Working Together to Build a World of Lasting Peace and Universal Security and a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind
--- Address at the Opening Ceremony of the Seventh World Peace Forum
Tsinghua University, July 2018
Tsinghua University, July 2018
By Yang Jiechi
It gives me great pleasure to join you at the opening ceremony of the Seventh World Peace Forum in this beautiful campus of Tsinghua University. I want to thank Tsinghua University and the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs for their exceptional organization of this forum, which is now in its seventh year. My warmest congratulations on the opening of this year’s forum and best regards to participants from around the world.
As the Chinese saying goes, “With strong roots, plants will grow; with right approach, people will succeed.” Since its inception seven years ago, the World Peace Forum has brought together the great minds of the world to examine the root causes of major international security issues and to explore ways to address them through cooperation. This is no small contribution to world peace and development. When I look around this hall, I can see many veteran statesmen and leading scholars. We have before us a highly pertinent topic, that is “Constructing a Security Community: Equality, Equity and Justice”. It is therefore most important that we put our heads together, think out of the box, and share new perspectives on achieving world peace and security.
A few weeks ago, the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs established “Xi Jinping thought on diplomacy” as the fundamental guideline for conducting China’s external work in the new era. Since the 18th Party Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has shown great foresight and strong leadership. Taking a hard look at the destiny and future of mankind as well as the development trajectories of China and the world, it has broken new ground in both theory and practice, and put forward a whole set of new, forward-looking ideas and proposals that are embedded in China’s reality and reflect the trend of the times. This new thinking and approach has crystallized into Xi Jinping thought on diplomacy, which will guide China to make even greater contribution to both national rejuvenation and progress of all humankind.
The world is experiencing significant changes unseen in a century. We live in an increasingly multi-polar and globalized world. The IT revolution and cultural diversity are facts of life. Interconnection and interdependence between countries have become an inescapable reality. In such a world, all countries rise and fall together. With the forces for peace outpacing the factors of war, the call for peace, development and win-win cooperation has become the order of the day. This year marks the centenary of the end of World War I. Looking back, we have painful and profound lessons to draw from our experience of two world wars and more than four decades of Cold War. Today more than ever, all nations prefer peace to war, and cooperation to confrontation.
On the other hand, it is also true that the international situation has become more unstable, uncertain and unpredictable. The world is caught in a historical process of increasingly fast evolution. The Cold War mentality, power politics, unilateralism and protectionism still manifest themselves. Regional turbulence, terrorism, climate change and refugee flows remain unresolved challenges. Problems of economic and financial risks and the worsening development gap have become more acute. All of this presents global security challenges that are more complicated than ever before.
To sum up, the ever-changing international environment is reshaping the security landscape in profound ways:
First, security issues have become more interconnected. Security issues have increasingly taken on political, economic, cultural, ethnic and religious dimensions. Problems in one field now have repercussions in other fields more quickly. This new dynamic makes them more complicated than what meets the eye. A simplistic, palliative approach may lead to more problems than it attempts to solve. The spread of terrorism, a product of interwoven political, economic, religious and cultural factors, is a case in point, and must be tackled with a multi-pronged approach.
Second, security issues have become more contagious. In a world that is rapidly becoming a “global village”, security issues respect no national borders. The vulnerability of any one country may create a security “swamp” attracting multiple risks from outside. The insecurity of one country may build up and spill over to the region and beyond. In this day and age, no one can stay unscathed from external risks or achieve so-called “absolute security” on its own. Hence, we must stick together.
Third, security issues have become more perilous. With economic globalization and the IT revolution gathering pace, security issues may wreak havoc in unprecedented ways, affecting not only ordinary citizens but also the elite, not only one but multiple domains and locations - indeed, the entire world. Take the seven-year-long Syrian conflict for example. It has driven millions from their homes and inflicted huge economic losses. The quest for security is also moving into new frontiers such as cyberspace, deep sea, the polar regions and outer space. At stake is not only the development and prosperity of this generation, but also that of our children and children’s children.
To ensure lasting peace amidst these profound security shifts, many new and different solutions have come up. We owe it to our people to pass on the torch of peace, to create sustained impetus for development and to rekindle the light of civilization. Here is what China proposes. We believe that countries should dedicate themselves to global peace and common development, realize a world of lasting peace and universal security, and build a community with a shared future for all mankind. To this end, we call for a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. To be more specific, we suggest the following principles to be followed in handling international security issues:
First, equality and mutual trust. These are the prerequisite of security. As China sees it, all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community. No country has the right to “monopolize” international and regional security affairs or erode the legitimate interests of other countries. The right approach is to treat each other as equals and with respect, be sensitive to each other’s interests and concerns, reject hegemony and power politics, and never impose one’s will on others. It is important to foster friendship, uphold justice and pursue shared interests, instead of seeking to advance one’s own interests at the expense of others. It is also important to enhance strategic trust through sincere dialogue, which will reduce suspicion, expand common ground and increase harmony in the world.
