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Mutual trust key to peaceful int’l relations

Author  :  JIANG SHIXUE     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2019-06-18

The contemporary world is facing a great change unseen in a hundred years. Though peace and development remain the themes of our era, the world is facing significantly increasing instability and uncertainty; various challenges faced by humanity are becoming increasingly severe. In his speech addressed in the United Nations Office at Geneva on Jan 18, 2017, President Xi Jinping asked, “What happened to the world, and what should we do?” These questions are shared by people all around the world.

In addressing the various challenges facing humanity, various plans have been proposed. Admittedly, remarkable achievements have been made in global governance in past decades, including the signing of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the breakthroughs made in the Doha Round negotiations, progress in the joint fight against terrorism, and the suppression of cybercrime. All of these are manifestations of effective cooperation among nations. However, compared with the severity of the challenges faced, and with, particularly, the expectations of the people in all nations, these achievements of global governance are hardly satisfying. Currently, people from the United Nations and from many non-governmental organizations, as well as leaders, scholars and civilians from every nation, all realize the necessity and importance of improving global governance. There is a voice calling for further reformation of the system of global governance. 

Trust is not only the precondition for the harmonious coexistence of people, but also the basis for the peaceful coexistence of nations. Only on the basis of mutual trust can a global partnership with a shared future be established.

Addressing the trust deficit requires all nations to treat each other with respect, consideration and mutual understanding. At present, mutual trust and cooperation in the international community have been eroded by fierce international competition and ceaseless geopolitical gameplay. Against this backdrop, it is urgent that we prioritize mutual respect. In international relations, upholding mutual respect means seeking common ground while reserving disagreement. It means respecting the rights of the people in all countries to choose their own road of development. It means stopping imposing one’s own will on other people and stopping using one’s strength to bully the weak, let alone to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries. 

A right approach to balancing righteousness and interests is an important idea for promoting trust. Chinese culture emphasizes that “a virtuous person prioritizes his principal of righteousness.” This idea of prioritizing righteousness will help strengthen the mutual trust between different people and nations. China upholds this approach to righteousness and interests in international relations. China advocates the democratization of international relations and opposes the idea of developing oneself at the cost of other’s interests. This idea is gaining increasing support from other nations. China has proposed the establishment of a community of shared future for mankind and the construction of a new type of international relations. The nation also promotes the joint construction of the Belt and Road. All these ideas and practices enrich multilateralism under the new circumstances, which will contribute greatly to enhancing the mutual trust among nations.

Honoring international commitments and abiding by the international rules is significant for advancing mutual trust. As a responsible major country, China has always been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of international order. China has been strictly abiding by the international rules and performing its international obligations. At the same time, China has taken an active role in drafting international rules. The reason why China proposes new mechanisms and initiatives is neither simply to start new ones nor directed against any certain country. China aims more for cooperation, mutual benefit and common development by supplementing and improving the existing international system.  

In addressing the trust deficit, it is also necessary to strengthen the communication and dialogue among different civilizations. Every civilization has its own unique charm and profound tradition, which is also part of the spiritual treasure of humanity. Hence, different civilizations should learn from each other and advance side by side rather than despise and treat each other with arrogance and prejudice. Civilizations are colorful because of communication and rich because of mutual learning. The mutual learning among civilizations will deepen mutual understanding and recognition, which will guide people in different nations to understand, know, trust and respect each other. Mutual communication and learning among civilizations should become a bridge of friendship for people in all nations. It will also provide momentum for the progress of humanity and become a way to maintain peace in the world. This will help reach greater achievements in global governance.



This article was edited and translated from People’s Daily. Jiang Shixue is a research fellow from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.



(Edited by CHEN ALONG)

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