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Join Hands in Working for Peace and Security in Asia and the World


Speech by State Councilor Yang Jiechi

At Opening of the Third World Peace Forum

Tsinghua University, 21 June 2014

The Honorable Mr. Tang Jiaxuan, Chairman of the World Peace Forum,
The Honorable Mr. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi,
The Honorable Mr. Shaukat Aziz,
The Honorable Mr. Dominique de Villepin,
The Honorable Mr. Yukio Hatoyama,
The Honorable President Chen Jining,
The Honorable President Yang Wenchang,
Distinguished Guests,
Dear Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to attend the opening ceremony of the Third World Peace Forum (WPF) in the famous Tsinghua University. I wish to thank the Tsinghua University and the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs for the efforts they have made for the success of the previous two forums and the convening of the forum this year.

Since its inception in 2012, the WPF has committed itself to increasing mutual trust, building consensus and expanding cooperation, acquiring a growing popularity and influence while making a due contribution to world peace and security. The choice of the theme for the current forum, In Pursuit of Common Security: Peace, Mutual Trust and Responsibility, best reflects the world trend of development and meets the common aspirations of the people of all countries. As such, it gives both practical and far-reaching significance to the WPF. With so many world-renowned political leaders, strategists, experts and scholars coming to the forum, I am confident that you will make the most of the WPF platform, exchange views on the theme of the forum, and come up with good proposals and suggestions for peace and security in Asia and the world as a whole.

Next year, we will mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and the victory of the world anti-fascist war. With 70 years of stupendous changes in the international landscape, the trend of the times featuring peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit has become increasingly powerful. World multipolarization, economic globalization, cultural diversity and application of IT in every aspect of social life are gaining momentum, and the human society is embracing an even brighter prospect of development.

At present, the international situation is undergoing extremely profound and complex changes. The world economy is steadily recovering, and emerging markets and developed countries have become two major engines driving economic growth. Despite a relative slowdown in their growth, it is evident that the emerging markets and developing countries are still by and large growing faster than the developed countries, bringing about greater balance in international power. As countries become more closely interconnected and interdependent, the world has increasingly become a community of common destiny in which different countries will swim or sink together. They share a common aspiration for continuous progress in the evolution of the international system and greater democracy in international relations, and they all strive for the establishment of a more just and equitable international order. At the same time, the world is still far from tranquil. Regional turbulences keep flaring up, and traditional and non-traditional security issues are intertwined and affect each other. There is still a big gap between the North and the South, and global challenges crop up one after another. We still face an uphill battle to uphold peace and promote common development in the world.

Peaceful development in Asia is intricately tied to the future of mankind. A stable and revitalized Asia is a blessing for world peace and development. Today's Asia is standing at a new historic point of departure and holding out a promising new look for peaceful development.

With fast and tectonic changes in development, Asia's foundation for peace has become more solid. Asia is known for keeping economic growth on fast track for decades. Since the outbreak of the international financial crisis, Asia has become a key engine for global economic recovery. According to the IMF statistics, Asia's economy registered a 6.5% growth in 2013, more than doubling the world average. China is an important force for Asia's development. By being the largest trading partner, the largest export market and a major source of investment for many Asian countries, China has accounted for 50% of Asia's total economic growth. China's continuous growth will present even more development opportunities to Asia. Asia now accounts for one third of the global economy and will, according to authoritative international agencies, make up half of the global economy by the middle of the century. As one of the world's most vibrant and most promising regions, Asia is holding out a broader prospect of development.The pursuit of peace and development has become the common aspiration of all Asian peoples,which provides a strong guarantee and support for peace and stability in the region and the world as a whole.

With sustained progress in cooperation, Asia's bonds of common interests have become stronger. Trade, investment and connectivity among Asian countries has made significant headway. Currently, more than half of Asia's total trade takes place within the region. There are more than 250 free trade agreements of various kinds concluded or under negotiation in Asia, and the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area has emerged as the largest in the developing world. Security cooperation in Asia is on the upswing. Such mechanisms as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ASEAN Regional Forum and ADMM+ are playing an important role in the security affairs of the region, and cooperation among Asian countries in counter-terrorism, cyber security, disaster prevention and reduction and other non-traditional security fields is expanding in scope. After the missing of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, 26 Asian and non-Asian countries offered assistance and joined in search and rescue operations, which demonstrated the spirit of cooperation as passengers in the same boat. As a member of the big Asian family, China has taken an active part in regional cooperation. Not long ago, China successfully hosted the fourth CICA Summit and the sixth Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. Next week, China will join India and Myanmar in commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. China will also host the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting later this year and keep on working tirelessly to promote cooperation in Asia and the Asia-Pacific.

With interaction and mutual learning among Asian cultures, the values of harmony and inclusiveness have resonated even more with the Asian people. The people of Asia have long cherished such values as harmony without uniformity, openness and inclusiveness, and formed a big and culturally diverse family in which they live side by side in peace and harmony. The Chinese civilization, long been known for its fine tradition of putting oneself in others' position and helping others to succeed while seeking one's own success, has made common progress with other civilizations amid mutual respect and mutual learning. Amity among Asian peoples provides the crucial social foundation for peace in Asia. Dynamic exchanges among different Asian civilizations in the new circumstances have built a bridge for people of different countries to enhance understanding and friendship, produced thoughts and ideas that prompt countries to peacefully resolve their differences and disputes, and created favorable conditions for countries differing in social system and development level to co-exist peacefully and work for common development.

Such a sound situation in Asia has not come by easily. It is the result of the concerted efforts of all Asian peoples, including the positive contribution made by China. In the meantime, Asia's development and progress is also attributed to the support and assistance of people from all sectors in the international community.

Having said that, we must not overlook the numerous risks and challenges that lie ahead on our road to progress. But,all in all, Asia faces far more opportunities to achieve lasting peace than challenges, and has far more solutions for overcoming problems than difficulties. We have every confidence in a far better future of Asia.

A better Asia requires that we employ new ways, new measures and new lines of thinking to build a secure and cooperative region. Not long ago, President Xi Jinping put forth, at the CICA summit, an initiative for common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in Asia. By common, we mean that the security of each and every country must be respected and safeguarded. By comprehensive, we mean that the security in both traditional and non-traditional fields must be upheld in a coordinated way. By cooperative, we mean that the security of all the countries and that of the region as a whole should be promoted through dialogue and cooperation. And by sustainable, we mean that development and security should be given equal emphasis so as to ensure a lasting security. This Asian security concept was well received among the participants to the summit, and, by consensus, its main elements were written into the Shanghai Declaration issued by the summit. The concept has a major and far-reaching significance for enhancing mutual trust and cooperation among the countries and bringing about lasting peace and common prosperity in the region and the world at large.

First, it has reflected consensus among Asian countries. This concept gives expression to the wisdom of Asia, as it accommodates Asia's diversity and difference and echoes the common desire of all Asian people for peace and stability in the region. Countries in Asia may differ in their security interests and security concerns. An appropriate solution to the regional security issues requires that we display a spirit of seeking common ground while shelving differences and look for the greatest common denominator in the security needs of all countries. The concept has not only embodied the consensus among regional countries, but also encouraged them to turn such consensus into a driving force for cooperation, think and act in unison, and contribute to Asian security.

Second, it has enriched ideas on security cooperation. Under the new circumstances, the content and scope of security issues have further expanded, which requires us to keep pace with the times by emancipating the mind and thinking innovatively so as to better cope with various risks and challenges. As this concept stresses, one cannot live in the 21st century with the outdated thinking from the age of Cold War and zero-sum game. Instead, we should strive to jointly build a road for Asian security that is shared by and win-win to all. We cannot just have the security of one or some countries while leaving the rest insecure, still less should one seek the so-called absolute security for itself at the expense of the security of others. We should respect the right of all countries to freely choose their social systems and development paths. We should respect and give due consideration to the reasonable security concerns of various sides.

Third, it has increased dynamism for security cooperation in Asia and the world. The formulation and implementation of the Asian security concept shows to the world that Asian countries have the wisdom and capability to promote peace and prosperity in the region through enhanced cooperation, such as encouraging the various sides to expand cooperation scope, adopt new approaches of cooperation and improve cooperation mechanisms with a view to making their pie of common interests still bigger. The concept has also highlighted the need for Asian countries, while enhancing cooperation among themselves, to firmly commit to working with countries from other regions and with other regional and international organizations. All parties are welcome to play a positive and constructive role in promoting Asian security and cooperation. At the same time, countries outside the region should take into full account the real conditions of the region, respect the reasonable concerns of the regional countries, and join us in working to enhance rather than compromise regional security and development. Regional and transregional mechanisms should be allowed to fully play their roles as bridges and vital links for greater exchanges and cooperation between Asia and the rest of the world.

Dear Friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As China keeps growing, there are many in the world who want to know how China will practice this Asian security concept and play its role in regional and international affairs. Here are some of my observations.

First, China is committed to peaceful development, a path that enables it to develop itself through maintaining world peace and to maintain world peace through its own development. China's choice for peaceful development is by no means expediency or diplomatic rhetoric. It is a determined choice that China has made on the basis of its history, reality and development goals. It is a path that links China's interests intricately to the interests of the world. For more than a century from the Opium War of 1840 to the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, China suffered immensely from the aggression and bullying by Western powers. Independence and peace are what the Chinese cherish the most. As the Chinese saying goes, do not do unto others what you would not want others to do unto you. The Chinese will not inflict the agony they have gone through on other countries. Peaceful development is a path that serves China and the world. At the same time, peaceful development ought to be the common cause for all nations. It is our sincere hope that other countries will join us in the common pursuit of peaceful development, as this will benefit people from all countries in the world.

