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SPF China Observer


No.51 2024/06/18

The Shape of Community of Shared Future for Mankind as Seen from
Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s Press Conference
at National People’s Congress

Ichiro Inoue (Professor, Graduate School of Policy Studies, Kwansei Gakuin University)


Foreign Minister Wang Yi (Politburo member) held a press conference for domestic and foreign journalists at the second session of the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC) on March 7.[1] Compared with situations in 2012 when Xi Jinping took office as China’s top leader, not only has the US-China rivalry intensified since then, but recently there have also been signs of change in the domestic economy, with the internal and external environment surrounding China becoming increasingly severe. On the other hand, China has recently been advocating the international order based on the United Nations and has been increasingly clarifying its cooperation with the Global South. In this article, I will use Foreign Minister Wang’s NPC press conference as a clue to focus on the Community of Shared Future for Mankind that the Xi Jinping administration aims for, and interpret what kind of world China is striving to achieve today.

1. Foreign Minister Wang’s press conference at NPC

The Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs, attended by the Chinese Communist Party leadership, was held on December 27 and 28, 2023, to discuss China’s future foreign policy.[2] The press conference by Foreign Minister Wang Yi was based on reports from the conference and can be said to have presented a more concrete and detailed articulation of China’s foreign policy perspectives. The concept of a Community of Shared Future for Mankind (CSFM) had already been introduced during Xi Jinping’s first term in office. It was an ambiguous concept initially, but over time, the international order that China aims to establish has gradually become clearer. In the following, I will examine Foreign Minister Wang’s remarks at the press conference, focusing on the CSFM concept.

First, in response to questions about China’s foreign affairs over the past year, Wang said that the Central Asian region and the Indochina Peninsula all embraced the vision of a CSFM, and new progress was made in the joint efforts by China and African, ASEAN, Arab, and Latin American and Caribbean countries to realize the same vision. He also stated that, guided by Xi Jinping’s Thought on Diplomacy, China will open up a new phase with the promotion of CSFM construction as the main focus. Furthermore, he pointed out that building a CSFM is the core tenet of Xi Jinping Thought of Diplomacy; it is how China proposes to solve the questions of what kind of world to build and how to realize it. He also noted that the CSFM concept has already been incorporated into UN General Assembly resolutions, and resolutions and declarations of multilateral mechanisms such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS.

Additionally, in relation to the United Nations, Wang emphasizes that there is only one international system with the UN at its core, and that the UN needs to increase the representation and say of developing countries. Regarding global governance, he said that an equal multipolar world means equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal rules for every nation; certain or a few powers should not monopolize international affairs.

Furthermore, regarding the so-called “periphery diplomacy” with neighboring countries, he said that since President Xi Jinping proposed the periphery diplomacy principle of “amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness,” China has opened a new chapter of good-neighborly and friendly relations with neighboring countries, and is moving towards building a Community of Shared Future for Asia and Mankind.

In response to questions about the Global South, Wang stated that BRICS expansion reflects the collective rise of the Global South and a world evolving faster toward multipolarity.[3] Against that background, he further emphasized that the Global South is no longer the “silent majority,” but a key force for reforming the international order. He said that China was, is, and will always be a steadfast member of the Global South.

In response to a question about “China’s stories” at the end of the press conference, Wang emphasized that China’s stories are first and foremost stories of the Communist Party of China, and that they speak to a truth: when countries proceed from their own national conditions to explore modernization paths, they will together make up a new, colorful vista of world modernization. He declaimed that more foreign friends are welcome to jointly tell the stories of China working hand in hand with other countries to build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind.[4]

2. Community of Shared Future for Mankind and Global South

There are no unexpected contents in Foreign Minister Wang’s statements. However, viewed along the timeline from the start of Xi Jinping’s administration in 2012 to the present, the direction that Chinese foreign policy aims to take is becoming increasingly clear. China’s stance of transforming the international order from being centered on the United States and Europe to UN-centered while garnering support from the Global South, and building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind (CSFM) with China at its center, has become clearly visible.

When China initially joined the international community through its reform and opening-up policy, it made efforts to adapt to the existing international order established by the West, despite feeling uncomfortable with it. However, as China’s national power rapidly increased from the beginning of this century, and especially following the financial crisis that originated in the United States in 2008, China became more assertive.[5] However, up until now, China’s assertions have primarily been complaints against the Western-centric international order, and it has not presented its own distinct world-view as an alternative. In this sense, the CSFM concept appears to be China’s first proposal for a new vision of international order at the global system level.

When Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, China’s outlook on both domestic and international environments was optimistic. This optimism was based on a robust economy and relatively good relations with the United States. During the era of Hu Jintao, the priorities of China’s foreign relations were as follows: Major countries are the key, neighboring countries are the priority, developing countries are the foundation, and multilateral diplomacy is the new stage. This meant that relations with the United States were prioritized first, followed by relations with neighboring Asian countries, and developing nations in other regions. However, after Xi Jinping’s administration took office, the priority in foreign policy shifted, placing neighboring countries and developing nations ahead of major-power relations.[6] Today, under the premise that significant improvement in the contentious US-China relationship is unlikely in the near future, China has clearly adopted a stance that prioritizes the Global South. China’s rhetoric of a UN-centered world order is intertwined with its emphasis on the Global South. Reflecting the voices of numerous developing countries, which constitute a majority of the global community in number, China advocates transforming the existing Western-centric international order mainly through the United Nations. The three new initiatives proposed recently by Xi Jinping himself -- the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, and the Global Civilization Initiative -- can be seen as efforts to give substance to the CSFM concept through China’s leadership.

The envisioned CSFM that China aims for represents an international order characterized by the combination of China as a prominent major power and small to medium-sized developing countries, primarily in Asia, which are expected to achieve economic growth in the future. Historically, in Europe, countries of similar scale have repeatedly engaged in conflict and cooperation, creating horizontal international relations. On the other hand, in East Asia, up until modern times, there were no countries with equivalent national power to rival China, and such an environment in the region has fostered a view of vertical international relations in China. The equal international relations that China advocates are primarily aimed at achieving parity with the United States. However, considering China’s actual behavior thus far, it is difficult to envision an equal and multipolar international relationship between China and other small to medium-sized countries. The Chinese term “周辺” (zhoubian), which refers to neighboring Asian countries, inherently oozes out a China-centric, vertical world-view. The order based on the United Nations and international law that China advocates is selectively utilized as a concept ignoring the liberal norms behind it, originally developed by the West, and focusing solely on the aspects acceptable to China.

Will the CSFM concept be accepted in the future as a new China-led international order, replacing the existing “LiberalInternational Order” led by the West? Today, indeed, China appears to be increasingly occupying leadership positions in the United Nations and other specialized agencies, seemingly gaining a certain level of confidence. Although the amount of bilateral financial aid under the Belt and Road Initiative has decreased compared with previous periods,[7] the reality is that there is no other country capable of demonstrating economic presence in many Global South nations in place of China. Despite the current economic difficulties, there does not appear to be any significant change in China’s foreign policy approach in the near term.

The CSFM led by China represents an international order centered around China, driven by the Chinese Communist Party under Xi Jinping with a policy of strengthening ideological tone Many developing countries, having experienced colonization by Western powers, harbor resistance to the imposition of Western values and consequently have limited sympathy for the Western-led international order. On the other hand, the Global South does not exist as a single cohesive entity in reality. Whether countries in the Global South align with China or the West is driven more by pragmatism than by ideology.[8]

3. Community of Shared Future for Mankind as “China’s Stories”

The Community of Shared Future for Mankind (CSFM) aimed for by the Xi Jinping administration appears to be gradually taking shape. Nevertheless, questions remain as to whether it can truly be considered a new international order with substance. To support a new order, it is necessary not only to rely on raw hard power but also to accumulate practices widely supported by the international community in various areas of global governance. However, during the Trump administration, when the United States scaled back its commitment to the international community, China had a perfect opportunity to fill the void and assert its presence. Yet, there was little effective action taken by China.[9] Rather than seeing the CSFM as an attempt to construct a new international order, it is more appropriate at this point to view it as part of China’s assertion of discourse power, aiming to enhance Beijing’s international influence through the Chinese Communist Party’s narratives -- in other words, as “China’s stories.”[10]

As seen in Wang Yi’s recent press conference, expressions such as “the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core” and “Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy” have been increasingly emphasized in recent years. Considering the current policy-making process in China, where Xi Jinping has consolidated his power, it can be inferred that for policies promoted by Xi, such as the CSFM, an “echo chamber” phenomenon is occurring among loyal senior administration officials, where the same sound is reverberating in a closed room.[11] As long as this administration continues, the CSFM concept will likely keep echoing repeatedly, regardless of internal and external changes. On the other hand, given the less optimistic internal and external environment, it is anticipated that China’s future external behavior will inevitably be more opportunistic, advancing where possible, rather than following a coherent global strategy. When assessing the future of the CSFM, it is more important to focus on China’s capabilities and actual actions rather than its rhetoric.

1 “Press Conference for the Second Session of the 14th National People’s Congress” (People’s Daily Online), March 7, 2024 (, last accessed on May 2, 2024)

2 “The Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs was held in Beijing: Xi Jinping delivered an important address at the Conference” (Xinhuanet), December 28, 2023 (, last accessed on May 2, 2024). It is worth noting that the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs was also held during Jiang Zemin’s era in 1991, but it is only since 2006 during the Hu Jintao administration that it has come to be held at a high level -- as seen today -- with the participation of all members of the Politburo Standing Committee. Under the Xi Jinping administration, the conference has been held three times: in November 2014 during his first term, in June 2018 during his second term, and this time marks the third.

3 BRICS, comprising the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, approved the addition of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia as new members at its summit meeting in August 2023. As a result, the BRICS membership expanded to 10 countries in January 2024.

4 The above is from the “Press Conference for the Second Session of the 14th National People’s Congress.” As for Japanese translation, the following was used for reference: “Oki gaiko bucho no dai 14-ki zenjindai dai 2-kai kaigi deno kisha kaiken” (Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s press conference for the second session of the 14th National People’s Congress), Chugoku naigai doko (China’s domestic and overseas trends), pp. 5-24, No. 1545, Issue 8, Volume 48, 2024, Radio Press

5 There are many arguments regarding China’s perception of international order, with the following being one of representative examples: Shinji Yamaguchi, “Chugoku no kokusai chitsujyo kan: Sentakuteki jyuyo kara ruru settei wo meguru kyoso e” (China’s views on international order: From selective participation to competition over rule-making), The Journal of International Security, pp. 48-67, Issue 4, Volume 45, 2018

6 Kazuyuki Suwa, “Zenjindai go no chugoku gaiko” (China’s post-NPC diplomacy), Views on China, The Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, May 22, 2014 (, finally confirmed on May 2, 2024)

7 Naohiro Kitano, “China’s Foreign Aid: Current Status and Future Challenges,” JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development, October 2018 (, finally confirmed on May 2, 2024)

8 Yu Jie, “Global South is moving toward the center of Chinese Foreign Policy,” NIKKEI Asia, March 19, 2024 (, accessed on May 2, 2024).

9 Elizabeth Economy, The World According to China (MA: Polity Press, 2022), p.173.

10 For “discourse power” advocated by China, please refer to the following: Seiichiro Takagi, “Chugoku gaiko no shin-kyokumen: Kokusai “wagoken” no tsuikyu” (A new aspect of Chinese diplomacy: Pursuit of the international “discourse power”), The Aoyama Journal of International Politics, Economics and Communication, No. 85, 2011; Naoko Eto, “Shu kinpei seiken no “wago taikei kensetsu” ga mezasu mono: Fuhenteki kachi heno chosen to naruka” (What the Xi Jinping administration’s “construction of discourse system” aims for: A challenge to universal values?, Views on China, The Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, 2017 (, finally confirmed on May 2, 2024)

11 Comment by Steve Tsang, Professor, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London: “The Political Thought of Xi Jinping,” CSIS China Power Project, March 28, 2024 ( Accessed on May 2,2024).

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