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Working Together to Meet Our Shared Responsibility
And Build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind

Keynote Speech by H.E. Yang Jiechi At the Opening Ceremony of Beijing Forum 2019

2019/11/01

Honorable Mr. Han Qide,
Honorable Ms. Irina Bokova,
Honorable Party Secretary Qiu Shuiping and President Hao Ping of Peking University,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Friends,

In this autumn season when Beijing is clad in a riot of colors, it gives me great pleasure to meet with friends, old and new, at the Beijing Forum and discuss the progress of human civilization.

Since its inauguration, the Beijing Forum has been convened under the general theme of "The Harmony of Civilizations and Prosperity for All". Discussions have focused on advancing peace and development, making the Forum a valuable platform for deepening mutual learning and understanding. The theme of this year's forum, "The Changing World and the Future of Humankind", is highly relevant. It dovetails with current global developments and touches on matters of interest to all.

The world today is going through changes of a kind unseen in a century. Looking around, we see faster evolution of the global governance system and international order. With different ideas vis-à-vis each other, there is a heated debate on how to perceive all those changes.

People will naturally ask: Where is our world headed? How are different countries and civilizations to interact with each other? Do we choose openness or seclusion, cooperation or confrontation, a win-win or zero-sum outcome?

To answer these important questions, we must see through the mist of change, and grasp the trend of history. Most importantly, we must understand fully the nature and direction of current global developments. Let me share with you a few observations:

In today's world, economic globalization is still the predominant trend. Globalization is a huge boost to economic development and human progress. It has lifted productivity and living standards to an unprecedented degree. Between 1990 and 2010, global economic growth averaged 5.51 percent. Since the start of this century, 1.1 billion people worldwide have been helped out of poverty. For all this to happen, economic globalization has had a sure part to play.

On the other hand, for some time there has been an obvious backlash against globalization. The reasons may be complicated. Yet, the world economy has grown into something like the ocean. As President Xi Jinping has rightly pointed out, "To channel the waters in the ocean back into isolated lakes and creeks is simply not possible."

The trend of economic globalization is irresistible. It has given rise to the latest round of scientific, technological and industrial revolution. Of the many global challenges we face, development disparity, digital divide, equity deficit, among others, none could be addressed without the leveling effect of economic globalization. In this day and age, the right answer can only be continued globalization. The focus should be on a more open and inclusive mentality, more balanced and universal benefits, and more equitable and win-win outcomes.

In today's world, multi-polarity is clearly the order of the day. The transition to a multi-polar world has been fraught with ups and downs. The end of the Cold War actually started a process toward a more multi-polar world. The collective rise of emerging markets and developing countries at the turn of the century, among other things, marks a major shift in global politics and greater equilibrium in the balance of power. Accounting for two-fifths of the world economy and four-fifths of global growth, they make a strong force for world peace and development.

In today's world, more democratic international relations is all the more what people aspire for. This is part and parcel of the yearning for a multi-polar world. Countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are all equal members of the world community. Global affairs should be decided by all countries working together, and international relations should be conducted on the basis of recognized norms like sovereign equality, dialogue and consultation, and the rule of law. All these are strongly desired by the overwhelming majority of countries worldwide.

The basic norms of international relations, built on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, together with the international system centering around the United Nations, have brought more than 70 years of peace, stability, development and prosperity since World War II. Today, to preserve and promote multilateral cooperation under the auspices of the UN and to reform and improve the international system is the common choice of the majority of countries in the world. Hegemonism and power politics cannot stop the advance toward more democratic international relations. Protectionism and unilateralism cannot shake countries' commitment to openness, cooperation, and multilateralism.

In today's world, diversity of civilizations is exactly the choice of history. In 2014, President Xi Jinping spoke on the importance of exchange and mutual learning between civilizations at UNESCO. As President Xi noted in his speech, civilizations become richer through exchange and mutual learning. Diversity, equality and inclusiveness are the hallmark of human civilization. Each civilization and culture is valuable in its own right. One may be different from another, but no one is superior over the other. The achievements of all civilizations need to be respected and treasured. History tells us that human progress is enabled by mutual learning among civilizations, and world peace and prosperity is underpinned by the harmonious coexistence of all civilizations.

