Uphold World Peace and Promote Human Progress
– Keynote Speech by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Opening Ceremony of the 9th World Peace Forum
Tsinghua University, 3 July 2021
It is a great pleasure to join you at Tsinghua University for the 9th World Peace Forum. This year marks the first decade of the forum. Over the past ten years, the forum has embraced the trend of the times and focused on the world’s most defining challenges. It has provided a source of wisdom for deeper understanding between China and the world and contributed its fair share to advancing world peace. Its global influence as a platform for exchange of ideas and insights is increasingly growing. At the outset, let me extend warm congratulations on the achievement of the forum and on the opening of its ninth edition.
Just two days ago, we held grand celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). In the important speech made on that occasion, General Secretary Xi Jinping gave a thorough account of the great accomplishments of the CPC leading the Chinese people through the past 100 years of struggle, and made a solemn declaration that China has realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and is now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building a great modern socialist country in all respects. General Secretary Xi reviewed the course of history and envisioned the journey ahead, emphasizing that the CPC always keeps in mind the future of humanity and stands ready to work together with all progressive forces in the world on the way forward.
Throughout the past 100 years, the CPC has remained committed to peaceful development and worked tirelessly to uphold world peace and stability. The Chinese nation cherishes peace, amity and harmony, values that have been honored and carried forward throughout history. The CPC has written on its flag the faith in peace, development and win-win cooperation. From actively promoting an international united front against Fascism during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression to adopting an independent foreign policy of peace after the founding of New China, and from putting forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence to accurately identifying peace and development as the theme of our times, the CPC has unremittingly pursued the path of peaceful development. It has remained committed never to seek hegemony, territorial expansion or spheres of influence, and has achieved development by upholding world peace and promoted world peace through its own development.
Throughout the past 100 years, the CPC has remained committed to equity and justice and worked tirelessly for the freedom and emancipation of humanity. Since the first day of its founding, the CPC has dedicated itself to the pursuit of equity and justice and the emancipation of humanity. From adopting the first program of anti-imperialist and anti-feudal democratic revolution to giving unreserved support for the national liberation movements of Asian, African and Latin American countries in the 1960s and 1970s, from speaking up for developing countries at the United Nations and other international fora to taking a firm stand against the headwinds of unilateralism and bullying, the CPC has always stood on the side of equity and justice. At all times, we have underscored that all countries are equal, regardless of their size, strength and wealth, and stood against imposing one’s own will on others, interfering in other countries’ internal affairs, and the practice of the strong bullying the weak. We have always believed that international relations should be more democratic, and that global affairs should be run by all countries in the world through joint consultation, not dictated by those waving bigger fists. We have always remained convinced that justice will eventually prevail over power politics.
Throughout the past 100 years, the CPC has remained committed to win-win cooperation and worked tirelessly for the common development of all countries. History fully shows that China cannot do without the world in achieving development, and that the world also needs China for prosperity. From building an open economy to advancing Belt and Road cooperation, from providing developing countries with more assistance to promoting post-COVID global recovery, the CPC has acted out the win-win strategy of opening up, calling for cooperation and mutual benefit rather than confrontation and zero-sum games, and has provided the world with new opportunities through its new development progress. The successful practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics provides a new, China-style path towards modernization. It offers a new option for other developing countries to achieve modernization, and contributes to the world the China wisdom and China solution to development.
In the past 100 years, the CPC has traveled an extraordinary journey, and has remained true to its original aspiration and founding mission. In China, a communist party has been founded, and that has profoundly changed the future and destiny of the Chinese nation, and altered the landscape of development of the world. On its new journey toward the second centenary goal, the CPC is set to make new and still greater contribution to human progress and world peace and security.
Our world is now going through a special period in history. It is facing the combined forces of a global pandemic and major changes, both unseen in a century, and witnessing a serious contest between multilateralism and unilateralism. The global governance system is going through unprecedented readjustment, and international peace and security faces serious challenges like never before. The theme of this year’s forum, “International Security Cooperation in the Post-Pandemic Era: Upholding and Practicing Multilateralism”, is thus most timely and relevant.
About the various types of confrontation, conflicts and governance dilemmas in today’s world, their root cause may boil down to the lack of effective adherence to multilateralism and to the lack of full respect for international norms as underpinned by the UN Charter. Upholding and practicing true multilateralism is the right way forward in tackling complex issues and effectively countering security challenges, traditional and non-traditional, in today’s world. It is also the surest way toward breaking the zero-sum game, resisting unilateralism and bullying, and truly achieving lasting peace and common security.
First, to uphold world peace and security, we need to jointly tackle pressing global challenges.
