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Speech by Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui At the Luncheon of the Sixth World Peace Forum
2017/07/20

Beijing, 24 June 2017

Distinguished Guests,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

It is a real pleasure to once again be invited to the World Peace Forum, which is in its sixth session this year. Since its inception, the Forum has contributed its wisdom to promoting world peace and addressing global and regional security challenges, and has hence, gained greater influence.

The world today faces both unprecedented development opportunities and structural adjustments unseen in the past centuries. From a historical perspective, we live in a time of rapid scientific and technological progress, huge material abundance, flourishing prosperity of civilizations and rising interdependence among countries. The trend of peace and development has never been stronger. However, we also face the reality of increasing uncertainties and destabilizing factors in human society where intertwined risks appear in multiple fields and new challenges and regional conflicts keep cropping up.

On the security front, the threat of terrorism has grown markedly in recent years. Nearly 20,000 lives were lost in 2016 alone. By some estimates, in the first quarter of this year, over 700 terrorist attacks took place in different parts of the world, casting a shadow over the security of all countries. Our planet is far from peaceful and tranquil, and our society is burdened with a heavy security deficit.

On the economic front, the impact of the world financial crisis still lingers; recovery needs to be further firmed up; unbalanced development remains acute, and protectionism is on the rise. Global trade growth between 2009 and 2016 was only half as fast as between 1980 and 2008. Multilateral trade negotiations have stalled, and economic globalization and regional integration has suffered from setbacks. All these point to a more prominent development deficit.

In addition, climate change, cyber security, public health security and other global issues are prominent. The world total of refugees has reached a record high since the end of WWII, putting a formidable pressure on the international community. There is an urgent need for the global governance system to change and improve, and the governance deficit needs to be covered.

As actions are guided by ideas, we need new ideas to address new problems. The Cold War mentality, hegemonism and zero-sum games are things of the past. As Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed on many occasions, world's countries, with the aspiration for a community of shared future for mankind, should build a new model of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, seek common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and explore a new path for world peace and security.

Countries may differ in size and capacity, but are all equal members of the international community. All countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity should be earnestly respected. Their legitimate security concerns and the right of their people to choose their own development path should also be respected. World affairs should be handled by countries working together and differences and disputes should be resolved through dialogue and consultation.

No country can have security while others are in turmoil and no one can be immune from global challenges. When one country pursues development and security at home, it must work for the common development of all and give consideration to the security of others. Only by doing so can we find a path towards common security that is built and shared by all.

Diversity is a defining feature of human civilizations and an inherent force driving social progress. Isolation leads to estrangement, while communication inspires dynamism. We need to enhance mutual trust through communication and mutual learning, and achieve harmony by seeking common ground and putting aside differences. This way, we can build a solid foundation for peace, integration and common progress of all countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

China remains committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and the path of peaceful development and has been a positive force contributing to international and regional security.

We have pursued a neighborhood policy of fostering amity and friendship to promote prosperity and stability in Asia. As a member of the big Asian family, China has all along viewed its own destiny in the context of the future of Asia. We have practiced a neighborhood diplomacy of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, been committed to building friendship and partnership with our neighbors, and endeavored to promote harmony, security and prosperity, with the aim of building a community of shared future in the neighborhood. As an advocate of regional cooperation in Asia, China stands for the regional cooperation model with Asian features which takes into account the comfort level of all sides, and respects ASEAN's centrality in East Asian cooperation. We are devoted to the coordinated development of existing regional cooperation mechanisms and to open regionalism so that regional cooperation will deliver wider benefits. We have taken an active part in ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three, China-Japan-ROK Cooperation, APEC, Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, BCIM Economic Corridor and other regional and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms, and called for accelerated RCEP negotiations, so as to advance economic integration in Asia. China is committed to upholding peace and security in Asia and supports the gradual development of a regional security architecture that meets the reality of the region and the needs of various parties.

We have worked to build a new type of major-country relations to maintain a balanced and stable global strategic environment. The China-US relationship is one of the most important bilateral ties in the world. The nearly 40-year history of China-US diplomatic relations has proven that the relationship will move forward despite twists and turns only when both countries uphold the principles of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. After the new US administration took office, thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump had a historic meeting at Mar-a-Lago, which has charted the course for China-US relations in the new era. Four high-level dialogue mechanisms were agreed between the two sides at the meeting, namely the Diplomatic and Security Dialogue which has been inaugurated, and the Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, the Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Dialogue, and the Social and People-to-People Dialogue which will be launched successively. The early harvests of the 100-day plan on economic cooperation are being actively followed through. The two sides have also maintained effective communication and coordination on major global and regional issues. Despite possible difficulties and challenges ahead, cooperation is the only right choice for the two countries, which will not only meet the fundamental interests of the two nations, but also contribute significantly to world peace and development.

The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has stood the test of international vicissitudes and increasingly become an important pillar for global strategic stability. We will maintain close coordination with Russia on major global and regional issues, deepen practical cooperation in various fields, and promote complementarity between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, so as to bring the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination to a higher level.

China and Europe have achieved fruitful results in the partnerships for peace, growth, reform and progress of civilizations. We are ready to work with Europe to re-balance economic globalization and strengthen global governance. China will, as always, firmly support Europe in following its independently chosen path of integration and support the unity, stability and prosperity of the EU.

We have actively supported international cooperation and worked for the reform of global governance system. In his important speech at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting early this year, President Xi Jinping proposed that the world should adapt to and properly guide economic globalization, ensure that different countries, different social strata and different groups of people all share the benefits of economic globalization, and rebalance the process of economic globalization. As emphasized by President Xi, the world should commit itself to growing an open world economy, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and say no to protectionism.

