Upholding Peace and Cooperation and Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind

-- Address at the Opening Ceremony of the 8th World Peace Forum

By Wang Qishan
Beijing, 8 July 2019

Good Morning! It is my great pleasure to attend the Eighth World Peace Forum.

We meet at a time of major development, transformation and adjustment in the world. While the international environment remains generally stable, profound shifts are taking place in the relations between major countries. Continued advancement of economic globalization is accompanied by mounting protectionism and populist ideologies. Accelerated movement toward a multipolar world goes hand in hand with intensifying geopolitical rivalry and regional turbulence. The emergence of new technologies and new thinkings is profoundly changing the way people live and work. A review of the past century has led some to express fears that the post-war international order is teetering on the edge and that humanity has once again come to a crossroads.

Under such circumstances, one must look further back into history to gain a longer-term perspective for the future. The history of mankind is all about war and peace, survival and development. For several thousand years, countries and nations developed largely in mutual isolation. They rose and fell though repeated conquest and resistance in their own time and space. More than 500 years ago, the Age of Discovery brought about the first round of globalization in human history and the colonial expansion of the western Mediterranean Civilization. The international order established after the end of Second World War contributed to peace and stability in the following decades, but the world remained largely divided into opposing camps and blocs. The end of the Cold War and the emergence of new technologies created conditions for a new round of economic globalization where multinationals allocated resources globally to maximize profits. While this process generated enormous benefits for the developed countries, it also led to the collective rise of the developing countries and emerging economies, and linked the interests of all countries ever closer, making the world a truly global village.

We live in an age where people cherish peace and yearn for development, and economic globalization represents the trend of our times. There will always be twists and turns on the road ahead, but the greatest fear is fear itself in the face of challenges. We must stay committed to peaceful development, unswervingly advance economic globalization and jointly build an international order that is more fair, equitable, stable and effective. 

The more than 5000 years of uninterrupted Chinese civilization saw great sufferings as well as glories of the Chinese nation. The Chinese people believe that one should help others to succeed while seeking one's own success. They honor harmony, cooperation and inclusiveness and aspire to build a peaceful world for all. After 1840, the Chinese nation had been mired in a century of humiliation. Since then, numerous patriots had risen up and fought valiantly for national independence and liberation. With the founding of New China, the Chinese people, through their extraordinary efforts, established from scratch an independent and relatively complete industrial system and national economic system, and embarked on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics as they explored ways to promote development, reform and opening up. Today, the Chinese people have achieved the historic progress from struggling for subsistence to a moderately prosperous society in all respects, heralding bright prospects for the great renewal of the Chinese nation. 

People's aspirations for a better life are what drive us forward. China cannot develop by shutting itself from the world, nor can the world develop by shutting out China. Without a peaceful and stable international environment, there will be no development to speak of. China will continue to run its own affairs well and maintain strategic focus and confidence in response to external uncertainties. Committed to the path of peaceful development, China will never seek hegemony, expansion or sphere of influence no matter how the international situation changes or how developed it may become.

Let me try to put it this way: China's path of peaceful development is about developing China through promoting world peace while upholding world peace through China's development. It is about pursuing development mainly through reform and innovation while staying committed to opening up to learn from others. It is about following the trend of economic globalization and promoting development for all through mutually beneficial cooperation. It is about working with the rest of the international community for an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.

To achieve further development, we must build on past achievements. It is the consensus of the overwhelming majority of countries that while the existing international system is less than perfect and needs to be reformed, it would be ill-advised to cast it aside and start all over again. With the common interests of all humanity in mind, China has come up with the proposition to build a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.

- We must consolidate multilateralism as a cornerstone. We must uphold multilateralism with the United Nations at its core, abide by international law and basic norms governing international relations, and respect each other's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. While the internal affairs of a country should be determined by its own people, global affairs need to be handled by all countries through consultations on an equal footing, so that all countries and peoples can enjoy dignity and security. In this regard, major countries need to set an example by demonstrating their sense of responsibility and contributing more to world peace and stability. 

- We must explore more avenues to achieve development for all. Development is the master key to address all problems. We must strike a good balance between development and security in the process of advancing political, economic, social, cultural and ecological progress. We need to follow the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in strengthening dialogue and cooperation in economy, finance, science and technology, energy and other areas in a bid to build an open world economy of higher standards. This way, we will be better able to promote common security through greater convergence of interests while rejecting protectionism practiced in the name of national security. 

- We must promote mutual learning among civilizations. Diversity of civilizations and of development paths is both a natural result and a driving force of human progress. People from different political systems and with different historical, cultural and religious backgrounds need to reject estrangement, exclusion, suspicion and hostility, and promote greater mutual knowledge, mutual understanding, mutual trust and inclusiveness. This approach will be conducive to fundamentally forestalling the breeding and spreading of extremist ideologies. 

- We must jointly respond to new challenges facing humanity. We must seek the largest possible common ground as we set out to improve the international legal system and global governance mechanisms, and extend international cooperation to new areas such as the Internet, artificial intelligence, outer space, deep sea and polar affairs. We must stand up to our shared responsibilities to implement the international consensus on climate change, strengthen international cooperation in poverty reduction, disaster relief and public health, and combat transnational crime and terrorism in all its forms. 

In its eight-year history, the World Peace Forum has gained growing influence. At this year's Forum, experts from all over the world will have in-depth discussions on stabilizing the international order. I hope you will provide each other much food for thought, build consensus, and contribute your wisdom to world peace and development. 

To conclude, I wish the Forum a full success. 

Wang Qishan is Vice President of the People's Republic of China.