عربي Español Русский Français 简体中文

Laying the Foundations of Peace and Stability for An Asian Community of Shared Destiny

2014/11/21

By HE Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin of China

November 21, 2014

Your Excellency General Chang Wanquan, State Councillor and Defense Minister,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It's my great honor to attend the Xiangshan Forum.

The theme of this year's forum cannot be more appropriate. As far as we can see, "Win-win through Cooperation: Building an Asian Community of Shared Destiny" is the way to go for Asia.

Asia was the cradle of ancient civilization. Yet Asia suffered a lot in modern times. Many Asian countries fell prey to colonial or semi-colonial rule. Many of them won back their independence after WWII, only to be trapped in a Cold War.

Since the end of the Cold War, Asian countries were finally able to focus on development and on exploring a path suited to their national conditions. Embracing the principles of mutual respect, equality and win-win cooperation, Asian countries ushered in the age of Asian rejuvenation and created the Asian miracle.

Forces of globalization have transformed our world into a global village. The interests of countries have never been so closely inter-connected. We are all bound together as one community of shared destiny.

While we take pride in Asia becoming a major pillar and driver of growth for the world economy, we are aware of the imbalances building up in Asia, imbalances in Asia's development, imbalances between the two wheels of economy and security, and the rising challenge in balancing the interests of regional countries and outside players.

Asia can only go far if it follows the trend of ours times, seize opportunities and build up the community of shared destiny.

In the past two years since taking office, the new Chinese leadership placed much priority on enhancing regional and international cooperation, as it pressed ahead with the agenda of comprehensive deepening of reform and opening-up.

Chinese leaders put forward a wide range of initiatives and proposals for regional cooperation, such as the Silk Road Economic Belt, 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the Asian Security Concept, and a community of shared destiny between China and ASEAN and in Asia in general.

As a big Asian nation with 14 neighbors on land and 8 across the sea, China knows only too well that it depends on Asia for peace and development, and that its hope and future lies in building the Asian community of shared destiny.

In my humble views, we need to build three pillars for the Asian community.

First, a community of shared interests. This is the foundation for the Asian community. Asian countries should complement each other's strengths through cooperation and tighten the bond of common interests and economic integration.

Major countries should support ASEAN community-building and ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation. We should make good use of the ASEAN plus one (10+1) and ASEAN plus three (10+3) frameworks to deepen practical cooperation and gradually shape an East Asian economic community.

Second, a community of shared responsibility. This is an important safeguard for the Asian community. Prosperity comes only with peace. Compared with some other regions, Asia is blessed with overall stability. There exists no major threat to lasting peace in Asia. This situation should be cherished.

Asian countries bear primary responsibility for the security of their region. We should enhance mutual understanding and trust through closer dialogue and cooperation, and jointly promote regional peace and stability.

Third, a community of culture and people. If economy and security are the two wheels driving the Asian community, then cultural and people-to-people exchanges is the spoke connecting the two wheels.

Asia is rich in diversity and cultural heritage. We should promote exchanges, dialogue, and encourage inclusiveness and mutual learning. We should increase the flow of our peoples, deepen friendship and turn Asia into a big and harmonious family.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Stability in Asia has wider global significance and is drawing global attention. I'm glad it is also the central topic of this Forum. Let me share with you a few thoughts on how to build a foundation of peace and stability for the Asian Community of Shared Destiny.

First, there needs to be new concepts and approaches to security. Old security concepts based on the Cold War mentality, zero-sum game, and worship of force are being overtaken by new trends of regional economic integration. Strengthening bilateral military alliances and ensuring absolute security for oneself will easily worsen divisions and confrontation in the region.

In the absence of a generally accepted common security concept in Asia, countries should embrace openness and inclusiveness and explore a new path for Asian security.

At the CICA Conference (Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia) in Shanghai this year, President Xi Jinping proposed an Asian security concept based on common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.

