Remarks by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Video Conference of RIC Foreign Ministers
Beijing, 23 June 2020
I would like to start by thanking Minister Lavrov for convening this video conference of RIC Foreign Ministers, which is highly necessary under the current situation. I also wish Russia a most successful Victory Parade in Moscow tomorrow.
COVID-19 has posed unprecedented threat to the life and health of people around the world, plunged the global economy into unprecedented recession, and presented unprecedented challenges to international stability.
As major countries with global influence as well as major emerging economies, China, Russia and India are all advocates of the international system centered around the United Nations and the international order underpinned by international law. We are all committed to upholding multilateralism, advancing international cooperation against COVID-19 and bolstering global economic recovery. In these areas, we have broad converging interests and shared responsibilities.
President Xi Jinping, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi attach great importance to the RIC framework, and their two successful informal meetings have provided important political guidance for our cooperation. Today, I look forward to working with my colleagues to act on the consensus reached between our leaders and carry forward the RIC spirit of openness, solidarity, trust and cooperation. I hope that through this meeting, we can build greater consensus, map out future cooperation, and send a positive message of our shared commitment to combating COVID-19, boosting economic growth, and upholding international fairness and justice.
The world today is experiencing a sea change as a result of COVID-19. On the one hand, unilateralism, protectionism and bullying practices have been on the increase. Some countries and political forces have been busy with scapegoating, decoupling and exiting from international groupings and treaties. They also attempt to disrupt international cooperation against COVID-19 and stoke confrontation between different ideologies and social systems. Such actions are pushing the world in a dangerous direction.
On the other hand, peace and development remain the theme of the times. The trend of emerging economies’ rise will not change, the trend toward a multi-polar world will not change, and the trend of continued globalization amid twists and turns will not change.
Shaping a post-COVID-19 world defined by peace and stability, openness and diversity and win-win cooperation serves the shared interests of all countries and responds to the call of the times. To achieve this goal is a challenging task for RIC countries and requires enhanced cooperation in the following areas:
First, we need to promote multilateralism and update global governance.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the victory of World War II and the founding of the United Nations. In that bloodiest conflict in human history, people of our three countries made indelible contributions in different theaters to the final victory, saving mankind from demise. With history in mind, we must all firmly uphold the victory of World War II, firmly oppose acts of historical retrogression, firmly reject hegemony and power politics, and firmly advocate greater democracy and rule of law in international relations. On this front, our three countries should:
Advocate multilateralism and uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter to safeguard the authority and effectiveness of the United Nations. With India again elected as non-permanent member of the Security Council, our three countries should enhance communication and coordination and pursue practical and effective cooperation under the UN framework, in order to ensure that the UN plays its due role in safeguarding world peace, promoting common development, and particularly, in addressing global challenges.
Keep up communication on macroeconomic policies to contribute to the stability of global economy. Efforts are needed to build an open world economy that will benefit emerging markets and developing countries, and to safeguard the WTO-centered multilateral trading regime and ensure secure and smooth functioning of global industrial and supply chains. Development should remain the centerpiece of the global macro policy agenda, and the delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development should be accelerated.
Elevate SCO cooperation in various fields to provide greater SCO strength and stronger SCO voice to addressing new threats and challenges and the building of a new type of international relations. We should take the lead in advancing BRICS cooperation and upholding BRICS solidarity, and work to consolidate its three main drivers, namely, economic cooperation, political and security cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges. China will continue to support Russia’s presidency of the SCO and BRICS, and work with Russia for the success of various events.
Second, we need to step up cooperation and pull together to defeat COVID-19.
With the personal commitment and leadership of President Xi Jinping, the Chinese people have made united and tremendous efforts and successfully brought the spread of the virus under control.
At the height of the COVID-19 situation in China, Russia and India provided us with invaluable support. President Putin and Prime Minister Modi wrote to President Xi to express their sympathies. The two countries also sent us much-needed medical supplies. In the same spirit, as COVID-19 rampages around the world, China has delivered medical assistance to Russia and India to the best of its ability and facilitated the two countries’ purchases of urgently needed supplies.
As Russia and India are working around the clock to suppress the transmission, China is also faced with the pressure of resurgence. We need to draw on each other’s useful experience, share information, and conduct cooperation in the research and development of therapeutics and vaccines. The effective measures for protecting the safety and health of nationals from the other two countries need to be kept in place in each country. We three countries may explore the possibility of setting up joint response mechanisms and “fast-track lanes” and “green lanes” to facilitate flows of people and goods, so as to contribute to an early return of normalcy in life and work.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is central to coordinating the global COVID-19 response. Only by supporting WHO can the world win the battle against the virus and save more lives. China is ready to work with Russia and India to advance international cooperation against the disease, firmly reject stigmatization, and resolutely oppose any attempt to pursue selfish political gains under the pretext of COVID-19 response. To address the weak links and deficiencies exposed in the crisis, we three countries need to jointly improve global public health governance and work for a global community of health for all.
Third, we need to improve our cooperation mechanisms to form greater synergy.
With the concerted efforts, cooperation among our three countries is growing with a sound momentum. To inject fresh impetus to our cooperation, China is ready to host the next informal leaders’ meeting. We trust that this proposal will get positive response and support from Russia and India.
A meeting of the defense ministers will be conducive to maintaining regional and global peace and stability, and to upgrading the defense security cooperation of our three countries. China supports Russia in hosting the first RIC defense ministers meeting.
Terrorism remains a major non-traditional security threat to the three countries and the wider region. China will deepen counter-terrorism and security cooperation with Russia and India, build more consensus and develop greater synergy. We must reject all forms of terrorism and extremism, and safeguard security and stability in this part of the world and beyond.
RIC cooperation has tremendous potential and broad space for growth. We need to expand our cooperation to more areas as befits our times. China proposes setting up ministerial dialogue mechanisms in such fields as economy and trade, energy, transportation, education, culture and health. We may also discuss the establishment of an eminent persons group, which brings together former political leaders and renowned scholars for drafting a cooperation vision report, and making recommendations for stronger cooperation among our three countries.
China, Russia and India are major countries with global importance and strategic independence. As such, we need to view one another as partners and opportunities for each other, and maintain cooperation. It serves our common interests to facilitate the development and revitalization of each of us and peace and progress of the world. With this in mind, we need to put the sensitive issues in bilateral relations in perspective and manage them properly. We need to uphold the larger interests in our mutual relations and contribute even more to peace and development in this region and the wider world. China stands ready to work with Russia and India, and make unremitting efforts to this end.