Second, cooperation for mutual benefit. This is the surest path to security. “Absolute security” is an illusion. Just as the security of one country can never be built on the turbulence of others, threats confronting another country may very likely become one’s own challenges. Therefore, a win-win outcome must be sought if everyone is to enjoy lasting peace and security. When problems first emerge, we must look for proper solutions rather than threatening the use of force, magnify the problems out of selfish interests, or adopt a beggar-thy-neighbor approach. Guided by a new vision of comprehensive and common security, we must take holistic and integrated steps to both address the immediate problems and contain potential risks. Countries must step up coordination and cooperation on such non-traditional security issues as fighting terrorism and extremist ideologies.
Third, equity and justice. These are both very important values, yet our world today is still far from being a place of equity and justice. Their deficit should remind us of the need to build a better world and reinforce the foundation of peace. This would require rejecting the outdated Cold-War mentality and zero-sum mindset, settling international disputes by peaceful means and forging a collective response to security challenges. We must honor our international obligations, safeguard the international system centered around the United Nations, and make the international order more just and equitable.
Fourth, reform and innovation. These are crucial if we are to meet the plethora of new security challenges. In many ways, the existing architecture of global security governance system requires improvement. We should keep abreast of the changing times, think outside the box and develop new ways of cooperation so as to find new solutions to old problems and good solutions to new problems, with a view to breaking the security dilemma facing the international community. Such an innovative approach will help us make global security governance fairer, more reasonable and effective.
Fifth, sustainable development. To build lasting security, development and prosperity must be inclusive. A tree cannot grow tall or bear fruit in a barren land torn apart by the flames of war. Many of you would agree that fundamentally speaking, much of the conflict and turbulence we see around the world stems from the lack of development. More people have come to the realization that only with development can we remove the breeding ground of global challenges, secure the basic rights of the people, and propel the progress of human society. The right to development must be shared by all. Delivering this right is not just the responsibility of national governments, but also the shared obligation of the international community. Now, more than 80 percent of the global population live in developing countries. Their right to more development and a better life must be upheld. Development issues should not be politicized. We must implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, raise living standards, close the wealth gap and promote common prosperity. All these efforts will put our shared security on a stronger footing.
We in China always believe that one should practice what he advocates. In this spirit, China is not only advocating world peace and security, but also taking concrete actions toward these goals. China has long been a staunch force for global peace and prosperity. With further development, China will be able to do more for global peace and prosperity.
China is a key anchor and engine of global economic growth. China’s development has lent a strong momentum to global recovery and growth, contributing nearly 30 percent of world economic growth on average since 2002. Consumer spending and investment opportunities in China have created more jobs worldwide. Last year, China accounted for 10.2 percent of global imports and 12.8 percent of global exports, and was the leading trade partner of over 120 countries and regions. The Chinese government has been able to provide adequate food and clothing for its over 1.3 billion people and lifted over 700 million Chinese out of poverty according to current UN standards, which accounts for over 70 percent of poverty reduction worldwide. This is a very important contribution to the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative creates immense opportunities for its win-win cooperation with the rest of the world. After President Xi Jinping first proposed it in 2013, the initiative has elicited warm response and wide support from the world. The first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, hosted by President Xi in May last year, attracted more than 1,600 participants from over 140 countries and over 80 international organizations. Five years on, the initiative is becoming an unfolding reality: more than 100 countries and international organizations are now on board, a great many projects have kicked off, trans-national infrastructure connectivity is taking shape, manufacturing cooperation is gaining momentum, governments are doing more to coordinate development policies, and people in the participating countries are benefiting from the Belt and Road cooperation. Five years on, trade between China and other participating countries has exceeded 5 trillion US dollars in cumulative terms, Chinese investment in these countries has exceeded 70 billion US dollars and more than 200,000 local jobs have been created. These are clear proof that all relevant countries have benefited from their participation in the Belt and Road Initiative. The initiative is proving to be an enabler of economic growth for many countries, especially developing ones, and it is bringing a new hope for their people. All this is a vivid demonstration of China’s efforts toward building a community with a shared future for mankind.