Common security means respecting and ensuring the security of each and every country. Comprehensive security means upholding security in both traditional and non-traditional fields. Cooperative security means promoting the security of both individual countries and the region as a whole through dialogue and cooperation. Sustainable security calls for both development and security to make security durable.

This security concept is developed from the common security and cooperative security approach long existing in our region. It opens up broad new prospects for security cooperation in Asia. China is both a proponent and practitioner of this Asian security concept. We are ready to work with regional countries to achieve security for all through win-win cooperation.

Second, there needs to be stable bilateral relations. One cannot choose its neighbors, and it is natural that neighbors encounter problems with each other. All parties should uphold the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, accommodate each other's interests and concerns, and resolve disputes through peaceful means.

China has signed treaties of good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation with a number of countries including Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Afghanistan and is in discussions with ASEAN on a similar treaty. What these treaties do is to reaffirm the commitment of countries to good-neighborly relations through the force of law to institutionalize stable bilateral relations.

Territorial and maritime disputes bear on countries' fundamental interests and national feelings, and hence are highly difficult to resolve. We should respect international law and historical facts. Disputes that do not have quick solutions may be shelved and parties can go for joint development. This would be a good way to narrow differences and create conditions for future resolution.

Opting for negotiated settlement by parties directly concerned is a valuable experience gained by China through handling boundary and maritime issues in the past six decades. China has settled boundary issues with 12 out of 14 land neighbors.

China and India maintain close communication through the Special Representatives on the Boundary Question. Talks on the boundary issue between China and Bhutan are going smoothly.

China and Vietnam have delineated the maritime boundary in the Beibu Bay and are discussing delimitation and joint development in the outer mouth of the Beibu Bay. China and the ROK have agreed to officially launch negotiations on maritime delimitation in 2015.

China and ASEAN countries maintained effective dialogue on the South China Sea issue and made significant headway. We follow the "dual-track" approach, namely, disputes are to be resolved through negotiations by countries directly concerned while peace and stability in the South China Sea is maintained jointly by China and ASEAN countries. This is a realistic and effective way to properly handle the South China Sea issue.

Parties should remain committed to fully and effectively implement the DOC and conclude a COC based on consensus at an early date. "Early harvest" for the COC is being discussed. These include the first document on commonalities, and joint maritime search and rescue hotline and senior officials' hotline for maritime emergencies. China is committed to deepening trust and cooperation and safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea with ASEAN countries.

Third, there should be sound interaction between major countries. Asia is a region where many forces interact. Based on lessons from history, we do not favor outside interference in internal affairs of Asian countries. We believe issues among Asian countries should be addressed by countries concerned. Outside intervention would only complicate matters further.

At the same time, we believe in Asia being open. We welcome a constructive role by other major countries in regional security. We are ready to work with them to build a stable strategic framework for regional peace and stability.

China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has kept a strong momentum, based on the principles of equality, mutual trust and support, common prosperity and ever-lasting friendship. This relationship is neither alignment nor targeted at any third parties. It sets a good example for major countries to deepen trust and cooperation.

China and the United States are both committed to building a new model of major-country relations. In June last year, President Xi Jinping and President Obama met informally at Sunnylands, during which they reached important agreement on building the new model based on no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.

Last week, the two presidents met again in Beijing and reached important agreement on taking forward the new model through deepening cooperation and managing differences. The two sides agreed, in particular, to develop a pattern of positive interaction and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. We will follow through on these agreements, to enrich the new model and add positive energy to peace and stability in Asia and beyond.

China and Japan are close neighbors, and the world's second and third largest economies respectively. For reasons clear to all, this relationship encountered serious setbacks in the past two years. The two sides issued a four-point principle agreement 2 weeks ago. We hope Japan will move in the same direction as China to gradually bring the relationship back on track.

China is committed to managing and resolving the Diaoyu Island dispute through dialogue and consultation. We urge Japan to face up to history and its responsibilities, and make concrete efforts to improve relations with its neighbors.

Fourth, there should be proper handling of hotspot issues. Stepping up dialogue and communication is the right way to handle regional hotspots. China will continue to play the role of a responsible major country in this regard.

