Statement by Mr. CHEN Weixiong, Senior Counselor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, at the Opening Ceremony of the Regional Conference on Migration and Development in Asia
(March 14 2005, Lanzhou)
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Today, the Regional Conference on Migration and Development in Asia opens in Lanzhou, once an important fortress town called "Golden City" on the Ancient Silk Road. On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, I would like to extend our congratulations on the opening of the conference, and our thanks to the other two co-sponsors, DFID (UK Department for International Development) and IOM (the International Organization for Migration). Our warm welcome also goes to all the participants from different countries and international organizations.
It is true that the phenomenon of migration developed side by side with the history of human society. More than 2000 years ago, exchange of people and trade of goods were realized between Asia and Europe through the "Silk Road". In the 21st century, with the deepening of economic globalization and advancement of communication and information technology, population movement is easier and faster than any other time. Integration of Europe, regional economic cooperation within Latin America and ASEAN have provided grand platform for population flow. It is fair to say that, in today's world, c'est la migration sans frontiers!
There are two sides of a coin. Migration has positive influence on the economic development. Nevertheless it also has negative effect on social security and stability. On the one hand, regular migratory flow has contributed to socio-economic development and cultural exchanges among all countries, to optimal allocation of talents, technology and capital, and to the cooperation and common development of the countries around the world. Migration could ease the population pressure of the origin regions. In the meantime, it could address the problems in the receiving regions, such as the lack of labor force due to the aging society. On the other hand, together with the tide of large number of migrants, such transnational crimes as the illegal migration, trafficking in persons, smuggling and drug trafficking have been on the rise. I would like to recall one saying that goes: while the waters can bear the boat, they can also sink it. Therefore, the key is how to effectively cope with the challenges and to avoid the negative sides while maximizing the positive sides.
In my view, our work should focus on the following aspects:
First, there shall be good policies. Migrants are precious human resources. Good policies making efficient use of human resources are prerequisites for development. Migration policies are not isolated. Instead, they are integrated into socio-economic development policy, such as employment, education and health policies. During the process of making relevant policies, governments should ensure the political, economic and social rights and interests of migrants, taking into consideration their characteristics, and respect the religious belief and cultural traditions of migrants.
Second, there shall be good implementation. One thousand proposals are not as good as one concrete action. This elaborates the importance of action. Policies and proposals without concrete actions will remain strategies applicable only on paper. IOM has put forward proposals on the issue of migration and development. The key is implementation. Governments will obtain tangible outcome through solid action according to their own national conditions.
Third, there shall be good cooperation. Migration is a global issue. The international community should strengthen cooperation and solidarity on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefits. Developed countries should provide necessary financial and technical assistance to developing countries in their capacity building. International and regional organizations, such as IOM, can play a bigger role in this regard.
Here, I want to touch upon the issue of anti-terrorism. Anti-terrorism is an urgent task of the entire international community. No country can evade the responsibility of fighting against terrorism. Specific and detailed measures should be adopted, without giving any chance and loopholes to terrorists. However, anti-terrorism campaign should not be at the expense of the interests of regular migrants. And the regular flow, peaceful living and working of migrants shall not be affected.
Fourth, there shall be good research. Countries differ in geographic locations, history, cultural traditions and development stages. Drives behind migration do vary. Therefore, it is necessary to carry out in-depth research into migration and relevant new issues. The theme of this conference is migration and development, which is an important topic in the field of migration. Countries should further study the migration issue, taking into account the reality, international situation and its own characteristics.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In this year's annual session of the National People's congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), migration and social development are both important topics on the agenda. China has a vast area and abundant human resources. Chinese government's pursuit of the scientific approach to development that is people-centered, comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable will contribute to the establishment of a prosperous society with harmonious economic and social development and harmonious coexistence of the mankind and the nature.Last but not the least, I wish this Conference a success and all the participants a happy stay in China.