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Uphold Win-Win Cooperation and Promote Peace and Stability in the Asia-Pacific

2015/10/17

By H.E. Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Vice Foreign Minister of China

October 17, 2015

Your Excellency General Chang Wanquan, State Councilor and Defense Minister,
Distinguished Guests,
Dear Friends,

It’s a great pleasure for me to join you at the dinner hosted by the Ministry of Defence of China. On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, let me offer warm congratulations on the successful opening of Sixth meeting of Xiangshan Forum.

My speech this evening will be focused on the theme of Upholding Win-Win Cooperation and Promoting Peace and Stability in the Asia-Pacific.

This year is a momentous year. It marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the world anti-fascist war and the founding of the United Nations. It is also the 60th anniversary of the Asian-African Conference in Bandung and the year of completion of the building of ASEAN Community.

In this context, this year’s Xiangshan Forum is of great significance. The ongoing discussions at this forum of a new vision for security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific will help to enhance mutual understanding and trust and build consensus for cooperation.

At the global level, in the past seven decades, the international order and system set up after the World War II, which was centered on the United Nation and based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, has provided a strong underpinning for world peace and development.

Peace, development and win-win cooperation has become a rising trend of our times. Countries are more and more interdependent and are becoming a community of common future.

In the Asia-Pacific, the past 70 years saw wars both hot and cold and the emergence of this region from turbulence to peace, from confrontation to cooperation, and from poverty to prosperity. Today, the Asia-Pacific maintains overall stability and vibrant development. It has become the region with the greatest potential, an anchor for world peace and stability and a foundation for world development and prosperity.

Looking at East Asia, over the past 48 years, ASEAN has grown ever stronger, and became an important force for regional peace and development. The ASEAN Community will be established, at the end of this year, as the first sub-regional community in Asia’s history and a milestone for East Asia cooperation. It will also lay a solid basis for the building of the East Asia Community and an Asian community of common future.

The stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and in the world has not come by easily and must be cherished. It can not be ignored that, with the fast changing global political and economic landscape, factors of instability have been on the rise.

There is still injustice in international relations. The trust deficit remains acute among some countries. Disputes on territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests are being played up. New challenges from natural disasters, terrorism, trans-national crimes, cyber security, public health, and energy and resource security keep emerging. There is also a question for East Asian countries: what lessons we could draw from the conflicts and turbulances in West Asia and North Africa?

Distinguished guests and friends,

The new situation calls for new thinking. On the new starting point in history, all countries should think seriously about how to handle state-to-state relations, and open a brighter future for global peace and development with new thinking.

At the end of last year, President Xi Jinping of China called for a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation. At the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly last month, President Xi elaborated on his thinking on this new type of international relations, by highlighting the following five points:

-- building a partnership of equality, mutual consultations and mutual understanding,

-- forging a security pattern of fairness, justice, broad participation and sharing,

-- seeking open, innovative, inclusive and mutually beneficial development,

-- promoting harmonious but differentiated and inclusive exchanges among civilizations,

-- fostering an ecosystem of respecting nature and green development.

This has become the so-called “five-in-one” blueprint for building a community of common future for mankind.

China is the first major country to take win-win cooperation as the objective for handling relations with other countries. This thinking has its roots in China’s broad and profound civilization, in decades of China’s diplomatic theories and practice, and from China’s long-standing commitment to world peace and development.

This new type of international relations carries forward the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and aims towards the vision of building a community of common future for mankind. It will be a guiding principle for China’s conduct of international relations.

Dear guests and friends,

East Asian Countries have evolved certain principles and modalities of cooperation, including mutual respect, consensus building and accommodating the comfortable level of all parties. They also cultivated a habit of win-win cooperation.

We should reaffirm to these principles, make them deeply rooted in the hearts of the people and part of the values that we all abide by.

As an important member of the Asia-Pacific family, China knows well that its peaceful development is closely linked with the future of the Asia-Pacific. We have always worked hard to promote regional stability and prosperity.

