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A Staunch Force for Stability in a Turbulent World

2024-02-17 23:55

Keynote Speech by H.E. Wang Yi 
At the 60th Munich Security Conference
Conversation with China 

Munich, February 17, 2024

Dear Friends,

The past year witnessed much turbulence in our world and many challenges facing humanity. The global economy was weighed down by protectionism and the abuse of the security concept, and the international system was impaired by unilateralism and bloc politics. The Ukraine crisis continued unabated. Conflicts flared up again in the Middle East. Artificial intelligence (AI), climate change, space and the polar regions, among others, were posing a whole new set of challenges.

Against that backdrop, the key message I wish to deliver here is this: No matter how the world changes, China, as a responsible major country, will keep its major principles and policies consistent and stable and serve as a staunch force for stability in a turbulent world.

First, China will be a force for stability in promoting cooperation between major countries.

Major countries shoulder critical responsibilities for global strategic stability. As President Xi Jinping noted, major-country competition is not the prevailing trend of current times. For major countries, the more volatile the international landscape, the greater the need to enhance coordination; the more acute the risks and challenges, the greater the need to advance cooperation. 

This year marks the 45th anniversary of China-U.S. diplomatic relations. Past experience and lessons show that when China and the United States work together, great things can be accomplished for the two countries and the entire world, while a confrontational posture between the two countries hurts both sides and the world at large. At the end of last year, the Chinese and U.S. presidents held an important summit meeting, which laid out a future-oriented San Francisco vision. In the meantime, China will firmly safeguard its legitimate rights and interests and push back against containment and suppression. With a sense of responsibility for history, for the people and for the world, China will work with the U.S. to implement the common understandings between the two presidents and move bilateral relations forward along the right path of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. 

Russia is China’s largest neighboring country. A China-Russia relationship that grows steadily on the basis of non-alliance, non-confrontation and not targeting any third party meets the shared interests of the two countries, serves the strategic stability of the Asia-Pacific and the world, and represents a useful exploration of a new model of major-country relations. 

China and Europe are the world’s two major forces, markets and civilizations, and should understand the international responsibilities on their shoulders. A more stable and closer relationship between China and Europe not only works to the advantage of both sides but also brings benefits to the whole world. It is imperative that China and Europe stay clear of geopolitical and ideological distractions, see each other as partners rather than rivals, and join hands to inject positive energy into a volatile world and point the way for overcoming difficulties together.

Second, China will be a force for stability in addressing hotspot issues. 

We have worked to explore a Chinese way of addressing hotspot issues, one that advocates for non-interference in internal affairs and opposes imposing one’s will on others; upholds impartiality and justice and opposes pursuing selfish interests; seeks political settlement and opposes using force; aims to address both the symptoms and the root causes and opposes myopia and one-sidedness. With China’s active mediation, a historic reconciliation was reached between Saudi Arabia and Iran, setting off a “wave of reconciliation” across the Middle East. This is a living example of implementing the Global Security Initiative put forth by President Xi Jinping. 

The recent escalation and spillover of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the ongoing tension in the Red Sea once again demonstrate that the question of Palestine is at the heart of the Middle East issue. Generations of the Palestinian people have been displaced, unable to return to their home to this day. This is the longest-lasting injustice in our world. China has stood firm on the side of fairness and justice all along, vigorously working for an end to the conflict and for the protection of civilians. China pushed the U.N. Security Council to adopt the first resolution since the latest conflict broke out, and issued a position paper on the political settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. China calls for accelerated efforts in establishing an independent State of Palestine and a more broad-based and effective international peace conference to truly realize peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel.   

On the Ukraine crisis, China has never given up on promoting peace or slackened its efforts to facilitate talks. President Xi Jinping had in-depth exchanges with world leaders including Russian and Ukrainian leaders, playing a constructive role in addressing the crisis. China also published its position paper on the matter, and its special envoy traveled intensively to mediate among different parties. Behind all this, there is only one goal that China hopes to achieve, that is, to build consensus for ending the conflict and pave the way for peace talks.

