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Address by Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong at the Opening Ceremony of the International Workshop on Information and Cyber Security

2014/06/05

Beijing, 5 June 2014

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

To begin with, on behalf of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), I would like to welcome you to this workshop co-hosted by the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament of the MFA and the UN Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific. Information and cyber security are hotly-debated issues on the international agenda. They are strategic and cutting-edge issues that touch upon many areas. I hope delegates will make full use of this workshop to share policies, practices and experience on global cyber security, an issue of shared interest, and explore solutions to it.

I also want to thank the UN for its efforts to make this workshop possible. China always values its cooperation with the UN and supports the UN in playing an important role in international affairs. This is the first time for China to co-host with the UN an international workshop on cyber security. I believe it will help to build international consensus on cyber security.

Distinguished Guests,

The fast growth of the information and communication technology (ICT) has exerted profound impacts on all aspects of social and economic life of mankind, and offered brand new digital opportunities for the advancement of human civilization. But at the same time, it has also brought unprecedented challenges. Cyber crime and terrorism have been on the rise. The massive-scale surveillance activities by an individual country have severely infringed on other countries' sovereignty and their citizen's privacy. Cyber attacks and militarized tendency in cyber space can diminish international security and mutual trust, and the imbalanced development of the Internet worldwide needs to be corrected in a timely way.

Cyber space is a new frontier that deserves our special care. The international community has a shared responsibility to maintain security, stability and prosperity in cyber space. To this end, we need to uphold the following principles:

First, the principle of peace. Cyber space is one of connectivity. Countries are bound by intertwined interests, have high stakes in each other and form a community of common destiny in cyber space. Mankind does not need a new battlefield. A peaceful and tranquil cyber space is in the interest of all countries. That is why we should discard the zero-sum mentality and Cold War ideology, and foster a new concept of security featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination. We should seek our own security through common security and on the basis of full respect for other countries' security, and ward off militarized tendency and arms race in cyber space.

Second, the principle of sovereignty. Development of cyber space has not changed the basic norms governing international relations that are anchored in the UN Charter. The principle of state sovereignty applies also to cyber space. The sovereignty principle in cyber space includes at least the following factors: states own jurisdiction over the ICT infrastructure and activities within their territories; national governments are entitled to making public policies for the Internet based on their national conditions; no country shall use the Internet to interfere in other countries' internal affairs or undermine other countries' interests. Upholding the principle of sovereignty in cyber space not only reflects governments' responsibilities and rights to administer cyber space in accordance with law, but also enables countries to build platforms for sound interactions among governments, businesses and social groups. This will in turn foster a healthy environment for the growth of information technology and international exchange and cooperation.

Third, the principle of co-governance. As the Internet is open to everyone, it needs to be built and managed by all. The governance of the Internet is an important part of global governance. The international community should work together to build a global Internet governance system that is fair and equitable. In this process, the important outcomes of the two phases of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) should be earnestly implemented. And the principles of multilateralism, democracy and transparency should be upheld, so that the Internet will be a place of open resources and shared responsibilities and is governed through cooperation.

Fourth, the principle of universal benefit. The Internet is a strong driving force for world economic growth and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and takes an important place in the future global development agenda. We need to advocate the concept of mutual benefit and encourage bilateral, regional and international development cooperation. In particular, we need to increase assistance to developing countries and help them bridge the "digital divide". Efforts should be made to promote universal access to the Internet, enable everyone to benefit from the opportunities brought by the Internet's development and share in its achievements, and ensure that we meet the goal of building a people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented information society set at the WSIS.

Distinguished Guests,

To meet this goal would be impossible without the joint efforts of the international community. China believes that relevant international efforts should be focused on the following areas.

First, we need to be committed to dialogue and cooperation. Amidst the frequent occurrence of incidents in cyber space, parties concerned should take a constructive approach, engage in dialogue on the basis of mutual respect and trust, and resolve differences through cooperation. An individual country has exercised double standards on the cyber issue, drawn lines out of its selfish interests and concocted "regulations" only applicable to other countries. We express strong concerns over this. Instead of reflecting on its behaviors that undermine the sovereignty of other countries and privacy of citizens, it has painted itself as a victim and made groundless accusations against or defamed other countries. This kind of hypocritical and hegemonic behaviors must be corrected.

Second, we need to formulate international norms accepted by all countries. Under current circumstances, to establish a relevant international framework of norms to regulate behaviors of various parties is an important step towards keeping cyber space in order, boosting confidence of various parties and achieving common security. We should continue to study how to apply existing international laws to cyber space and at the same time actively explore new international norms that accord with features of cyber space, including Norms of Responsible Behaviors by States. We may take a gradual approach and address easier issues first before moving to difficult ones. China, Russia and some other countries submitted to the UN General Assembly the International Code of Conduct for Information Security in 2011 and we are ready to work with other sides for its improvement.

Third, we need to ensure participation of all parties. The establishment of a new-type cooperative relationship between governments and other stakeholders will facilitate equal-footed participation in discussions and enable them to play their respective roles and jointly foster global awareness of cyber security. We need to ensure the inclusiveness and openness of relevant international processes, strengthen the representation of developing countries and accommodate their legitimate concerns.

Distinguished Guests,

The 21st century is an era of the Internet and IT application. As a major cyber state with 618 million Internet users, China attaches great importance to cyber security and IT application and is committed to improving its level of cyber security. In February, China established the central leading group on internet security and informatization, making possible unified leadership and effective enforcement in the work of cyber security. At the first meeting of the leading group, President Xi Jinping put forward the ambitious goal of turning China into a strong cyber state, which is an important part of the Chinese people's efforts to realize the Chinese dream. As President Xi said, the Chinese dream is about the pursuit of peace and happiness and devotion to the world. China has always been contributing its part to building and maintaining cyber space and committed to working with the rest of the international community to create a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyber space. We are ready to make greater contribution to building a more prosperous and enabling cyber space.

Finally, I wish this workshop a complete success.

Thank you.

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