Advance China's Diplomacy amid Peaceful Development
2011-09-16 12:00

Speech by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi

At Symposium on China's Peaceful Development

Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, 15 September 2011

Respected State Councilor Dai Bingguo,

Distinguished Officials and Fellow Comrades,

The recently published White Paper entitled China's Peaceful Development solemnly declared once again that "China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development." This is the strategic choice made by the government and people of China in line with the trend of the times and the country's fundamental interests. The declaration is of paramount importance as it represents not only China's sincere desire and fervent pursuit but also its solemn commitment to the world. Just now, State Councilor Dai Bingguo made an important speech on the White Paper. His words are visionary, thought-provoking and rich in content, which offer us an important guidance to profoundly understand the significance of following the path of peaceful development and how to improve our diplomatic work under the new circumstances. Here, I wish to share with you a few observations on advancing China's diplomacy amid peaceful development.

The world today is undergoing major development, major transformation and major adjustment. Since the beginning of the 21st century, we have witnessed a flurry of important events ranging from the 9-11 attacks, the international financial crisis, the collective rise of emerging markets, to sovereign debt crises in the US and Europe and turmoil in West Asia and North Africa. These events, which took place against the backdrop of deepening multipolarization, economic globalization and informationization, have made far-reaching impacts on international political, economic and security landscapes. Amid all this, China's sustained and rapid development has stood out as a key target of global attention. As much as a major component of the world's paradigm shift, China is also one of the most critical factors driving such changes. The relationship between China and the rest of the world is undergoing a transformation of historic proportions.

China is increasingly intertwined in interest with the outside world. And its future and destiny are more intimately linked with those of the world with every passing day. Thanks to 30-odd years of reform and opening up, China has succeeded in completing the historic transformation from a closed or semi-closed state to one featuring all-round opening up. China's opening up structure is all-dimensional, multi-tiered and wide-ranging, and its contacts and interactions with the rest of the world are increasingly frequent and deep-going. The Beijing Olympic Games and the Shanghai World Expo, in particular, have brought China closer to the world. Today, connected ever more closely by constant flows of personnel, goods, capital and information, China and the world are becoming a community of common destiny sharing weal and woe.

China is playing an increasing role in upholding world peace and promoting common development. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has taken an active part in UN peace-keeping operations, promoted a peaceful settlement of the Korean nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and other regional hotspots, and joined the international community in addressing such global challenges as climate change, the financial crisis, energy security and major natural disasters, thus making a due contribution to world peace and stability. As the world's largest emerging market country, China has imported over the past decade nearly US$7.5 trillion worth of goods, which created 14 million jobs in relevant countries and regions, and served as a major growth engine for the world economy. Particularly since the outbreak of the international financial crisis, China has worked hard to maintain its fast development at home, and at the same time actively involved in global economic governance and provided valuable confidence in and support to world economic growth.

It is quite natural that under these new circumstances, the world is focusing on a number of issues that include: What path of development has China chosen? What goals does China pursue through development? And what will China's development bring to the rest of the world? etc. China has made its solemn answer. That is, China is firmly committed to the path of peaceful development. The latest White Paper has again reaffirmed this commitment and elevated it to the level of state will. Its gist is that China has opted for peaceful development and win-win cooperation as the basic vehicle to national modernization, participation in international affairs and the handling of state-to-state relations. This is consistent with the independent foreign policy of peace and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence which China has pursued all along since the founding of the People's Republic, and also reflects China's new perceptions and new understandings of the issue of development, order, interest, security and responsibility under the new circumstances.

The White Paper spells out the defining features of the path of peaceful development, namely, scientific development, independent development, open development, peaceful development, cooperative development and common development. History has shown time and again that stability is the precondition for development. Without stability, nothing can be accomplished. Opening up is a necessary condition for development. No country can develop and make progress if it does not draw on the achievements of other countries. Innovation is the driving force for development. The world must innovate to resolve such development bottlenecks as resources, energy and the environment. Self-reliance is the foothold for development. In the final analysis, a country must rely on its own strength to get development. Common prosperity is the goal of development. A country can truly achieve sustainable development only when it integrates its own development with the common development of the whole world.

As a member of international community, China is dedicated to moving the international order in a direction of greater justice and rationality. We should respect and bring into play the important role of the UN and other mechanisms of global governance, carry out necessary and rational reforms to the existing international systems and, at the same time, promote the establishment of new mechanisms while improving the global governance system. We should enhance democracy in international relations, carry forward the spirit of democracy, harmony, coordination and win-win progress, and increase the voice of the developing countries in international affairs. We should adhere to the principle of seeking common ground while shelving differences in international relations, and strive for maximum consensus with spirit of utmost cooperation. We should safeguard and respect the diversity of the world, step up exchanges and mutual emulation, and jointly promote prosperity and progress of human civilizations.

The safeguard and pursuit of national interests is a country's legitimate duty and lawful rights. The White Paper has defined in clear-cut terms China's core interests, which not only demonstrates our determination to uphold these core interests but also conveys a key concept in our understanding of interests. That is, it is essential to fully respect the legitimate rights of all countries to safeguard their national interests, especially their core interests, and this should be particularly true for small and weak countries. As we all live in the same "global village", it is hardly avoidable for us to have disagreements, frictions, conflicting interests or even disputes. We should handle these different interests properly and settle disputes through peaceful consultations. At the same time, we must work to expand our common interests and make a bigger "pie" for all of us.

China maintains that all countries should, by following the objective trend of social development in the era of globalization, transcend their differences in ideology and social system and cultivate a new security concept that features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination. China pursues a defensive policy of national defence, commits itself to resolving international disputes and hotspot issues through peaceful means and takes an active part in advancing international and regional security cooperation. China stands for addressing the increasingly diverse security threats more effectively by promoting comprehensive security, common security and cooperative security.

A country's international responsibility lies, first and foremost, in managing its own affairs well. Not to make trouble to other countries is the biggest responsibility a country can undertake to the world. In discharging its international responsibility, a country should be mindful of acting within its capability. There should not be a "one-size-fits-all" approach since all countries can assume the international responsibilities suited only to their respective national conditions, strengths and the stage of development they are in. There must not be the case in which a handful of countries in the world have the final say on what responsibilities a particular country should assume and whether or not that country has fulfilled its responsibilities. As a responsible member of the international community, China has never shirked its due international responsibilities. With the steady increase of its comprehensive national strength, China will undertake even greater international responsibilities to the best of its ability.

Sticking to the path of peaceful development has found expression in every part of China's diplomatic work. No matter what changes there might be in the international landscape, China will always hold high the banner of peace, development and cooperation, abide by its diplomatic agenda of safeguarding world peace and promoting common development, pursue its independent foreign policy of peace, firmly uphold its sovereignty, security and development interests, cultivate friendly relations and cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and push for the building of a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity. This year marks the beginning of the "12th Five-Year Plan" period. Against the profound and complex changes in the international situation and under the correct leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, we have stayed committed to the goal of maintaining stability and promoting development in diplomatic work, carried out a series of major diplomatic activities and continued to push forward the diplomatic agenda in an all-round way. These efforts have provided a more favorable external environment for a smooth start in the implementation of the "12th Five-Year Plan" .

We have further improved our relations with the major countries. During President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States earlier this year, the two sides agreed to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. During the President's visit to Russia last June, the two sides agreed on a new characterization of China-Russia relationship as a comprehensive and strategic partnership of cooperation, and mapped out the blueprint for cooperation over the next 10 years. We have made continued efforts to advance China-Japan strategic relations of mutual benefit. With vigorous cooperation in post-earthquake rescue and rehabilitation, we have further improved our relations with Japan. China-EU relations have maintained a sound momentum of growth, as bilateral cooperation has gone onto a higher level and the strategic substance of China-EU relations become richer.

We have strengthened our traditional relations of friendship and cooperation with the neighboring countries and the other countries in the developing world. NPC Chairman Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao, Chairman of CPPCC National Committee Jia Qinglin and other leaders of China paid successful visits to relevant countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, which lent fresh impetus to China's exchanges and cooperation with these countries. China's policy of friendship and good-neighborliness is enjoying increased popularity and the amicable cooperation between China and its surrounding countries is deepening. We have enhanced our political trust and practical cooperation with the other developing countries, which has gone a long way towards common development and stronger friendship.

We have actively conducted multilateral diplomacy. While successfully hosting such major multilateral activities as the BRICS Leaders Meeting and the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, China has seen its President Hu Jintao attending the SCO Astana Summit and the 15th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. We have actively involved in relevant meetings of the G20 and helped maintain its momentum for cooperation.

We have committed to diplomacy for the people. In making timely responses to the security threats facing Chinese nationals and entities caused by social turmoils in Libya and other countries and the massive earthquake, tsunami and nuclear leaks in Japan and successfully carrying out the largest evacuation mission for overseas Chinese citizens in the history of the People's Republic, we have given full expression to our "putting the people first" concept and China's image as a responsible big country.

The international situation is, on the whole, peaceful and will remain so for some time to come. But uncertainties and destablizing factors are on the increase. We will step up strategic planning, keep on improving coordination, continue to explore new ideas and new moves to push our all-round diplomacy forward, and work hard to create a sound international environment for prolonging our important period of strategic opportunity and building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects.

Looking ahead, China's diplomacy, which now stands at a new starting line, faces some unprecedented opportunities and challenges. Diplomatic work is occupying a position more important than ever before in the overall agenda of the Party and the state, and our mission cannot be more glorious. Let us rally closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as the General Secretary, keep pace with the times in an enterprising spirit, unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development and constantly make new progress on the diplomatic front.

Thank you all.

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