|Speech by Ambassador Zhang Zuo at Goce Delchev University’s webinar on “Chinese Philosophical Tradition”|
Honorable Professor Djidrov, Professor Stojanov,
It is a great pleasure to take part in today’s webinar. I would like to take this opportunity to deepen mutual understanding between us and increase your understanding of China.
Chinese great thinker and philosopher Laozi said “A big country is great when it is as inclusive as the lower reaches of a river that admit numerous tributaries.” The Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China reviewed the Party’s major achievements and historical experience over the past century. The Party has been cogitating on the future of humanity with a global vision. This has enabled the Party to stand on the right side of history and the side of human progress. The Xi Jinping thought on diplomacy not only contributes wisdom and strength to the progress of human civilization, but also contains profound philosophical thoughts. Today I would like to talk about the philosophical wisdom of Xi Jinping's Thought on Diplomacy.
The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. With a strong sense of responsibility as leader of a major country, Chinese President Xi Jinping leads the course of China’s diplomacy, promotes development and progress of the world, puts forward a series of initiatives with great significance, carries out a series of important practices with leading significance, forms the Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy. This thought is rich in Chinese characteristics, embodies the spirit of the times and leads the trend of human development. The Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy focuses on building a community with a shared future for mankind. It contributes Chinese wisdom and Chinese solutions for solving problems in the world.
First, maintaining a global vision and making contribution to the improvement of people’s well-being. Facing changes in the world and global challenges, with the direction of global development and the future of humanity in mind, President Xi Jinping has made creative transformation and innovative development of traditional Chinese concepts and values, such as “seeking harmony without uniformity”, “overcome difficulties in solidarity”, “the world or country for all”, “unity of man and nature”. He put forward the vision to build a community with a shared future for mankind and foster a new type of international relations. This vision has broadened and deepened the concept and practice of multilateralism in the new era. President Xi Jinping outlined China’s vision on the international order and on global governance, as well as the new concepts on development and security, and the concepts on civilization, on ecological preservation and on human rights.
When President Xi Jinping met with UN Secretary General António Guterres, he said that “Everything we do is to pursue happiness for the people, rejuvenation for the nation, and for the common good of the world.” His remarks contain the wisdom of maintaining a global vision and concern of the development of human being.
Second, sharing the common destiny and working together to create a better future. Facing the question of “What’s wrong with the world and what shall we do”, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the concept of building of a community with a shared future for mankind. In 2013, he talked about the world “becoming a community with a shared future where our interests are closely intertwined”. During President Xi’s visit to the United Nations in 2015, he stressed about “working together to forge a new partnership of win-win cooperation and create a community of shared future for mankind”. In 2017, when he visited the United Nations office at Geneva, he talked about building an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity. In 2020, he proposed the concept of building a global community of health for all. In 2021, in his speech at the General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, he proposed for the first time the concept of building a global community of development with a shared future. The initiative of building a community with a shared future of mankind has been leading the direction for future development of the world and mankind.
Third, achieving win-win cooperation and building a new type of international relations. Faced with how to come out of a new path of state-to-state interaction, an important issue in the history of modern international relations, President Xi Jinping has proposed building a new type of international relations with mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation, paving the way for building a community with a shared future for mankind. In the face of the many challenges to human development in the process of globalization, President Xi Jinping pointed out at the opening session of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017 that "'Honey melons hang on bitter vines; sweet dates grow on thistles and thorns'. In a philosophical sense, nothing is perfect in the world. One would fail to see the full picture if he claims something is perfect because of its merits, or if he views something as useless just because of its defects." While strongly advocating multilateralism, President Xi Jinping has actively fostered a new type of international relations, expanding the convergence of interests and drawing the largest concentric circles.
