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China Daily Website

United in our pursuit of peace and security

Updated: 2013-06-28 17:51
( chinadaily.com.cn)

One year ago, the first World Peace Forum was successfully held at Tsinghua University, setting up a new platform for all parties to strengthen dialogue and exchange and jointly seek peace in the world. The theme of this year's Forum — "International Security in a Changing World: Peace, Development, Innovation" — is in keeping with the trend of historical progress and the common aspiration of people across the world.

A review of human history puts countries into two categories: those for peace and those for war. The former love peace and prosper through peace while the latter favor force and seek hegemony and expansion through war. When those for war invade other countries out of selfish motives, their own people also suffer deeply. In the 500 years since the 16th century, colonial invasions and imperialist wars wreaked havoc and caused untold suffering to people across the world, the Chinese nation included. China, however, has always followed the guiding principle of good-neighborliness and friendship. It has never waged a war of aggression, annexed territory of other countries, or sought expansion abroad. China is a country for peace, who loves, safeguards and upholds peace.

The Chinese is a peace-seeking nation. The spirit of peace is a defining feature of the Chinese civilization throughout history. Such spirit values peace, seeks good relations among nations and aims to turn swords into ploughshares. The Silk Road, which was in service for a thousand years, was a road for trade, prosperity, peace and culture. Zheng He led seven voyages to the western seas, visiting over 30 countries and regions in Asia and Africa. Those were journeys for peace and friendship. In modern times, China suffered from the scourge of war. To eliminate war and achieve peace became the most pressing and profound desire of the Chinese people. The founding of New China put an end to the humiliation and bullying of the Chinese nation at the hands of foreign invaders. The Chinese people are most keenly aware of how precious peace is. Over the past 60 years and more, China has firmly followed an independent foreign policy of peace. Today, in a world faced with a multitude of complex and grave challenges, China will, as clearly articulated at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, continue to uphold peace, development and win-win cooperation and commit itself to maintaining world peace and promoting common development. Socialism with Chinese characteristics stands for peace. The Chinese dream is a dream about peace.

Peace is at the core of China's foreign policy. China makes the pursuit of peace the top priority in its foreign policy. We always believe that the international relations should be handled in accordance with the five principles of peaceful co-existence. Countries, big or small, should be treated as equals. All countries should uphold the principles of mutual respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence. China is against the practice of the big and strong bullying the small and weak. We are opposed to hegemony and power politics. China calls for peaceful resolution of international disputes and conflicts through consultation and negotiation. We are opposed to arbitrary use or threat of force, violation of other countries' sovereignty, and interference in other countries' internal affairs against their will. When it comes to conflicts left over from the past, calm and restraint should be exercised in order to seek a new path of peaceful solution through talks and reconciliation. For immediate tensions, joint efforts should be made to find peaceful solution through dialogue and consultation. We call for the establishment of mechanisms whereby all countries can work together to maintain regional and global peace. We call on countries to reject the Cold-War mentality and the alliance-or-confrontation mindset, establish security mechanisms featuring multilateral cooperation, let the United Nations play its important role in safeguarding world peace, and work together to prevent conflict and war.

China is committed to the path of peaceful development. Peace is the primary need for people throughout the world, including the Chinese people. Without peace, there is no development undertaking to speak of. China owes its development in more than 30 years of reform and opening-up to a peaceful environment. Today's China remains a developing country and has a long way to go before realizing modernization. It still needs a long-term, peaceful and stable international environment. In the future, as China grows stronger, it will continue to follow the path of peace. China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion. This is a solemn commitment of the Chinese government to its own people and people of other countries. It is also a choice of national development direction that serves the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and the shared interests of mankind as a whole. China's path of peaceful development pursues scientific development, which puts people first, advocates comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable progress, and envisions to bring more development benefits to the entire population in a more equitable way. The path calls for open development, through which China more readily integrates with the rest of the world, and engages in intensive economic, technological and cultural exchanges with other countries to enhance understanding and friendship with people elsewhere. The path champions cooperation-based development, through which China expands friendship and cooperation with other countries. We can learn from each other in healthy competition in order to pursue peace, defuse tension and promote development all through cooperation. The path also seeks win-win development with other countries. China will never seek its own development at the expense of interests of other countries; instead, it accommodates the legitimate concern of other countries while seeking its own interests and works for common development of all while pursuing its own development. China will stick to this path of peaceful development, and hopes that other countries will do the same, so that together we will open up a new horizon of peace and development for mankind.

China has always been a staunch force in safeguarding world peace. The goal of China's foreign policy is to strive for world peace. We support anyone who promotes peace and oppose anyone who seeks war or hegemony. China is the only nuclear state to publicly undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons or to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states or nuclear-weapon free zones. It has earnestly fulfilled its international responsibilities and obligations, and is the largest contributor of engineering, transport and medical units among the 115 troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions. On regional hotspot issues such as the Korean nuclear issue, Iranian nuclear issue, Syria and Palestine-Israel conflict, China has worked actively to promote peace through talks, and played a constructive role in easing tension and upholding regional peace. China has insisted on resolving conflicts of territorial claims and disputes over maritime rights and interests with its neighbors through dialogue and negotiation. So far, it has successfully settled land boundary questions left over from history with 12 neighboring countries. China's development contributes to world peace and stability. As China becomes more developed and open, and has closer links with the rest of the world, it will have greater need for a long-term, peaceful and stable international environment, and be an even more positive factor and staunch force for upholding world peace.

