On the evening of January 25, 2021, President Xi Jinping attended the World Economic Forum Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda via video link in Beijing, and delivered a special address entitled “Let the Torch of Multilateralism Light up Humanity’s Way Forward”.
Xi Jinping stressed that to address the major tasks facing people in this era, the way out is to uphold multilateralism and build a community with a shared future for mankind. To uphold multilateralism in the 21st century, we should promote its fine tradition, take on new perspectives and look to the future. We need to stand by the core values and basic principles of multilateralism, while adapt to the changing international landscape and respond to global challenges as they arise. We should stay committed to openness and inclusiveness, stay committed to international law and international rules, stay committed to consultation and cooperation, and stay committed to keeping up with the times. China will continue to take an active part in international cooperation on COVID-19, implement a win-win strategy of opening-up, promote sustainable development, advance science, technology and innovation, promote a new type of international relations, and stride forward to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Xi Jinping pointed out that the past year was marked by the sudden onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. Global public health faced severe threat and the world economy was mired in deep recession. Humanity encountered multiple crises rarely seen in human history. At present, the pandemic is far from over. The recent resurgence in COVID cases reminds us that we must carry on the fight. Yet we remain convinced that winter cannot stop the arrival of spring and darkness can never shroud the light of dawn. There is no doubt that humanity will prevail over the virus and emerge even stronger from this disaster.
Xi Jinping stressed that we should properly address the four major tasks facing people of our times.
The first is to step up macroeconomic policy coordination and jointly promote strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth of the world economy. We need to focus on current priorities, and balance COVID response and economic development. Macroeconomic policy support should be stepped up to bring the world economy out of the woods as early as possible. More importantly, we need to look beyond the horizon and strengthen our will and resolve for change. We need to shift the driving forces and growth models of the global economy and improve its structure, so as to set the course for long-term, sound and steady development of the world economy.
The second is to abandon ideological prejudice and jointly follow a path of peaceful coexistence, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. Each country is unique with its own history, culture and social system, and none is superior to the other. The best criteria are whether a country’s history, culture and social system fit its particular situation, enjoy people’s support, serve to deliver political stability, social progress and better lives, and contribute to human progress. There will be no human civilization without diversity. Difference in itself is no cause for alarm. What does ring the alarm is arrogance, prejudice and hatred; it is the attempt to impose hierarchy on human civilization or to force one’s own history, culture and social system upon others. The right choice is for countries to pursue peaceful coexistence based on mutual respect and on expanding common ground while shelving differences, and to promote exchanges and mutual learning. This is the way to add impetus to the progress of human civilization.
The third is to close the divide between developed and developing countries and jointly bring about growth and prosperity for all. With the growth of developing countries, global prosperity and stability will be put on a more solid footing. The international community should honor its commitment, and provide necessary support to developing countries and safeguard their legitimate development interests. Equal rights, equal opportunities and equal rules should be strengthened, so that all countries will benefit from the opportunities and fruits of development.
The fourth is to come together against global challenges and jointly create a better future for humanity. Public health emergencies like COVID-19 may very well recur, and global public health governance needs to be enhanced. To scale up efforts to address climate change and promote sustainable development bears on the future of humanity. No global problem can be solved by any one country alone. There must be global action, global response and global cooperation.
Xi Jinping pointed out that the problems facing the world are intricate and complex. The way out of them is through upholding multilateralism and building a community with a shared future for mankind.
– We should stay committed to openness and inclusiveness instead of closeness and exclusion. Multilateralism is about having international affairs addressed through consultation and the future of the world decided by everyone working together. To build small circles or start a new Cold War, to reject, threaten or intimidate others, to willfully impose decoupling, supply disruption or sanctions, and to create isolation or estrangement will only push the world into division and even confrontation. We cannot tackle common challenges in a divided world, and confrontation will lead us to a dead end. We should uphold the common values of humanity, i.e. peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, jointly safeguard world peace and stability, and build an open world economy.