Second, China is committed to deepening its friendly cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. China actively champions and staunchly implements the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Neighbors wish each other well just as family members do. Peace and tranquillity in its neighborhood is what China most welcomes, and any action that causes chaos and undermines mutual trust is the last thing China wants. China adheres to a neighborhood diplomacy concept featuring amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, and goes vigorously for cooperation with its neighbors as well as such regional organizations as ASEAN and SAARC. In the coming five years, China is expected to import over 10 trillion US dollars worth of commodities, invest over 500 billion US dollars overseas and have more than 500 million outbound tourists. China's development will bring even greater benefit to its neighbors and beyond.

China attaches great importance to enhancing its strategic cooperation with Russia. This year, President Xi Jinping attended the opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia, and President Putin visited China and attended the CICA summit. As a result, the China-Russia comprehensive and strategic partnership of coordination has been elevated to a new level, which is conducive not just to bilateral cooperation but also to peace and development in the world.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. The relations have progressed significantly in those 35 years. President Xi Jinping and President Obama reached important agreement on building a new model of major-country relationship featuring non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. This is an unprecedented undertaking that is inspirational to future generations. We have noticed that more and more American people with vision have expressed willingness to work for this new model of major-country relationship. As long as the two countries continue to work together in the above spirit,they will be able to write a new chapter in major-country relations.

China and Europe are important partners. In 2013, China-EU trade reached 559.1 billion US dollars and up to 5 million visits were made in personnel exchange. Since the beginning of the year, President Xi Jinping has visited the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium and the EU headquarters. As we speak, Premier Li Keqiang is visiting European countries. China-EU partnerships for promoting peace, growth, reform and inter-civilization exchange are steadily moving forward.

China attaches great importance to its cooperation with emerging market countries, such as India, Brazil and South Africa. It is reaching out to other BRICS members to improve cooperation mechanism and enhance the group's international influence. China is ready to work with the new government of India in promoting the continued progress of China-India relations. The developing countries are the foundation of China's diplomacy. We will step up our solidarity and cooperation with fellow developing countries, provide assistance in various fields to the best of our capability, and always be their reliable friend and sincere partner.

On China-Japan relations, China has consistently called for sound and steady growth of the relationship in the spirit of taking history as a mirror and looking towards the future and on the basis of the four political documents between the two countries. We hope Japan will work with us in the same direction and make concrete efforts to improve China-Japan relations.

Third, China will carry forward the spirit of the ancient Silk Road, and work actively to build the Silk Road economic belt and the 21st century maritime silk road. Throughout the past centuries, the Silk Road has been a synonym for peace, cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. This spirit has been passed on from generation to generation. President Xi Jinping, during his visit to Central and Southeast Asian countries last fall, put forward the two initiatives of building an economic belt along the ancient Silk Road and a 21st century maritime silk road respectively, thus breathing new life into the time-honored wonder. Many countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe as well as Russia have welcomed and voiced their support for the initiatives and expressed readiness to get a piece of the action. China will work with all parties on the project with a view to achieving common development for countries along the routes.

Fourth, China is committed to settling its differences and disputes with other countries through peaceful means and to playing a constructive role in solving regional hotspot issues. China is firm in upholding its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We will never trade with our core interests, or swallow the bitter fruits that undermine our sovereignty, security and development interests. China is committed to settling its disputes with relevant countries over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests through peaceful means. We are ready to seek solutions through dialogue and negotiation with utmost sincerity and patience. China has completely resolved, through friendly consultation, the issue of land boundary with 12 out of its 14 neighbors. China believes disputes in the East and South China Seas should be settled through friendly consultation and negotiation between countries directly concerned and on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law.

China is committed to achieving denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, to keeping the Peninsula peaceful and stable, and to solving the relevant issues through dialogue and consultation. China calls on all parties to proceed from the larger picture, work together to create conditions for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, and make unremitting efforts to achieve durable peace and security in the Peninsula and the Northeast Asian region.

China firmly supports peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan. In the coming August, China will host the Fourth Foreign Ministers' Conference of the Istanbul Process. We will take the opportunity to promote international cooperation and facilitate Afghanistan's political, economic and security transition.

Having participated in nearly 30 UN peacekeeping missions and dispatched a total of some 27,000 peacekeepers, China is the top contributor of UN peacekeepers among all permanent members of the Security Council.

Terrorism is the common enemy of all mankind. A victim of terrorism, China faces a real, direct threat posed by the terrorist group of the "East Turkestan Islamic Movement". China is resolutely opposed to terrorism of all kinds and the practice of double standards on the question of fighting terrorism. We are ready to keep up our counter-terrorism cooperation with all countries in an effort to crack down on terrorist violence and the three forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism.

Dear Friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China has always been a staunch force dedicated to peace and development in Asia and the world as a whole. China cannot achieve development in isolation from Asia and the world, and neither can peace and development in Asia and the world be secured without the contribution of China. We are ready to join all countries in making persistent efforts to seize the opportunities, take on the challenges and achieve our objectives. Hand in hand, let us make even greater contribution to the pursuit of lasting peace and common prosperity in Asia and the world at large.

I wish the Third World Peace Forum a complete success.

Thank you.

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