The Korean nuclear issue bears on peace and stability on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. The problem must be tackled both in terms of symptoms and root causes. Efforts should be made to increase mutual trust and address the concerns of parties in a balanced manner. Restarting the talks is good for all parties and conducive to seeking a practical and effective solution acceptable to all.

China stands for the denuclearization of the Peninsula. We are all for peace and stability on the Peninsula and peaceful resolution through dialogue and consultation. We will continue to make efforts in this direction.

Afghanistan is at a crucial stage of political, security and economic transitions. At the end of last month, China hosted the 4th Foreign Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan, which was the first international conference on Afghanistan since the Afghan elections.

The meeting issued the Beijing Declaration and proposed a number of cooperation projects urgently needed on the ground. China will work with all sides to translate the common understanding and outcomes into concrete actions to support peace, stability and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

Fifth, there should be adherence to the spirit of international law. All countries, big or small, strong or weak, should uphold international law. China is both a faithful follower and active contributor to international law and regional rules and norms. The People's Republic of China was born after WWII, but the new Chinese Government inherited and accepted the international legal order based on the UN Charter. China, India and Myanmar initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence to reflect the spirit of law in international relations.

China is committed to uphold regional maritime security and order, and work for early conclusion of the COC on the basis of consensus. Earlier this year, we presided over the adoption of the updated Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium. We signed MOUs with the US on Notification of Major Military Activities Confidence-Building Measures Mechanism and regarding the Rules of Behavior for Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters. In addition, China has been actively engaged in rules-making in new areas such as cyberspace and outer space, to contribute to forming fair and equitable international rules.

Next year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Countries should work together to uphold the outcomes of World War II and the post-War international order. It would be a good occasion to reaffirm our shared commitment to peace and stability through international rule of law.

History allows no distortion. What is at stake is the overall trend of regional peace, stability and development. Only by facing up to history and learning historical lessons can a country win trust from its neighbors.

Sixth, there should be efforts to foster a regional security architecture. In doing so, we should be fully aware of the diversity of Asia, and not simply copy the model of other regions. It will only work if it suits regional conditions and serves all parties' needs.

Over the past 13 years, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has played an increasingly important role in upholding regional security and stability. It has effectively coordinated efforts to fight terrorism, extremism and separatism among its members. Although it is yet to fully resolve the Korean nuclear issue, the Six Party Talks provides a sound framework for addressing this issue.

ASEAN-led multilateral security frameworks such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) have gone a long way to deepening regional security dialogue and cooperation.

These mechanisms have different strengths and focuses. They should continue to develop alongside each other. At the same time, there should be more links and interaction among them to strengthen coordination.

China will continue to take an active part in multilateral security dialogue and cooperation and provide more public goods for Asia and the world. China supports closer non-traditional security cooperation in the region. In recent years China has become a major driver for cooperation in the ARF, initiating roughly one third of all new projects.

China is committed to enhancing regional disaster relief cooperation. We signed an MOU on Disaster Management Cooperation with ASEAN. China and Malaysia will co-host the fourth ARF disaster relief exercises next year.

China will work together with countries in the region to uphold the safety and security of sea lanes. Since 2008, 18 Chinese escort missions have been sent to the Gulf of Aden and half of the ships escorted flew foreign flags. Next month, China and Indonesia will hold an ARF Seminar on Sea Lines of Communications (SLOCS) Security in Beijing.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The military is a defender of peace and leading player in security cooperation. It serves our region well for our militaries to expand exchanges and cooperation, increase understanding and trust, strengthen military-civilian coordination and jointly respond to risks and challenges.

The Xiangshan Forum brings together military, diplomatic and security communities of many countries. I hope the Forum will evolve into an effective new platform for defense and security dialogue and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. We look forward to its ever greater contribution to the building of an Asian community of shared destiny.

To conclude, I wish the Forum a complete success.

Thank you!

Suggest to a friend
Print