H.E. Lu Shaye – Mr. Shaye is Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in France.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank the Schiller Institute for inviting me to Strasbourg, the “second capital of Europe,” to share my thoughts on the international situation.
At present, changes unseen for a century are taking place at an accelerated pace, giving rise to unprecedented transformations of our world, our times and history. The ongoing conflict on the European continent is attracting worldwide attention. More than a year after the start of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, where does the outcome lie? The answer to this question is being sought not only by the countries involved in the conflict and the European countries with a close interest in it, but also by peace-loving people the world over.
Depending on the positions and interests of the various parties, there are two diametrically opposed options: the first is to continue hostilities until one side prevails over the other; the second is to promote peace talks to find a solution acceptable to both antagonists.
The world is thus divided into two camps: the pro-war camp, led by the United States, which, under the guise of defending justice, is prolonging the war by constantly supplying arms and other forms of military assistance to Ukraine; and then the pro-peace group, which is actively engaged in shuttle diplomacy in favor of reconciliation and peace talks.
The Russian-Ukrainian conflict highlights two ways of thinking in today’s world, pitting two strategic choices against each other: that of confrontation and conflict versus that of dialogue and cooperation, or that of the zero-sum game versus that of mutual benefit and win-win. Moreover, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is itself the disastrous consequence of America’s obsession with the logic of bloc confrontation after the end of the Cold War, reflected in NATO’s continued eastward expansion to restrict Russia’s strategic space and drive it into a corner.
And today, the USA is trying to launch a “new Cold War” against China. On the political front, it is sticking ideological labels on other countries, calling China an “authoritarian dictatorship” and rallying “value allies” under the banner of defending “democracy” to launch a “new crusade” against China. On the military and security front, the US is busy creating “little clans”: from bilateral military alliances to the trilateral partnership (AUKUS), from the quadrilateral dialogue (Quad) to the Five Eyes alliance, via the “Indo-Pacific version of NATO.” On the economic, commercial and technological fronts, projecting its own model onto China by assuming that any great power practices hegemony, the US is building “little courts surrounded by high walls,” and seeking to decouple and break supply chains in order to crack down, comprehensively, multi-sectorally, intensively and continuously, on China’s high-tech enterprises and critical industries such as semiconductors.
European countries have been forced to choose sides. On the Russian-Ukrainian issue, from participation in sanctions to the current dispatch of fighter jets and pilot training, Europe is becoming more involved in the conflict by the day, while the prospects of resuming dialogue with Russia and rebuilding a new European security architecture grow ever more remote. As for relations with China, the United States is deliberately linking China to Russia and playing on the false narrative of “today’s Ukraine, tomorrow’s Taiwan,” fanning anti-Chinese hatred in Europe and poisoning Sino-European relations.
Against this backdrop, it’s worth noting that some European countries have demonstrated a stronger commitment to strategic autonomy, refusing to choose sides between China and the USA. They have stressed the need to defend their strategic and economic sovereignty on the basis of their own interests, to maintain channels for dialogue and to play a role as a balancing force between China and the United States.
Developing countries have also largely refused to fall into the logical stereotypes and discursive traps of bloc politics and confrontation of camps. They reject the blind wave of condemnation and sanctions against Russia, and pursue their policy of friendship towards China. Peace and cooperation remain the aspiration of the peoples and the general trend.
At the same time, confusion and anxiety on all sides are far from over. Some countries, anticipating an escalation of confrontation and an “eventual war” between China and the USA, are betting on both sides geopolitically, and economically, they are erecting trade barriers and practicing investment screening, industrial relocation and blocking of critical technologies vis-à-vis China, insisting on “dependency reduction” and “derisking.”
In a turbulent world, China remains as clear-sighted and determined as ever. Ten years ago, President Xi Jinping innovatively put forward the vision of a community of shared future for humanity and the Belt and Road Initiative, and since 2021 he has successively presented the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative. These are Chinese proposals for solving global development problems, meeting international security challenges and promoting mutual enrichment between civilizations
An African proverb says: “Alone we go faster, together we go further.” Those who ignore the interests of others will never get far, those who want to rely solely on their own strength by getting rid of others are living in illusion, and those who think only of blocking the development of others will not be able to fundamentally solve their own problems.
In presenting the Global Development Initiative, China advocates solidarity and cooperation. Aimed at rapid implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the initiative identifies eight key areas of cooperation, including poverty reduction, food security, development financing and the digital economy. It has received the support of over 100 countries, as well as the United Nations and other international and regional organizations, as it corresponds to the broad common interests of the international community.