Fourth, upholding openness and inclusiveness, and adhering to common values of humanity. In response to the “New Cold War” and the rise of ideological confrontation, President Xi Jinping first proposed the common values of humanity, which are peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom at the 70th UN General Assembly in 2015, advocating to provide the right ideas to lead us to build a better world together. As President Xi Jinping pointed out at the 2021 World Economic Forum’s “Davos Agenda” dialogue, “no two leaves in the world are identical, and no histories, cultures or social systems are the same”, democracy is not a special right reserved to an individual country, but a right for the people of all countries to enjoy. External military intervention and so-called democratic transformation are extremely harmful. The Chinese people have a high degree of self-confidence in its political system. The fundamental reason is that China’s whole-process people’s democracy has a high level of democracy and is well received by the Chinese people.
Fifth, making concerted efforts to promote common global development. President Xi Jinping put forward the initiative of the “Belt and Road” in 2013, upholding the concept of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, as well as high-quality joint building of the “Belt and Road” with the international community. Facing sluggish world economy, President Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized on international occasions to “jointly maintain and develop an open world economy”. In the face of multiple crises that the epidemic has brought to the world, especially to the development cause, President Xi Jinping solemnly put forward the global development initiative, calling on the international community to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and stressing that “we must take a people-centered approach and make global development more equitable, effective and inclusive, so that no country will be left behind”. President Xi Jinping advocates placing development in a prominent position in the global macro policy framework and steering global development towards a new stage featuring balance, coordination and inclusiveness.
Sixth, shouldering responsibility and working together to improve global governance. Faced with the prevalence of unilateralism, populism, and protectionism, President Xi Jinping pointed out that “In the face of common challenges, no person or country can remain insulated. The only way out is to work together in harmony with one accord”. In response to the “rules-based international order” preached by a handful of countries, President Xi Jinping insisted that all countries are equal regardless of size, strength and wealth, and should firmly safeguard the international system with the UN at its core and the international order based on international law. Facing the complicated and severe situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, President Xi Jinping attended a series of important international conferences, advocating for the efforts to stabilize the international order and enhance the representation and voice of the vast number of developing countries in international affairs. We should promote security, development, and human rights in a balanced manner and all parties should fulfil its commitment to multilateralism.
Seventh, keeping promises and maintaining world peace and stability. Faced with wars and turmoil around the world as well as the shadow of hegemonism and power politics, President Xi Jinping emphasized that “We need to keep us with the times and one cannot live in the 21st century with outdated thinking from the Cold War and a zero-sum game”. At the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and France, President Xi Jinping quoted Napoleon’s famous “Sleeping Lion Theory” , “China is a sleeping lion, and when she awakes, the world will shake. The lion China has already awakened, but this is a peaceful, pleasant and civilised lion”. China is the only country that has written the path of peaceful development into the Constitution. The major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics led by President Xi Jinping is calm, friendly, righteous and trustworthy, which injected stability and certainty into a turbulent world.
Distinguished experts, dear friends,
China is a huge country with a civilization history of more than 5,000 years. The Chinese civilization has always been eclectic and enduring, and the Chinese nation continues to thrive with openness and inclusiveness. The Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China emphasized that establishing Comrade Xi Jinping's core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and defining the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is of decisive significance for driving forward the historic process of national rejuvenation. Under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China will firmly follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics while respecting the development path chosen by the people of all countries.
As early as thousands of years ago, China and Europe have started civilization exchanges and mutual learning. Today, human society is at a crossroads again. Only through exchanges and mutual learning among diverse civilizations can we refine the common values of mankind to meet global challenges. China and North Macedonia are good friends who respect each other and treat each other as equals. China is willing to work with North Macedonia through ups and downs to write a new chapter of friendly cooperation.
Finally, I would like to express my thanks to all experts and friends for their long-term contributions to the friendship between China and North Macedonia. I am looking forward to more exchanges and cooperation, and I hope the students will study hard, get to know China and become the envoy of friendship in the future. I also want to express my thanks to Professor Djidrov and Professor Stojanov for your preparation efforts for the webinar, and to Goce Delchev University for hosting this webinar.
I wish the webinar a complete success!