China’s recent flurry of diplomatic activity has surprised some international observers and been widely welcomed around the world, serving domestic interests while expanding global participation.

As the country enters a decisive five-year developmental phase, diplomacy has become more meaningful in achieving the strategic blueprint.

On the sidelines of the annual legislative session, Foreign Minister Wang Yi met the press on Tuesday and talked about matters ranging from the South China Sea to the Korean Peninsula.

HORIZONS NEW

China has been actively breaking new diplomatic ground under the leadership of President Xi Jinping with new thoughts, policies and measures, Wang said.

“We are on the path to major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, helping realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation and build a community of common destiny for all mankind,” Wang said.

President Xi delivered a New Year message asserting China’s new role on the global stage.

“The world is so big and faces so many problems,” Wang said on the press conference, quoting Xi. “The international community wishes to hear China’s voice and China’s solutions; China cannot be absent.”

The Chinese currency, renminbi, has been included into the International Monetary Fund basket of reserve currencies and China became in January a member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, both of which indicate China’s rising presence in global financial activities.

“We are not trying to build a rival system,” Wang said, “on the contrary, we are trying to play a bigger role in the existing international order.”

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH

Regional issues on such as the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula require careful handling.

China will continue to advocate denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and has both the responsibility and capability to implement the United Nations Security Council resolution, Wang said.

Wang said of the South China Sea, “Freedom of navigation does not mean doing whatever you want.”

“The South China Sea remains among the world’s safest and most open seaways,” he said.

China is acting in line with international law by refusing to accept an arbitration claim filed over the South China Sea by theĀ Philippines, whose “obstinacy” is clearly the result of behind-the-scenes political manipulation.

On the Belt and Road, Wang declared that the initiative should not be seen as Chinese expansionism, but rather as an exercise in opening up. The initiative has already brought forth the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and improved industrial cooperation between China and nearly 20 countries.

MULTI-POLAR WORLD

China and the United States are building a new model of major-country relationship without confrontation or conflict, based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation, Wang said.

China has no intention of supplanting the United States, but given the friction over maritime issues, both sides could clearly do more in terms of cooperation.

The economic slowdown will not affect investment and aid promises made at December’s Johannesburg meeting of the forum on China-Africa cooperation, Wang said.

On China-Europe relations, Wang said recent progress was not an expediency but a necessity.

China regards Europe as an important pole in a multi-polar world, he said, and Europe has come to view China’s rise in an objective and sensible way.

There has been simultaneous and mutually complementary development of relations between China and various European countries, exemplified by Xi’s state visit to the United Kingdom.

Relations between China and Russia are mature and stable and the two sides have a strong desire to strengthen win-win cooperation, Wang said.

Wang pulled no punches when he accused Tokyo of “double dealing,” saying that there is little ground for optimism in bilateral relations, despite signs of improvement.

On one hand, Japan‘s leaders regularly produce easy platitudes about their desire for better relations, while on the other they make trouble for China at every turn.

China’s policy on the Middle East has nothing to do with expanding its sphere of influence or establishing proxies, but is about facilitating peace talks from an objective and impartial stance. The Belt and Road will deepen mutual pragmatic cooperation in this region.

Wang expressed his confidence in China-Myanmar relations, saying that the friendship is “strong and dynamic.” China wants even closer relations with all ASEAN members, building a community of common destiny for the benefit of all.

Mar. 8, 2016 on XinhuaNet

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