The world today is in the midst of profound transformation. Security issues pose a major challenge to world peace. Traditional security threats such as armed conflict, arms race and nuclear proliferation are intertwined with non-traditional ones such as terrorism, climate change, economic security, food security, energy and resources security, and cyber security. The shadow of war has not been completely dispelled, and the fundamental problem of the absence of international security order cries out for solution. In the face of such increasingly complex and pluralistic security challenges, we should readjust the traditional security theories that are outdated and foster new concepts of international security.

First, security depends on peace. Peace is fundamental to security. Bellicosity will not bring about a better world. Given the sophisticated technologies and the trend of globalization, war is not only a scourge for mankind; it may even destroy human race. According UN statistics, by the end of 2012, the number of refugees in the world had reached 45.2 million. Between 2004 and 2009, about 55,000 people died in war or terrorist attacks each year, and the actual death toll may be even higher. Differences and disputes are hardly avoidable between states. What is important is to stick to the right direction of peaceful dialogue and political settlement. Countries should work to foster a secure environment by upholding the principle of peaceful coexistence, address security issues by conducting peaceful dialogue, and maintain security order through peace mechanism. As a Chinese saying goes, "To ensure something is straight, one needs to rely on a marking line; to draw a perfect circle, one needs to use a compass." The post-war international order of peace was established at the cost of 70 million lives; it is a progressive system for maintaining world peace. Commitment to this system should never waver, nor should the system be overturned, negated or undermined in any way. All countries should work to uphold, build and promote the international peace order, and jointly create a harmonious and stable international and regional environment.

Second, security depends on development. Security issue is a development issue to a certain extent, as competition for development resources and development spaces may trigger security conflicts. The world will definitely not be peaceful with only a small number of countries enjoying development and prosperity. Security risks may be fundamentally removed only through common development and common prosperity of all countries, regions and ethnic groups. In 2010, there were 1.2 billion people living below the poverty line of 1.25 US dollars a day, or 2.4 billion under 2 dollars a day. Countries of the South have a per capita income less than 1/4 of countries of the North. Such a status quo, with only a small number of countries being prosperous, and the vast developing world found in poverty and backwardness, must be changed. There could be no development of the world without the common development of the majority of countries. To reduce poverty and narrow the South-North gap is the fundamental approach and urgent task to uphold international security. We stand for enhancing the awareness of mankind being a community of shared destiny. The developed countries should shoulder more responsibility to help the developing countries accelerate development. Meanwhile, all countries should work together to build a new type of global development partnership that is more equitable and balanced, so that the sunshine of development could reach all corners of the earth, and all countries and peoples enjoy a good life.

Third, security depends on cooperation. Many of the security issues in today's world have gone beyond national borders and regions. No country can stay aloof or achieve so-called absolute security by itself. As an African proverb goes, "When spiders unite, they can tie down a lion". Cooperation is the correct choice for settling security issues. Since its founding 12 years ago, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), has played an important role in combating terrorism, separatism and extremism, and in maintaining peace and stability of the region and the world at large. China has also taken an active part in various forms of international security cooperation, and conducted joint exercises for counter-terrorism and disaster-relief purposes as well as defense security cooperation with over 20 countries. Facing growing global security challenges, we advocate a new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination, and pursue a new concept of comprehensive security, common security and cooperation-based security, so that the global village we live in will become a major stage for common development instead of a wrestling field. We need to expand international cooperation in the regulation of such "new frontiers" as the cyberspace, outer space and polar regions. China is ready to work with all countries to uphold the main role of the United Nations in handling international security affairs, and actively participate in regional security dialogue cooperation mechanisms such as the SCO, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), with a view to establishing an open, inclusive and equitable international and regional security cooperation architecture, and making the international order and the international system more just and reasonable.

Fourth, security depends on win-win principles. Win-win principles are cornerstone for sustained security. A Western saying goes, when goods don't cross borders, soldiers will. The risk of security conflict will be significantly reduced when the interests of countries intertwine and converge. Although more than 20 years have passed since the end of the Cold War, the zero-sum Cold War mentality still lingers, as evidenced by the flaring wars and conflicts in some regions. A proverb in Latin America says that only when it is good for all can it be truly good for yourself. We maintain that countries should abandon the obsolete zero-sum security concept and view and handle international security issues based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation. No country should seek its own security at the expense of the security of other countries. We are resolutely opposed to acts that benefit oneself at others' expense, shift trouble onto others, and still less to say, that destabilize a region or even the whole world for the sake of selfish interests.

According to the Chinese classic Book of Change, as heaven maintains vigor through movements, a gentleman should constantly strive for self-perfection; as earth's condition is receptive devotion, a gentleman should hold the outer world with broad mind. This is where the motto of Tsinghua University comes from. Although the path towards peace is tortuous and difficult, peace is the common ideal of mankind and the trend of the times. I hope that peace-loving and visionary people of all countries will work together to pursue peace, development and security, and build a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.

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