That said, we must also remember that history doesn't move in a straight line. It zigs and zags. The deepening changes in the world have brought more uncertainties and destabilizing factors - intricate entanglements in international relations, fast-changing reconfiguration of various forces, turbulence in some regions, to name just a few. All these have come up naturally in an international system under adjustment. But on the whole, I think it is fair to say the following about today's world:

- Clashes between unilateralism and multilateral cooperation are on the rise, but the trend toward a more balanced dispensation of power and a stronger international system is unstoppable.

- Opinions seem to be more divided over economic globalization and openness, but come what may, the world economy will be more open, inclusive, balanced, and beneficial to all.

- It is increasingly true that major countries have both shared interests and differences. Yet it remains the case that they depend on each other as much as they balance each other.

- We face grave strategic security challenges and serious regional hot-spots, but the global security environment is generally stable and under control.

- Countries may have more ideological disagreements and differences in terms of their system and culture, but there remains a strong international consensus for open and inclusive exchange and mutual learning between different civilizations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

The future direction of our world very much depends on the choice we make together. In response to the profound changes rarely seen in a century, President Xi has put forth his vision for a community with a shared future for mankind:

- It is about countries working together for an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity, and for a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and mutually beneficial cooperation.

- It is designed to promote the progress of mankind, and to serve the fundamental and shared interests of the Chinese people and other people around the world.

- As such, the vision has been highly commended and warmly received by the international community and endorsed in multiple United Nations documents.

President Xi's vision of a community with a shared future has pointed the way forward for our world. To translate it into reality, countries need to work together and they each do their part for the sake of future generations.

First, we must uphold equality and mutual trust to realize lasting peace. Peace and development remain the call of our times. With some countries and regions still mired in conflict and turbulence, our world yearns for full peace, and strongly rejects the Cold-War mentality and power politics. Only when all countries commit to a partnership based on equality, consultation and accommodation, can there be a world of lasting peace and prosperity, and a fairer and more equitable international order.

Second, we must promote dialogue and consultation to achieve enduring stability. National sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no violation. Countries have to respect each other's core interests and concerns, seek negotiated solutions to their differences and disputes, and build trust through dialogue. Only with the broadest consensus and shared interests of all people, can we achieve universal security in the world.

Third, we must pursue win-win results to deliver prosperity for all. Given the level of intertwined interests between countries, our destinies are tied and we all stand to gain and lose together. We must reject acts of unilateralism and protectionism, and replace the old thinking of "winners take all" with a new approach of win-win and all-win. To deliver development and prosperity for all, it is important that we promote an open global economy and make globalization a more open, inclusive, beneficial, balanced and win-win process.

Fourth, we must respect each other to promote mutual learning between civilizations. We need to treat each other as equals, say no to arrogance and prejudice, and be humble and respectful to the cultural diversity that defines our world. Only by respecting, understanding and learning from each other, can we bring down the invisible walls that divide us, push back the old mindset that stop us from reaching out to one another, remove the psychological barriers that hinder the flourishing of friendships, and achieve harmony among all civilizations.

Fifth, we must advance with the times to achieve innovation-driven development. Every day, we see new issues and challenges arise. The world has changed. We must get rid of old stereotypes and keep up with change. We need to think different, reform the institutions and master new technologies. Only with these bold actions, can we get through difficulty, harness the change, and build a common future where all countries benefit from innovation and live together in harmony.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Friends,

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. A nationwide celebration was held just a month ago. We wish to use this opportunity to thank the world and the many friends present today for the warm congratulations and good wishes to China and the Chinese people.

Just yesterday, the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee was concluded successfully. The Communist Party of China adopted a decision on major issues concerning upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernizing China's system and capacity for governance. This decision will provide a strong underpinning for better translating China's institutional advantage into more effective governance, for realizing the Two Centenary Goals, and for achieving the Chinese Dream of national renewal.

In seven decades, China has gone through an extraordinary journey and made phenomenal progress. It is no longer the country it once was. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. China has stood up, grown prosperous and is becoming stronger. Having come a long way itself, China has also made important contributions to the world. For many years, China has generated around 30 percent of global growth. It is a major trading partner and export market for over 130 countries and regions. The Belt and Road Initiative has been a great success. It contributes to the development of partner countries and provides a platform for open and win-win cooperation across the world.

For 70 years, China has followed the leadership of the CPC and the socialist path. We have pursued an independent foreign policy of peace and championed international norms centering around the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. We have stood firm for fellow developing countries and against hegemonism and power politics. We have safeguarded China's sovereignty, security and development interests and made sure that those efforts are in line with the greater good of the world. We have sought truth from facts, progressed with the times and kept our mind open. This is what made China's achievements in foreign affairs possible.

