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Remarks by Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui At the Opening Session of the 12th Spring of Diplomats

2013/04/27

Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, 26 April 2013

Vice Chairperson Gu Xiulian,
President Ji Peiding,
Ambassador Nolana Ta Ama, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in China,
Diplomatic Envoys,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

Let me begin by extending warm congratulations on the opening of the 12th Spring of Diplomats.

Since its launch in 2001, the Spring of Diplomats has completed a 12-year zodiac cycle and come to a new starting point. As a unique platform, it will play an increasingly important role in promoting friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and the rest of the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

With ongoing profound and complex transformation and adjustments in the international relations, China's relations with the world are also going through historic changes. It is of great interest to all what path China will take and how it will manage its relations with the outside world.

The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China drew the blueprint for China's development in the years to come. We will double the 2010 GDP and per capita income for urban and rural residents by 2020 and complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects when the Party celebrates its centenary; We will turn China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious when the People's Republic marks its centenary. The Chinese people are working with concerted and relentless efforts to accelerate progress on all fronts and achieve these two goals.

China's development needs a peaceful international environment. As President Xi Jinping pointed out, without peace, China and the world will not achieve smooth development. Without development, China and the world will not enjoy durable peace.

China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, resolutely uphold world peace and promote common development. This is China's strategic choice in line with its fundamental interests, and more importantly, China's solemn commitment to the whole world. The Chinese nation values credibility and harmony and advocates peace. From their bitter sufferings in modern times, the Chinese people have learnt the value of peace and the pressing need for development. China will develop itself by working for a peaceful international environment and uphold and promote world peace through its own development.

China will firmly adhere to a win-win strategy of opening-up. China cannot develop itself in isolation from the world, and the world benefits from China's development. We aim to turn the opportunities of the world into our opportunities and vice versa. We stand for active international cooperation and strive to promote global trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. We believe that a country needs to accommodate the legitimate concerns of others when pursuing its own interests and promote common development of all countries when seeking its own development so as to establish a more equal and balanced global development partnership. China has become the second largest importing country and the biggest emerging market in the world. In the past decade, China imported around US$700 billion of goods on average each year, which created over 10 million jobs in relevant countries and regions. In the coming five years, China will import around US$10 trillion of goods, its outbound investment will reach US$500 billion, and the number of its outbound tourists may well exceed 400 million. The more China develops, the more development opportunities it will bring to the world.

China is committed to deepening all-dimensional diplomacy. We will continue to improve and grow our relations with developed countries and push for the building of a new type of major-country relationship. We will continue to promote friendship and partnership with our neighbors, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with them and ensure that China's development will bring more benefits to its neighbors. By enhancing unity and cooperation with other developing countries, we will always be their trustworthy friend and sincere partner. We will actively participate in international and multilateral affairs and play our role as a responsible major country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

As an important member of the Asian family, China's development is closely linked with that of Asia. Amid complex and profound changes, Asia is encountering new problems and challenges. On the whole, however, the pursuit of stability and development remains the general trend in the region. In 2012, developing economies in Asia grew by 6.6%, much higher than the global average of 3.2%. Asia accounts for over 30% of global GDP and its contribution to global growth have also surpassed 30%. Asia has become the engine driving global recovery and growth. According to statistics of the Asian Development Bank, Asian countries may account for over 50% of global GDP, investment and trade in 2050. Relations between major countries in the region have maintained the momentum of growth, and upholding regional peace and stability remains the biggest common interest of all countries. We have taken new steps in regional economic integration by launching negotiations on the China-Japan-ROK free trade area and on the "Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership". Asia has a more prominent role to play in upholding world peace, stability and development.

China's interests have never been so closely connected with those of the rest of Asia in both scope and depth. China's trade with Asia has already surpassed its trade with the European Union and the United States combined. Our assistance to other developing countries in the region has been on a steady rise, and our mutual direct investment with other Asian countries has been expanding rapidly. China has become the largest trading partner, the largest export market and an important source of investment and development assistance for many Asian countries. With 31.3 million mutual visits in 2012, cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and the rest of Asia have become increasingly close. China has actively engaged in regional affairs and worked with other countries to meet regional challenges, playing an important role in upholding peace and stability in this part of the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

Asia, known for its diversity, faces some intricate and complex problems. To preserve peace and stability in Asia, we need to explore a cooperation model and approach that has Asian characteristics and suits Asian realities. What has happened over the years shows that Asian countries must treat each as equals on the basis of mutual respect and mutual trust, and accomodate each other's comfort level. This is the only way to manage the regional affairs well.

China is open to all forms of free trade arrangements in the region and will continue to increase input and deepen cooperation with other countries in connectivity, economy, trade, investment and people-to-people exchanges.

Recently, the on-going tensions on the Korean Peninsula has drawn wide attention both in Asia and beyond. The issue, as a vestige of the Cold War, is rooted in a severe lack of trust on security between relevant parties. Escalation of tension on the peninsula does not serve the interest of any party, China included. Our position on this issue has been consistent. We stay committed to the goal of denuclearization of the peninsula, firmly uphold peace and stability on the peninsula, and stick to dialogue and consultation in addressing relevant issues. We will never allow an outbreak of war or turmoil at our doorstep, and firmly oppose the move by any country to play up the issue and cause a worsening of the situation. China is ready to join efforts with all parties to uphold peace and stability on the peninsula and work relentlessly towards durable peace and tranquility of the whole region.

The South China Sea issue is another focus of attention. China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its surrounding waters is supported by ample historical and legal evidence. China will firmly safeguard its sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests in the South China Sea. At the same time, we will work with the countries concerned to properly address and solve disputes through bilateral negotiations and friendly consultations on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law. Pending a solution, relevant countries should put aside their disputes and work for joint development. Any move to regionalize or internationalize the South China Sea issue is counter-productive and will only make the disputes more complicated. China stands ready to work with the ASEAN countries to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea and implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in a comprehensive and effective way. As for freedom of navigation and security in the South China Sea, there have been no problem to date, nor will there be any problem in future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

As a non-governmental organization with unique strengths and features, the Association of Former Diplomats of China has worked actively over the past 18 years to advance its purpose of promoting exchanges between China and foreign countries and serving China's economic development. It has made friends with people from all social sectors and actively explored cooperation and exchanges. By establishing the Think Tank on Energy Cooperation between China and Foreign Countries and hosting the Round-table Conference on China-Africa Cooperation, AFDC has served the national development strategy and supported the overall diplomatic agenda. Let me extend sincere thanks to Vice Chairperson Gu Xiulian, President Ji Peiding and all those who have supported and assisted AFDC in its work. I hope all of you will keep up with the efforts and look forward to your new contribution to enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese people and the people of other countries and promoting mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the rest of the world.

Thank you.

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