The fourth key phrase is standing at the forefront of our times. This reflects China's concern for the common good of humanity in 2018. The international system has reached a crucial moment of transformation, and the world economy has arrived at a crossroads. In the face of disagreement, disillusionment and disquiet among countries, China, following the trend of the times, is working actively to forge a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind and endeavoring to make the global governance system more just and equitable. In a highly uncertain world, China has become an important source of stability.
We have looked beyond the changing landscape and made active efforts to foster a community with a shared future for mankind. This vision put forth by President Xi Jinping has won broad support from the international community. Over the past year, this vision has guided our cooperation with the rest of the world on building the Belt and Road, backed by concrete projects. The vision has been incorporated in the outcome documents of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, the SCO Qingdao Summit, the Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum as well as a number of high-level bilateral and multilateral engagements, pooling great strengths toward making this envisioned community a reality.
We have remained steady in a volatile world and taken solid steps toward building a new type of international relations. Over the past year, we have enhanced friendship and interactions with other countries on the basis of mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, and worked to develop a new path of state-to-state relations featuring dialogue instead of confrontation, partnership instead of alliance. We have also encouraged the development of major-country relations based on no conflict or confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. These efforts have made a positive contribution in a world fraught with uncertainties.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a good example of the new type of international relations advocated by China. The SCO's "Shanghai Spirit" represents a new model of state-to-state relations emphasizing partnership rather than alliance. The Qingdao Summit held last June, the first since the SCO had admitted new members, set a new record in terms of scale, outcome and level of participation since the Organization's founding in China. In Qingdao, President Xi Jinping set forth China's approach to development, security, cooperation, civilizational exchange and global governance, and elaborated on the new type of international relations proposed by China, thus bringing the "Shanghai Spirit" fully up to date. At the Summit, China worked closely with other member states to speak with one voice on the major international and regional issues of the day and to make the SCO an anchor of stability in the world and an indispensable and positive force for global governance.
We have remained clear-eyed and made proactive efforts to shape the course of global governance reform. At the G20 Summit, the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting and the BRICS Summit, President Xi Jinping sent a clear message against protectionism and unilateralism. He reiterated China's firm support for the international order and system centered around the purposes of the UN Charter, the rules-based multilateral system of free trade, and the Paris Agreement and international climate action. He also encouraged more inclusiveness and win-win results in multilateral discussions. On WTO reform, one of the focal issues of global governance, China supports necessary improvement and reform to the WTO. At the same time, we believe its core values and basic principles must be upheld, and the developmental rights and interests and policy space of the developing countries must be protected.
The fifth keyword is mission. A strong sense of mission is the driving force of China's foreign policy in 2018. This year has seen a major turnaround of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, as the US-DPRK summit in Singapore broke the impasse of the nuclear issue and three DPRK-ROK summits brought a thaw to the inter-Korea relations. The turnaround, which is the result of the concerted efforts of the relevant parties, is what China has been calling for. For decades, China has played an irreplaceable, constructive role in advancing the denuclearization process and safeguarding peace and stability on the Peninsula. Under the new circumstances, we, committed to preserving the hard-won momentum of de-escalation, encourage the North and the South to seize the current opportunity to improve relations, and support the US and the DPRK in working together to kick off the process of settling the issue. After careful thinking, we crafted a fundamental solution to the nuclear issue that can help ensure the long-term stability and security of the Peninsula and address the legitimate concerns of all the parties. This is the dual-track approach that we proposed and encouraged, which seeks to promote synchronized progress of both denuclearizing the Peninsula and establishing a peace mechanism. Only if progress is made on both tracks at the same time, can the issue be fully resolved and there be any hope of lasting peace.
On the Iranian nuclear issue, China stands firmly by international law and the greater good. We believe the multi-party agreement reached through consensus and endorsed by the UN Security Council should be honored. We will work with the parties to uphold the effectiveness of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and send a clear, united message of preserving the JCPOA and opposing unilateral sanctions.
