Chinese President Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy is becoming increasingly accepted around the globe as more and more people realise that “the world is experiencing a profound change that has not been seen in the past century,” marking a significant power transition between West and East, or the US and China.

Hosted by the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC), the 29th Wanshou Forum was held at the Communication University of China in Beijing on Tuesday.

Nearly 100 scholars and representatives of political parties and think tanks from about 20 countries, including China, Russia, the UK, India, Indonesia and South Africa, had in-depth exchanges on the theme “Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy: Rising to the Profound Change of the World Today.”

The forum discussed diverse topics such as the promotion of exchanges and mutual learning among civilisations, the vision of a community with a shared future for humanity, and China’s public diplomacy, which has been mentioned by Xi on many international occasions in recent years.

Guo Yezhou, Vice Minister of the IDCPC, pointed out at the forum that Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy has given possible answers to the question of “how the world is changing, and what we should do,” such as “a community with a shared future for humanity” and “Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)”, as well as the issues of peace, development and global governance.

Stephen Ndegwa Mwangi, a Kenyan scholar at the United States International University-Africa, shared his opinion on Xi’s judgement of how the world is changing. He agrees that the world is experiencing a profound change that has not been seen in the past century, which Xi mentioned frequently at international occasions in recent years.

The international influence, reputation and power of the US are decreasing, and after Donald Trump became president, the situation has further worsened for the US, as well as other major powers in the West, such as the EU and the UK which have been weakened by Brexit, Mwangi said, “which makes the West no longer able to provide the leadership to the world.”

At the same time, China is developing rapidly but still cannot replace the US comprehensively, so the world is demanding new “moral leadership,” he noted.

Many participants of the forum believe that China is confident and has the potential to fill the gap of moral leadership in the world which had been provided by the US in the past, but Chinese experts noted that Xi has never said China would lead the world and replace the US.

“What China can provide is a power to promote and guide the reform of the current international order and global governance designed by the West, to let more countries, especially those in the developing world, get benefits. Replacing the US to become another global hegemony is never our goal,” Wang Yiwei, a Professor at the Renmin University of China’s School of International Relations, told the Global Times on Tuesday at the forum.

The BRI is a crucial measure for shaping and building a community with a shared future for humanity, which can largely improve the current international order and globalisation, he noted.

In responding to the world’s needs, especially from developing countries, the China-proposed BRI has won remarkable acclaim.

Angel Sanchez, general secretary of the Colombian Liberal Party, said that BRI is the most ambitious initiative of the 21st century, and it is the perfect example of mutual promotion and common development between China and the rest of the world.

“Because China’s influence in Indonesia is long and China’s philosophy is similar to the Indonesian one, Indonesia welcomes China to play a bigger role in this region and hopes to have more cooperation with China in terms of economic development and cultural exchanges,” Yili Mumpuni Widarso, a lecturer at the Institute of Social and Political Science based in Jakarta, Indonesia, said to the Global Times on Tuesday during the forum.

There are some negative opinions on BRI, which has been called a “debt trap.” The “debt trap” is a false issue as all the reports came from one single source from Washington DC, said Lemmy Mulaku Nyongesa, from the Africa Policy Institute based in Kenya, who spoke to the Global Times on Tuesday at the forum.

“China should learn how to tell a story to fight against those voices instead of keeping quiet,” Nyongesa stressed.

Worries Over US

Before the G20 summit in Japan on Friday, the international community is expecting China and the US to reach a deal to end the trade war that is damaging the world economy.

Participants at the forum agree that China is not the only victim of US protectionism, and the US is not just withdrawing from its responsibility to lead the world, but also threatening the stability of the globe.

Ricardo Anaya Cortés, a Mexican politician and member of Rafael Preciado Foundation, told the Global Times that the US is not just imposing tariffs on China, but on many other trade partners, including Mexico.

While answering a question about whether the world, or at least members of the G20, should make joint efforts or speak in one voice to oppose protectionism, he said that “All countries that believe in openness and free trade should speak out to oppose the protectionism of the US.”

Under Xi’s idea of building a community with a shared future for humanity, the members of this community should make joint efforts to resolve common threats. Participants of the forum noted that the wrongdoings by the US are becoming threats and troubling the entire international community.