Why does the Community of Shared Future Resonate with the World?
By Wang Yiwei
When future historians document these times, I believe that the year of 2017 will be described as a watershed for global development and the creation of a community of shared future. At the beginning of 2017, when President Xi Jinping attended the annual meeting of the Davos WEF Annual Meeting, he said that China is both a beneficiary of and a contributor to globalization. Afterwards, he visited the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva and painted a clear picture of what he saw as the community of shared future.
In 2017, the “Social Dimension Resolution of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development” was unanimously approved at the 55th UN Commission for Social Development and the idea of “A community of shared future for mankind” was first incorporated into a UN resolution.
On November 11th, the 72nd UN under-secretary-general and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs adopted two security resolutions: “Further Practical Measures for the Prevention of an Arms Race in the Outer Space”, and “No Weapons in Outer Space at First”. The idea of “a community of shared future for mankind” was once again included in these two UN resolutions.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres commented that: “China has been a central pillar in the defense of multilateralism, and the purpose of practicing multilateralism is to build a community of shared future for mankind.”
As President of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson said of Xi’s vision: “It is the only future for humanity on this planet.”
Why does the Community of Shared Future Resonate with the World?
—A legacy and more: The community of shared future for mankind derives from the principle of equality and sovereignty established by the Westphalian Treaty, published more than 360 years ago, and the international humanitarianism established by the Geneva Conventions more than 150 years ago. 70 years ago the UN Charter clearly defined the four tenets and the seven principles, while the Bandung Conference 60 years ago advocated the peaceful coexistence of the Five Principles of Peaceful Relations and other international relations accumulated through a series of generally accepted principles. At the same time, it has also achieved transcendence: the key words of the community of shared future for mankind are humanity, destiny and community – humanity, to take the world’s responsibility beyond the national identity; destiny, to upgrade cooperation and win-win, reflecting shared successes and setbacks; community, to establish a sense of extended family and to create a common identity throughout the global village.
—Bonds and Inclusiveness：All countries have differences and the world is full of diversity. However, common historical memories, situations and aspirations, which bind every country closely with all others, form a common identity and shape a common future. In the West, there is the motto “All for one, one for all.” In the East, there is the famous saying that “Every form of beauty has its uniqueness. Precious it is to appreciate other forms of beauty with openness. If beauty represents itself with diversity and integrity, the world will be blessed with harmony and unity.” There is a well-known thought expressed by Tagore: “The world get together in one nest”. As an inclusive and integrated human idea, the concept of “building a community of shared future for mankind” seeks common ground while reserving differences. As President Xi Jinping said in the 72nd annual general debate of UN General Assembly, “When the great way is followed, all under heaven will be equal. Peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom are the common values of all mankind and the lofty goal of the United Nations.” The road to the community of shared future is to seek the greatest common divisor of human values and shape the common values of human beings.
——Pragmatic and forward-looking: The One Belt and One Road Initiative is an important starting point for the concept of a community of shared future. If the community of shared future represents China’s contribution to addressing the problems of mankind, the One Belt and One Road Initiative will represent China’s program. The idea of the community of shared future is the sublimation of the community of interests and responsibilities; initially focusing on the surrounding countries, it is the shelter for our life and the foundation for the development and prosperity of developing countries. From the real world to the cyberspace, from traditional fields to the global environment, it aims to build new platforms of cooperation extending into the deep sea, the Polar Regions, outer space and the Internet In the community of shared future, “life” and “destiny” should be combined. “Life” is a solution to the problems of identity, a sense of security, and achievement. “Destiny” is a solution to the problems of development, the present, and the future.
The idea of a community of shared future sublimates the win-win banner of diplomacy for peace and development, seeking world unity, which has become a common value that promotes reform of the global governance system, and a new model of international relations and international order. All people expect peaceful development; to deliver it is the responsibility of all politicians.
In summary, the idea of the community of shared future inherits and promotes the purposes and principles of the “UN Charter”, which is the core principle of business negotiation, co-construction and sharing in global governance. It has shaped the soul of the Belt and Road Initiative. It subordinates the negative sense of “Mankind has only one earth and all nations coexist in one world” to the positive sense that “Share common weal and woe”, forming a new human identity of “you in me and I in you”, and responding to the wish that “The world will be blessed with harmony and unity and all under heaven will be equal.”
The community of shared future is a new model of international relations with win-win cooperation as its core. It aspires to the sustainable development of human civilization, transcending the narrow perspective of nation-state, and promotes the establishment of a new civilized order. This is how we should understand the idea of “a community of shared future” from the perspective of human civilization.
In the present world, the concept of “a community of shared future for mankind” conforms to the general appeal of all countries to take their destiny in their own hands and to follow the path of development in accordance with their own national conditions. This is why it resonates with other countries around the world.
Wang Yiwei is a Jean Monnet Professor at Renmin University of China.
The article reflects the author’s opinion, and not necessarily the view of China Matters.