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Foreign Policy

Xi Proposes Pathway to Building “Cooperative and Sustainable Security” in Asia

Apr 29 , 2016

Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 28 addressed the opening ceremony of the fifth foreign ministers’ meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Beijing, further elaborating his vision on security in Asia. He also touches upon China’s position on security hotpots in the region, including North Korea, Afghanistan, Syria and South China Sea. The following are excerpts of Xi’s remarks.

Asia holds a uniquely important position in the pursuit of world peace and development. Today in Asia, peace and stability is the defining trend, and development and prosperity represent the common aspirations of the people. As a world leader in economic development, Asia enjoys vibrant regional cooperation and integration and rising strategic status in the global development landscape. On the other hand, some parts of our continent are still plagued by turbulence and conflicts caused by traditional security challenges while terrorism and other non-traditional security threats are posing rising dangers to Asia. The situation cries out for ever closer regional security cooperation.

At the CICA Summit in Shanghai in 2014, I proposed a vision on common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in Asia and called for joint efforts to explore an inclusive and win-win approach to Asian security that is for all and by all. Developments in the region and the world over the past two years show that it takes concerted efforts to uphold regional security. We need to adhere to and follow through the vision on Asian security, build consensus, step up dialogue and coordination, contribute to the fostering of a security governance model with Asian features, and open up a brighter future of peace and prosperity for Asia. To this end, we need to focus our endeavor in the following areas:

First, keep to the direction of building an Asian community of common future. Countries in Asia share weal and woe and the future of our nations is closely tied with each other. We need to develop a new type of partnership featuring win-win cooperation and live together in the spirit of mutual respect, equality, mutual assistance and solidarity. We should accommodate reasonable concerns of others while pursuing our own interests, promote common development while seeking our own development, respect security of others while safeguarding our own security, and join hands in advancing peace, stability and prosperity in the region. We need to deepen security cooperation and confidence-building in military, political, economic, people-to-people, cultural, environmental protection and other fields as well as in tackling emerging threats and challenges, so as to open up new prospects for security and development in Asia.

Second, cement the foundation for exchanges and mutual learning among different civilizations. Asia is home to a diversity of nations, religions and cultures, and countries vary in social system, development path and economic development level. Our perceptions and concerns on relevant security issues may not always be the same. Given such a reality, we need to scale up exchanges and communication and turn the diversity of Asia into an impetus for more exchanges and cooperation, and facilitate inclusiveness, mutual learning and common development of different civilizations, to make joint contribution to maintaining regional peace and stability. We can together explore channels and platforms, such as an Asia Civilization Dialogue Conference to pool wisdom and strength and solidify the foundation for comprehensive regional security governance.

Third, uphold mutual understanding and mutual accommodation and peaceful settlement of disputes through dialogue and consultation. As a Chinese adage reads, “he who cherishes virtue prospers and he who favors might perishes.” The law of the jungle goes against the trend of the time and belligerence cannot lead to peace. Only mutual understanding and mutual accommodation will bring about stability and only commitment to justice can ensure lasting security. We need to uphold peaceful settlement of disputes through dialogue and consultation in accordance with international law. We need to enhance trust, resolve disagreements and promote security through dialogue. Faced with complex regional hotspot issues, relevant parties need to stay calm and commit to peace, refrain from taking actions that may escalate the situation, promote crisis management through rules-making, and de-escalate tension by strengthening mutual trust, with a view to defusing crisis through political means and promoting gradual resolution.

Fourth, gradually explore the building of a security architecture that fits regional conditions. There exist multiple security cooperation frameworks in Asia, and they all contribute to regional security in their own way. Asian countries have long cherished the Asian way of mutual respect, consensus-building and accommodation of each other’s comfort levels. We should uphold and promote this approach, strengthen coordination among regional security frameworks, and gradually channel cooperation toward the same or similar goals to create synergy and work for practical results. On such basis, we may explore the building of a new architecture of regional security cooperation that reflects Asian needs. We can discuss relevant matters at such platforms as the CICA Non-governmental Forum and put forward ideas and suggestions on the principles and priorities of regional security cooperation.

People around the world yearn for cooperation and inclusiveness. And countries and peoples in Asia have the ability and see the pressing need to maintain a sound environment of security and development in Asia through dialogue and cooperation. Asians are known to be open, inclusive and visionary. We welcome countries outside the region making positive contribution to peace and stability here and working with Asian countries to promote security, stability, development and prosperity of Asia. A stable and developing Asia is a blessing, while a turbulent and declining Asia would bring nothing but trouble to the world. This is a profound lesson drawn from modern Asian history.

China follows a foreign policy of peace. We proposed and have taken the lead in practicing a new Asian approach of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and have worked all along to uphold, promote and contribute to international and regional security. China is firmly committed to pursuing the peaceful development path, maintaining the international order with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter at its core, fostering a new type of international relations of win-win cooperation, and building a community of shared future for all mankind. Over the years, China has worked together with the international community to tackle security risks, challenges and crises in the region and beyond, and have made positive contributions along the way.

Security Hotpots in Asia

The world cares about Asia, and what happens in Asia impacts the whole world. Some security hotspots in Asia have recently caught the international limelight, and China has made great efforts towards their resolution.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula has been tense since the beginning of the year. China has made huge efforts to manage the situation and push for dialogue and negotiation among various parties. We are committed to denuclearization, to peace and stability on the Peninsula, and to the resolution of issues through dialogue and consultation. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has implemented relevant Security Council resolutions fully and faithfully. As a close neighbor, we will never allow war or chaos on the Peninsula, as this serves nobody’s interests. We hope that various parties will exercise restraint, avoid mutual provocation and escalation of tension, make joint efforts to bring the nuclear issue back to the track of dialogue and negotiation as early as possible, and work toward peace and security in Northeast Asia.

Afghanistan is undergoing a crucial phase of transition. Confronted with challenges on multiple fronts, it needs strong support of the international community. China has taken an active part in the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan, and worked hard to support peaceful reconstruction as well as the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of inclusive political reconciliation. We sincerely hope to see an early restoration of peace, stability and development in Afghanistan. We will, together with the international community, continue to support peace and reconstruction, political reconciliation and smooth transition in Afghanistan.

An early settlement of the Syrian issue and Palestine-Israel issue serves the interests of parties concerned and represents the common aspiration of the international community. China has always called for the peaceful settlement of relevant issues through political negotiations, actively promoted talks and reconciliation through various means, and will continue to make efforts in this direction. China played a constructive role in the conclusion of the comprehensive agreement of the Iranian nuclear issue. We will work with other parties to ensure continuous progress in its implementation.

For some time, developments in the South China Sea have attracted extensive attention. Let me stress that China is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea. We firmly stand by our sovereignty and rights and interests in the South China Sea, and remain committed to resolving disputes peacefully through friendly consultation and negotiation with countries directly concerned. We will continue to work with ASEAN countries to make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

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