– We should stay committed to international law and international rules instead of seeking one’s own supremacy. International governance should be based on the rules and consensus reached among us, not on the order given by one or the few. The Charter of the United Nations is the basic and universally recognized norms governing state-to-state relations. We need to safeguard the international system centered around the UN and the international order based on international law. We should safeguard the authority and effectiveness of multilateral institutions. State-to-state relations should be coordinated and regulated through proper institutions and rules. The strong should not bully the weak. Multilateralism should not be used as pretext for acts of unilateralism. Rules, once made, should be followed by all. “Selective multilateralism” should not be our option.
– We should stay committed to consultation and cooperation instead of conflict and confrontation. No matter whether it is in the form of cold war, hot war, trade war or tech war, the misguided approach of antagonism and confrontation would eventually hurt all countries’ interests and undermine everyone’s well-being. We should respect and accommodate differences, avoid meddling in other countries’ internal affairs, and resolve disagreements through consultation and dialogue. We should reject the outdated Cold War and zero-sum game mentality, adhere to mutual respect and accommodation, and stick to the cooperation concept based on mutual benefit. We should say no to narrow-minded, selfish policies. We should advocate fair competition, like competing with each other for excellence in a racing field, not beating each other on a wrestling arena.
– We should stay committed to keeping up with the times instead of rejecting change. To uphold multilateralism in the 21st century, we should promote its fine tradition, take on new perspectives and look to the future. We need to stand by the core values and basic principles of multilateralism. We also need to adapt to the changing international landscape and respond to global challenges as they arise.
We need to reform and improve the global governance system on the basis of extensive consultation and consensus-building. We need to give full play to the role of the World Health Organization in building a global community of health for all. We need to advance reform of the World Trade Organization and the international financial and monetary system, explore and formulate rules on global digital governance, deliver on the Paris Agreement on climate change, and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Xi Jinping stressed that China has embarked on a new journey toward fully building a modern socialist country. We will base ourselves on a new development stage, follow a new development philosophy, foster a new development paradigm, and work with other countries to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.
– China will continue to take an active part in international cooperation on COVID-19. China will continue to share its experience with other countries and do its best to assist countries and regions that are less prepared for the pandemic. China will strengthen cooperation on COVID vaccines, and make them public goods that are truly accessible and affordable to people in all countries.
– China will continue to implement a win-win strategy of opening-up. It serves no one’s interest to use the pandemic as an excuse to reverse globalization and go for seclusion and decoupling. As a longstanding supporter of economic globalization, China is committed to following through on its fundamental policy of opening-up. China will continue to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, help keep the global industrial and supply chains smooth and stable, and advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. China will continue to foster a business environment that is based on market principles, governed by law and up to international standards, and unleash the potential of the huge China market and enormous domestic demand to give further impetus to global economic recovery and growth.
– China will continue to promote sustainable development. China will strengthen the construction of ecological civilization, and make sure to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. As long as it is good for all mankind, China is obliged to step forward, take action, and get the job done. China is doing this as a concrete action to uphold multilateralism.
– China will continue to advance science, technology and innovation. China will invest more in science and technology, and enhance intellectual property protection. Scientific and technological advances should benefit all humanity rather than be used to curb and contain other countries’ development. China will think and act with more openness with regard to international exchange and cooperation on science and technology, and work with other countries to create an open, fair, equitable and non-discriminatory environment for scientific and technological advancement.
– China will continue to promote a new type of international relations. Zero-sum game or winner-takes-all is not the guiding philosophy of the Chinese people. As a staunch follower of an independent foreign policy of peace, China pursues friendly and cooperative relations with other countries. China will further deepen South-South cooperation, get more actively engaged in global economic governance, and push for an economic globalization that is more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.
Xi Jinping finally stressed that there is only one Earth and one shared future for humanity. As we cope with the current crisis and endeavor to make a better day for everyone, we need to stand united and work together. We have been shown time and again that to beggar thy neighbor, to go it alone, and to slip into arrogant isolation will always fail. Let us all join hands and let multilateralism light our way toward a community with a shared future for mankind.