Deng Xiaoping

We Must Safeguard World Peace and Ensure Domestic Development


Published: May 29, 1984
Translated by: Unknown
Source: Deng Xiaoping Works
Transcription for MIA: Joonas Laine


China’s foreign policy can be summed up in two sentences. First, to safeguard world peace we oppose hegemony. Second, China will always belong to the Third World. It belongs to the Third World today, and it will do so even when it becomes prosperous and powerful, because it shares a common destiny with all Third World countries. China will never seek hegemony or bully others, but will always side with the Third World.

Among a host of problems in the present-day world, two especially stand out. One is the problem of peace. Now there are nuclear weapons; if war broke out, they could inflict untold losses on mankind. To work for peace one must oppose hegemony and power politics. The other is the North-South problem. It is very pressing at present. The developed countries are getting richer and richer while the developing countries are getting relatively poorer and poorer. If the North-South problem is not solved, it will hinder the development of the world economy. The solution, of course, lies in North-South dialogue, and we support dialogue. But dialogue alone is not enough; cooperation among Third World countries — in other words, South-South cooperation — should be stepped up as well. Exchanges, learning from each other and cooperation among these countries can help solve many problems, and prospects are promising. The developed countries should appreciate that greater development of their economies is impossible without growth in the economies of Third World countries.

China’s foreign policy is independent and truly non-aligned. We will not play the “United States card” or the “Soviet Union card”. Nor will we allow others to play the “China card”. The aim of our foreign policy is world peace. Always bearing that aim in mind, we are wholeheartedly devoting ourselves to the modernization programme to develop our country and to build socialism with Chinese characteristics.

China is still poor, with a per capita GNP of only US$300. We aim to increase this to $800 by the end of the century, which is a lofty goal. Eight hundred dollars is nothing to developed countries, but it is an ambitious target for China, meaning a GNP of $1 trillion at the end of the century. By then, China will be able to contribute more to mankind. As China is a socialist country, $1 trillion will mean a higher standard of living for its people. More important, it will allow us to approach the standard of the developed countries in another 30 to 50 years’ time. In short, we sincerely hope that no war will break out and that peace will be long-lasting, so that we can concentrate on the drive to modernize our country.

(Excerpt from a talk with President Joao Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo of Brazil.)