China has made tireless efforts for the political resolution of the Korean Peninsula issue. The most pressing task at the moment is to prevent a vicious cycle, address relevant party’s reasonable security concerns, and deescalate and stabilize the situation. On Myanmar, China facilitated various parties of the country in signing a ceasefire agreement in the Chinese city of Kunming, firmly safeguarded peace and stability in northern Myanmar, and encouraged ASEAN to facilitate the proper settlement of the Myanmar issue without interfering in the country’s internal affairs. China also actively supported Afghanistan in building an inclusive political framework and adopting moderate policies, to forestall the resurgence and spread of terrorism. 

With a vast territory and over a dozen neighboring countries, China faces complex disputes left from history. On that, China has stayed committed to managing differences through consultation and resolving disputes through dialogue. China stands ready to work with ASEAN to accelerate consultations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, advance maritime cooperation and joint development, and build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship.

Third, China will be a force for stability in enhancing global governance.

The international system today is under serious strain from unilateralism and power politics. It has thus become a common call of the international community to revitalize multilateralism and work in solidarity to pull through.

In China’s view, the authority and central role of the United Nations (U.N.) can only be further strengthened, not weakened, and the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter have become all the more important, not outdated. China has dispatched the most peacekeepers among the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, and is the second largest contributor to the U.N. regular budget and peacekeeping assessment. China supports the Security Council in playing a primary role on peace and security. We support the U.N. in holding the Summit of the Future to explore more solutions to the challenges. 

In the face of the climate threat, China has contributed to the UAE Consensus at the COP28 U.N. Climate Change Conference. China will cut carbon emission intensity by the biggest margin in the world in the shortest time frame in history, and will without doubt deliver on this commitment. When it comes to challenges from AI, China supports establishing an international AI governance institution under the U.N. framework to jointly safeguard humanity’s well-being.

China worked actively to enhance solidarity and cooperation of the Global South. China promoted the historic expansion of BRICS and gave support to the African Union in joining the G20, with a view to increasing developing countries’ representation and voice in global affairs, and contributing to a more balanced and effective global governance architecture.

As the largest developing country, China has been doing its best to provide more public goods to the world. From the Belt and Road Initiative to the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, China has stayed committed to cooperation, openness and equality, and contributed its share to meeting global challenges.

In strengthening global governance, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory and Taiwan affairs are China’s internal affairs. To observe basic international norms, the one-China principle must be upheld. To preserve peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, “Taiwan independence” must be firmly rejected.

Fourth, China will be a force for stability in promoting global growth.

I know that many of you follow the Chinese economy closely. Let me say that the Chinese economy, as vibrant and resilient as ever, is showing a more robust momentum of long-term growth. Last year, it grew by 5.2 percent, accounting for one third of global growth. As China grows rapidly into the world’s largest market, it will bring more dividends to the rest of the world. It is generally accepted in the global business community that “the next China is still China.”

Focusing energy on realizing Chinese modernization is the biggest political consensus of the Chinese people right now. Seeking faster progress in high-quality development is of paramount importance for China in the new era. As President Xi Jinping articulated, China will only open its door even wider to the world. We will continue to expand institutional opening up, shorten the negative list on foreign investment, and foster a more market-oriented, law-based business environment up to international standards for companies from Europe and from all over the world. Now China has mutual visa exemption arrangements with 23 countries and applies unilateral visa-free policy to multiple European countries. We will continue to provide more facilitation for people from around the world to invest, travel and study in China.

Today, rejecting decoupling has become an international consensus. More people have come to realize that the absence of cooperation is the biggest risk. Those who attempt to shut China out in the name of de-risking will make a historic mistake. The world economy is like a big ocean that cannot be cut into isolated lakes. The trend toward economic globalization cannot be reversed. We need to work together to make globalization more universally beneficial and inclusive so that more countries and people can benefit from the process.


A German proverb says “Those who work alone, add; those who work together, multiply.” This is also true for state-to-state relations. We hope that all countries can seek win-win and avoid lose-lose. Let us work together like passengers in the same boat to bring more certainty to the world and usher in a brighter future for humanity!

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