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Foreign Policy

Get Inspiration from Xi’s Advocacy of Win-Win Cooperation

Jul 25 , 2016
  • Yu Sui

    Professor, China Center for Contemporary World Studies

The win-win cooperation deals clinched in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s June 17-24 visits to Serbia, Poland and Uzbekistan, and his participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s 12th summit, have five distinctive features, which are beneficially thought-provoking.

First, the win-win cooperation is extending to wider areas and deeper levels. During Xi’s visits, several dozen cooperative deals were signed between China and the three countries, involving connectivities, trade, industrial capacity, energy sources, financing, technology, culture and tourism. International relationship is an organism consisting of a skeleton of political mutual trust, blood vessels of economic cooperation and nerves of cultural exchange, with concrete projects of cooperation as its cellular tissue. Political mutual trust, economic cooperation and cultural exchange all work together to generate win-win cooperation.

A noteworthy fact is that in his efforts to strive for win-win cooperation with the three countries, Xi always respectfully referred to their advantages and recalled the support and help China had received from them. For instance, Xi mentioned that Poland had greatly helped China in its development of the mining, sugar making and marine navigation industries during the early years of the People’s Republic of China. In the 1980s, Xi said, the most important period of time in China’s drive for reform and opening-up, the Serbian people’s successful experience in their own reform provided precious lessons for China. He also praised the role Uzbekistan had played in promoting the fusion of Chinese and Western cultures in Central Asia. Joint effort to build the “Belt and Road” is the highlight of China-Uzbekistan cooperation.

Second, win-win cooperation stems from three concepts of community. When countries respect the interests of their cooperative partners while protecting their own interests, all these countries become an interests community. When countries develop a clear understanding of the international situation and unite to meet security and economic challenges, they will form a responsibility community. When they respect each member country’s choice of development model and look to the bright future of the human race, they will form a group to share the common fate, or a “fate community”.

Only when countries respect one another’s interests and shoulder responsibility together can they share weal and woe as a “fate community.”

A fate community is desirable and viable because each of its members understands and respects other members’ choice of development model no matter how the international situation changes and how member states change in their own affairs; they firmly support one another’s core interests and major concerns and are committed to enhancing mutual political trust and mutually beneficial cooperation.

Third, win-win cooperation helps strengthen bilateral and multilateral relations. A nice bilateral relationship depends on both parties’ attitude. They should maintain peace rather than make trouble, promote development rather than hinder progress, strengthen cooperation rather scheme against each other. Also, the bilateral relationship should not be set against any third party. One of the most eye-catching results of Xi’s latest foreign visits was the agreement with the three countries’ leaders to upgrade the bilateral relations to “all-round strategic partnerships.” That achievement was a huge milestone in China’s relations with the three countries.

Even taking into account the impact of the result of the latest English referendum on the European Union, it is still practicable for China to develop good bilateral relations with EU members.

China has always attached great importance to its relations with the European community. During his visit to the EU headquarters in 2014, President Xi joined the EU leaders to develop a partnership featuring peace, growth, reform and civilization. That set the strategic orientation for the China-EU relationship in the new century.

Establishing strategic partnership between countries is a pioneering undertaking unprecedented in history. In the Cold War days, strategic relationships only existed between allies; but today nations can go into strategic partnership without forging a formal alliance. Xi’s latest three-nation visit was a new move to promote the idea of a new type of international relationship.

Fourth, China’s advocacy of win-win cooperation marks the extension of its development philosophy to the rest of the world. The concepts of creative development, coordinated development, green development and open development raised by China are best embodied in the “Belt and Road” initiative, which features opening, inclusiveness, cooperation and mutual benefit. In his latest visits, Xi briefed his hosts about these concepts, calling for joint efforts to build the new Silk Road aimed at “green, healthy, intelligent and peaceful” development.

The Belt and Road initiative helps the countries along the routes dock their strategic moves with one another to materialize the plans for strategic partnership.

Fifth, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, with win-win cooperation as its core concept, has shown great vitality. Over the past 15 years since its establishment, the SCO has become a regional and international model of a friendly neighborhood, effective cooperation and opening for mutual benefits, thanks to the “Shanghai Spirit” it has advocated, namely “mutual trust, mutual benefit, consultation on equal footing, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development.”

The “Shanghai Spirit” accords with the tenets of the United Nations Charter and is applicable for promoting a new type of big-nation relationship; it is also helpful for Russia and the United States to remedy their conflicts-ridden relations.

The SCO is not only a platform for the Belt and Road initiative and the Euro-Asia economic alliance to dock with each other but will also become a greater platform for connecting with ASEAN and with western Europe via eastern Europe.

The SCO has been prudent in expansion. The approval of the memorandums on obligations for India and Pakistan to join the SCO at the just concluded Tashkent summit signified that the two countries had completed the key step in joining the organization.

The anti-terrorist undertaking is facing serious challenges and the task of meeting the challenges is onerous. These facts best prove the far-sightedness in the launch of the SCO and its important role and far-reaching influence.

Returning good for good and making concerted efforts to overcome difficulties are the spiritual mainstays of win-win cooperation and the soul of the new type of international relationship.

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