Generally speaking, CPC's international work has the following five features: one, more objects and in a wider range; two, more high-level contacts to build up political mutual trust and consensus; three, more contents, like exchanges of ideas on party or state governance and discussion on questions of common interest; four, economic topics that have made party-to-party relations more pragmatic; five, increased efforts on publicity for foreign parties to better understand China.
Contacts with Asian political parties
Increasing contacts with Asian political parties, facilitating friendship with neighboring countries have always occupied a key position in CPC's foreign relations. The CPC has maintained good relations with socialist ruling parties in neighboring countries. The long-standing friendship with the Workers' Party of Korea has been consolidated, and high-level contacts have never stopped. The exchange of ideas with the Communist Party of Vietnam on party and state governance has not only deepened China-Vietnam state relations, but also solved some important issues. The close cooperation with the Lao People's Revolutionary Party has helped the state relations develop on a stable and healthy way. The top leaders of all the three parties have repeatedly visited China, and CPC top leaders have paid them visits. Direct talks between them have helped reaching consensus on friendship to be further deepened in the new era.
The contacts with Japanese political parties have advanced the development of Sino-Japanese relations, helping to reduce misunderstanding, increase mutual trust, and the growth of friendly forces on both sides. The CPC has stable relations with political parties in ROK and Mongolia, and the relations have played an active role in maintaining stability in the Korean Peninsular and in China-ROK and Sino-Mongolian relations.
Along with the progress of good relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China has maintained satisfactory relations with the parties in Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, with increasing higher-level dialogues, a wider range of cooperation, more consensus and mutual trust. The relations of the CPC with these parties have become part of the relations with ASEAN. It is the same with political parties in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Multi-party contacts have become more and more active during the economic globalization and multi-polarization in the world. Regional cooperation among Asian political parties has become more. The CPC has been active in Asian multi-lateral party contacts. In September 2000, a group from the CPC attended the First International Conference of Asian Political Parties held in Manila, then, in November 2002, the second conference held in Bangkok. In September 2004, the CPC held the third in Beijing. Its theme, "exchange, cooperation and development" received warm welcome by all participants.
Contacts with political parties in West Asia and North Africa
The situation in West Asia and North Africa is complicated and full of changes. Regional "hot issues" have kept popping up. Out of the objective of safeguarding peace and stability there, and facilitating the relations with these countries, the CPC has been active in the contacts with the political parties in that region. By August 2007, the CPC has established stable relations with about 50 ruling or coalition parties in 17 countries, plus the relations with the governments, organizations or groups in those without political parties. These relations have advanced the state-to-state relations with all in that region.
The CPC's relations with major political parties in Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, Syria, Israel and Palestine have further developed, and the contacts with major political parties in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Cyprus, Morocco and Mauritania have been established. Members of CPC's Political Bureau, or its Standing Committee, have led delegations to visit them. In return, their major leaders have visited China too. By high-level contacts, the CPC has exchanged ideas with them on significant international or regional issues of common interest. These contacts have also helped the progress of economic and trade cooperation. Representatives from the CPC have been invited to attend their annual meetings or party congresses. Groups from both sides have been seen on seminars or multi-lateral occasions.
By sending delegations to these countries, and also by receiving delegations from them, the CPC has explored for solutions to their disputes. The CPC has made great efforts to encourage related parties into negotiations. These efforts have played a significant role in easing a tense situation.
Contacts with African political parties
Deepening the long-standing friendship and cooperation with African countries has been another key part in China's foreign diplomacy. Before the economic globalization and multi-polarization of the world, the majority of African countries have tried hard seeking a road of survival and development. On China, the biggest developing country, they have placed much hope. For deepening friendship, unity and cooperation with them, the CPC has been very active in developing relations with them, the level of contacts increasingly higher, contents and forms more diversified, and results getting much better. The CPC's relations with African political parties are vigorously developing.
