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Preparing One's Self to Become an Excellent Diplomat
--Presentation by Chinese Ambassador to Ghana Sun Baohong at the 7th Session of GIMUN conference
2016/01/18
 

Mr. Philip Gyamfi, Executive Chairman of the GIMUN Team,

Teachers and Students,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning!

It gives me great pleasure to deliver a lecture for the young delegates participating in the 7th Session of Ghana International Model UN conference. This is my first time to speak at the "General Assembly". Let me begin by extending my sincere gratitude to Mr. Gyamfi for your warm invitation.

The topic of my lecture today is "Preparing One's Self to Become an Excellent Diplomat". I am happy to see that so many young African talents show their interests in diplomacy. Compared with resorting to force, diplomacy is always a more preferable and adorable way to resolving conflicts. In history, numerous excellent diplomats came to the fore. While defending national interests and serving national development, they also left a deep personal imprint on history. The Austrian diplomat Klemens Metternich forged the "Metternich System" and thereby maintained balance among European countries and protected peace in Europe for over 30 years. The Prussian diplomat Bismark, through skillful maneuver, led the unification process of Germany. The US diplomat Benjamin Franklin not only knew how to catch lightening with a kite, but also contributed to the conclusion of the Treaty of Alliance with France and the independence of US at large.

In the history of China, there are also excellent diplomats, as numerous and brilliant as stars in the sky. When I was still in primary school, a text titled "Yan Zi's Visit to the State of Chu" helped me establish interests in diplomacy. I'd like to share this story with you. More than 2,500 years ago, at the end of the Spring and Autumn Period of ancient China, the Prime Minister of the State of Qi Mr. Yan Zi visited the State of Chu. The King of Chu and his officials tried to humiliate Yan Zi and the State of Qi. Yan Zi was short. When he arrived at the court of Chu, he was led to a temporarily-made small side entrance, which was obviously an insult. Yan Zi refused to enter and said to the official, "If I visit a dog kingdom, I should go through the dog entrance. Now, I come to Chu, should I go through this gate?" The official then took him through the main entrance. When Yan Zi entered the court, the King of Chu asked, "Aren't there any talented people in Qi? If there are, why have they sent you here?" Yan Zi answered, "We have our own rules for envoys. Capable envoys visit valuable kingdoms; incapable ones visit valueless kingdoms. I am the most incapable one." During the banquet, a thief in manacles who was said to come from Qi was hauled across the doorway of the banquet hall, and the King said to Yan Zi, "Are your people naturally good at stealing?" Yan Zi replied, "The orange trees grown in the south produce sweet and juicy fruits, while those grown in the north only produce sour and bitter fruits. Similarly, people don't steal when living in Qi. But when they come to Chu, they become thieves. Perhaps it is the environment of Chu that is conducive to stealing." The King had nothing to do but apologize to Yan Zi. The eloquence and wisdom of Yan Zi sowed the seeds of love towards diplomacy in my heart.

As to why you are interested in diplomatic work, I think the reasons vary. Some may think that it is a decent job with a relatively high salary. You can dress nicely and attend the parties of the upper class from now and then. What you do is a high-end job. Some may think that being a diplomat can follow the footprints of the former great diplomats, witness history with his or her own eyes, and even earn a place in the history. Some may think that a diplomat can appreciate colorful exotic cultures, expand the horizon and enrich his or her life. Actually, any reason is understandable, but does not reflect the full picture. The true story is that, the diplomats, while doing the high-end job, are engaged more with the down-to-earth work. In the diplomatic arena, there are some radiant diplomats, but more diplomats are unknown and making contributions behind the scenes. The diplomats, of course, can appreciate the exotic culture and scenery, but they also endure the challenges of altitude sickness, freezing coldness, conflicts, wars or epidemics. If all the challenges I list here will not change your commitment to the diplomatic work, well, I'd like to say, welcome to join the diplomats team and be my colleague.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In any country, being a diplomat is a sacred and sublime job. The diplomats, undertaking special and important missions, are representing the country and government to fulfill obligations. They should protect and defend the national interests and dignity with their words and deeds. Therefore, harsh standards are applied in the selection of diplomats among all the countries. In China, the diplomats should meet the requirements set up by late Premier Zhou Enlai, that is, "unswerving loyalty, mastery of policies, professional competency and observance of discipline", and the core values of diplomats featured by "loyalty, responsibility and devotion". As Chinese Ambassador, I wish to take China as an example and share my views on some essential criteria of excellent diplomats. I think these requirements are widely applicable.

First, a diplomat should be loyal to his motherland. Diplomacy is an instrument to protect and expand the interests of a country. Loyalty to motherland is a fundamental requirement for a diplomat. A diplomat should always put the national interests first and serve the broad interests of the overall diplomatic work and national development. An envoy named Su Wu in the Han Dynasty of ancient China, who had been imprisoned and forced to be a shepherd in freezing weather in Huns for 19 years, still bore in mind his mission and maintained his loyalty to his motherland. In 1919, Mr. Gu Weijun, a Chinese diplomat, denounced Japan's unreasonable request at the Paris Peace Conference, refused to sign the humiliating Treaty of Versailles and defended the national interests. Diplomats of New China, despite the constraints of extremely limited resources, worked arduously without complaints and tirelessly promoted the development of the diplomatic work until China finally broke the isolation and blockade by the West and deeply merged into the international community. Nowadays, Chinese diplomats are devoted to upholding China's sovereignty, security and development interests, fostering a more enabling international environment for peaceful development, maintaining and sustaining the important period of strategic opportunity for China's development and ensuring the realization of the "two centenary goals" and the Chinese dream of the great renewal of the Chinese nation.

