Does China no longer keep low profile in diplomacy?









BEIJING  |  2015-02-15 18:43:11


Does China no longer

keep low profile in diplomacy?


By Wu Chen



Chinese President Xi Jinping will make his first state visit to the United States in September, with the announcement coming seven months ahead of the trip, a rare move in diplomacy between heads of state.

The early announcement will help the two sides concentrate on what will be discussed when arranging activities in coming months and promote the development of a new type of major-country relationship, said Ruan Zongze, vice president of the China Institute of International Studies.


It seems that China has been taking a more active stance in diplomacy in recent years, which leads to the question of whether China is giving up the strategic policy of “keeping a low profile”, put forward by late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in the 1990s.

Foreign press and critics like to use “tough” to describe China’s diplomacy when talking about territorial disputes with certain neighboring countries in the East China Sea and South China Sea, while “assertive” is frequently seen whenever China raises new ideas of diplomacy.


However, it’s not that difficult for foreign observers to find China is only defending its legal rights and interests by claiming sovereignty over certain islands in the seas if they think it over carefully and objectively.

Ruan Zongze said certain countries have mistaken China’s necessary reaction to threats to its sovereignty as the country no longer adhering to the principle of “peace and development”.

“China won’t provoke incidents, neither will it sacrifice national interests,” he said.

Avoiding intentional confrontation, instead of making no attempt and achieving nothing, is the proper implication of “keeping a low profile”.

The phrase that comes after “keeping a low profile” in Deng’s diplomatic philosophy is “getting something done”.

China has initiated the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” initiatives, referred to collectively as the “Belt and Road”, to offer its mass construction capability and foreign reserves for common prosperity with countries that are on similar development stages in the region.

The first ministerial meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held in January was seen as a step toward a community of shared destiny.

China sent medical teams and allocated big amount of fund to help the Ebola virus-stricken African countries and their neighbors.

As the world’s second largest economy, China ought to facilitate more neighboring countries and developing countries to help share in successful its development, said Zhong Feiteng, associate researcher with the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

But he warned that certain countries may exaggerate China’s performance in order to make it shoulder greater responsibility that doesn’t match its real capability.

By making contributions to help other countries develop together with China, it can expect a peaceful environment for itself. By playing a more active role in regional and global affairs, it will help promote a fairer and more reasonable international system under which everybody is a winner.

China has no intention to overthrow the established international system. Peace and development will remain the cornerstone of China’s diplomacy.

Therefore, we can say that China is still keeping a low profile in diplomacy. Its diplomatic initiatives won’t lead to an East-West power struggle nor pose any threat to regional or world peace.

By announcing Xi’s U.S. trip in September early, the two countries showed to the world the great importance both sides attach to Sino-U.S. relations.

It also allows more time and space for both sides to prepare for a successful meeting of the leaders, giving a new boost to the development of a new type of major-country relationship, which will in turn contribute to the world peace.










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