceful development.

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