Second, a diplomat should be diligent in learning. Diplomacy is a profound art with high principles and flexibility. Only by continuously learning can one grasp the laws of it and do a great job. Under the new situation, the contents of diplomacy are ever-expanding and thereby pose higher requirements on the caliber and competence of the diplomats. Only by continuous learning can we meet the requirements of the development of diplomatic work. Diplomats should master the knowledge of diplomacy, be familiar with the national and social conditions of the resident country, and grasp the policies of the motherland. By doing that, the diplomats can grasp all-round conditions of the resident country, find the needs and concerns of the resident country, strengthen mutual understanding and trust, put forward pragmatic suggestions, conduct diplomatic works effectively, step up cooperation, and finally get win-win results.

Third, a diplomat should be good at communicating. Diplomacy is much knowledge of communication. Sound communications skills can help strengthen mutual understanding and trust, dissolve disputes, reach consensus and forge friendship. The effectiveness of communication is based on your knowledge of others, yourself and the overall situation. In the Warring States Period of ancient China, Mr. Zhang Yi, the great diplomat of the State of Qin, could always dissolve the anti-Qin alliance by his insight into the contradiction among the other 6 states and the overall landscape of the period, when the six states plotted to resist Qin. Chinese late Premier Zhou Enlai was superb at communicating. When Premier Zhou participated in the Bandung Conference in 1955 and faced the widespread hostility and misunderstanding towards New China, he mapped out the principle of "seeking common ground while shelving differences", and reaped endorsement of the participating countries. Premier Zhou also conducted a 10-state visit in Africa, during which he comprehensively expounded the policies of New China, dispelled the misunderstanding towards China and enhanced the unity between China and Africa. Sound communication skills are necessary for diplomats.

Fourth, a diplomat should be ready to make huge sacrifice. Nearly half of a diplomat's career will be spent abroad. Many diplomats are working in harsh conditions, enduring tough natural environment, nuclear contamination, terror attacks and even war. Some of them are without the companion of families. Nowadays, the tasks of China's diplomacy are more onerous than before. We work to build a new model of major-country relationship between China and US, ensure the high-level development of China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership, build China-EU partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization. We put forward and practice a neighborhood policy featuring amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness as well as the guideline on China's relations with Africa featuring sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, and strengthen our unity and cooperation with emerging market countries and developing countries. We roll out and promote initiatives such as "Belt and Road", Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. We set up Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), New Development Bank of BRIC countries, Silk Road Fund as useful complements to the existing economic and financial arrangements. We handle more than 60,000 cases of consular protection and services every year to protect the legitimate interests of overseas Chinese. All of these can't be achieved without the sacrifices of our diplomats.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As to diplomacy, you may have heard a saying, "Weak countries have no diplomacy to speak of". With regard to that, China once had a very bitter experience. China used to be one of the most powerful countries throughout most of the history. The Chinese nation has made remarkable contribution to the progress of human civilization. Since modern times, China's overall strength had been on decline and China suffered foreign invasions by cannons and warships of western powers, and went through a Century of Humiliation. Facing the threat of force, the government of Qing Dynasty had nothing to do but sign all the humiliating and unequal treaties. In 1895, the Qing government lost in the First Sino-Japanese War waged by Japan and was forced to cede Taiwan to Japan. This became the most painful memory of the Chinese nation. The idiom "lagging behind leaves one vulnerable to attacks" has urged generations of Chinese diplomats to strive for the prosperity of their motherland.

The idioms such as "weak countries have no diplomacy to speak of", "lagging behind leaves one vulnerable to attacks" take effect under the unjust and irrational international and political order. China, due to the past painful experience, cherishes peace and opposes the practice of the big bullying the small and the strong lording over the weak, and proposes to shape a new international order which is more just and rational. We are firm in our position that all countries, regardless of their size, strength and level of development, are equal members of the international community. Today, great changes have taken place in the world architecture and the international society is increasingly becoming a community of shared destiny with each having a stake in others' future. The international affairs are more complicated, with which no individual country or group can cope. Eyeing the overall interests of mankind, we initiate a new concept featuring common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. We advocate the development path characterized by equity, openness, comprehensiveness and innovation, and the building of a new type of international relations underpinned by win-win cooperation. We have contributed the Chinese perspective, thinking and wisdom to the shaping of a more just and rational international order and reaped wide support.

The Chinese side is committed to making China-Africa relations a model in building a new type of international relations underpinned by win-win cooperation. Last December, the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) took place in South Africa. Both Chinese and African sides agreed to upgrade China-Africa relationship to a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership, strengthen the five major pillars featuring "political equality and mutual trust, win-win economic cooperation, mutually enriching cultural exchanges, mutual assistance in security, and solidarity and coordination in international affairs", and implement ten cooperation plans covering industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, financing, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction, public health, cultural and people-to-people exchanges as well as peace and security. To ensure the successful implementation of these ten cooperation plans, China decided to provide a total of USD 60 billion of funding support, injecting strong impetus into the realization of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Africa. Now, both Chinese and African diplomats are endeavored to implement the follow-up actions. We hope that the "early harvest" can benefit Ghana as soon as possible.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the process of realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the world also needs African perspective, wisdom and design. The African continent has contributed two Secretaries-General, Boutros-Ghali and Kofi Annan to the world. Both of them have made important contribution during their term. The current era is one in which you can fully exhibit your talents. I hope that all the students present today can study hard and practice fearlessly to enrich your talents. I also wish that you would become an excellent diplomat soon and contribute your share to the interests of your motherland, Africa and mankind at large.

Thank you!

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