“Peace development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom are the common values of mankind and the lofty goals of the United Nations, yet these goals are far from being achieved and we must endeavor to meet them.”
These inspiring words were not pronounced by UN’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, but rather from the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, at the UN General Assembly in New York recently. (1)
Addressing more than 190 country-members on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations, Xi and the Communist Party seem to have taken a further step forward in embracing the increasing global responsibility of China as a global actor.
Xi said China will commit an initial $2 billion to establish an assistance fund to meet the post-2015 goals in areas such as education, health care and economic development. He said China would seek to increase the fund to $12 billion by 2030. Xi Jinping also remarked the firm dedication of China to solve the environmental problem as well as the commitment to the development of a prosperous Africa. (2)
From a historical perspective China’s foreign aid policy goes back centuries to the late Ming dynasty when the tributary system became a great source of stability for the region. China engaged actively in providing aid to neighboring countries for political reasons rather than economical gain, though today China eschews the hierarchical or unequal relations of the tribute system of old, and supports equality among states. However the tradition of Confucian harmony remains relevant. (3)
Xi’s speech should therefore not be seen as controversial or in any ways at odd with Chinese tradition, but simply as re-embracing the Confucian ideal of creating a harmonious society.
As Confucius said, “Of all the things brought about by the rites, harmony is the most valuable”. Analects – 1.12
In this same context Xi remarked that countries should abandon a cold-war mentality remarking that China was “putting justice before interests” in making the pledge.
What did you think of Xi Jinping’s speech? Let us know in the comment section!
To see the full speech of president Xi Jinping click on the following link: