Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of China at the luncheon of the Fourth World Peace Forum
It is my great pleasure to come back to the World Peace Forum.
Peace is an eternal theme of mankind, and is also a goal that we all strive to attain. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the World’s Anti-Fascist War and the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. China will join countries across the world in commemorating this unforgettable episode of history and opposing rhetorics and actions that glorify aggression, to make sure that war will not recur and peace will be everlasting.
In this context, it is all the more timely and relevant for people of vision from all over the world to meet in Beijing and discuss important matters bearing on world peace. At the opening session of the Forum this morning, Vice President Li Yuanchao laid out China’s vision to work with other countries in building a community of common destiny for world peace and security. I hope and I believe that this initiative for peace has been well-received by this distinguished audience.
China has always been dedicated to safeguarding world peace. China is a participant as well as facilitator and contributor in the global and regional order. Let me share with you China’s views and thinking on this subject.
Seventy years ago, in the smoky ruins of the World’s Anti-Fascist War and after painful reflection, the international community established the international order and system with the United Nations as the core and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter as the cornerstone, thus opening a new chapter in the history of international relations. As one of the main victorious countries, China took an active part in and made important contribution to this historical process. China was the first country to sign on the UN Charter.
Seventy years on, even as China focuses on developing itself, China has never allowed itself to ignore its due international responsibilities. Both internationally and regionally, it has played a constructive role in maintaining peace, promoting development, and safeguarding and improving post-war international order and system.
First, China’s foreign policy has been imbued with the letter and spirit of the UN Charter. The UN Charter embodies the international aspiration for preventing war, preserving peace and promoting cooperation. It established vital principles of sovereign equality, non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, peaceful resolution of disputes and prohibition against the use or threat of force. And as such, it became the cornerstone for guiding and regulating contemporary international relations.
Embracing the principles of the UN Charter, China has been committed to international peace, security and cooperation. We jointly proposed the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence with India and Myanmar, which reflect the spirit of the UN Charter. These principles have since become widely recognized norms governing international relations. We consistently stand for peaceful settlement of international disputes and equality of countries irrespective of size. We oppose willful use of force and reject power politics and zero-sum game.
We are dedicated to fostering a new pattern of state-to-state relations with win-win cooperation as the core and based on partnership instead of alliance and cooperation rather than confrontation.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, we are aware of our responsibilities for world peace. China’s vote at the Security Council can be counted on to always promote international fairness and justice and uphold the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries and small countries. In a similar vein, China has never exercised its veto but to check the instinct of war and resist power politics.
Second, China has taken an extensive part in the settlement of global hotspot issues. Decades ago, we actively advanced the Indochina peace process, called for and realized the peaceful settlement of the Cambodian issue and initiated the Six-Party Talks for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Now, we are actively promoting political dialogue processes for hotspot issues from the Iranian nuclear issue, Ukraine, to the Middle East and South Sudan. And we get deeply involved in international cooperation in counter-terrorism, anti-drug trafficking, cyber security and climate change. China has contributed the biggest number of peacekeeping personnel among the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Even as we speak, over 3,000 Chinese peacekeepers are discharging their duties all over the world every day. We deployed a total of 59 vessels to the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast in 20 missions to ensure safety of close to 6,000 Chinese and foreign ships.
Third, China has actively honored its international obligations. Since the founding of New China, we have concluded over 23,000 bilateral treaties and agreements, acceded to over 400 multilateral treaties and almost all inter-governmental organizations and honored our due obligations. Since its accession to the WTO, China has worked to push forward multilateral trade talks and promote a range of bilateral and multilateral free trade arrangements in a devoted effort to advance international trade liberalization. This month, China signed free trade agreements with the ROK and Australia, raising the total number of FTAs it has reached to 14. If we count in the seven ongoing FTAs negotiations, the FTAs China has been involved in would cover more than 30 countries and regions.
Fourth, China has actively advocated exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations. We have established people-to-people exchange mechanisms with the United States, Russia, the UK, France, the EU and Indonesia, among others, and initiated the World Cultural Forum (Taihu, China) to promote exchanges and mutual learning between different ethnic groups, cultures and religions to increase mutual understanding and encourage respect for differences and harmonious coexistence.
