Keynote Speech At the Lunch Meeting of the 5th World Peace Forum

Zhang Yesui
It gives me great pleasure to be back at the World Peace Forum. I am happy to see that, since its establishment five years ago, the Forum has grown into an influential international security forum.
The world is living through major transformation like never before. On the one hand, peace, development, cooperation and win-win progress are the predominant trend of our time. Never before in human history have countries been so interconnected. Global cooperation is expanding in all dimensions and on all levels. On the other hand, peace and development are under assault from a host of new threats and challenges, and certain new developments in international security merit our close attention. Let me specify:
— Regional turbulence and hot-spots are generating greater concern and casting a shadow over regional peace and stability. They have set off a massive flow of refugees and other humanitarian issues.
— Global growth is anemic, resulting in greater economic difficulty and social tension in some countries, and the rise and spread of populist, protectionist and xenophobic sentiments.
— Terrorism and extremism are fanning out to all corners of the globe. Religious radicalism is being rapidly transmitted through the Internet. Terrorist activities have become more rampant and destructive in many places, posing a grave danger. China strongly condemns the terrorist attack in the French city of Nice. We mourn for the lost lives and express sincere sympathy to the injured and the bereaved families. China has also suffered from terrorism. We stand ready to work with France and the rest of the international community to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation and jointly protect the safety of people around the globe and uphold world peace and stability.
— Last but not least, climate change, cyber security and public health security and other issues have become transnational, interconnected and unpredictable.
In the face of these profound changes in the global landscape and a wider array of complex threats, we must heed the call of Chinese President Xi Jinping to embrace a new concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.
With their interests intertwined and security shared, countries must realize that they are increasingly part of a community of shared future. It is time to bury the Cold War mentality and such outdated concepts as zero-sum game, for those that can neither bring security to individual nations nor usher in lasting peace and security in the world.
A society can only enjoy harmony if all its members are treated as equals; the world will only be stable if all countries are treated as equals. In China’s view, all countries are equal members of the international community irrespective of their size, strength and wealth. They all have the right to equal participation in international and regional security affairs. We must respect all countries’ sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity as well as their independently chosen social system and development path. Interference in other countries’ internal affairs and imposition of regime change under the pretext of “protecting human rights”, instead of securing peace, will only aggravate humanitarian disasters, tensions and conflicts. Only by treating each other with respect and as equals can tensions and frictions be resolved and peace and security be consolidated.
History is filled with examples of conflict and confrontation between emerging and established powers. Today, however, given the development of human society and the breadth and depth of their interdependence and convergence of interests, no country could afford the cost of confrontation or conflict. With a commitment to no conflict and no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, we stand a good chance of avoiding the Thucydides trap and building a new model of peaceful interaction between emerging and established powers.
Development is the bedrock of security. Peace, like a tree, needs fertile land to grow. We need to enhance macroeconomic policy coordination, firmly advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, unequivocally oppose protectionism and build a more equitable, just and open global economy. When formulating macroeconomic policies, major economies must consider the potential spillover effect as well as their own interests. We need to bolster the independent development capacity of developing countries and establish a new type of global partnership for development featuring greater equality and balance, so that the fruits of development will reach all nations.
Faced with complex security challenges, it is imperative to build up international and regional security mechanisms. The central role of the United Nations and its Security Council in upholding international security must be fully leveraged to enhance conflict prevention capabilities and seek peaceful settlement of disputes. We need to discuss the forging of new architectures for regional security cooperation based on the conditions of each region, guided by the principles of incremental progress, consensus building and sensitivity to each other’s comfort level. These regional architectures can serve as “safeguards” and “safety valves” for international and regional security.
China follows an independent foreign policy of peace and a path of peaceful development. We have been working hard to maintain, build and contribute to international and regional security. We are a champion and practitioner of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. We do not interfere in others’ internal affairs or seek hegemony, expansion and sphere of influence. We both firmly uphold our sovereignty, security and development interests, and fully respect and accommodate other countries’ legitimate concerns and lawful interests. We are committed to building a new type of international relations underpinned by win-win cooperation.
Committed to peaceful resolution of disputes and frictions through negotiations, China has settled boundary issues with 12 of its 14 land neighbors and delimitation of the Beibu Gulf with Vietnam. China is a staunch force for international order underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. As a permanent member of the Security Council, China takes an active part in UN peacekeeping missions and is the largest peacekeeper contributor among the P5. China is committed to protecting international sea lanes with the rest of the international community. Since 2009, the Chinese navy has deployed 70 vessels in 23 groups to the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somalia coast, providing escort services for over 6,000 Chinese and foreign vessels. As the country develops, China will offer more public goods for international peace and security.
