Commemorate Nelson Mandela and Join Hands for Lasting Peace
– Remarks at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit
H.E. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China
New York, 24 September 2018
Nelson Mandela is a renowned leader in South Africa’s fight against apartheid and the founding father of new South Africa. Throughout his life, he had fought for the emancipation of Africa, defended the dignity of the African people and promoted unity among African countries. He was a man who had devoted his lifetime to Africa’s development and progress.
Nelson Mandela’s contribution to peace and reconciliation should never be forgotten. His great spirit will inspire those after him to keep striving for peace. Regrettably, peace remains elusive in many places of today’s world. As we gather to commemorate the centenary of his birth, we must carry forward the spirit of peace, reconciliation, equality and tolerance, which Nelson Mandela so strongly advocated, and work together to make the United Nations better able to fulfill its noble mission to preserve peace.
The United Nations is a banner for multilateralism and an important guardian of world peace. It was under the overwhelming moral pressure from the United Nations and the international community that apartheid was brought to a speedy collapse. Today, however, the contemporary international system with the United Nations at its core is facing serious challenges from rising unilateralism and protectionism. The international community must thus rally under the banner of multilateralism and defend the central role of the United Nations in international affairs to generate more stable expectations in a turbulent world.
To make peace, dialogue and reconciliation is the path we must take. Nelson Mandela’s commitment to peace and reconciliation in South Africa through political negotiations set a model for countries and regions in turmoil to achieve national reconciliation and reconstruction. Amidst complex hotspot issues and emerging regional conflicts, it is imperative that parties concerned address their differences and disputes through dialogue and consultation. It is important that the interests and legitimate concerns of all sides are taken account of through inclusive political dialogue.
To keep peace, development is a fundamental approach we must follow. Nelson Mandela once said and I quote, “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.” His admonition is still highly relevant today. Many of the world’s problems are rooted in poverty and underdevelopment, and we have to seek a fundamental cure through development. As we set out to address both the symptoms and root causes of conflicts, efforts have to be made to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in all aspects, assist developing countries in improving livelihood and build development capacity, so as to lay the groundwork for durable peace.
Nelson Mandela is one of the founding fathers of China-South Africa relations. He had made important contributions to China’s relations with South Africa and with Africa as a whole. Together, China and Africa form a community with a shared future and share closely entwined converging interests. Enhancing solidarity and cooperation with African countries is a major cornerstone of China’s foreign policy, as well as a long-term strategic commitment that China has made.
In this vein, the recently concluded Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation served as a most suitable commemoration for Nelson Mandela. Leaders of China and Africa gathered together in Beijing to draw the blueprints for the future of China-Africa relationship and cooperation. President Xi Jinping called on China and Africa to join hands for an even stronger community with a shared future and proposed “eight major initiatives” of cooperation, ushering in a new era for China-Africa relations. The Beijing Summit also opened up a broad new space for deepening South-South cooperation and injected powerful positive energy to peace, stability and development of the world.
The centenary of Nelson Mandela and this Peace Summit represent a new starting point for all of us. Here, we call on all countries to join hands in the effort to build a community with a shared future for mankind, and a world of lasting peace and universal security.