China has provided a vast amount of assistance to other developing countries, especially the less developed ones. Through concessional loans, through technical, personnel and intellectual support, and through projects directly benefiting local communities, China is helping other developing countries to become better-off through development. As an active participant in international disaster relief and humanitarian operations, China is among the first to rush to the aid of Ebola-affected areas in Africa and their neighboring countries, providing them with much-needed assistance at a most trying time. Recently, China International Development Cooperation Agency was set up for the very purpose of further improving China’s foreign aid and enabling it to contribute more to the international development efforts. As we speak, tens of thousands of Chinese engineers, entrepreneurs and technicians are working in various parts of the world, helping other developing countries on their way to prosperity and a better future.
China has taken an active part in seeking political settlement of international and regional hotspots. It has played a constructive role in addressing issues like the Korean nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue, Syria, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
On the Korean nuclear issue, the situation on the Peninsula has eased in recent months, and things are moving in the right direction of a political settlement. The hard-won developments must be cherished by all parties. Given the complex and unique nature of the issue, all parties must move in the same direction and stay the course. China is committed to the denuclearization, peace and stability of the Peninsula and to a negotiated solution through dialogue and consultation. China will continue to work with other parties for denuclearization, for a peace mechanism and for lasting peace on the Peninsula.
On the Iranian nuclear issue, China maintains that all parties should have the bigger, long-term picture in mind, stick to a political and diplomatic settlement, properly manage differences, uphold the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and return as soon as possible to the right track of its full implementation.
On Syria, China holds the view that Syria’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity should be upheld and respected. It is up to the Syrian people to decide for themselves the future of their nation. Political settlement is the only realistic answer to this question.
On Afghanistan, China supports its peace and reconstruction efforts, and backs an inclusive political reconciliation process that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.
On the Middle East, China wishes the region an early restoration of peace and stability and every success in finding a political solution that accommodates the regional realities and the interests of various parties. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries concerned must be preserved, the role of the United Nations as the main channel upheld, and the legitimate aspirations of countries in the region respected.
China has firmly supported and actively participated in UN peacekeeping and other major operations. China is the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the P5, having dispatched more than 37,000 peacekeepers to 24 UN peacekeeping missions. China has also taken an active part in international cooperation against terrorism and piracy. For one thing, Chinese navy ships have conducted escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast for ten years running, ensuring safe passage for over 6,000 ships. China has been deeply involved in international cooperation in such non-traditional security areas as counter-terrorism, anti-narcotics, cyber security and climate change. China’s success in hosting the Shanghai Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia and the Qingdao Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization represents a major contribution from China to the regional security architecture. Facts have proven that China is a force for peace, development and world order.
China has taken on a historic responsibility to pursue happiness for its people, rejuvenation for the nation, and for the common good of the world. In this new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the over 1.3 billion Chinese people are working tirelessly for a dream of great national renewal. The Chinese dream is closely linked to the dreams of other people around the world. China is committed to building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind, thereby contributing even more to the development and prosperity of mankind, an aspiration shared world over.
China will stay true to the mission of upholding world peace and to the path of peaceful development. The pursuit of harmonious coexistence is in the DNA of the Chinese nation. Peaceful development is a strategic choice made by China in light of its national conditions and fundamental interests. It is a basic principle that must be followed in China’s diplomacy in the long run. It is peaceful development, not predatory expansion, that has enabled China, a country once mired in poverty and backwardness, to grow into the world’s second largest economy. For this reason, we will continue to uphold peaceful development and cooperation for win-win results, and stick to an independent foreign policy. No matter how advanced it may become, China will never seek hegemony, nor will it seek expansion or spheres of influence.
Pursuing peaceful development, however, doesn’t mean China will ever give up its legitimate rights and interests. China is committed to peaceful development, and we also expect others to do likewise. China will safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests and uphold its core interests as a red line that cannot be crossed. China will not cause trouble to others. That said, China won’t flinch from facing up to trouble that comes its way. No country should have any illusions that it can undermine China’s interests at will.
For some time now, unilateralism and protectionism have jeopardized global growth, prompting concerns and opposition around the globe. China has always opposed unilateralism and protectionism in trade and investment. We advocate a sensible approach to any dispute or problem in trade relations. There will be no winner from a trade war, only a lose-lose outcome. China doesn’t want a trade war, but China is not afraid of it. When its legitimate rights and interests are treated unfairly, China has every reason to take necessary countermeasures. China will work with all parties to uphold free trade and the multilateral trading regime, which we believe serve the shared interests of all countries in the world.