By the principle of equality to everyone, big or small, the CPC has been very active in the relations with African parities. By August 2007, the CPC has established relations of various kinds with over 70 political parties in over 40 African countries, some being ruling parties, some participating in governments and some as opposition parties. The CPC's relations with African parties have become an important part in China-Africa political relations. Since 1980s, members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, even members of the Standing Committee, have been personally involved in the relations with African parties. Many of them have led a delegation to visit them. Many top-leaders of African parties have come to China. These visits have consolidated the long-standing China-Africa friendship, increased mutual trust, input new drive, and laid a solid foundation for the establishment and development of new China-Africa strategic partnership.
The relations of the CPC with African parties have more contents than before. At the challenge from economic globalization, probing for a way to cope with it, sharing each other's experience to facilitate an all-round cooperation has become an important part. African parties have sent study groups to China for theoretical research and economic activities. They have held deep discussions with the CPC about party building and further consolidation of China-Africa party relationship. Their highly targeted study trips in China's local areas have benefited both sides.
The personnel exchange is an innovation in the relations of the CPC and African political parties. From the beginning of this century, many African party people have come to visit China, either as individuals or in multi-party groups to attend seminars on different levels. In return, experts from CPC departments have paid visits to African countries to brief them about China, also learn from their experience in development.
More often than not, CPC delegations have business people in them, and African party leaders, on their visits to China, have often asked to get in touch with China's related departments or business people. Party contacts and economic and trade cooperation have been a win-win situation to both sides.
Contacts with Latin American political parties
The contacts with Latin American political parties have increased fast and steadily with more and more contents. By August 2007, among 166 important parties in 33 Latin American countries, the CPC has established relations with 105 from 31 countries, and initial contacts with 32. Besides, the CPC has kept close relations with multi-lateral organizations like the Christian Democrat Organization of America, the Latin American and the Caribbean Committee of the Socialist International, the Permanent Conference of Latin American, the Caribbean Political Parties and the Sao Paolo Forum.
Both China and Cuba are socialist countries. The CPC and the Communist Party of Cuba are facing similar tasks in construction and development. The relations between the two have been very close, with many high-level contacts. Both sides value the exchange of experience in party building and socialist construction. The exchanges have solved some substantial problems in the relations. New contents and forms are added, and the long-standing friendship is consolidated.
The CPC is also active in developing relations with the political parties in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Peru, Columbia and Ecuador. The relations have helped the state-to-state relations with these countries. By inter-party contacts, the CPC has begun working on some legal political parties, their leaders, of those yet to establish diplomatic relations with China. Initial contacts will lay a foundation for the eventual establishment of the diplomatic relations.
The contacts with Latin American parties have a wider range of subjects, not only limited to the international or regional situation of common interest or state-to-state or party-to-party relations. In recent years, party building and state governing have become new topics when both sides are probing for a more suitable development road. Out of the need of Sino-Latin-American economic and trade relations, when visiting these countries, CPC leaders may sign political, economic, trade and culture agreements on behalf of Chinese government. Party-to-party relations have advanced exchanges and cooperation in other fields.
Contacts with Eastern European and Central Asian parties
After the abrupt changes that happened to the Soviet Union and the Eastern Europe, facing the complicated situation there, by the four party-to-party principles, the CPC has actively and steadily handled the relations with the new and old parties there, trying to establish a new party-to-party relationship. By August 2007, the CPC has established contacts with over 50 parties from 24 countries.
The CPC has close contacts by visits or jointly holding seminars with major political parties in Russia, the United Russia Party, the Communist Party of the Russia Federation, Just Russia: Motherland/pensioners/life and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. The CPC also has contacts with leaders of the Union of Rightist Forces of Russia, Yabloko Party of Russia and the Party of Russia's Rebirth. By friendly exchanges and cooperation, China-Russia strategic partnership relations are consolidated. The five central Asian countries are China's close neighbors. The CPC has regular contacts with their major political parties, Fatherland's Ray of Light (Nur Ofan) in Kazakhstan, the Democratic Party in Turkmenistan, and the People's Democratic Party in Tadzhikistan. These contacts have helped the good-neighborly relations between China and these countries. The CPC has also contacts with political parties in Ukraine, Moldova, and Transcaucasia. It is the same with major parties in mid Central and Eastern Europe, in Romania, Czech, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia.
