Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies

The concept of ‘Community of Common Destiny’ in China’s diplomacy: meaning, motives and implications

By Denghua Zhang

16th April, 2018 - International relations | Asia, East Asia

‘Community of common destiny’, a new concept in China’s diplomacy, has been increasingly used by the Chinese government, especially President Xi Jinping, on international occasions. Given the paucity of academic research on the concept, this paper aims to fill the gap and examine three aspects: meaning, motives and implications. Building upon the author’s long observation of China’s foreign policy, the paper argues that this concept of ‘community of common destiny’ is vague in meaning and loosely used by China. While initially proposed by China to mend ties with neighbouring states in the context of escalating territorial disputes, the concept constitutes part of China’s long‐term strategy to maintain a peaceful ‘period of strategic opportunity’ in the first two to three decades of the 21st century to further develop itself. However, the ambiguity of the concept poses a main challenge for China to promote the acceptance of this concept by the developing world, let alone developed countries. This process demands more transparency, commitment and concrete actions from China.

Image: Melanie on flickr

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