China is ready to pursue security dialogue and cooperation in the spirit of win-win cooperation, and jointly safeguard peace and stability in the region with other regional countries. In my humble view, countries in the region should make joint efforts in the following aspects:

First, we should establish a new type of security concept for Asia-Pacific peace and stability. In the 21st century, countries increasingly share common interests, face common challenges and have a common need for better governance. The use of force and confrontation does not get anywhere. It would only make matters worse.

Win-win cooperation is the only way forward. We should adhere to the new concept of win-win and all-win, abandon the old thinking of zero sum game, and pursue a new path of security for the Asia-Pacific, based on joint consultation, broad participation and common benefit.

China put forward the Asian Security Concept based on common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. It advocates dialogue and consultation, instead of threat of force. It advocates openness and inclusiveness, instead of exclusion. It advocates win-win cooperation, instead of zero-sum game.

This security concept goes with the historical trend of the times and is rooted in regional integration. It gathers the wisdom and consensus among regional countries, reflects the urgent need of all parties to deal with security challenges through cooperation, and opens broad prospects for regional security cooperation.

Second, we shall promote the building of partnerships and strengthen the political foundation for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific. Asia-Pacific countries have a unique diversity. Countries may become partners when they have the same values and ideals, but they can also be partners on the basis of seeking common ground while reserving differences. The key is to adhere to equality and win-win cooperation.

Any country, whether big or small, is an equal member of the international community and has the right to choose its development path in line with its national conditions. Regional issues should be handled by regional countries based on equal consultation.

Big countries should not seek sphere of influence, while middle and small countries should not take sides among big countries. All parties should make joint efforts to pursue the new path of dialogue instead of confrontation and to pursue partnership rather than alliance, and to build an Asia-Pacific partnership featured on mutual trust, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation.

Positive interaction between major countries is an important part of building regional partnerships. Recently, President Xi Jinping paid a successful state visit to the US at the invitation of President Obama. The two leaders agreed that two countries should continue efforts on building the new model of major country relations featuring on mutual respect and win-win cooperation. They also agreed to hold a positive view of each other’s strategic intentions and enhance strategic trust, avoid strategic miscalculation and misunderstanding. The visit ushered in a new stage of cross-Pacific cooperation and served as a good example for building the new model of international relations.

Based on equality and mutual benefit, China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination follows the principle of non-alignment, and not targeting at any third party. Bilateral relations maintained development at a high-level.

Committed to building closer partnership for development, China and India strengthened practical cooperation in various areas, and effectively managed the border issues. The strategic and cooperative partnership between the two countries is brimming with new vitality.

It has been the consistent position of China that, for partners, differences and disputes should be handled through friendly consultation in a spirit of mutual understanding and mutual accommodation. As for the disputes with some neighboring countries over territorial sovereignty and maritime right and interests, China will continue to seek peaceful settlement through dialogue and negotiation on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law. Pending the resolution of the disputes, we will work with relevant countries to strengthen crisis management to prevent escalation of differences.

Past progress has shown that enhancing pragmatic cooperation is an effective way to ease differences. This year is the Year of China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation, and our cooperation in this regard has achieved fruitful results.

China is ready to work with ASEAN countries in building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and promoting joint development in the South China Sea to make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

China's construction activities and maintenance on some of its garrisoned islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands fall entirely within China's sovereignty, and are not targeted at any country. In addition to necessary defence purposes, those facilities are mainly for civilian purposes and serve the common good of the international community.

On October 9, China held a launching ceremony of the two lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef of the Nansha Islands. The two lighthouses will provide effective route guidance and navigation aid to vessels passing the surrounding waters, greatly improving the navigation safety in the South China Sea.

China will continue to build other civilian facilities serving public interest on its garrisoned islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands to provide better services to passing vessels of the littoral states and all other countries.

Third, we need to promote inter-connected development and lay a solid economic basis for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. To expand the convergence of interests is an important basis for sound state-to-state relations. Common and inter-connected development provides fundamental safeguards for peace and stability, and holds the master key to various types of security issues.

With weak recovery of the world economy, new turbulence on global financial markets and rising downward pressure on the Asia-Pacific economies, it is all the more important for our countries to stay focused on development and cooperation.

We need to uphold open regionalism, and make all trade arrangements and cooperation mechanisms in our region complement each other and advance in parallel.

