Review the Spirit of the September 19 Joint Statement and Work Together for a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Northeast Asia
Remarks by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi
19 September 2011
It gives me great pleasure to attend the opening session of the International Seminar to Commemorate the 6th Anniversary of the Joint Statement of September 19, hosted by the China Institute of International Studies. On behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to extend warm congratulations on the opening of the seminar. I would also like to express cordial greetings and best wishes to friends who have long been dedicated to the lofty cause of upholding world peace and promoting common development.
September 19 is a date that should be remembered. Six years ago today, after working around the clock for a dozen of days with a great sense of responsibility for peace in Northeast Asia, delegates to the Six-Party Talks issued the Joint Statement. It was the first of its kind since the launch of the Six-Party Talks, marking major and substantive progress in the process. Such an encouraging outcome arrested the world's attention, and brought confidence and hope to people across Northeast Asia.
The September 19 Joint Statement is of landmark significance. It is a political agreement and proclamation by the six parties on the overall goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and a guiding document for the six-party process and actions of the parties concerned. It is a concrete manifestation of the political commitment of the six countries to peace and stability of Northeast Asia. It is a result of negotiations based on mutual respect, equality, mutual understanding and mutual accommodation. It is an embodiment of the wisdom and tireless efforts of the six parties, and a hard-won outcome that should be cherished by us all.
Today's seminar is therefore of great significance, as people with vision from various parties are gathered here to review the spirit of the Joint Statement and explore ways and means to ensure peace and stability in Northeast Asia. How to bring about a 21st century that delivers peace, tranquility and shared prosperity to mankind, and how to realize peace, stability and enduring tranquility in Northeast Asia? These are big questions that we need to reflect on and address.
The world is undergoing profound changes and major adjustments. Greater development of economic globalization and informatization as well as the explosive progress of science and technology have made the world smaller and turned it into a "global village". Countries are interdependent with their interests intertwined like never before. In a way, the world has become a "community of interests". For countries to survive and thrive in this context, there is no other option but to respect each other, work together as equals and live in harmony. Peace, development and cooperation has become an unstoppable trend of the times. Confrontation has no popular support and will lead us nowhere.
The history of Northeast Asia over the last century is one of great tribulations. The Korean Peninsula is the only area in the world with the vestige of the Cold War. The North and the South are locked in decades of antagonism, families cannot be reunited, and harmony within one nation has yet to be realized. The Cold War mentality and a serious lack of trust stand in the way of the normalization of relations between relevant countries and affect peace, stability and development of the Peninsula and Northeast Asia. This situation runs counter to the trend of development in the 21st century and must be changed.
To realize the future development of Northeast Asia calls for concerted efforts of all parties concerned in the region. We must reject the Cold War mentality and the concept of zero-sum game. Instead, we need to foster a new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination. While emphasizing national security, we also need to accommodate the legitimate security concerns of other countries. We need to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation, and actively enhance regional security cooperation to safeguard a peaceful and stable regional environment. We need to uphold the idea of mutual benefit and win-win progress, share development opportunities, and steadily expand common interests to promote common development for all in the region and deliver happier lives to people in Northeast Asia.
To realize peace and stability in Northeast Asia, we need to address both symptoms and root causes. Past progress has shown that the Six-Party Talks is an effective mechanism to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and maintain peace and stability of the Peninsula and Northeast Asia, and an important platform for the relevant parties to improve relations through dialogue. The past eight years of the Talks reveals that when the parties engaged themselves in dialogue and worked hard for progress, regional situation would be more stable; on the contrary, when the Talks were deadlocked, the region would see turbulence. The Six-Party Talks is the choice of history. It is in the interest of all the parties to unswervingly move the process forward.
The relevant parties are duty-bound to uphold and implement the September 19 Joint Statement. The Joint Statement serves as an important foundation for the efforts of denuclearizing the Peninsula, promoting the normalization of relations between the relevant countries and building a Northeast Asian peace and security mechanism. China calls for joint efforts and credible steps by all the parties to ensure the early, comprehensive and balanced implementation of the Joint Statement.
As the chair of the Six-Party Talks, China has always regarded peace and stability of the Peninsula and the region and well-being of the people in the region as our supreme interest. China is committed to promoting peace and encouraging talks to help the relevant parties increase mutual trust, improve relations and resolve differences through dialogue and consultation. China is committed to maintaining the Six-Party Talks and promoting comprehensive and balanced implementation of the Joint Statement. Without any selfish interest in the Peninsula issue, China has played a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability of the region and won recognition and acclaim from the international community. As a responsible country, China will continue to play a constructive role by fulfilling faithfully the commitments made in the Joint Statement and advancing the process of the Six-Party Talks. We call for dialogue, relaxation and peace, not confrontation, tension or war. We support all actions that will lead to dialogue, relaxation and peace and oppose those that will undermine peace and stability.
It takes time to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, normalize relations between the relevant countries and bring enduring peace and stability to Northeast Asia. It is a historical process that cannot be achieved overnight. Due to divergence of positions and interests of various parties, we will meet difficulties, obstacles and disruptions in the process of promoting the Six-Party Talks and the comprehensive and balanced implementation of the Joint Statement. Faith is of the utmost importance. The greater the difficulty is, the more faith we should have in the Talks. We must do what is right for history and what is in the fundamental interest of the people in this region, and meet the challenges head on. We must demonstrate utmost goodwill, wisdom and patience, and pursue dialogue and consultation to resolve disputes, narrow differences and build consensus. I am convinced that the process of the Six-Party Talks serves the common interests of all the parties and accords with the trend of the times, and therefore cannot be stopped by any force. As long as all the parties show sincerity and move in the same direction, no difficulty will be insurmountable.
We are pleased to see a new wave of positive interactions for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. We encourage all the parties to seize the opportunity, maintain the momentum of dialogue, accommodate each other's concerns, increase mutual trust and improve relations so as to create conditions for the resumption of the Talks. I am sure that with the firm commitment to the spirit of the Joint Statement, mutual respect, candid consultation and mutual accommodation among all the parties, the Six-Party Talks will regain momentum and produce real results.
We have entered the second decade of the 21st century. Peace, development and cooperation are the trend of the times and represent the common aspirations of mankind. Today, we share more common interests and enjoy brighter prospects of cooperation. Working together against all odds, we will embrace a Northeast Asia where countries respect each other, live together in harmony and pursue win-win cooperation. People in this region and their future generations will live in a world of peace, friendship and cooperation.
I wish this seminar a great success.