By Consul General Zhang Zhen, Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu
Cebuanos are celebrating Sinulog, Cebu’s biggest and most popular festival. With various religious and cultural activities during this event, people pray and express wishes for good health, good harvest, and well-being. Moreover, the collective plea is for peace and a promising future for themselves and their loved ones as well.
I was moved by the passion, feeling, and aspirations of the Cebuanos after seeing the amazing dancing competition during the Sinulog sa Lalawigan last Sunday. The word Sinulog comes from the Cebuano adverb sulog, roughly meaning “like water current movement.”
Just like in currents and trends of the historical times, our world is undergoing change on a scale unseen in a century. Various problems old and new and complex issues are converging with and compounding each other, posing unprecedented challenges for human society.
Chinese President Xi Jinping propounded 10 years ago the idea of building a global community of shared future. It answers a question raised by the world, by history, and by the times: “Where is humanity headed?”
China held the Central Conference on Work Related to Foreign Affairs in Beijing at the end of 2023, identifying the theme of China’s diplomatic efforts as the creation of a global community with a shared future for all people. This set a noble goal for major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. As we approach 2024, I would like to share the following with the readers in this respect.
All peoples, all nations, and all individuals must unite in the face of hardship and persevere through good times and bad, working for greater peace on this planet we call home in order to create a global community with a common destiny. We should work to realize people’s dreams of a better life by creating an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that experiences lasting peace, global security, and shared wealth.
Pressing ahead with a new type of economic globalization. The growing disparity between developed and developing nations, as well as within developed countries, is proof that the rule of the jungle, zero-sum games, and the “win-or-lose” or “winner-takes-all” mentality have made the gap between the rich and the poor worse.
In order to create an economic globalization that is open, inclusive, balanced, and advantageous for all, nations should work to establish a system of fair, reasonable, and transparent international economic and trade rules; press ahead with trade and investment liberalization and facilitation; and promote further global economic openness, exchange, and integration. This will allow people from all nations to benefit equally from economic globalization and global economic growth.
Following a peaceful development path. The old path of colonialism and hegemonism leads to a dead end and those who follow it will pay a heavy price, whereas the path of peaceful development is the right one for the world to follow. The pursuit of peace, amity and harmony is deeply rooted in the cultural realm of the Chinese nation and runs in the blood of the Chinese people. Only by working together to pursue, safeguard, and share peace can countries achieve their development goals and make greater contributions to the world. Only when everyone follows the path of peaceful development can countries coexist peacefully, and can there be hope for building a global community of shared future.
Fostering a new type of international relations. A new type of international relations should be built on the principles of mutual respect, equity and justice, and mutually beneficial cooperation. Mutual respect means treating people with sincerity and equality, and opposing power politics and bullying practices. In upholding equity and justice, countries must discard extreme materialism and overemphasis on competition, and ensure that all countries have equal rights and opportunities for development. The foundations for building a new type of international relations lie in broader and deeper global partnerships based on equality, openness, and cooperation.
Practicing true multilateralism. The world should be fair and free from domineering practices. China opposes all forms of unilateralism and the formation of camps and exclusive cliques targeting specific countries, and opposes actions that undermine the international order, create a new Cold War or stoke ideological confrontation in the name of the so-called rules-based order. China firmly upholds the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, as well as the authority and status of the United Nations. Global affairs must be discussed by all, governance systems built by all, and benefits of governance shared by all, so that every country is a participant, contributor, and beneficiary of world peace and development.
Promoting the common values of humanity. China advocates peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, the common values of humanity. Peace and development are a common cause. Equity and justice are common ideals. Democracy and freedom are the common goals of humanity. The more advanced human society becomes, the more important it is to strengthen exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations. All countries should treat each other with respect and as equals, discard arrogance and prejudice, deepen understanding of the differences between its own civilization and others, and promote dialogue and harmonious coexistence between different civilizations.
We Asian people have a good foundation for a shared future. Asian countries are closely connected and share a natural bond of affinity. We went through similar historical trials and hold the same dream for the future. Over the past half century and more, Asia, once plagued by poverty, weakness, turbulence and wars, has progressed successfully toward peace, stability, development, and prosperity. This is mainly accredited to the commitment of regional countries to independence, unity for strength, mutual respect, inclusiveness, mutual learning, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.
We Asian people need to join hands for a shared future. In order to make Asia an anchor for world peace, a force for global prosperity, and a new pacesetter in international collaboration, we must work together for sound progress and development throughout the region and to showcase Asia’s resiliency, unity, wisdom, and strength. We need to work together for sound progress and development throughout the region and to showcase Asia’s resilience, unity, wisdom, and power if we want to see Asia become an anchor for world peace, a force for global wealth, and a new leader in international collaboration.
We, Asian people, hope that all countries will reject self-exclusion, embrace integration, uphold openness and promote policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity.
China stands ready to work with neighboring countries. China’s neighborhood diplomacy is based on the principles of amity, honesty, mutual benefit, and inclusivity. It follows the policy of fostering friendship and collaboration with neighbors. It believes in sincerity and mutual assistance; it seeks win-win cooperation and mutual benefit; it promotes inclusivity and mutual learning; and it seeks common ground while putting aside differences.
China is dedicated to good neighborliness, good faith, and amity; it believes in honesty and mutual aid; it seeks win-win cooperation and mutual benefit; advocates inclusiveness and mutual learning, and seeks common ground while putting aside differences.
China and the Philippines are not only close neighbors, but also enjoy time-honored bond of kinship and friendship. The battle against Covid-19 served as the finest illustration of this. China was the first nation to offer the Philippines all of its assistance and support. Since 2023, China is the Philippines’ largest trading partner, largest import source, and largest export market. Furthermore, China has assisted the Philippines in various projects such as bridges, power plants, flood management program, high speed links, drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation center, so on and so forth.
At this pivotal point in history, we have every reason to think that the basic interests of both the peoples of China and the Philippines are served by a solid and stable bilateral relationship.
As we celebrate Sinulog, we are also getting closer to the Spring Festival, also known as Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year, which the 78th session of the UN General Assembly declared to be a UN holiday. I wish the Lunar New Year, the year of Dragon, bring the world to go and ride on the trend of the times and turn people’s longing for a better life into reality. I hope that this lunar new year, the year of the dragon, will see people’s dreams of a better life come true and that the world will move forward and follow current trends.
Happy Sinulog, Cebuano friends! May the year of the Dragon bring you luck and happiness!