The Belt and Road Initiative, a blueprint full of oriental wisdom, is proposed by China to advance common prosperity and development in the world. It is an innovation aimed at promoting common security through common development. The Initiative has been warmly received by countries along the routes. China has signed Belt and Road cooperation agreements with over 30 countries and production capacity cooperation agreements with more than 20 countries. To date, 46 overseas cooperation zones have been jointly established by China and 17 countries along the routes, with more than US$14 billion invested by Chinese companies and 60,000 jobs created for local communities. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is up and running, and the Silk Road Fund and China-Eurasia Economic Cooperation Fund have been set up. Last year, two-way trade between China and Belt and Road countries exceeded US$1 trillion. As the development of the Belt and Road gets to an advanced stage, we will continue to follow the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, synergize the Initiative and the development strategies of countries along the routes, deepen cooperation in such priority areas as connectivity, production capacity and people-to-people exchange, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, so that the initiative will deliver more benefits to the people of various countries and inject strong impetus to peace and prosperity on the Eurasian continent and beyond.
China firmly opposes terrorism in all its manifestations and maintains that a holistic counter-terrorism approach is needed to address both the symptoms and root causes. China opposes double standards and the practice of associating terrorism with specific country, ethnic group or religion. Fighting the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and other East Turkestan forces is part and parcel of the international counter-terrorism campaign. We supported the central role of the UN and its Security Council in international counter-terrorism cooperation, and have taken an active part in counter-terrorism exchange and cooperation in the frameworks of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, APEC, BRICS, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the Global Counterterrorism Forum. China will host an international symposium on combating cyber terrorism in the coming October in Beijing.
China will work with other countries to enhance cyber security dialogue and cooperation, facilitate the formulation of international cyber space rules acceptable to all parties, work out an international cyber space counter-terrorism convention, and improve the judicial assistance mechanism for combating cyber crimes, all in a joint effort to maintain peace and security in cyber space.
Since the beginning of this year, the Korean Peninsula has witnessed continuous tension. We are committed to denuclearization, peace and stability of the Peninsula and a settlement through dialogue and consultation. As a permanent member of the Security Council, China has implemented the relevant Security Council resolutions in their entirety and honored its international responsibilities and obligations. China has proposed a parallel approach of denuclearizing the Peninsula and replacing the armistice treaty with a peace mechanism. It reaffirms the overarching goal of denuclearization and helps resolve the parties’ concerns in a reasonable and balanced way, thus encouraging the parties to meet each other half way. We will explore with other parties possible pathways and steps to deliver this approach in a bid to contribute to efforts of properly resolving the Korean nuclear issue and maintaining peace and stability of Northeast Asia.
It takes the concerted efforts of all to maintain peace and stability in the region. The deployment of the THAAD system by the US and the ROK runs counter to the efforts to realize denuclearization and maintain peace and stability on the Peninsula. With a coverage and capability far beyond what is actually needed, the system hurts the strategic and security interests of China and other countries in the region. It will upset regional strategic balance and escalate arms race, and have serious repercussions for global strategic balance and stability. We strongly urge the US and the ROK to stop the deployment of the THAAD system and refrain from taking actions that will complicate regional situation.
Just a few days ago, the arbitral tribunal constituted at the unilateral request of the previous Philippine administration issued a so-called award. In view of this, the Chinese government publicized a set of important documents to reaffirm our consistent position of non-acceptance and non-recognition of the award.
The South China Sea arbitration instituted by the Philippines is nothing but a typical example of a case fraught with political prejudices. The arbitration was politically motivated, carefully packaged and unilaterally initiated. The tribunal was politically driven and assembled on a temporary basis. And the award was elaborately concocted with political aims. It can be said with certainty that the arbitration is, in every sense, complete political manipulation. It is an attempt aimed not to settle the disputes between China and the Philippines or to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea. Such an act violates the rule of law and tramples on international law and the norms governing international relations. It sets a dangerous and egregious precedent, which must be guarded against by the international community.
The tribunal’s ultra vires act and its illegitimate ruling are extremely dangerous. The award, which is riddled with errors on procedures, law, evidence and facts, is void of impartiality and credibility and has no binding force. It has undermined the integrity and authority of UNCLOS, shaken the confidence of countries in third-party arbitration mechanisms, eroded the very basis of modern international law and international order, and undercut regional peace and stability.
China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests will not be affected by the award in any way. China opposes and will never accept any claim or action arising from this award. Still less will China conduct negotiation with any country on the basis of this illegal award. No individual, country or organization shall succeed in using the award to pressure China or undermine China’s firm resolve to safeguard its sovereignty and rights as well as international equity and justice. Such a firm position of China is both for the sake of protecting its own rights and interests, and aimed to uphold international rule of law, equity and justice, and the authority and integrity of UNCLOS.
Negotiation and consultation is the only way out for the resolution of the South China Sea issue. Being the largest littoral country of the South China Sea, China will, acting on the larger interest of peace and stability in the South China Sea and the fundamental interests of all countries in the region, work with relevant countries, including the Philippines, to resolve the disputes through negotiation and consultation on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law. We are ready to join efforts with ASEAN countries to promote the full and effective implementation of the DOC, take forward the consultations on the Code of Conduct and step up maritime cooperation including joint development, with a view to making the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation. We hope non-littoral countries could play a positive and constructive role by supporting the resolution of relevant disputes through direct negotiations and the joint efforts by China and ASEAN countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.