Multilateralism is an effective way to promote world peace and development. China has firmly defended the UN-centered international multilateral system, and the basic norms governing international relations with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter as the bedrock. Calling for bigger representation and voice of emerging markets and developing countries, China has also pushed for improving and reforming the global governance system.

Terrorism is the common enemy of mankind that poses a serious threat to global peace and security. China strongly condemns terrorism of all forms, and has all along stood for enhanced international cooperation against terrorism. China is ready to join other parties in promoting bilateral and multilateral cooperation on counter-terrorism. China supports the establishment of a UN-led global united front on counter-terrorism, supports the central role of the United Nations and its Security Council, supports the formulation of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism under the UN, and supports the establishment of an international cooperation and governance mechanism on cyber terrorism. The international community needs to adopt comprehensive measures to address both the symptoms and root causes of terrorism, and to find a fundamental solution to contain the spread of terrorism. The fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism, particularly the ETIM and other East Turkestan forces, is China's core concern, and also an important part of the international counter-terrorism campaign. China will continue to work with the international community in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and cooperation to jointly combat the threat of terrorism and safeguard international and regional security.

Climate change is a common menace to mankind. China will earnestly implement the Paris Agreement and take concrete measures to step up climate action. We will quicken our pace in putting into practice our vision for green development, as it is both an imperative for sustainable development and the obligation of a responsible major country. And we will continue to play an active part in global climate governance according to the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities, equity and respective capabilities.

The UN peacekeeping operations are an important safeguard of world peace and security. China is the biggest contributor of peacekeepers among the permanent members of the UN Security Council and the second biggest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget. As we speak, more than 2,500 Chinese peacekeepers are serving in nine peacekeeping operations, including those in Mali and South Sudan. We stand for and support enhanced efficiency and capacity of the UN peacekeeping operations.

We have played a constructive role in facilitating the resolution of regional hotspot issues. Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have drawn people's attention. It is in the interest of all parties concerned to maintain peace and stability on the Peninsula. China is committed to a denuclearized, peaceful and stable Korean Peninsula and a settlement through dialogue and consultation. China will continue to earnestly implement the Security Council resolutions related to the DPRK. At the same time, China firmly opposes any move that may lead to turmoil or war on the Peninsula. We don't want to see new tensions there. Recently, relevant countries sent signals about solving the issues through dialogue and consultation. There is a new window of opportunity to bring the Korean nuclear issue back to the track of dialogue and consultation. In order to ease the tensions and create the conditions for resuming talks, China has put forward a "suspension for suspension" proposal, which calls on the DPRK to suspend its nuclear and missile activities and the US and the ROK to suspend large-scale joint military exercises. This is to prepare the ground for implementing a "dual-track approach", which envisions denuclearization and the establishment of a peace mechanism for the Peninsula to address the security concerns of relevant parties in a balanced way and achieve lasting peace and security on the Peninsula. China is open to any good suggestions from other parties.

With regard to the US deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system in the ROK, China has stated its firm opposition clearly and repeatedly. Once again China urges an immediate halt of the deployment process.

Developments in Afghanistan have security ramifications in both the region and beyond. China supports an "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned" inclusive reconciliation process and will play its constructive role in helping Afghanistan, together with the international community, to achieve ethnic and political reconciliation and national reconstruction at an early date.

Continued turbulence in the Middle East has produced worrisome spillover effects. China calls on the international community and Palestine and Israel to work together for an early solution of the Palestinian issue, which will create fundamental conditions for durable peace and stability in the Middle East. The future of Syria can only be decided by the Syrian people on their own. China is willing to play a positive role in facilitating a comprehensive political settlement of the Syrian issue. We hope relevant parties will keep up the momentum for political settlement, build trust through political dialogue and reach a solution that accommodates the legitimate concerns of all parties. As a friend and partner of all Gulf countries, China hopes that the Gulf countries will properly resolve their recent differences through consultation.

Thanks to the joint efforts of countries in the region, the situation in the South China Sea has gradually cooled down, which is in the interest of all parties. The South China Sea has long been peaceful and stable on the whole, and the freedom of navigation has never been a problem. China respects and upholds the freedom of navigation and overflight enjoyed by all countries under international law in the South China Sea, but firmly opposes the attempt of relevant countries to flex their muscles there and challenge and threaten China's sovereignty and security under the pretext of upholding the "freedom of navigation and overflight". China and ASEAN countries have agreed on the framework of a "Code of Conduct in the South China Sea" (COC), laying a solid foundation for future COC consultation. China is ready to work with ASEAN countries to continue to facilitate the consultation following the principle of mutual respect and consensus on the basis of full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and strive for an early conclusion of COC without external disruption. With our joint efforts, the South China Sea will be a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

Last month, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing was a big success. In his important speeches at the Forum, President Xi Jinping pointed out that we should build the Belt and Road into a road for peace, a road of prosperity, opening-up and innovation, and a road connecting different civilizations. He said that China is ready to share its practices of development with other countries, but it has no intention to interfere in other countries' internal affairs, export its own social system and model of development, or impose its own will on others. In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, China will not resort to outdated geopolitical maneuvering and have no intention to form a small group detrimental to stability. President Xi also emphasized the need to follow the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits and make policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity a shared goal. President Xi announced that China will scale up financing support for the Belt and Road Initiative. His speeches have charted the course for international cooperation on the Initiative from a strategic and long-term perspective.

Like many other great causes in the world, the Belt and Road Initiative will inevitably run into various difficulties and challenges. But I am convinced that as an important international public good, the Belt and Road Initiative will further display its role as time goes by.

Thank you.

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