Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent visit to the Middle East has put final touches on the country's new diplomatic push and is leading the world's second largest economy back to the world's central stage.
The brief tour to the three nations -- Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran -- brought to a close a globetrotting Year of the Sheep which saw the President travel to 17 countries in less than 12 months.
The number takes the total to over 40 in 34 months.
Pressing flesh and brokering deals, Xi's diplomacy has brought China closer neighbors and distant friends alike, setting a new global agenda for peace, progress, prosperity and stability.
BREAKING FREE FROM THE PITFALL
Since taking office in 2013, Xi has spent 138 days overseas, trekking nearly 400 thousand kilometers across the world.
He has carried with him a vision of a new model of international relationship and put China firmly in the vanguard of the fight against climate change.
Some amiss took Xi's words and deeds for a shift from the long-standing policy of "keeping a low profile" put forward by late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, and spoke of the Thucydides Trap, an academic theory that sees a risk of rivalry between a rising and an established power turning to conflict.
But they have underestimated China's determination to seek peaceful development and win-win cooperation, and to break from past pitfalls of confrontation.
Sino-Russian relations are in the best time of history. In March 2013, just days after he assumed office, Xi paid his first state visit to Russia, the first of many meetings between himself and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Xi then attended the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in 2014 and the 2015 Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square, while Putin joined a host of foreign dignitaries at Beijing's own victory parade last year.
So far, the two leaders have met on more than ten occasions, reflecting the high level of bilateral relations officially defined as comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
On the other side of the globe, some encouraging signs are also visible in China-U.S. relations.
There has been plenty of agreement between Xi and U.S. President Barack Obama. They have worked hard to topple the Thucydides Trap with exemplary cooperation on major affairs such as climate change and the Iran nuclear issue.
They also agreed on their desire for a relationship with "no conflict or confrontation, win-win cooperation and mutual respect."
"The vast Pacific Ocean is big enough to accommodate both China and the United States," Xi told Obama during his U.S. visit last September.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger calls the new texture of relations far-sighted and in the interests of both sides. Harvard professor Joseph Nye, also believes the Thucydides Trap can be avoided if the two treat each other objectively and rationally.
The diplomatic success between China and these major powers testifies to the fact that harmony and balance can indeed be attained through a new type of major-country relationship.
A GOOD NEIGHBOR IS NOT TO BE TRADED FOR GOLD
Neighborhood diplomacy features another important pillar for China's diplomatic layout.
China tops the world in the number of neighboring countries. It shares land borders with 14 and maritime boundaries with six.
A sound and stable neighborhood translates to real benefits for everyone involved.
"A good neighbor is not to be traded for gold," Xi famously said in 2013, as he put forward four guiding principles for neighborhood diplomacy: amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness.
It only takes one look at Xi's itinerary to grasp the significance he pins on neighborhood diplomacy -- half of his foreign visits have been to neighboring countries, where he has repeatedly stressed that the Chinese dream is connected to the aspirations of neighbors who also want a better life, nurturing the sense of a community of common destiny.
"Welcome aboard China's train of development," Xi said in another trip to Mongolia in 2014, offering opportunities and room to China's neighbors for common prosperity.
To make such community a reality, China has proposed a series of ideas for regional prosperity and development, most notably the Belt and Road Initiative, which first saw light of day in 2013.
A trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes and across the oceans, something almost unimaginable only two an half years ago is now tantalizingly close to realization.
So far, more than 60 countries and international organizations have expressed interest in active involvement in this grand vision, and a number of major cooperative projects are underway.
Formally established last month, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is another concrete manifestation of Xi's vision of connectivity across Asia.
It took just two years for the bank to develop from an embryonic idea to a fully-fledged body of 57 nations tasked with financing infrastructure across the continent.
CHINESE SOLUTION -- CHINESE WISDOM
According to Xi, China's role in the world geopolitical landscape is to actively improve the international development system, not to merely participate in and benefit from it.
While pursuing its own development, China has demonstrated its sense of responsibility as a big country.
"We do this not because we are asked by others, but because we want to do this ourselves," Xi said last year at the Paris conference on climate change, leaving no one in any doubt as to his determination to push green development and emission reduction to the top of the global agenda.
Responsibility, cooperation, connectivity: In a world struggling for economic recovery, Xi has offered a Chinese solution to global governance reform.
The 2014 APEC Beijing meetings, themed "Shaping the Future Through Asia-Pacific Partnership," saw members agree on a strategic study of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), marking the official launch of the FTAAP process.
By pledging 20 billion yuan (3.1 billion U.S. dollars) to help other developing countries cope with climate change, China, itself a developing country under poverty-relief pressure, has set an example for the world.
At summits marking the 70th anniversary of the UN, Xi announced a 10-year, 1-billion-U.S.-dollar peace and development fund to support UN work and create a standby peacekeeping force of 8,000 troops.
China also promised 50 million U.S. dollars to the AIIB to support preparation for infrastructure development projects in less developed member states.
As 2016 begins, China is at a new starting line in its race toward the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. As China pursues a new-type international relations featuring cooperation and win-win results, the world will continue to benefit.
Keywords：President Xi,diplomacy,Middle East