Working Together to Address Global Security Challenges and Build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind
– Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the Sixth World Peace Forum
H.E. Arken Imirbaki, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China
Tsinghua University, 24 June 2017
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to come to Tsinghua University on such an exuberant summer’s day and join you at the Sixth World Peace Forum. Before I start my speech, let me express my warm congratulations on the opening of the forum and extend my sincere greetings to all the distinguished guests, experts and scholars present.
As a Chinese saying goes, “It takes time for a trend to develop, the same is true for the success of a great undertaking.” This may well illustrate the growth of the World Peace Forum. It is China’s first high-level non-governmental forum on international security. Starting from scratch six years ago, it has gradually grown into a major forum with increasing influence in Asia and the world. Such growth could not have been possible without your continuous support and contribution. I hope you will continue to support the World Peace Forum and contribute your wisdom on how best nations can work together to address global security challenges.
本届论坛的主题是“应对国际安全挑战：合力 担当 变革”。这个主题契合当前形势需要，顺应时代发展潮流，具有很强的现实意义。
The theme of the current edition of the forum is “On Challenges to International Security: Joint Efforts, Responsibility and Reform”. The theme is highly relevant as it reflects the current situation and trend of the times.
The world we live in today, if I may use a phrase of the English writer Charles Dickens, is at “the best of times” and “the worst of times”. We are now in an era of great progress, great transformation and profound changes. The trend towards a multipolar world is gaining momentum. Economic globalization, IT application and cultural diversity are growing. Peace, development and win-win cooperation are becoming an irreversible trend of our times. Never before have we seen countries so closely interconnected, technologies so advanced and abundant in helping mankind overcome difficulties, and people of all countries so aspire to a better life.
This said, the world is also faced with many challenges. Global economic growth remains sluggish. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Regional hotspot issues and turmoils are rising. Risks of terrorism, climate change and communicable diseases are mounting. Cold War mentality and power politics still linger on. To address these risks and challenges, we need to adjust our measures and philosophy in the following aspects:
First, we need to update and change our security concept. In today’s world, Cold War mentality still exists and zero-sum game thinking still sells well. Recent years have seen a growing backlash against globalization and free trade in some countries. Conservatism, isolationism, protectionism and populism are gaining ground and, as a result, various kinds of conservative, narrow-minded security concepts are on the rise. History has repeatedly told us that a self-centered, beggar-thy-neighbor approach will only serve to escalate tensions and lead to more conflicts. We cannot and should not carry the outdated mentality into the 21st century. Instead, we must rise up to the global security challenges and adopt a new security concept that keeps up with the times.
Second, we need to improve security governance. The ongoing conventional and unconventional security challenges cannot be properly addressed and resolved without a better global security governance. The United Nations and its Security Council are the core and pillar of the international security governance architecture. Confrontation and injustice we see in our world today have emerged not because the purposes and principles of the UN Charter are outdated, but because they have not been effectively implemented. To improve the global governance system, we must firmly uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, better leverage the role of the collective security mechanism established under the UN Charter, and further enhance the governance capacity and efficiency of the United Nations.
Third, we need to solve prominent security concerns. Regional and international hotspot issues in the Middle East, Syria and other places are causing turbulence and turmoils, displacing millions of people. Terrorism is spreading in Europe and violent terrorist attacks have wreaked havoc in the UK, France, Germany and other European countries. Situation on the Korean Peninsula remains grave and our top priority is to prevent further escalation of tensions and seek a peaceful solution to the crisis.
What should we do in such a turbulent world? China is of the view that given the complexity and gravity of those challenges to international security, it is important to adhere to the three principles as highlighted in the theme of this year’s forum:
First, making joint efforts. Due to economic globalization, countries have become increasingly interdependent parts of a community of shared interests and future. Such being the case, the international community should work more closely together to address global security challenges. As a Chinese ballad goes, we need to learn from bees who make honey together and from candles whose flame centers around a single wick. Only by making joint efforts and helping each other can members of the international community enjoy lasting and sustainable peace.
Second, fulfilling our due responsibility. Each generation has its own mission. Our preceding generation, with their extraordinary vision, has established the international order and system with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter as its core, and has secured for us seven decades of general peace. To pass on the torch of peace from generation to generation represents a common aspiration of all peoples and nations and is a joint responsibility for world leaders and for every one of us. As an Afghan proverb goes, as long as there is a strong resolve to scale the height of a mountain, one can always find a path. We need to pluck up our courage to fulfill our historical responsibilities, rise up to all problems and challenges, and work together to surmount all difficulties. With great power comes great responsibilities. Major countries, who are blessed with abundant resources, stronger capacity and greater strength, have both a responsibility and an obligation to play a bigger role in promoting and maintaining world peace and security.
