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Review the Spirit of September 19 Joint Statement and Uphold Peace and Stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia

2015/09/19

Remarks by Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the International Seminar to
Commemorate the 10th Anniversary of
The September 19 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks

Beijing, 19 September 2015

Distinguished Guests,
Dear Friends,

Good morning.

Today is a memorable day, for it marks the 10th anniversary of the September 19 Joint Statement. First of all, on behalf of the host, I extend welcome to the experts, scholars and government officials from various countries present here and I congratulate you on the success of the seminar.

Today, in this very place of Fangfeiyuan Villa, I feel lots of emotions well up, and I believe this is also true for many of my old friends here.

Twelve years ago, right here in this hall, the six parties, China, the DPRK, the US, the ROK,Russia and Japan, sat together for the first time. It was a historic moment, signifying that the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula thus embarked on the right path towards a peaceful settlement. I still keep the photo of the six heads of delegation shaking hands here, reminding me of what happened in this hall.

Ten years ago, also in this same venue, after more than two years of tough negotiations not without twists and turns, an important consensus was finally reached at the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks. And that was the well-known September 19 Joint Statement. The then head of the Chinese delegation is also among us today - Mr. Wu Dawei, Special Representative of China on the Korean Peninsula Affairs. The past 11 years of hard work in this position has greyed his hair.

Anyone familiar with that part of history knows only too well what an extraordinary journey we had traversed and how much time and energy we had devoted to bring the Korean nuclear issue from the three-party to four-party and then six-party talks and ultimately to the Joint Statement in 2005. In the process, every achievement, every step forward, every consensus and in particular, the Joint Statement,did not come by easily and ought to be cherished deeply.

Ten years later, why are we gathered here to commemorate the September 19 Joint Statement? The reasons are as follows :

First of all, the Joint Statement is an outcome of the joint efforts of the six parties. It has established a series of substantial and important agenda items, addresses the legitimate concerns of all parties in a balanced way, and thus embodies the biggest possible convergence of interests of all parties. They include: First, the parties committed to realize verifiable de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner. Second, the parties agreed to normalize the US-DPRK relations and DPRK-Japan relations in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and recognized norms of international relations. Third, the parties agreed to promote economic cooperation in the fields of energy, trade and investment. And fourth, the parties agreed to negotiate a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and explore ways and means for promoting security cooperation in Northeast Asia. If these common understandings can be gradually implemented, not only can we achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but also open up new prospects for peace and development of Northeast Asia.

In addition, important notions that are both practical and very constructive have been established in the consultation process of the Joint Statement. For instance, it says it is important to address all parties' concerns in a balanced manner through dialogue and consultation. Parties should take synchronized, reciprocal and coordinated steps to implement the consensus in a phased manner. And the principle of "commitment for commitment, action for action" must be observed. These notions reflect the spirit of mutual respects, equality, inclusiveness, and win-win cooperation, which represent the trend of the times. They also take into full account the comfort level of all parties. Not long ago, final agreement was reached on the joint comprehensive plan of action on the Iranian nuclear issue. This was possible for many reasons, one of which was the proper application of these useful experience and notions.

Ten years later, time has changed and we have seen new developments on the Korean Peninsula. The Six-Party Talks have been stalled for a long time and many new issues have emerged. Nevertheless, when we revisit the September 19 Joint Statement, we find that it remains highly relevant. It still offers important immediate guidance. And as such, it is still the best solution to the Korean Peninsula issue, and the right way forward for peace and stability on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.

Distinguished Guests,
Dear Friends,

This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the World Anti-Fascist War and the founding of the United Nations. It is a historic juncture for us to build on past achievements and work for a better future.

Across the world, peace and development remain the top priority of each country. Economic globalization and faster spread of information technology have turned our world into an increasingly interconnected and interdependent community of shared interests.

In Asia, the momentum of economic growth and regional cooperation is as strong as ever. The collective emergence of numerous developing countries in this region has become an irreversible historic trend. The prophecy that the 21st century will be an Asian century is turning into reality.