Thanks to the joint efforts of all parties, the Global Development Initiative has come to fruition very well, with many early results to the benefit of different peoples. For example : mechanisms such as the “Special Action to Promote Food Production,” the Global Alliance for the Development of Technical and Vocational Education, the International NGO Cooperation Network for Poverty Reduction, the China-Africa Alliance for Poverty Reduction, the China-Pacific Island Countries Climate Action Cooperation Center, and the Center for the Promotion of Global Development; more than a hundred concrete cooperation projects are on the Initiative’s project list, benefiting nearly 40 developing countries, and offering more than 20,000 training places via 1,000 capacity-building projects; China has launched the world’s first scientific satellite dedicated to the 2030 Agenda, shared its data with the rest of the world, and donated several data products to the United Nations.
As part of the Belt and Road Initiative, more than 3,000 cooperation projects have been signed, generating almost $1,000 billion in investment, creating 420,000 jobs and helping almost 40 million people out of poverty…. The facts prove that what the world needs is not “decoupling” or “broken supply chains,” but open, inclusive, win-win cooperation. China is ready to continue sharing development opportunities with Europe and other countries around the world to promote common prosperity.
Attached since ancient times to the primacy of peace and concord between all states, the Chinese nation has no genes in its blood for aggression or hegemony; on the contrary, it has always sought peace, harmony and concord. Faced with a profoundly restructuring international landscape and complex security challenges, China advocates a common, integrated, cooperative and sustainable security concept, and pursues a new security path based on dialogue rather than confrontation, partnership rather than alliance, and win-win rather than zero-sum game.
Last February, China published the Concept Paper on the Global Security Initiative, which lists 20 priorities for cooperation, including: firmly supporting the central role of the United Nations in security governance; promoting consultation and healthy interaction between major powers; actively promoting the peaceful resolution of burning issues through dialogue; effectively addressing conventional and unconventional security challenges; and continuously strengthening the world’s security governance system and capacity development.
On the question of Sino-American relations, we have no intention of challenging or supplanting the United States, nor of becoming a new United States, nor of waging a “new Cold War” of bloc confrontation. Recently, when he received US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that “the world needs an overall stable Sino-American relationship,” that he is “confident that the two great powers can overcome all difficulties to find the right way to get along in mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation,” so as to “stabilize and improve the Sino-American relationship.”
On China-EU relations, China and Europe have no fundamental conflict of interest. On the contrary, we both benefit from each other’s development, both advocate strategic autonomy and multilateralism, and we have a broad consensus on global issues such as the fight against climate change. China and Europe should strengthen mutual trust, remove doubts through fruitful cooperation, and work hand in hand to inject stability, certainty and positive energy into the world.
On the question of Ukraine, in the document entitled “China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis” published last February, China put forward 12 points of proposals, including respect for the sovereignty of all countries, rejection of the Cold War mentality, cessation of hostilities and the opening of peace talks. These proposals take into account the concerns of all parties and can constitute the highest common denominator for negotiations. China has also made concrete good offices efforts to promote reconciliation and peace talks. We are convinced that there is no winner in an armed conflict and that the only viable issue to the crisis is dialogue and negotiation. We hope that the EU will work with us to promote the earliest possible launch of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, so that peace can be restored to the European continent as soon as possible.
As a Chinese saying goes, “the secret of making a good dish is knowing how to combine flavors.” The beauty of our world lies in the mutual enrichment of civilizations. China is against the dualism of black versus white, and the distinction between superior and inferior civilizations. Through the World Civilization Initiative, we advocate respect for the diversity of civilizations, promotion of humanity’s shared values, commitment to the transmission and innovation of civilizations, and the strengthening of intercultural exchange and cooperation. We respect all civilizations in their differences, and support their right to development. We are convinced that individual countries can find their own development paths and institutional models adapted to their national conditions, and that through human and cultural exchange and cooperation, the radiance of all civilizations will produce a magnificent symphony of splendors.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Humanity is a community of destinies, sharing both good times and bad. More than ever, nations are interconnected and interdependent, and more than ever, they are called upon to work together to meet challenges and achieve progress.
Europe was the main battleground of the two world wars and is the scene of the current conflict. Europe should therefore have a more direct experience and a deeper understanding of the importance of peace and development. As we stand at a critical new crossroads in history, I hope that Europe’s far-sighted leaders will engage in deep reflection, actively play their part and contribute their wisdom and strength to lead their respective countries and the whole of humanity to make the right choice.