China, together with other countries, will push forward the Belt and Road cooperation under the commitment to achieving shared benefits through extensive consultation and joint contribution. As an old Chinese saying goes, “When you eat fruits, forget not the tree they grew on; when you drink water, forget not the source it came from.” In the case of China, its development would not have been possible without the outside world, so in return, China will contribute more to global development. At the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that China will host in 2019, China will work with other interested countries to ensure sustained progress in Belt and Road cooperation, and to translate the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits into concrete win-win outcomes. China will integrate the Belt and Road cooperation with its reform and opening-up efforts. Our approach is to drive reform and development through opening-up in all respects. China will never shut its doors. If anything, it will only open wider to the outside world. In the coming 15 years, the China market will further grow and expand, with an estimated import of 24 trillion US dollars worth of goods, and inbound and outbound investment of 2 trillion US dollars respectively. The first China International Import Expo, scheduled for November in Shanghai, will serve as a new platform for such cooperation.
China will take an active part in the reform of the global governance system with a commitment to equity and justice. A Chinese adage has it that “a just world should be pursued for the common good”. China maintains that global affairs should be run together by countries in the world, and that all people, irrespective of their nationality, social stratum, and walk of life, should be able to benefit from global governance. The global governance reform that China takes part in is not about overturning the current system and starting all over again. Instead, it is about improving the system so that it can better reflect the changing realities, increase the representation and say of developing countries, and bring greater democracy in international relations.
China is a staunch supporter of the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. China supports the multilateral trading regime and a more open, inclusive, balanced economic globalization that delivers benefits to all. China stands firmly against trade and investment protectionism. On frontier areas such as cyberspace, deep sea, polar regions and outer space, countries should work together to develop new institutions and new rules, and build new platforms of win-win cooperation. China will continue to contribute its wisdom and proposals to help settle international and regional hotspots and issues of a global nature.
China will stay committed to building partnerships around the world. We Chinese often say, “Those who share the same ideal and follow the same path can be partners; those who seek common ground while setting aside differences can also be partners.” China pursues friendship and cooperation with all other countries based on the five principles of peaceful co-existence. We have made the forging of partnerships a golden rule in our relations with other countries, and have established partnerships of various forms with over 100 countries and regional organizations. China will continue to expand this network of global partnerships and make more friends all over the world.
Major countries have a responsibility and obligation to play a bigger role in upholding world peace and security. China will continue to work for a framework of major-country relations featuring overall stability and balanced development. We will increase dialogue and seek closer cooperation with other major countries to enhance mutual trust and keep differences under control. This will be a significant contribution to peace, security, development and prosperity of the world.
China sees in its neighbors good partners in pursuing common development and true friends in maintaining regional peace and stability. China will continue to deepen good-neighborly ties in line with the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness and the policy of forging friendship and partnership in its neighborhood with a view to building a community with a shared future in our neighborhood.
China regards other developing countries as trustworthy partners in its peaceful development. In its relations with other developing countries, China will continue to follow the approach of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests and the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith. China will work to upgrade cooperation with them and cement our good relations featuring solidarity, mutual trust, common development and affinity.
China will promote exchange and mutual learning among different civilizations with an open and inclusive mind. We Chinese people often say, “Delicious soup is made by combining different ingredients.” There are more than 200 countries and regions, over 2,500 ethnic groups and multiple religions in our world. Diversity not only defines our world, but also drives progress of mankind. Interactions between different civilizations should be guided by the vision of harmony without uniformity, mutual respect and mutual learning, as that’s exactly what makes our world colorful and vibrant. It is important that we promote exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations as a bridge of friendship, a driving force for human progress, and a bond for world peace. The wisdom and nourishment thus drawn from different civilizations can be a source of mighty strength for mankind as we tackle the myriad challenges in the world today.
The youth are the hope and future of a nation. Tsinghua University, staying true to its motto of “self-discipline and social commitment”, has dedicated itself to the well-being of Chinese society and to world development through robust international exchanges and cooperation. I was told that Tsinghua, the alma mater of a large number of movers and shakers with a global vision and a pioneering spirit, has cooperation agreements with 280 universities and research institutes in 50 countries, and hosts over 3,500 international students from 128 countries. Let me commend Tsinghua for what it has done to facilitate mutual understanding and friendship among young people from around the world and to promote friendship and cooperation between China and the rest of the world.
We in China often say, “It takes not just one tree to build a mansion and not just one river to make an ocean.” While the prospects for a peaceful and secure world are bright, the road ahead will not be a smooth one. It will take the concerted efforts of all countries to make the bright prospects a reality. Let me say that we will work with all other countries, for a world of lasting peace and universal security, for a community with a shared future for mankind, and for greater progress in the lofty cause of world peace.
Yang Jiechi is member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee.