Tue, Dec 05, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Beijing gets 300 to endorse Xi as peacemaker


The signatures of almost 300 foreign political leaders on a document praising Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) contribution to world peace have provided him valuable ammunition to counter arguments by those who fear the country’s rising international clout.

The so-called Beijing Initiative was signed on Sunday at the end of a four-day Chinese Communist Party (CCP) gathering that brought together hundreds of political representatives, including Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The document said, among other things, that: “We highly praise the great effort and major contributions made by the Chinese Communist Party with General Secretary Xi Jinping as its core leader to build a community of shared future for mankind and a peaceful and fine world.”

China’s largest-ever global interparty dialogue represented Xi’s latest play for greater overseas clout since he outlined plans in October to make China a great power by 2050.

One challenge facing Xi is overcoming suspicion that China, which already has the world’s second-largest economy and one of its most powerful militaries, would seek to use its growing influence to coerce smaller countries.

The Beijing event showcased a growing willingness to let China assume a leadership role as US President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies and Brexit negotiations undermine confidence in the established Western powers.

While most participants were from left-leaning parties in developing nations, Italy’s Democratic Party, New Zealand’s Labour Party, South Korea’s Democratic Party and Japan’s Komeito party also sent representatives.

“Many political parties in the world are confused and struggling and searching for a new path,” said Wang Yiwei (王義桅), director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University, who was a speaker at the event. “As Brexit and Trump have shown, there’s no teacher of liberal democracy and teachers have made mistakes. There is no universal model of development.”

Xi, who in October emerged from CCP’s 19th National Congress as China’s most powerful leader in decades, told cadres then that the CCP’s party-state model could provide an alternative for developing countries.

Xi on Friday sought to reassure attendees that China would neither import foreign development models nor export its own.

The document signed in Beijing also endorsed his signature “Belt and Road” initiative, saying it “suits people’s interests” in the countries along the route.

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