The Belt and Road Augurs a Community of Shared Destiny




CHINESE President Xi Jinping has mentioned “a community of shared destiny” more than 100 times during the past four years on momentous occasions at home and abroad, thereby expressing China’s undertaking to achieve this grand mission. In 2017, President Xi Jinping extended New Year greetings to Chinese compatriots and people around the world, and spoke of Chinese people’s hopes for a better life for people everywhere.


“I sincerely hope that the international community can join hands and uphold the concept of a community of shared destiny for all humankind, in a bid to make our planet more peaceful and more prosperous,” the Chinese president said.


The Chinese navy hospital ship Peace Ark.


President Xi has also put forward a succession of concepts and propositions which comprehensively and systematically expound the concept of the community of shared destiny. All have gained wide appreciation and recognition among the international community. On February 10, the concept was written into a United Nations resolution. On March 17, the 15 member states of the UN Security Council unanimously passed resolution No. 2344 authorizing a year-long mandate extension for the UN assistance mission in Afghanistan, incorporating into it the building of a community of shared future for mankind. This reflects the consensus among the international community and the long-term vision and responsibility of Chinese leaders, and constitutes a significant contribution to global governance.


The time for reticence is past as the world now faces serious challenges, such as sluggish economic growth, the lingering aftermath of the financial crisis, a widening development gap, and security threats like terrorism, the refugee crisis, the spread of infectious diseases, and climate change. Terrorism is an omnipresent threat; globalization is up against growing protectionism, isolationism, and populism; and the system of global governance is at a historical juncture of adjustment and transformation. China has firmly maintained the international multilateral system with the UN at its core and global free trade framework. The country is committed to working together with other countries to rebalance the process of economic globalization, charting the development course of the global governance system towards being fairer and more equitable.    


Through the Belt and Road Initiative, which was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Chinese government will promote international cooperation and global governance, and build partnerships with other countries. Under the principle of joint discussions, co-construction and sharing achievements, the initiative will facilitate countries along the routes to seek cooperation, narrow development gap, accelerate regional integration, and therefore achieve joint development and common prosperity through policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds. The initiative closely integrates the development of China with that of other countries, demonstrating its vitality and extensive inclusiveness. Building a community of shared destiny is at the core of the Belt and Road Initiative, signifying a new path which avoids social disruption and confrontation, leading instead to international economic integration and interdependence.  


For the past three years, China’s development has meshed with that of other countries throughout the world, so underlining China’s stability and potential to propel global economic development. In 2015 China contributed a quarter of world economic growth. China proposed the initiative, and all countries can share in its benefits. More than 100 countries and international organizations have proactively responded to and supported the initiative, 40 or more having signed cooperative agreements with China. Projects are progressing smoothly and some have already borne fruits. So far, Chinese enterprises have built 56 economic cooperation zones in over 20 countries along the routes, with a total investment over US $18.5 billion.


These positive results and expectations nurture a feel-good factor that is vital to the development of various countries, and which also creates a better external environment. Facts prove that the initiative is in complete conformity with the core values of the UN Charter and World Trade Organization rules. The Belt and Road Initiative not only promotes trade liberalization and investment facilitation, but also showcases the core values of Chinese civilization and humanity’s hopes for the future.


The logo of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in front of its Beijing headquarters on B9 Financial Street.


The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) commenced operations in early 2016. It constitutes a new platform for win-win cooperation and mutual benefits. As President Xi Jinping said in his congratulatory speech honoring its inauguration, the AIIB will serve as a new platform through which to build the community of shared destiny. On March 23, the AIIB gained 13 new members, taking its member states to 70. Despite the pressure of world economic recovery, the AIIB has attracted more and more members with its professionalism, internationalization, and high, regulated standards. These attributes will play a positive role in promoting the development of countries along the routes and throughout the world. In the next five years, China’s gross imports are expected to reach US $8 trillion, the accumulated foreign capital utilized by the country to hit US $600 billion, its overseas investment to reach US $750 billion, and outbound tourism to achieve 700 million person-times. The Chinese market, its manufacturing industry, the China Program, China’s services and the spending power of China’s tourism will fuse into a steady motive force towards world economic development.


Chinese officials check the goods inventory of an Iranian container ship at Dapukou Container Wharf in Zhoushan Port, Ningbo.


The International Cooperation Summit Forum on the Belt and Road Initiative will take place in Beijing in mid-May. China and other participating countries and organizations are expected to reach further consensus on cooperation. All concerned will plan cooperative measures, and promote synergy among national strategies of different countries to bind China’s economic transformation and upgrading with other countries’ industrialization, modernization, and infrastructural construction. China will advance cooperation among different countries in international production capacity and equipment manufacturing, propel transnational connectivity, heighten trade and investment cooperation, and offer new opportunities for world economic gain. The forum will gather wisdom from various sides to establish an enduring cooperative mechanism and mutually beneficial cooperation network.    


The common goal of building a community of shared destiny requires the joint efforts of various countries. As a major element of China’s drive towards comprehensive opening-up, the Belt and Road Initiative is committed to building a multi-agent, holistic, cross-field cooperation platform. Countries along the Belt and Road are mainly developing economies. Their massive need for energy infrastructure offers a vast prospect for cooperation. The initiative will surely promote connectivity among different regions, and build an integrated framework in Asia and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole. It will promote regional peace, prosperity, and security, and establish a community of shared destiny characterized by mutual trust, inclusiveness, and win-win cooperation.


Humankind has reached a vital period of adjustment, development and transformation. World multi-polarization and economic integration has achieved in-depth development, and social informatization and cultural diversification has been steadily propelled. A new round of technological and industrial revolution is afoot. Countries throughout the world are interconnected and interdependent, and share a common destiny. The pursuit of peace, development, and cooperation is the inevitable trend of our time. At this critical moment of transformation and development, the world needs new concepts to guide its direction. The community of shared destiny is a deep-rooted and lofty ideal wherein humanity builds a fair and rational international order, reflected in the fundamental standards followed by the international community.  


President Xi maintains that communication and negotiation are effective ways of resolving divergences, while political negotiations are fundamental to resolving conflicts. The destiny of the world should be jointly decided by all countries, global affairs and international rules agreed by various countries, and development achievements shared by various countries. These important ideas answer the fundamental question as to why we should build a community of shared destiny, and act as a compass to achieve this great goal. To build a community of shared destiny requires traditional Chinese wisdom, which is embodied in China’s emphasis of harmony, tolerance and inclusiveness; it also reflects the Chinese political concept of the entire world as one community, and harmonious inter-state relation. Building a community of shared destiny is a general Chinese plan that transcends differences in nationality, country, and ideology, and is widely accepted by the international community.


To properly deal with the challenges posed by globalization demands all concerned to work together and carry out win-win cooperation.. Countries should steer economic globalization towards being more vigorous, inclusive and sustainable, spare no efforts in achieving justice and equity, strengthen macropolicy coordination, innovate economic growth patterns, and build an open world economy. Closed, exclusive policies whose aim is to make a single country outmatch others cannot achieve this. As long as we firmly establish a mentality of a community of shared destiny and make joint efforts on the platform that the Belt and Road Initiative provides, we are capable of making a better world where people are happier.  


WU SIKE is China’s former Special Envoy on the Middle East Issue and a senior diplomat.