Editor's Pick

He Li Liang on Chinese Diplomatic Principles and U.S.—China Relations

Author: He Li Liang Translator: Ruishi Zhang

AIR Staff Visiting Mrs. He Li Liang in Beijing

Photo: AIR Staff Visiting Mrs. He Li Liang in Beijing, China. From Left: Yingzhao Huang (Acquisition Editor), Dmytro Babachanakh (Creative Editor), He Li Liang, Ruishi Zhang (Editor in Chief)

Author: He Li Liang

Translation by: Ruishi Zhang

Introduction of Author: Mrs. He Li Liang is the wife of former Chinese Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Mr. Huang Hua. Mrs. He graduated in 1958 from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. She has served in People’s Republic of China’s diplomatic missions in Ghana, Egypt, Canada and to the United Nations. She has also served as the Vice Head of the International Department in the Chinese Foreign Ministry and was a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Chinese Diplomatic Principles

Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, we have always followed and upheld the five principles of peaceful co-existence. These five principles are: mutual respect for territorial integrity, non-encroachment, non-interference with internal affairs, equal benefits and peaceful coexistence.

These principles are coherent with the United Nations Charter and are conclusions based off of China’s experience in diplomacy. They emphasize the importance of national sovereignty, peace and mutual progress. They also address the fact that nations should all take certain responsibilities and tasks relatable to their role on the international stage.

The People’s Republic strongly abides by these principles, strive for world peace, and abstain from hegemony or intervention in other countries’ domestic affairs. We also do not have armed forces stationed abroad, and at the same time resolutely protect our independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

China is a United Nations Security Council permanent member with veto power, and we fully understand our great responsibility in protecting the highest interest of people around the globe—world peace.

In a time characterized by world peace and progress, marked by international multi-polarization and economic globalization, China strives to establish benign and mutually beneficial relationships with other nations.

What’s worth noting is that, in international relations, China does not advocate intervention of other countries’ internal politics, respects each country’s own method of advancement and social system, encourages compromises through peaceful means to solve conflicts and disagreements and opposes the constant use of force or threats of force. We believe that all nations, regardless of size, should be treated equally. While achieving self-advancement, each country should also focus on multilateral cooperation and avoid situations in which the prosperity of one nation is based upon the poverty of another.

China is currently focusing all the energy on development, thus requiring a peaceful global environment. In recent years, China’s overall capability has increased and China has accordingly contributed to the world based on its capabilities. Thus, China is committed to not becoming a hegemonic power and will never adopt expansionist policies.

When talking about China’s foreign policies, it should pointed out that, China does not want an inch of foreign land. But China is also determined to protect core national interests. While pursing an unwavering path of peaceful development and advocating mutually benefits through cooperation, China adamantly protects the nation’s territorial integrity. China cannot forfeit its legitimate interests and national sovereignty. Some people talk about China’s reasonable protection of national right and interests as “the Chinese Threat.” These statements are unfounded and will stand.

Regarding territorial issues of Diaoyu Island and islets in the South China Sea, China’s position is that these are Chinese territory. Any disputes should be solved via bilateral talks between the parties directly involved, not to be intervened by other nations and not internationalized. Historical context regarding Diaoyu Island and South China Sea islets will be provided later.

U.S.—China Relations

Since China and the United States first resumed diplomatic relations in January 1979, there have been considerable developments in economics, politics, security and culture. Although there have been many hardships in the past 35 years, the overall trend is still one of positive progress. The two nations are deeply connected with common interests. The bilateral cooperation not only benefits the people of both nations, but also boosted the peace, stability and prosperity of the Asian Pacific region and the world. History and current events have both proved that cooperation between the two countries generate benefits, while conflicts could only cause mutual harm.

Economically, in 1979 the total bilateral trade was only 2.45 billion U.S. dollars; that number has increased to 500 billion U.S. dollars. China and the U.S. have become the second largest trade partners in the world. China has procured more than 4 trillion U.S. dollars worth of U.S. national debt, which is an effective support for the American economy. But embargoes and protectionism in some areas are still obstacles barring further progress.

In 1979 there were countable few communications and exchanges between the officials of both countries, but in the past five years, the two heads of state have already conducted 14 conferences. Both nations also established strategic and economic dialogues, humanities exchanges and other high level discussions and cooperative mechanisms numbering over 90. At the same time there are 41 pairs of friendly provinces/states and 201 pairs of sister cities between the two nations.

In 1979, there were only a few thousand personnel traveling between the two countries. In 2014, the number increased to 4 million. Everyday there are tens of thousands of people crossing the pacific; the number of people communicating via the Internet and mobile devices are even more innumerable.

In the area of security, both countries have established some consensus and cooperation. China has also attended U.S. organized military exercises.

In regard to the international economic crisis, climate change, food safety and other global challenges including the North Korea nuclear proliferation, Iran nuclear proliferation, Syrian crisis and other hot issues, China and the U.S. has maintained close communication and coordination, which plays an important role.

The relation between China and the U.S. these two super powers is a major determinant of world peace. President Xi Jin Ping once said, “If the U.S. and China could cooperate well, it could be a great booster for world peace. The U.S. and China should walk a path different than the historically combatant relations between major powers. We should mutually strive to a new major power relation that is without conflicts or confrontations and mutually respective and cooperative.” President Xi Jin Ping and President Obama engaged in fruitful discussions regarding establishing new superpower relations during the conference in California in July 2013.

China and the U.S. these two major powers have many mutual interests, and both carry important responsibilities for mankind. As long as both parties focus on these important points, the benign relationship could continue to progress. Issues that arise when constructing the new superpower relationship are not scary; the key is for us to cooperate in solving them. Hopefully both sides could increase trust, respect, equality, mutual benefit, deepen cooperation and the friendship between the two peoples. To summarize, in the face of the development of an increasingly polarized and globalized world and the thrust of cultural diversity and a digitalized society, we need to strive even harder to construct a new form of international relation based on mutual cooperation and benefit.

As part of the important results of the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the head of state of both China and the U.S. signed on November 12, 2014 in Beijing the “China-U.S. Joint Announcement on Climate Change.” This indicated that China and the U.S., these two major energy consumers are determined to tackle together a major issue affecting the whole world—climate change. This move has profound implications bilaterally and internationally.

Looking forward into the future of U.S.-China relations, I feel that a benign relation not only fits the interests of both countries’ peoples, but also is beneficial for accelerating peace, stability and development in Asia Pacific and even the world. This being said, cooperation is the only solution for both sides. I believe that as long as we start from the basic interests of our people, abide by the spirit and provisions of the three Sino-U.S. Joint Communiqué, and follow the consensus established by the two heads of state, we can assure that the relationship between China and the U.S. will progress along a healthy and stable path.

He Li Liang

(If you wish to read the original article by Mrs. He Li Liang in Mandarin, please contact the editor at info@andoverinternationalreview.com)

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