Address by Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at The 14th ARF Foreign Ministers' Meeting
Manila, 2 August 2007
I am delighted to be invited to the ARF Foreign Ministers' Meeting and to exchange views with my colleagues on the situation in the Asia-Pacific and the regional security dialogue and cooperation.
Peace, development and cooperation have remained the general trend in the Asia-Pacific region in the past year. The economy in our region has maintained good momentum of growth, and there is growing interdependence among the Asia-Pacific countries. ASEAN integration has accelerated and cooperation has expanded at both the regional and sub-regional levels. Friendly exchanges among countries in the region have expanded and deepened, and the relations among major countries remain stable. ASEAN, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea have entered the second decade of cooperation. There is good interaction among the ARF, East Asia Summit, Asia Cooperation Dialogue and APEC, with each playing its due role in promoting development and stability in the region. To expand common interests and settle disputes through peaceful means is the shared goal of all the Asia-Pacific countries. Thanks to the concerted efforts made by all the parties involved, the Six-Party Talks on the Korean Nuclear issue have yielded good progress, moving towards achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
On the other hand, we should not fail to see that the Asia-Pacific region still faces many challenges. The acute imbalance in development means that there is still a long way to go to narrow the wealth gap and share the gains of globalization. Local tensions and conflicts affect and even pose a threat to peace and development in some countries of the region. Countries need to work together and with political foresight to resolve hotspot issues. Non-traditional security issues such as natural disasters and infectious diseases are on the rise. There is mounting pressure on energy and resources and ecological and environmental problems are becoming increasingly serious. Under the influence of the Cold War mentality, there is a trend towards building up bilateral military alliances to gain absolute military superiority. This undermines efforts to build political mutual trust, cause uncertainty to regional security and has become a source of concern to people.
The Asia-Pacific is the most dynamic and promising region in the global economy. The evolution of its security environment directly concerns the long-term stability of the region and interests of people of all countries in the region. Upholding and sustaining the hard-won peace in the Asia-Pacific region is an issue of critical concern to all of us.
As a Chinese saying goes, revisiting the past will give people new inspirations. There is much we can benefit from the new thinking on security as practiced in the Asia-Pacific region in the post Cold War era and the growth of the ARF in the past 14 years, as this enables us to steer the right course for security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and follow a sound thinking on security and model of security cooperation.
We should respect and treat each other as equals. The old thinking on security based on security alliance, national strength, deterrence and raw power, instead of bringing security and peace to the world, only subjected it to dominance, conquer, and even conflicts and wars in the last century. Small, weak and poor countries were invariably victims of such policy and practices. The Asia-Pacific region has enjoyed relative peace in its diversity since the end of the Cold War. What has made this possible is that countries in the region have endeavored to foster a new thinking on security rooted in mutual respect and equality. They recognize and respect differences in ideologies, values, social systems and development level, and, more importantly, they have transcended such differences and striven to build equal, healthy and sound state-to-state relations. They have abandoned the old thinking on and logic of security based on mutual suspicion, raw power and imposing one's own values and ideologies on others. They are thus able to work together to enhance dialogue, exchanges and security cooperation. The ARF and Shanghai Cooperation Organization which are non-aligned, not targeted at any third country and do not define friend and foe on ideological ground are good examples of following the new thinking on security.
We should carry out mutually beneficial cooperation for common development. Economic globalization is gathering pace, and different security factors are interconnected and exert impact on one another. Security has acquired new dimensions, and security risks are mounting. This has broadened the scope for security cooperation. The countries in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly developing ones, face growing challenge in their efforts to uphold their security in economy, trade, finance, industries, technology, information and culture and addressing non-traditional security issues. The security interests of countries are interconnected and their security cooperation is comprehensive in nature. This means that in conducting security dialogues and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, we must focus on common interests, respect diversity, strengthen coordination, put differences in proper perspectives and avoid confrontation. To pursue cooperation based on a particular type of values which runs counter to the goal of achieving common security can only hamper dialogue and cooperation.
We should seek common ground while shelving differences and work together through consultation. Both historical experience and lessons show that dialogue and cooperation are an important and effective way to deepen understanding and trust, narrow differences and defuse conflicts. Bilateral alliances and military means by themselves will neither settle disputes nor foster enduring peace. As the pre-eminent inter-governmental forum of security dialogue and cooperation in the region, the ARF has since its inception upheld the purpose of dialogue and cooperation and followed the principle of equal participation, building consensus through consultation, expanding common ground and shelving differences and making gradual progress. By conducting exchange and dialogue on an equal footing, the Forum has enhanced mutual understating, raised the level of comfort and promoted practical cooperation. It has played an important and constructive role in enhancing peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
In short, the new thinking on security, which is being enriched and developed in practice, takes mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation as its core values. It is comprehensive in nature and aims to promote common security, development and cooperation. This new thinking on security and new model of security based on the diversity and common interests of the Asia-Pacific conform to the will of the people and trend of the times, and serves peace, development, progress and prosperity in the region. We should value and be committed to them.
China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and a member of the ARF, is actively involved in promoting peace, development, cooperation and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. We endeavor to strengthen friendship and cooperation with other countries. We have improved relations with Japan. We are deeply involved in regional integration in wide ranging areas and are working to promote harmony and sustainable development in Asia. We fulfill our obligations and have made every effort to advance the Six-Party Talks on the Korean Nuclear Issue and achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and lasting peace in Northeast Asia. We are committed to the ARF dialogue and cooperation and have worked with other ARF members to upgrade such cooperation and make it more effective. We have consistently acted in the spirit of setting aside differences to expand common ground and call for seeking peaceful and negotiated solutions to historical issues and current disputes of interests. Facing profound changes in the Asia-Pacific region and the world, we will continue to enhance mutual trust through dialogue, promote cooperation by increasing trust and achieve win-win progress through cooperation.