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Dec 26 2016
Seeking for the International Relations Based on the Concept of the Community of Shared Future
By Yang Jiemian

Jiemian YANG’s Talk at the Themed Forum #2 of the Fourth Annual Conference of World Cultural Forum (Taihu, China) in Macao on June 8, 2016

In recent years China has been advocating the concept of the Community of Shared Future. Diplomatic theories are both of fundamental studies and applied ones. Sometimes people attach more importance to how do it than how think about it. China is a major country in the world and pursues its diplomacy in the realms of major country relations, neighborhood interaction, developing world intermingle and thematic activities. However, this is not enough for China which assumes great expectation and responsibilities of being an emerging power in the world. Besides, the fast changing and complexity of the present world cry for more fundamental studies of the ways and essences of the global developments. Indeed, China needs new diplomatic concepts, ideas and theories more than any time in its long history.

Therefore, China strengthens its theory building while working towards the Community of Shared Future. It is natural and can be expected that China turns for the reservoir of traditional culture and philosophy for the conceptualization and theorization of the Community of Shared Future. Actually, this is a renewed effort to enrich China’s diplomatic culture and philosophy. China inherits a civilization of uninterrupted 5,000 years and adapts it to the present and fast changing world. Being crystallized from the traditional main schools of the Taoism, Confucianism and Legalists, the contemporary China summed up these traditional ideas as Peace-First, Caring-All, Prudence-with-Wars and Prepared-Against-Wars. China tries its best to rebuild a diplomatic culture by combining the contemporary thinking with ancient wisdom. Moreover, diplomatic philosophy aims at knowing the trends of the history and changing the world along with its tides. The advocating and building of the Community of Shared Future is an attempt to promote peace and development of the world today.

China is also a keen learner for all the great cultures in its diplomatic thinking and practicing. (1) China learns the basic standings and methodologies from historical materialism and dialectical materialism and emphasizes that the assessment of the eras and times is of extreme importance to hold the key-link of the global development.

(2) China is among the few countries that introducing numerous foreign ideas from Greek Three Wise Men of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle to realism, liberalism and constructivism. Just counter how many times the Chinese leaders have met with Dr. Henry Kissinger would help us understand this.

(3) China attaches great importance to learning by doing. Just take the current Chinese leadership as an example. It held a national conference on neighborhood diplomacy in November 2013 and a diplomatic working conference in 2014. Moreover, the current CPC Politburo has already had 32 Study Sessions between December 22, 2012 and May 28, 2016. There was even a special session on global governance and a professor from the Chinese Diplomacy University delivered a lecture there.

Having said so, we should also be fully aware of the challenges related to the Community of Shared Future. First of all, it is about interests. This great idea needs tangible outcomes. People nowadays are very practical and look for “early harvest”. The UN MDGs, the global meeting the financial crisis in 2008 and thereafter, and multilateral combating against Ebola are three positive cases but they are far from enough. Britain was very hesitating to join the European Community in the post-war years up to 1973 and now is still being pulled by the vital question of “In or Out”. Indeed, it is a tug of war between the interests of a nation’s and a world’s.

Secondly, it is about responsibilities. Any actor that supports the concept of the Community of Shared Future shoulders relevant responsibilities. The major countries should bear more. China must convince its own people and consolidates domestic support first. At a time of rising nationalism and popularism, this is indeed not an easy job. Furthermore, China must lead the world by example. China needs to contribute more, both materially and intellectually, to the building of the Community of Shared Future. Finally China must persuade the other actors to join hands in this great course. Just a look at the UN contributions will enable us easily understand how difficult it is.

Last but equally important, it is about mechanisms and institutions. The building of the Community of Shared Future is a course as long as the mankind’s own history. We must understand fully that any person, organization and country could only realize their bits and parts. Therefore, all the actors must work together to build relevant mechanisms and institutions so that to make our efforts from generation to generation. In this sense, culture is even more important than the politics. Politicians come and go but great ideas stay forever.

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