The most urgent task is to speed up efforts to build a great wall of immunization and secure an early victory against the pandemic. As we speak, the virus is still wreaking havoc across the world, posing a grave threat to the lives and health of the 7.6 billion people on earth. Countries need to view themselves as members of a global community of health for all, rise above political differences and spare no effort in joining the international response to the pandemic. To address the outstanding imbalance in vaccination, we must reject vaccine nationalism and work out proper ways to address issues regarding vaccine production capacity and distribution, and we must support the WHO in delivering the COVAX program, in order to close the global immunization gap. China has faithfully honored its promise of making vaccines a global public good. Despite the enormous need for vaccination at home, we have overcome difficulties and provided 480 million doses of vaccines to nearly 100 countries in need. Coming up next, we will continue to do our best to make vaccines more accessible and affordable to developing countries.
The origin-tracing of the coronavirus, a serious matter of science in nature, is the collective responsibility of all countries and should be carried out worldwide. China has taken part in relevant international cooperation in an open and transparent way, and has, on the basis of rigorous analysis and study, released a joint report on the origins of the virus with the WHO. On this particular question, we must firmly reject any attempt to politicize, label or stigmatize the virus. We must support medical experts and scientists in tracing the origins of the virus in multiple countries and regions in the spirit of professionalism, so that we could truly gain experience needed to prevent the next pandemic.
The global environmental governance is facing difficulties, and climate change has become a significant challenge. The international community needs to come up with unprecedented ambition and action, work together to foster a community of life for man and Nature and promote harmony between man and Nature. China is committed to shifting its growth model and promoting ecological conservation across the society to keep the environment clean and green. Recently, the elephant herd trekking northward in Yunnan province brought what was described as “tons of cuteness” to the world. From a unique angle, the story of these elephants reflected the progress China has made in caring for the environment and preserving harmony with Nature.
China will strive to deliver its commitment of peaking carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060. In the meantime, all parties need to shoulder common but differentiated responsibilities and work for the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. Developed countries in particular must meet their overdue pledge of funding, technology and capacity-building support to developing countries. China will host COP15 to the Convention on Biological Diversity and looks forward to working with all parties to make new contribution to promoting global biodiversity and protecting the global ecosystem.
The disposal of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant concerns the global marine environment and the life and health of people in all countries. The issue should and must be handled transparently. The Japanese government should pay full attention to the legitimate concerns of the international community and must not discharge the contaminated water to the ocean before consensus is reached with stakeholders and international agencies through consultation. This year marks the 80th anniversary of Japan starting the Pacific War. We hope the Japanese side will draw serious lessons from history and make a responsible choice.
In recent years, terrorism and other non-traditional security challenges are getting more and more salient. The international community needs to step up coordination, focus on priorities, take a holistic approach, and address both the symptom and root cause of terrorism. It should fully implement relevant UN counter-terrorism strategies and resolutions, and in particular, it should take active measures of de-radicalization to eradicate the source of terrorism. China’s Xinjiang region was once plagued by terrorism and extremist ideologies. In recent years, we have taken preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts in the region in accordance with the law, and achieved remarkable results. To date, Xinjiang has been free from violent terrorist incident for over four years in a row. China’s achievements in combating terrorism are widely recognized and commended by the international community. All rumors and smears would pale when compared to facts and the truth. There should be no double standards on counter-terrorism and de-radicalization, still less should terrorism or radicalization be associated with a particular country, an ethnic group, or a religion.
Second, to uphold world peace and security, we need to work together to push for political settlement of global hotspot issues.
President Xi Jinping pointed out that the world is not tranquil, and that peace needs to be protected. The pandemic has brought new turmoil to some countries and regions. Hotspot issues are reemerging. Geopolitics is once again on the rise. World peace is not yet secured. China is ready to shoulder its responsibility and play a constructive role for the peace of the region and the entire world.
On Afghanistan, the most pressing task is to maintain stability and prevent war and chaos. The situation in Afghanistan is at a critical juncture, and the country is once again faced with the grave challenge of moving toward war or peace, chaos or stability. The United States, which created the Afghan issue in the first place, should act responsibly to ensure a smooth transition in Afghanistan. It should not simply shift the burden onto others and withdraw from the country with the mess left behind unattended. The withdrawal must not give rise to chaos and war. As a friendly neighbor of Afghanistan connected by the same mountains and waters, China always supports firmly the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. We have put forward a five-point proposal lately. The key point is that we hope that all parties in Afghanistan will give priority to the interests of the country and the people, keep the momentum of intra-Afghan negotiations, work out the roadmap and timetable of reconciliation as soon as possible, and jointly build a broad-based and inclusive political framework for the future. We are ready to work with other regional countries and the international community to promote the peace and reconciliation process, help Afghanistan strengthen its internal dynamism for development and reconstruction, and gradually bring about a virtuous cycle of peace and development.
