Remarks at the Inauguration Ceremony of the United Nations Regional Center for Central Asia on Preventive Diplomacy and The International Symposium On "Preventive Diplomacy and International Cooperation"
Li Hui, Special Envoy of the Chinese Government, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China
Today, the United Nations Regional Center for Central Asia on Preventive Diplomacy is officially inaugurated in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. This is an important achievement of the Government and people of Turkmenistan, who have long committed themselves to the foreign policy of permanent neutrality and who have endeavored to safeguard regional security and stability. This is also a clear expression of the international recognition of Turkmenistan's peace-loving and good neighborly foreign policy in the region. By inaugurating the Center, the international community is looking at Central Asia with high expectations. On behalf of the Chinese Government, I wish to extend my warm congratulations.
In recent years, Central Asia has become increasingly important in the international political configuration. This region is located in the heartland of the Eurasian continent and has a prominent strategic position. This region has rich energy and natural resources, which are essential to the sustainable economic growth of this region and beyond. This region is in the forefront of the global fight against terrorism and narcotics. It has a unique role to play in the global response to non-traditional security threats and challenges.
Since their independence 16 years ago, the Central Asian countries have been committed to safeguarding regional security and stability, promoting economic and social development and strengthening regional cooperation. They have made considerable progress. We are pleased to see that after 16 years of hard exploration, the Central Asian countries have found the development path that is suited to their national realities. I want to emphasize that Central Asia has its unique historical and cultural traditions. It is the top priority of the Central Asian countries to maintain stability and improve people's well-being. The international community should respect the choices made independently by the Central Asian countries and support their efforts to safeguard national and regional stability, develop economy and improve people's lives. The international community should also earnestly help Central Asian countries to overcome difficulties in the course of development, and support them in playing a more active role in regional and international issues. We should also take note that the situation in Central Asia is still complex. The "Three Evil Forces" of terrorism, religious extremism and separatism are rampant in this region. The smuggling of illicit drugs and arms is frequent and transnational organized crimes are on the rise. Poverty, diseases, environmental concerns and other issues are affecting the economic and social development of the countries in this region. As globalization continues, the security and stability of Central Asia also concern the peace and security of the Eurasian continent and the world at large. The international community has an important responsibility to help governments of Central Asian countries to remove the security threats and resolve the complex problems in the course of their development.
Inaugurating the United Nations Regional Center for Central Asia on Preventive Diplomacy is an important step in the institutional reform of the UN Secretariat. It is also a good exercise of preventive diplomacy by Central Asian countries. This Center will help UN Secretariat to mobilize resources and bring into play its potential to make impartial and objective review of the situation in Central Asia. It will help the Secretariat to encourage countries to build political consensus, prevent crises and conflicts from breaking out and promote regional peace, stability and development. China supports necessary and appropriate reforms of the UN Secretariat. China supports the work of the Center and is ready to cooperate with the Center.
All the five countries in Central Asia are China's close and friendly neighbors. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 16 years ago, China and the five countries have made substantial progress in their friendly and cooperative relations. Politically, the two sides enjoy a high level of mutual trust and increasing mutual understanding. Economically, the two sides have drawn on each other's strengths and expanded cooperation. We have close cooperation in international affairs and support each other on major and sensitive issues. China highly values its relations with Central Asian countries. Peace, security and stability of Central Asia serve the common interests of China and Central Asia countries. China will continue to enhance its traditional friendship with the five countries, thicken the practical cooperation in various fields, and work with these countries to uphold security and stability in this region. The establishment of the Center has provided a new platform for China and the five countries to strengthen cooperation and safeguard common interests. China is willing to have closer cooperation with the five countries under such multi-lateral frameworks as the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In two days' time, Turkmenistan will celebrate the 12th anniversary of its status of permanent neutrality. On behalf of the Chinese Government, I wish to express warm congratulations to the Government and people of Turkmenistan. The Center is officially inaugurated on the eve of this important day. This is of special significance. We would like to wish the people of Turkmenistan every success in national development and continued economic and social progress under the leadership of President Berdymukhamedov. We hope that with the concerted efforts of the parties concerned, the Center will operate smoothly, produce positive outcome and make contribution to the harmonious development in this region.