The issue of Myanmar both concerns China's vital interests and affects regional peace and stability. As a major and responsible country, China has suggested a three-phase process to resolve the Rakhine situation, held two informal trilateral meetings with Myanmar and Bangladesh, and facilitated a general agreement between them on the return of displaced persons. We hope Myanmar and Bangladesh will start the return of the first group of displaced persons as soon as possible, and make a good start in settling this complex issue left from history.
Chinese diplomats have engaged in shuttle diplomacy to advance the political settlement of such issues as Afghanistan, northern Myanmar, Syria and Palestine. Recently, China's 8, 000-member peacekeeping standby force has passed the performance assessment conducted by the UN and is ready to deploy wherever needed. In a word, China will continue to work with all interested parties and meet its responsibility for world peace and international justice.
The sixth keyword is steadfastness. Safeguarding national interests in a steadfast way is the abiding mission of China's foreign policy in 2018. We are resolved to uphold our country's sovereignty and security which are China's core interests. This year, China established or restored diplomatic relations with the Dominican Republic, Burkina Faso and El Salvador on the basis of equality and voluntarism, bringing the total number of countries having diplomatic relations with China to 178 and cementing the international support for the one-China principle. We firmly opposed foreign intervention in Hong Kong and Macao affairs, vigorously engaged in diplomacy on issues relating to Tibet and Xinjiang, strengthened international counter-terrorism, law enforcement and security cooperation, and properly handled the violent terrorist attack on China's consulate general in Karachi. With these efforts, we firmly safeguarded our country's national security.
In order to fulfill our central task of serving national economic and social development and to meet the new requirements of high-quality development, we have fully leveraged our diplomatic and consular assets across the globe to facilitate more sub-national cooperation and the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. This year, events were held at the Foreign Ministry to present Hainan, Henan, Hubei, Shandong and Heilongjiang provinces and the Xiongan New Area of Hebei Province. Through such thematic events, 16 Chinese provinces have shown the world what they have to offer. The Foreign Ministry has also stepped up support for Jinping and Malipo, two counties in Yunnan Province paired up with the Foreign Ministry in their poverty reduction efforts. The diplomatic service must be firmly in play in the nationwide battle against poverty.
Serving the interests of the people is our bounden duty in the foreign service. We must strive to meet the people's aspiration for a better life. The people's contentment and satisfaction is all that matters in measuring whether we have done a good job. That's why we are putting procedures in place to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens traveling overseas. We are also working on legislation concerning consular protection and assistance, and stepping up preventive consular protection for the most vulnerable Chinese abroad, including tourists, students and employees of overseas companies. By launching the "Foreign Ministry 12308" smartphone app and significantly lowering the fees of consular legalization of documents for Chinese citizens, we have made consular services more accessible to our people. These practical steps have been welcomed by the Chinese public and media.
The safety and well-being of every fellow countryman and woman abroad is foremost on our mind. We will never sit idle when our citizens' rights and interests are infringed upon and subjected to bullying. We will do everything we can to defend their lawful rights and to ensure that the world is a fair and just place for all.
Academic experts and friends,
In 2019, we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. It is a critical juncture in our journey toward the great renewal of the Chinese nation and a crucial year for meeting the first centenary goal, namely ushering in a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Looking to the future, peace and cooperation remains a surging trend of the world, and China's development and rejuvenation is unstoppable. We have great confidence in and high hopes about China's future. We are also conscious that as the global situation and major-country relations continue to evolve, various risks and challenges will surely emerge in the new historical context. We will rally closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, thoroughly review China's international experiences in the last seven decades, and focus our efforts on facilitating the central tasks of the CPC and the country. To help usher in a moderately prosperous society in all respects and to subsequently build a great modern socialist country, we will strive to create a more enabling external environment, expand the space of cooperation, and inject stronger impetus to China's development. We will continue to advocate the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind. We will stand firmly for the existing international order, participate constructively in the settlement of hot-spot issues, and deepen international exchanges on all fronts. These efforts will mark a new phase of our major-country diplomacy with Chinese features.
