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Taking on Challenges Together Through Closer International Cooperation--Speech by Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan of China at Dinner Hosted by Asia House of the UK(full text)(17/01/2002)
Sir Peter Wakefield,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

May I begin by thanking the Asia House for holding this dinner in my honour. I am indeed very delighted to meet all the well-known personalities here this evening.

During the 20th century that has just passed, humanity created an enormous spiritual and material treasure house and also suffered the scourge of horrendous hot wars and a long cold war. With a fervent yearning for peace, tranquility and a happier life, people of all countries have entered the 21st century eager to turn it into one of peace, security, cooperation and development. Seeking peace and development represents the common wish of all lands.

Yet the beginning of the new century was anything but ordinary. The terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11th last year not only traumatized the American people, but also shocked the whole world. It reminded us once again that our world is by no means a tranquil place. While traditional disputes and conflicts touched off by ethnic, religious, territorial and natural resources problems keep cropping up, non-traditional security threats posed by terrorism,poverty, environmental degradation, illicit drug use and trafficking, HIV/AIDS and alien smuggling are increasingly pronounced. At present, the world is plagued by widespread economic slowdown with substantial decrease of global trade, dwindling foreign direct investment, and further aggravation of poverty and social injustice. Given their global nature, these challenges cannot be resolved only by relying on the resources and strength of a single country. Global problems require global answers, and solidarity and cooperation of all nations are essential.

It is gratifying to see that to cope with the threats and challenges of terrorism, many countries have of late sought convergence of their interests and stepped up dialogue and cooperation at both multilateral and bilateral levels. In particular, relations among the major powers have improved markedly after a period of tension and setbacks, as evidenced by increased consultation and coordination. With respect to the international war on terrorism and the post-war rehabilitation of Afghanistan, the United Nations has played a primary role. The Security Council adopted the relevant anti-terrorist resolutions with the P-5 voting unanimously in favour. In the face of worsening economic and trade situation, countries have demonstrated a greater readiness for coordination and cooperation. The 4th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Doha decided to launch a new round of multilateral trade negotiations. This shows the maintaining the multilateral trading system and promoting a sustained growth of world economy serve the common interests of the international community, and represent the shared aspiration and choice of all countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

As a developing country, China makes it the long-term central task to advance its modernization drive. In order to focus on economic development, china needs a surrounding environment of amity and good-neighbourliness and an international environment of peace and stability. With economic globalization being order of the day, china's interests are closely related t o those of other countries around the world. China has the need and the necessity to develop friendly relations and cooperation with other nations. China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, whose very purpose is to maintain world peace and promote common development by working with the international community. For doing so serves China's own interests and fulfills its obligation as a responsible member of the international community.

In its strong-worded condemnation of the September 11th attacks, china made it clear that no matter when, where, in whatever form, and against whomever terrorism strikes, the international community should take a common stand of resolute condemnation and counterattacks. China has actively supported and participated in international cooperation against terrorism. In their respective telephone conversations with leaders of the Untied States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Pakistan and Egypt, President Jiang Zemin and Premire Zhu Rongji gave a comprehensive elaboration on China's position on fighting terrorism through enhanced international cooperation. China has acceded to most international conventions against terrorism, while actively supporting and facilitating the adoption of relevant anti-terrorist resolutions by the UN and its Security Council.

Last October, as the world was watching closely how the international cooperation against terrorism was to unfold in the wake of the September 11th incident, China hosted the 9th APEC Economic of the September Shanghai. On the sidelines of the Meeting, President Jiang Zemin chaired a luncheon on anti-terrorism issues for leaders of the member economies. Foreign ministers attending the Meeting also held a breakfast centering on counter-terrorism. The anti-terrorism. The anti-terrorism statement issued later gave expression to their firm resolve to fight terrorism through strengthened international cooperation.

Last June, China, Russia, Kazakstan, Kirgizstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan declared the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, with a view to strengthening good-neighbourliness, mutual trust, friendship and cooperation of member countries and safeguarding regional security and stability. After the September 11th incident, the six countries decided to accelerate their cooperation in cracking down on international terrorism, separatism and religious extremism in the region. Ten days ago, foreign ministers of the six countries met in China, and issued a joint communiqué, pledging further coordination of their common stand against those "three forces".

It should be pointed out that China, too, is threatened by terrorism. Evidence shows that the "East Turkistan" terrorist forces, as trained, armed and financed by international terrorist organizations, have carried out a series of terrorist activities both inside and out of China, Combating and eradicating the "East Turkistan" terrorist forces is, therefore, an important component of the international struggle against terrorism.

As Afghanistan's neighbour, China has all along closely followed the developments in the country, and joined the international community in playing a positive role for the comprehensive political settlement of the Afghan issue. We hope to see an Afghanistan that will no longer breed terrorism with its people soon enjoying a happy and peaceful life. The Chinese Government will actively develop its ties with the Afghan interim government while taking an active part in Afghanistan's post-war rehabilitation.

Every country has its own security concerns. In our time of globalization, however, security has become interdependent and indivisible. China stands for a new security concept with mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination as its core elements. Seeking security through mutual trust, and developing cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit--this will lead us to universal and durable security with closer and more effective cooperation among all countries in the field. Under the current circumstances, it is of vital importance to safeguard international arms control and disarmament regime and maintain global strategic balance and stability. This is also the shared responsibility of all dialogue, work towards a solution that maintains global strategic stability without undermining international efforts at arms control and disarmament.

China has been an active participant in international economic cooperation. After 15 years of unremitting efforts, we finally joined the WTO. Our ties with the world economy have never been as close. China stands for equal participation by all countries in the making of decisions and rules concerning the world economy, and is ready to step up cooperation with other WTO members to push for the new round of multilateral trade negotiations. Given the current global economic situation, the continued opening-up of China's market and improvement in its investment climate will provide new opportunities for foreign investors. It is also an important contribution made by China to a speedy recovery of the world economy.

I was in Africa several days ago. I could feel for myself the yearnings of the developing countries including those in Africa fro peace, stability and development. I also saw that most developing countries were beset by worsening poverty and mounting debt-servicing burdens. We cannot but feel gravely concerned about this. The North and the South should step up dialogue and cooperation as we are all in the same boat. The international community, developed countries, in particular, should take into full consideration the difficulties and needs of the developing countries, demonstrate greater vision and cooperative spirit and provide more assistance to the developing countries. Although a developing country itself and limited in resources, China has dedicated itself to strengthening cooperation with the other developing countries. While increasing aid to Africa, we have signed agreements with twenty African countries in the past year to forgive their debts.

Ladies and Gentlemen,


Both china and the UK are permanent members of the UN Security Council sharing major responsibilities in international affairs china has always attached great importance to its relationship with the UK. In 1998 the two countries agreed to establish a comprehensive partnership. Our leaders have maintained close contact with bilateral dialogue in all fields and at all levels conducted with increased intensity. Last October, Vice president Hu Jintao paid a successful visit to the UK, which further enhanced the mutual understanding and trust between the two countries. Our consultations and cooperation on such issues as international security, arms control, peacekeeping, human rights and regional hotspots have been strengthened. In the past few days I have had fruitful talks with Prime Minister Blair, Foreign Secretary Straw and others. We agreed that in light of the complicated and changeable international situation, china and the UK have a heavier responsibility on their shoulders and their common interests are increasing, all calling for even closer cooperation between the two sides. Looking to the future, I see a broad prospect for the development of friendly relations and cooperation between china and the UK. such a prospect will surely contribute to world peace, stability and development and progress of mankind.

Thank you! Now I am ready to take your questions.

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