Third, reforming the approach to address security challenges. An outdated approach cannot solve new problems or address new challenges. According to a Chinese adage, when all means are exhausted, changes are necessary, and changes will lead to a solution. We must abandon outdated security concepts and philosophy and get rid of obsolete approaches to security issues. We must pursue common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable international security in a spirit of innovation and reform. We need to work towards a global governance system, especially an economic governance system, that truly reflects the changing dynamism of international balance of power. We also need to work for a greater representation and greater voice of emerging economies and developing nations. We need to advance equality of rights and opportunities and promote fair rules that apply to all countries involved in international cooperation, so that the international governance system will reflect the will and interests of most people in a more balanced way.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China has been and will always be a staunch force for world peace and common development. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in November 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping has put forward a series of new ideas, new visions and new initiatives with Chinese characteristics on international relations. They include the establishment of a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and the building of a community of shared future for mankind. These new ideas have been warmly received by the international community.
Under the guidance of President Xi’s thinking on diplomacy, China will endeavor to not only create a sustainable peaceful external environment favorable to its own development, but also contribute to world peace and security. To build a community of shared future for mankind, where countries work together, help each other and share weal and woe, China stands ready to honor its international commitments and join other countries in a concerted effort to address the root causes of international security challenges. To this end, I would like to propose the following:
First, promoting security through greater development. As President Xi Jinping stressed, “Development holds the master key to solving all problems.” Lack of development is the root cause of turbulence in many regions, and it is in development that lies solution to such turmoils. Development is essential to people’s livelihood and dignity. Only when development is so adequate that people lead a decent life with dignity can hope beat frustration in their hearts. In this connection, China’s Belt and Road Initiative offers a way forward for greater development and peace. The building of the Belt and Road will bring economic opportunities for participating countries and provide solutions to their security issues. We should promote sustainable human and environmental progress and pursue a green, low-carbon and circular economy. We should honor the Paris climate agreement and minimize risks of conflict caused by environmental degradation.
Second, promoting security through greater cooperation. President Xi once quoted a proverb which goes, “Strength does not come from the muscle of the arms, but from the unison of the heart.” Participating in international security cooperation and building partnership rather than alliance is a major avenue that China follows in promoting regional and world peace and stability. As of the end of 2016, China had established partnerships of different forms with 97 countries and international organizations. They include major powers, China’s neighbors and other developing countries. China will continue to actively participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia and other multilateral security cooperation mechanisms. We will work with our partners to expand areas of cooperation, look for new modes of cooperation, discuss new security concepts and jointly establish efficient and effective mechanisms for security coordination, so as to promote an international order and international system that is more fair and equitable.
Third, promoting security through more dialogue. As President Xi Jinping pointed out, “Those who share the same ideal and follow the same path can be partners. Those who share common ground while shelving differences can also be partners.” Dialogue is an important instrument to end wars and promote peace. The scourge of wars that mankind had to suffer in the last century makes us realize that confrontation is no solution and the use of force and the strong bullying the weak only makes the world more insecure. We should seek to resolve disputes through peaceful means. We should strengthen mutual trust, avoid misgivings, seek common ground and reduce differences through genuine dialogue. Political dialogue is essential for solving security concerns. This is the case for the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and security issues in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria. China opposes any willful use or threat of force and any attempt to provoke or intensify tensions for selfish interests.
Fourth, promoting security through more cultural exchanges. As President Xi Jinping rightly said, “Diversity of civilizations should not be a source of global conflict; rather, it should be an engine driving the advance of human civilizations.” Cultural diversity is a basic feature of human society, and cultural exchange is the deepest of all exchanges. There will be no conflict if people understand each other. Mutual exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations can help nations understand each other better and find more in common. Mutual exchanges and mutual learning serve as a “lubricant” for reducing frictions and as a “catalyst” for deepening mutual understanding and friendship. We should build more “bridges” and “roads”, rather than “walls”, that can help connect peoples and promote exchanges and friendship. We should further increase cultural and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation, encourage more two-way visits and make the best use of dialogue and exchange mechanisms at both governmental and non-governmental levels, so that the seeds of people-to-people friendship will grow and yield fruits of peace, development and win-win cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China is now standing at a new starting point and pursuing an innovation-driven, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development. We will continue to adapt to the new normal of the economy and stay ahead of the curve. We will advance the supply-side structural reform and strive for a sustainable and balanced growth. China’s economy has continued to make steady progress. Its GDP has registered a 6.9% growth in the first quarter of this year, getting this year off to a great start. This is a strong indication that our supply-side structural reform is paying off.
As a Chinese proverb goes, “Success comes from harmony, and strength comes from unity.” All countries need to work more closely together to address global security challenges and build a community of shared future for mankind, so as to leave our future generations a better world of lasting peace and common security.
To conclude, let me wish the Sixth World Peace Forum a complete success!