First, we will spare no effort to ensure the success of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF). The BRF will be the most important international event hosted by China in 2019 and a crucial moment marking a new phase in building the Belt and Road. We will make solid preparations and consult all the partner countries. With a focus on project implementation, policy coordination and mechanism improvement, we will build more consensus, chart a clearer course and strive for more outcomes. As General Secretary Xi Jinping has instructed, we will seek higher quality, standards and performance of Belt and Road cooperation. After painting the broad strokes of the Belt and Road Initiative, now is the time to refine the details.
We will also organize the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) successfully. The CIIE and BRF are inter-related and mutually reinforcing. The former represents greater opening up of China, while the latter expands connections with the world. They are China's important, practical contribution to the building of an open world economy. We will work with all other countries to expand common interests and share opportunities through openness and cooperation.
Second, we will make multi-pronged efforts to advance friendship and cooperation with all countries.
With Russia, we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. We will strengthen high-level interactions, follow the strategic guidance of our Presidents, and deepen practical cooperation in all fields to take the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination to a new height.
We are ready to translate the important consensus reached between the Presidents of China and the United States into concrete outcomes through equal and good-faith consultations. In the 40th anniversary year of our diplomatic relations, we will advance China-US relations defined by coordination, cooperation and stability, and strive for no conflict or confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.
We will work with Europe to uphold multilateralism, improve global governance and safeguard international rules and order.
We will strengthen political trust with neighboring countries and expand our cooperation and shared interests. We will contribute to the success of the SCO Kyrgyzstan Summit, the CICA Tajikistan Summit and the leaders' meetings on East Asian cooperation with our active participation, and encourage an early conclusion of the RCEP negotiations.
We will follow a principled approach in pursuing shared interests and the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith in delivering on the agreed outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum and the China-CELAC Forum, which are all important building blocks of a future shared by China and other developing countries.
Third, we will actively safeguard peace and stability in our region and beyond. We will approach hot-spot issues in a Chinese way and play a unique role by proposing solutions to international and regional flashpoints. On the Korean Peninsula issue, we will fully honor our international obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions and, at the same time, encourage the US, the DPRK and the other parties concerned to move forward through a dual-track approach, so that both the complete denuclearization of the Peninsula and a permanent peace mechanism will be achieved as soon as possible.
We will also join hands with the rest of the international community to uphold the JCPOA, actively mediate in the Rakhine situation, and work for the settlement of Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine and other issues.
Fourth, we will take an active part in shaping global governance. We will stay committed to a global governance philosophy featuring consultation and cooperation for shared benefits, firmly uphold rules-based multilateralism and the international system centered around the UN, and support the UN system as a key platform of global governance. We support necessary reforms to improve the WTO while preserving its core values and fundamental principles. We are also supportive of international collaboration to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and an early entry into force and implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Fifth, we will make more active efforts to serve our domestic agenda of reform and development. As we celebrate the 70th birthday of New China in 2019, we will work actively to present the great achievements of socialism with Chinese characteristics and demonstrate the bright prospects of China's national rejuvenation. This will help enhance the world's understanding of and confidence in China. We will use our diplomatic resources to serve China's development by supporting the efforts to diversify overseas markets and cooperation partners. We will stay up to date, continue to provide an effective platform for Chinese provinces to engage the world and contribute our share to winning the nationwide battle against poverty. We will continue to support the anti-corruption authorities on fugitive repatriation and the return of their criminal proceeds, so as to deny any hideout to offenders. We will remain committed to the mission of serving the people, work for the early adoption of legislation on consular protection, and continue to facilitate the mobility of Chinese and foreign nationals.
Academic experts and friends,
China's major-country diplomacy is forging ahead. I hope you will deepen your research on the major subjects of foreign relations, such as building a community with a shared future for mankind, fostering a new type of international relations, and improving China's global partnerships. I encourage you to grasp the underlying, cross-cutting trends in the evolving international system and help develop theories for China's major-country diplomacy. I am sure you will give us stronger intellectual support by devising solutions to real issues in our diplomatic work.