Speech by Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui at the Luncheon of the Sixth World Peace Forum
Beijing, 24 June 2017
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a real pleasure to once again be invited to the World Peace Forum, which is in its sixth session this year. Since its inception, the Forum has contributed its wisdom to promoting world peace and addressing global and regional security challenges, and has hence, gained greater influence.
The world today faces both unprecedented development opportunities and structural adjustments unseen in the past centuries. From a historical perspective, we live in a time of rapid scientific and technological progress, huge material abundance, flourishing prosperity of civilizations and rising interdependence among countries. The trend of peace and development has never been stronger. However, we also face the reality of increasing uncertainties and destabilizing factors in human society where intertwined risks appear in multiple fields and new challenges and regional conflicts keep cropping up.
On the security front, the threat of terrorism has grown markedly in recent years. Nearly 20,000 lives were lost in 2016 alone. By some estimates, in the first quarter of this year, over 700 terrorist attacks took place in different parts of the world, casting a shadow over the security of all countries. Our planet is far from peaceful and tranquil, and our society is burdened with a heavy security deficit.
On the economic front, the impact of the world financial crisis still lingers; recovery needs to be further firmed up; unbalanced development remains acute, and protectionism is on the rise. Global trade growth between 2009 and 2016 was only half as fast as between 1980 and 2008. Multilateral trade negotiations have stalled, and economic globalization and regional integration has suffered from setbacks. All these point to a more prominent development deficit.
In addition, climate change, cyber security, public health security and other global issues are prominent. The world total of refugees has reached a record high since the end of WWII, putting a formidable pressure on the international community. There is an urgent need for the global governance system to change and improve, and the governance deficit needs to be covered.
As actions are guided by ideas, we need new ideas to address new problems. The Cold War mentality, hegemonism and zero-sum games are things of the past. As Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed on many occasions, world’s countries, with the aspiration for a community of shared future for mankind, should build a new model of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, seek common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and explore a new path for world peace and security.
Countries may differ in size and capacity, but are all equal members of the international community. All countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity should be earnestly respected. Their legitimate security concerns and the right of their people to choose their own development path should also be respected. World affairs should be handled by countries working together and differences and disputes should be resolved through dialogue and consultation.
No country can have security while others are in turmoil and no one can be immune from global challenges. When one country pursues development and security at home, it must work for the common development of all and give consideration to the security of others. Only by doing so can we find a path towards common security that is built and shared by all.
Diversity is a defining feature of human civilizations and an inherent force driving social progress. Isolation leads to estrangement, while communication inspires dynamism. We need to enhance mutual trust through communication and mutual learning, and achieve harmony by seeking common ground and putting aside differences. This way, we can build a solid foundation for peace, integration and common progress of all countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China remains committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and the path of peaceful development and has been a positive force contributing to international and regional security.
We have pursued a neighborhood policy of fostering amity and friendship to promote prosperity and stability in Asia. As a member of the big Asian family, China has all along viewed its own destiny in the context of the future of Asia. We have practiced a neighborhood diplomacy of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, been committed to building friendship and partnership with our neighbors, and endeavored to promote harmony, security and prosperity, with the aim of building a community of shared future in the neighborhood. As an advocate of regional cooperation in Asia, China stands for the regional cooperation model with Asian features which takes into account the comfort level of all sides, and respects ASEAN’s centrality in East Asian cooperation. We are devoted to the coordinated development of existing regional cooperation mechanisms and to open regionalism so that regional cooperation will deliver wider benefits. We have taken an active part in ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three, China-Japan-ROK Cooperation, APEC, Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, BCIM Economic Corridor and other regional and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms, and called for accelerated RCEP negotiations, so as to advance economic integration in Asia. China is committed to upholding peace and security in Asia and supports the gradual development of a regional security architecture that meets the reality of the region and the needs of various parties.
We have worked to build a new type of major-country relations to maintain a balanced and stable global strategic environment. The China-US relationship is one of the most important bilateral ties in the world. The nearly 40-year history of China-US diplomatic relations has proven that the relationship will move forward despite twists and turns only when both countries uphold the principles of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. After the new US administration took office, thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump had a historic meeting at Mar-a-Lago, which has charted the course for China-US relations in the new era. Four high-level dialogue mechanisms were agreed between the two sides at the meeting, namely, the Diplomatic and Security Dialogue which has been inaugurated, and the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, the Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Dialogue, and the Social and People-to-People Dialogue which will be launched successively. The early harvests of the 100-day plan on economic cooperation are being actively followed through. The two sides have also maintained effective communication and coordination on major global and regional issues. Despite possible difficulties and challenges ahead, cooperation is the only right choice for the two countries, which will not only meet the fundamental interests of the two nations, but also contribute significantly to world peace and development.