Since the 18th Party Congress in 2012, guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and especially Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, China has embarked on the new path of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. In a nutshell, it is about China's commitment to openness, cooperation and peaceful development. It is about China's vision for national rejuvenation in a rapidly changing world and the vision for a community with a shared future for mankind.

We Chinese are honest and sincere people. But not everyone is happy to see China's development. Some have always tried to find fault with China, with our development path and domestic and foreign policies. Such attempts find little support from the international community and will never get their way. China will continue to move along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and make new contribution to the peace, stability, development and prosperity of our world.

First, China will unswervingly pursue the path of peaceful development. China was itself a victim to foreign invasion. Incessant wars ravaged China for more than 100 years. The country knows best the value of peace. Since ancient times, China has cherished a love of peace and pursued harmony without uniformity. This is the belief embedded in the Chinese national DNA. To follow the path of peaceful development is a strategic decision China made based on its national reality. It also represents the common desire of peoples around the world.

China was once poor and weak. It is now the world's second largest economy. China's achievement comes with peaceful development, not territorial expansion or invasion. Time and again, world history proves one thing: stability brings development, and prosperity comes with peace, not the use of force. China will stay on the path of peaceful development, and we hope other countries will do the same. Only peaceful development can bring common development and peaceful coexistence for all.

Second, China will unswervingly pursue common development. President Xi said, "A China with its own house in order is in itself a contribution to the world." Through reform and opening-up, China has become more developed and more connected with other countries. This has in turn made the world better off. The more China develops, the more opportunities it will create for the world.

According to a World Bank report, the Belt and Road Initiative, when fully implemented, would help lift 32 million people out of relative poverty, boost global trade by 6.2 percent and drive up global income by 2.9 percent. China will work with other countries to advance the Belt and Road Initiative in a way that leads to high-quality development. When we work together and help each other, we can embark on a broad path that leads to prosperity for all.

Third, China will unswervingly expand opening-up and cooperation. Opening-up has been a strong boost to China's reform, development and its constant progress in modernization. Through opening-up, China has lifted itself and contributed to the world. In three days' time, the second China International Import Expo will open in Shanghai. It is the world's first national expo designed to increase import. The initiative is unprecedented in the history of international trade.

Here in China, we have further broadened access to foreign investment. A management system of pre-establishment national treatment and negative list has been adopted nationwide. The Foreign Investment Law will enter into force on 1 January next year. China will not close its door; we will open it wider. We hope other countries will do the same and work together toward a prosperous future for all.

Fourth, China will unswervingly carry on its proud tradition of independence. Entering a new era of development, China will keep to its independent foreign policy for peace. China wants to be a partner to all countries. With big countries, we seek coordination and cooperation; with our neighbors in northeast Asia, southeast Asia, south Asia and central Asia, we seek friendship and cooperation; with fellow developing countries, we seek greater unity and cooperation.

China will adhere to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We respect other countries' independent choice of social system and development path. We oppose interfering in others' domestic affairs, no matter in what form. China's development threatens no one. And no country will succeed in any attempt to impinge on China's sovereignty, security and development.

Fifth, China will unswervingly pursue extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits with other countries. Passengers on the same boat must stick together to weather storms. A beggar-thy-neighbor approach is doomed to fail. When countries consult with each other, consensus is more likely to be obtained. When countries see each other as partners, they are more likely to find solutions to global challenges.

China stands for win-win cooperation, and works to pursue the greater good and shared benefits with other countries. China firmly upholds the norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We believe that the core values and basic principles of the multilateral trading system should be upheld. The reform of the global governance system must aim to help more countries and their people lead a better life.

To sum up, in this fast-changing world, China will continue to shoulder its responsibilities and obligations as it should. China hopes to build a community with a shared future for all mankind. The world can count on China as a promoter of world peace, contributor to global development, and upholder of the international order.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

In his keynote speech to the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations this May, President Xi Jinping said, "China today is more than the country itself; it is very much a part of Asia and the world. In the future, China will open its arms wider to embrace the world and contribute the dynamic achievements of Chinese civilization to a better world."

In a world of unprecedented change, transformation and adjustment, China and indeed every nation has a duty to promote mutual learning between civilizations for world peace and development.

I am confident that we, as countries and individuals, will make the right choice in the current era. Let us work together to forge a brighter future for all nations and, indeed, for humanity.

In conclusion, I wish the Beijing Forum 2019 a full success!

Thank you.

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