So far, every year in this new century, delegations from the CPC, headed either by a member of the standing committee of the CPC Central Committee, or a member of CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, have visited the Commonwealth of the Independent States or countries in Central and East Europe and Balkans. Leaders of the parties from these countries have also come to visit China, to exchange ideas with the CPC on issues of common interest, or to exchange experience on party building and state governance.
Contacts with major parties in the developed countries
With China's increasing influence in the international society, more and more political parties in developed countries are eager to know more about the CPC. By a principle of "putting ideological difference aside and seeking mutual understanding and cooperation," also on the basis of being open, equal and mutual beneficial, and with a constructive attitude, the CPC has conducted contacts and to seek common ground and interests with political parties in Western and Northern Europe, Oceania and North America. The results are encouraging. Relations with political parties in developed countries have boosted state-to-state exchanges.
The CPC has more and more high-level contacts with the Socialist Party. Leaders from German Socialist Party, French Socialist Party, Democrats of the Left in Italy, British Labor Party, Australian Labor Party, Malta Labor Party, Austrian Socialist Party, and Spanish Socialist Worker's Party, have led delegations to China. Some of them have established a mechanism for regular contacts with the CPC. Every year, the CPC sends representatives to attend the conferences or holidays of French, Spanish and Portuguese Communist parties. They exchange ideas on significant theoretical issues. The relations of the CPC with Right-wing parties have also increased on a basis of seeking a common ground while reserving differences. French Rassemblement pour la France, British Conservative Party, Australian Liberal Party, New Zealand National Party and Austrian People's Party all have maintained nice relationship with the CPC. German Christian Democratic Union and Italian Forward Italy are interested in developing relations with the CPC. The CPC has started contacts with the European Greens. Invited by the CPC, these parties have sent delegations to China.
The contacts with them are in multiple forms. Besides sending delegations, attending party conferences, holding theoretical seminars, dialogues and study trips on a particular subject are also popular practices. Both sides value exchanges of ideas on world peace, development, multi-polarization, economic globalization and relations of big countries. They also brief each other about their domestic situations. The subjects will also cover the experience in party and state governance, even some sensitive topics like human rights and democracy. The talks are always conducted in a sincere and straightforward manner, seeking mutual benefits and cooperation, never avoiding differences. These talks are a good way to deepen mutual understanding, to reach consensus, and to develop cooperation and friendship.
Contacts with international and regional political parties and organizations
Political parties have become more international in present world when facing economic globalization and multi-polarization. International or regional parties and organizations have often met to discuss about international and regional political, economic, social and security matters, and their role is increasingly more important. Following this development, the CPC has increased its contacts with them, very active in multi-party activities.
With the Socialist Party International, the largest international political party in the world, the CPC has maintained very good relations. In 1984, its chairman, Brandt led a group to China. Beginning from it, the relations have developed steadily. Many times it sent delegations to China. In return, the CPC has sent representatives to sit at its conferences as observers. Talks have been held on international or regional issues, achieving more consensus and cooperation. In 2004, Antonio Guterres led a high-level delegation to China, during which time, he said that the Socialist International took the CPC as an influential and advanced force in the world, an important partner of the Socialist International during the process of setting up a new and just international order. He made it clear that the Socialist International would establish a strategic dialogue mechanism with the CPC. CPC's relations with other international political parties or organizations have also progressed fast. The CPC has sent representatives to Christian Democratic Union's conference and the Sao Paulo Forum and Asian multi-party conferences.
European Parliament parties, as regional organizations, have become ever more active in political life. The CPC has established relations with six of its member parties, among them, European People's Party and European Democrats, the Party of European Socialists, the European United Left/Nordic Green Left and the Greens/European Free Alliance have sent delegations to China.
Contacts in different forms have tremendously broadened the scope of CPC's international relations. These contacts have increased China's involvement in international affairs, made China's voice heard by more and more people, and played an active role in deepening mutual understanding, cooperation, safeguarding world peace, stability and development.
Source: International Relations of the Communist Party of China, edited by Zhong Lianyan, Beijing: China Intercontinental Press, 2007.10