Development is the bedrock of peace. China has contributed enormously to world peace and stability through its own economic development. It is estimated that China has consistently served as one of the main drivers of the global economy in the past 30 years, becoming the largest contributor to global growth since the international financial crisis. China, a strong and dynamic locomotive, is fueling the development of many other countries, thus creating a more favorable environment and laying a more solid foundation for the noble cause of peace.
China is an Asia-Pacific country. As a member of the Asia-Pacific community, China is committed to the peace and stability of this region.
Over the decades, we have gradually put together a full-fledged, mature and multi-dimensional foreign policy towards our neighboring countries. This neighborhood policy is guided by important principles such as amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. It is geared towards building amicable ties and partnerships with China’s neighbors and advancing good-neighborliness, security and prosperity in the region. It is underpinned by the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. It is inspired by a long-term vision of building an Asia-Pacific where countries live together in peace, pursue win-win cooperation and work together to forge a partnership and eventually create a community of common destiny. China’s neighborhood policy is an important part of its overall diplomacy, which is in line with the purposes of the UN Charter and reflects China’s socialist characteristics. More and more countries, especially those in the region, have come to recognize and welcome this policy.
Over the years, China has worked hard to deepen mutual understanding and trust with its neighbors. It has signed treaties of good-neighborliness and friendly cooperation with eight countries respectively and is ready to do the same with other willing neighbors to codify shared commitment to peace and friendly cooperation. China has fully settled its land boundary issues with 12 out of its 14 neighbors. We have a special representative mechanism on the boundary dispute with India and our border negotiations with Bhutan are going smoothly. China has steadily increased its military transparency and issued nine defense white papers, including the recent white paper on China’s military strategy, in response to domestic and foreign concerns regarding China’s military development. China has taken the initiative to discuss with ASEAN countries on the setting up of bilateral defense hotlines as a crisis management measure. We resumed consultations with Japan on a maritime and air liaison mechanism and are in the process of fleshing out the rules of behavior for the safety of air and maritime encounters with the United States. All this has taken our confidence building efforts with countries concerned to a higher level.
China has worked actively to strengthen regional security dialogue and cooperation. It has conducted more than 100 joint military exercises with over 50 countries, including those in the Asia-Pacific, and established defense and security dialogue mechanisms with 27 countries. China is the first country to hold 10+1 defense ministers’ meetings with ASEAN countries and we are deeply involved in multilateral defense exchanges through regional frameworks such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ASEAN Regional Forum and ADMM+. China successfully hosted the CICA summit, calling on countries in the region to accommodate each other’s security concerns while safeguarding their own security and explore a widely accepted, open and stable security cooperation architecture that meets the needs of this region.
China has worked actively to facilitate the peaceful settlement of regional hotspot issues. As an important force for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, China has worked tirelessly to create conditions for restarting the Six-Party Talks. China successfully hosted the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan. We support the political, security and economic transitions in Afghanistan and play a mediating role in its domestic peace process in a way that is acceptable to all sides. We are also engaged in facilitating national reconciliation in Myanmar by leveraging our own resources and advantages to promote peace and stability both inside Myanmar and along its borders with China.
The past 70 years has seen a much changed world and rapidly shifting international landscape and balance of power. No doubt, a fast-growing China committed to socialism with Chinese characteristics is becoming an important factor for world development. Not surprisingly, China’s foreign policy has attracted much international attention, and has given rise to various interpretation, speculation, and sometimes even misunderstanding. Here I wish to say to you on record that China will always be a participant in the international order, not challenger; a facilitator, not trouble-maker; and a contributor, not a “free-rider”. This was, is and will be the case in the future.
We will continue to safeguard contemporary international order and system. Seventy years ago, China was directly involved in designing and building the international order and system with the United Nations as the centerpiece. Naturally we wouldn’t overturn what we had helped to build, nor would we want to start everything anew. We will join other countries in safeguarding and further developing the existing order and system. In fact, it is the failure to effectively honor the purposes and principles of the UN Charter that is very much behind the confrontation and injustice we see in our world today.
Meanwhile, the trend of multi-polarization and globalization means that we need to work together for the reform and improvement of the international order and system to make it more fair and equitable, and better serve the aspirations of the international community, especially the large group of developing countries which have grown stronger since the second World War. We should embrace three basic principles in the evolution of international relations, namely, more multilateralism and less unilateralism; stronger rule of law, not the law of the jungle; and greater democracy, not power politics.
We will continue to promote peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific. China is committed to the path of peaceful development, a commitment that is of immediate relevance for the Asia-Pacific. We do not seek dominance or sphere of influence in the region, nor do we intend to form military alliances or drive any country out of the Asia-Pacific. Instead, we are committed to solidarity and cooperation with other countries in pursuit of a new path of security for the region, which is built by all, shared by all, win-win for all and safeguarded by all. China will seek to resolve disputes with its neighbors over territory and maritime rights and interests peacefully through dialogue and negotiation and on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law. Disputes that cannot be solved for now are to be managed properly. We will work with the international community to uphold freedom of navigation and commerce that countries enjoy at sea, including the South China Sea, based on international law, and fulfill all international responsibilities and obligations as a main littoral state.
We will continue to expand the good momentum of economic development in the Asia-Pacific. Most of us in this region are developing countries. We all need development. We cannot allow disruption of our hard-won development opportunities. Nor can we allow exaggerated or even fabricated tensions to disturb our development. The implementation of the land and maritime Silk Road initiatives have provided fresh opportunity for comprehensively deepening mutually beneficial cooperation among Asia-Pacific countries in business, investment, industrial, infrastructure and other fields. Strengthening international cooperation in production capacity and making good use of financial institutions like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund will be a big part of this process.
Let me say a few more words about the Silk Road initiatives. The aim of these initiatives is to promote common development and shared prosperity along the routes, with a view to building a community of common destiny. And their implementation will follow a win-win approach featuring wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. Countries in the Asia-Pacific are both natural partners in these initiatives and their direct beneficiaries. The Eurasian landmass we are living in bears witness to much bloodshed in history. Today, we should work together to make the renewal of the ancient Silk Roads a pathway towards lasting peace and cooperation that had eluded our forefathers.
We will continue to advance regional cooperation and integration in the Asia-Pacific. Regional cooperation is a trend of the times. And our aim should be to achieve trade and investment liberalization on a global scale. We will promote coordinated progress in cooperation mechanisms, such as the APEC, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three, China-Japan-ROK Cooperation and East Asia Summit, in an effort to build an architecture of Asia-Pacific cooperation that is more open, inclusive, mutually beneficial and complementary. In East Asia, which is China’s immediate neighborhood, we will continue to support ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation, work actively with ASEAN to push forward the negotiations for an upgraded China-ASEAN FTA and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and endeavor to fulfill the vision for an East Asia economic community by 2020.
Before I conclude, let me say one more thing. As China continues to contribute to world peace and development, we hope the international community will also make the effort to learn more about China, and understand and support my country. China’s peaceful development is a process of modernization among 1.3 billion people. Seldom can we see such an inspiring and splendid endeavor in the history of human progress.
The growth of China has been accompanied by the extension of its national interests beyond its neighborhood. This is a trend of history that is both natural and unstoppable. This process brings to the region and the world, first and foremost, opportunities for cooperation and dividends of development. Even so, due to conventional thinking, some friends tend to worry that China might repeat the path of previous major powers and put the development space of others under constraint. Let me reaffirm here that as a participant of and contributor to the global and regional order, a growing China would only mean greater strength for peace and more positive energy in the world. We are determined to break the so-called law of history that draws a simplistic equation between power and attempts to seek hegemony. We will unswervingly go down a new path of sharing peace and development with all other countries. As President Xi Jinping has emphasized, China is committed to working with all countries to foster a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation. This is an objective and vision we are dedicated to achieve. President Xi’s important proposition builds on the purposes of the UN Charter and is fully consistent with the trend of progress of human society. We look forward to joining hands with all countries to embark on a new journey that will lead us to the successful attainment of this vision.
Thank you all.