China President Xi Jinping’s idea of building an Asian community with a shared future is not only in line with the development trend of the world and the trend of the times, but also the inherent needs of Asian countries, reflecting China’s wisdom and China’s programme. Also, it sparks wide-ranging resonance playing a positive role in social, political, diplomatic and other fields.
Today, the concept and construction of the Asian community with a shared future have been developed at different level because of some factors such as China’s peripheral diplomacy, the Belt and Road Initiative and the sustained development of regional cooperation in Asia.
First, at the bilateral level. In 2018, China took the lead in reaching an action plan with Laos and Cambodia to build a community with a shared future, thus making a good start in promoting the building of a community of a shared future in Asia.
In addition, during the visit to the Asian countries concerned, President Xi referred to the willingness to build a community of a shared future during his meetings and talks with relevant leaders and in the joint communiques issued by the two countries.
Second, at the sub-regional level. China and some Asian sub regional organizations have reached a desire or consensus to build a community of a shared future. For instance, at the 22nd China-Asean (10+1) Leaders’ Meeting in 2019, the leaders of China and Asean have sent a positive signal, adhered to the strategic partnership orientation, worked together to build a closer China-Asean Community of a shared future and further deepened the level of East Asian cooperation.
Third, at the regional level. In 2015, President Xi proposed the initiative to build an Asian community with a shared future and explained the principles and concepts for moving towards a community of a shared future. At the fifth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia to be held in 2019, President Xi affirmed the achievements and accumulated experience of Asian countries in recent years in their journey towards a community of a shared future and further proposed a path to the realisation of the Asian community with a shared future.
In addition, China has also made efforts in cultural exchanges and people-to-people diplomacy and hosted the Asian Civilisation Dialogue Conference in 2019 to promote the creation of an Asian community with a shared future.
The first is to lead the world’s development direction. The construction of an Asian community with a shared future is the result of Asian countries’ self-exploration and is a strategic choice based on the current state of world development, the characteristics of Asia itself and the tasks that it faces. This choice is as revolutionary as the development of Asian countries in the light of world development trends and their own practical exploration of their own development paths.
It is true that the building of an Asian community with a shared future is still in its infancy and the real challenges and potential obstacles are enormous, but the demonstration of such efforts is not to be underestimated. More and more Asian countries will strengthen communication and collaboration through changes in the international economic situation and the inherent needs of Asia’s joint self-improvement and work together to build an Asian community with a shared future and strive for a brighter tomorrow for Asia.
The second is to lead the construction of a new type of international relations. This cannot be achieved without the participation of Asian countries. An Asian community with a shared future adheres to the principles of mutual respect and equality and all countries, either big or small, strong or weak, should be considered equal regarding consulting and collective decision-making. And there should be an insistence on the principle of balance, taking into account both short-term and long-term issues, as well as further promoting the coordinated governance in Asia to effectively solve the real problems facing Asian countries. It should also stress multilateralism, oppose unilateralism and protectionism and promote the realisation of mutual benefit, common development and the common prosperity of Asian countries. What’s more, it should persistently encourage cultural exchanges, seeking common ground while preserving differences, learning from each other and achieving common progress on the basis of maintaining diversity in Asia. Moreover, it should adhere to common security, strengthens exchanges and dialogue and achieve collective security in deepening mutual trust and cooperation.
The third is to lead the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind. The Asian community with a shared future is the Asian Dream, which complements the “World Dream” of all mankind. Asia’s first step in the construction of the community with a shared future reflects both the positive attitude of Asians and the positive actions of Asians, so that the world perceives that the community with a shared future is not a “castle in the air” and “the moon in the water”, but a real existence. As long as Asian countries uphold common ideals, a shared will and determination, overcoming difficulties, never giving up and promoting the building of an Asian community with a shared future, the community with a shared future for mankind will come into effect one day.
Shi Xiaohu is dean of the School of International Relations, Beijing International Studies University.