Northeast Asia is an important wing of the Eurasia continent. It is where the continent meets the ocean. It is where the interests of major countries from within and without the region get intertwined. It is home to the such major economies as China, Japan and the ROK that enjoy tremendous development potential and cooperation prospects. It is also one of the few regions in the world that still has the vestige of the Cold War. Admittedly, the Peninsula remains under the shadow of military stand-off. The armistice is yet to be replaced by a peace regime. The cloud of possible conflict and war continues to loom over the Peninsula. Due to the lack of trust between relevant parties, the Six-Party Talks, which was launched only after overcoming tremendous difficulties, is now at a standstill. The implementation of the Joint Statement, which was made possible only after so much hard work, has to be shelved for the moment as well.

In the face of the complex circumstances, all responsible countries need to bear in mind the common and long-term interests of their respective countries and the region as a whole, and seriously think where the situation on the Peninsula and the future of Northeast Asia should be headed.

China believes that, one thing that all parties must and can do now is to reactivate the Joint Statement as early as possible so as to jointly create the conditions, build up consensus, and pave the way for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.

In this connection, China calls on the parties to make the following efforts:

First, the content, principles and notions of the Joint Statement should be reaffirmed. The Joint Statement is a solemn commitment made publicly by the six parties to the world, and it should be honored with concrete actions by all parties. We must not go back on our own words, still less should we break our promises to the international community. The Joint Statement forms the very basis for the Six-Party Talks, and the principles and notions in it serve the common interests of all. We should work hard to carry them out, rather than shelve them, still less deny or overthrow them. Therefore, we call on all parties to take the 10th anniversary of the Joint Statement as an opportunity to make political decisions, and to renew and fulfill their respective responsibilities and obligations under the Joint Statement.

Second, the commitment to the basic direction of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula should be reaffirmed. Whether the denuclearization process could be advanced and eventually realized will fundamentally impact the development of the situation on the Peninsula. Without realizing denuclearization, stability on the Peninsula and peace in Northeast Asia will be hardly attainable. The earlier it is realized, the more favorable it is for all parties. The later it is realized, the heavier the price to be paid. We call on all parties to again send a clear and unequivocal message on promoting the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Of course, denuclearization could not be achieved overnight, and has to be done step by step. In this process, we must take seriously the tremendous military pressure the DPRK has faced over the years and address its legitimate security concerns, and at the same time properly accommodate the justified and legitimate aspirations of other parties.

Third, efforts should combine to jointly explore ways to build a mechanism for peace and security of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. Establishment of mutual trust, improved relationship and pursuit of common security and prosperity represent the surest way towards peace and development of Northeast Asia. To end the state of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula and address security concerns of relevant parties, it is essential to conclude a peace treaty among parties concerned and replace the armistice with a permanent peace regime. In this connection, we hope all parties will stay committed to promoting the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula while actively exploring effective ways to build a mechanism for peace and security of Northeast Asia, so that the two endeavors could complement and reinforce each other and form synergy to eventually realize lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.

Fourth, efforts should be made to effectively uphold the overall peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula. Peace and stability of the Peninsula is in the interest of all parties and meets the shared aspiration of the international community. Outbreak of war or chaos on the Korean Peninsula is in nobody's interest. Any attempt to disrupt the peace and stability of Northeast Asia would be ill-advised and unwise. All parties of the Six-Party Talks are members of the United Nations, hence we all have the duty to observe the UN Charter and the obligation to implement the UN resolutions. We call on all parties to adopt a responsible attitude towards the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia and refrain from any new action that may escalate tension.

Distinguished Guests,
Dear Friends,

It is incumbent on us to promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and it will be a long and uphill battle to uphold peace and stability of Northeast Asia. We must press ahead with perseverance and determination.

As the Chair of the Six-Party Talks, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the most important neighbor of the Korean Peninsula, and a sincere friend and partner that hopes to see the people in both the North and the South of the Peninsula enjoy happiness, China has made devoted efforts and played its due role in promoting the denuclearization and maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula. We are ready to work together with all other parties and the international community to make unremitting efforts and new contribution to this arduous and noble mission. Thank you!

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