East Asia cooperation is an important part of Asia-Pacific cooperation. TPP negotiation has just been concluded. We should work hard to complete the negotiations for the RCEP and the upgrading of China-ASEAN FTA by the end of the year.

There should be better complementarity and coordination between the various regional trade arrangements so that, together, theycould forge a synergy in pushing forward the building of an Asia-Pacific free trade area, shaping an open, inter-connected, balanced, and win-win economic framework in the Asia-Pacific and injecting new vigor into the global economy.

China is taking active steps to build the Silk Road Economic Belt, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the establishment of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.

These initiatives are all aimed at promoting inter-connected and common development. They are open and inclusive, and will move forward together with the existing multilateral mechanisms and initiatives. We welcome all parties to participate in these initiatives for shared benefits.

Fourth, we need to promote the rule-making and improve the institutional safeguards for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. As a saying goes, nothing can be accomplished without norms. For countries to live together in peace, it is also imperative to observe the spirit of rule of law, abide by the international norms based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and subscribe to those widely recognized and fair rules.

International and regional rules should be formulated and observed by all countries concerned, rather than dictated by any particular country. Rules of individual countries should not automatically become "international rules", still less should individual countries be allowed to violate the lawful rights and interests of others under the cover of so-call rule of law.

China is committed to upholding international rules and has been a constructive player in this system. China has joined almost all inter-governmental organizations and acceded to over 400 international and multilateral treaties. China has signed treaties of good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation with eight neighboring countries.

We are now in the process of discussion with ASEAN countries on the signing of a Treaty on Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, and we are ready to sign such bilateral treaties with all ASEAN members when the conditions are ripe.

China is committed to safeguarding the maritime security and order in the region and enhancing the building of institutions and rules. We will continue to work with ASEAN countries to fully and effectively implement the DOC, and steadily work for early conclusion of a COC on the basis of consensus.

I am so delighted to learn that in the China-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting yesterday, China's proposal on holding a joint training with ASEAN countries under the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the South China Sea next year was welcomed by ASEAN members.

Fifth, we need to promote the building of regional security architecture and consolidate institutional support for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific. Security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific has long being lagged behind to economic cooperation in the region. It is high time now to build an open, stable and widely acceptable regional architecture for security cooperation that fits the reality of this region.

China has long worked to push forward the building of regional security mechanisms. We initiated with relevant partners the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Six Party Talks, established the Xiangshan Forum, successfully hosted the Summit of Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the Foreign Ministers’ Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan, and actively participated in the ASEAN-led multilateral security dialogues and cooperation mechanisms.

In my view, with each having its own focus and features, these mechanisms and platforms all subscribe to the outlook of cooperative security and common security. They are inclusive, meet the trend of our times, fit the needs of regional countries, and represent the future direction of regional security cooperation. Together, they will form an important basis for the creation of a future regional security architecture.

China will continue to support the capacity and institution building of CICA, and encourage all parties to enhance dialogue and exchanges under the East Asia Summit to accumulate consensus and advance the building of the regional security architecture in a step by step approach.

China supports bolstering pragmatic cooperation in non-traditional security areas and giving more substance to regional security architecture by enhancing institution building for cooperation in various areas.

In recent years, China has put forward many cooperation initiatives in non-traditional security areas under various regional mechanisms, giving a strong boost to the exchange and cooperation in these areas.

At the China-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting yesterday, China proposed to hold joint maritime search and rescue and disaster relief exercises next year to raise the capacity for jointly tackling maritime challenges.

Dear guests and friends,

The Chinese people are working hard to realize the Chinese Dream of the great renewal of the Chinese nation. This will be a process that brings greater opportunities and benefits for the development and cooperation in China's neighborhood, the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.

China's development adds to the force for world peace. China will pursue the path of peaceful development, stick to the policy of fostering amicable ties with neighboring countries, and work to maintain and promote stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

We are ready to work with regional countries to pursue win-win cooperation, build the new type of international relations and jointly usher in a brighter future for the Asia-Pacific region.

To conclude, I wish the current meeting of Xiangshan Forum full success.

Thank you.

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