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Wang Yi: Predicting China Based on the Logic of Traditional Powers Is a Serious Misjudgment

2022-09-23 23:30

On September 22, 2022 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered a keynote speech on China-U.S. relations at the headquarters of Asia Society in New York.

Wang Yi said, China chooses peace and commits to peaceful development. Our most basic expectation for China-U.S. relations is for the two countries to live with each other in peace. As China develops, some people start to project China as a hypothetical enemy, and the so-called "threat inflation" ensues. This is typical excessive anxiety and is completely unnecessary. Expansion, coercion and hegemony are never in the veins of the Chinese people. On the contrary, the Chinese believe in the ancient wisdom that "a warlike state will eventually perish", and "a hegemonic state is doomed to fail."

Wang Yi emphasized, six hundred years ago, navigator Zheng He of China's Ming Dynasty led the most powerful fleets of his times on seven expeditions across continents, earlier than Columbus' discovery of the new continent. Yet instead of engaging in colonization, killing or robbing, the Chinese brought tea, silk and porcelain. In a history museum in Istanbul, an exhibition hall on the left displayed relics from Türkiye's exchanges with China, mostly silk and porcelain, whereas a room on the right showcased antiques from its exchanges with the West, mainly swords, guns and armor. These exhibitions speak to vastly different stories in history, and create an extremely sharp contrast. Equating the ability to develop with an intention for expansion, or predicting China based on the beaten path of traditional powers will both result in serious misjudgment.

Wang Yi said, today's China is built on the heritage of ancient China. For 70-plus years since the founding of the People's Republic, China has never provoked a conflict, occupied one inch of foreign soil, started a proxy war, or joined any military bloc. China has the best peace record among the world's major countries. The Communist Party of China, China's governing party, has incorporated peaceful development into its constitution, and China is the only major country that has codified peaceful development in the Constitution. China is committed to not seeking hegemony, expansion, coercion or sphere of influence, and it wants to live in peace with all other countries. This is undoubtedly a big contribution to global strategic stability.

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