On Myanmar, the most central task is to promote internal dialogue and realize political reconciliation. The twists and turns in Myanmar’s democratic transition process are in essence the country’s domestic affairs. They should be settled by political means as soon as possible through dialogue and consultation within the framework of its constitution and laws. Violence should be avoided, and social stability should be restored as early as possible. The international community should truly respect Myanmar’s sovereignty and the choice of its people, do more that can help narrow differences, and refrain from imposing unilateral sanctions and inappropriate intervention. As Myanmar’s “pauk-phaw” brother, China sincerely hopes to see peace and stability in the country, and firmly supports ASEAN in working in the ASEAN way for a “soft landing” of the situation. We stand ready to join ASEAN in providing Myanmar with anti-COVID supplies and economic assistance, and will continue to make good use of our friendly relations with various parties in Myanmar to help with their communication and play good offices.
On the Korean Peninsula, the most important principle is to keep to the general direction of equal-footed dialogue and peaceful settlement. The nuclear issue on the Peninsula has dragged on for nearly 30 years, going through ups and downs. We always believe that dialogue and consultation and peaceful settlement is the fundamental principle, taking phased and synchronized actions is the inevitable tactic, and seeking parallel progress in denuclearization and the establishment of a peace mechanism is the right way forward. China attaches importance to the recent signals from the DPRK and the US, and supports all words and actions that are conducive to maintaining dialogue and easing tensions on the Peninsula. The US needs to reconsider its incessant military threats and pressure on the DPRK over the decades, and acknowledge and address DPRK’s legitimate concerns. Given the measures that the DPRK has taken toward denuclearization and easing the situation, the US should show its sincerity and make a response. In addition, the UN Security Council needs to invoke the rollback terms of the DPRK-related resolutions in due course and help the DPRK improve its economy and people’s livelihood. The Korean Peninsula issue is a matter at the doorstep of China. We will, as always, continue to play the constructive role for the realization of enduring peace and stability on the Peninsula.
On the Palestine-Israel issue, the most fundamental goal is to deliver to the Palestinian people their long overdue justice. Lasting peace can hardly be achieved without justice being its foundation. The two-state solution represents the consensus of the international community, and manifests fairness and justice. Only through early resumption of peace talks on the basis of the two-state solution, can the Palestinian issue be resolved fairly, and lasting peace in the Middle East be achieved. In May this year, during the most serious conflict between Palestine and Israel since 2014, China, as the UN Security Council’s rotating president, facilitated five Council meetings to review the situation, helped the issuance of a press statement of the President, urged the parties concerned to fully observe the ceasefire, and called for assistance to the Palestinian people. Today, I would like to once again urge the relevant countries to take a fair position, abandon their selfish interests, show conscience and courage, and play their due role in rebuilding trust, promoting peace and negotiations, and providing humanitarian assistance. China will always bear in mind peace in the Middle East, and will continue to uphold justice and fairness.
On the Iranian nuclear issue, the most critical is for the US to make an earlier decision to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). As a product of 13 years of hard negotiations, the JCPOA is an important outcome of multilateralism and a classic example of settling disputes through dialogue and consultation. The US unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA and its maximum pressure on Iran are the root causes of the current Iranian nuclear crisis. As the saying goes, “He who tied the bell should untie it.” Naturally, the US should correct its wrongdoings. To start with, it should lift, fully, unreservedly and thoroughly, its illegal unilateral sanctions on Iran and third parties, so as to encourage Iran to move in the same direction and to push for breakthroughs in the negotiations. China will continue to participate in the negotiations constructively to bring the JCPOA back on track. In the meantime, we will also firmly safeguard our legitimate and lawful rights and interests. The Iranian nuclear crisis management and security in the Gulf region should be considered together as a whole. China has proposed a dialogue platform for regional security in the Persian Gulf to discuss and address the legitimate security concerns of various parties. We are ready to stay in close touch with other parties on this.
Third, to uphold world peace and security, we need to join hands together to oppose dangerous practices of stoking division and confrontation.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the end of the Cold War, a war that produced no winner and inflicted severe pains on the world. History and reality keep reminding us that a divided world cannot cope with humanity’s common challenges, and a world of confrontation will bring disaster to mankind. We must firmly oppose the acts of inciting confrontation and division, and remove all the obstacles to international and regional peace and security.
We must categorically oppose bloc confrontation. Zero-sum game reflects the Cold War mentality. It has long before failed to meet the expectation of countries for peace, development and cooperation. The so-called “Indo-Pacific strategy”, which is aimed at provoking bloc confrontation, is an attempt to form a small clique for geopolitical rivalry. It is the revival of the Cold-War mentality and regression of history. It should be swept into the dustbin. Dreaming the old dream of hegemony during the Cold War will not secure a promising future, still less “build back a better world”. Instead, all countries should work together to cultivate a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, equity, justice and win-win cooperation.
We must categorically oppose power politics. Flaunting now and then its purpose to safeguard the “rules-based international order” and using it to pressure on other countries is just another version of power politics. In reality, this is an attempt to impose one’s own will and standards on others, and to replace the commonly accepted international laws and norms with the house rules of a few countries. What rules should the international order be based on? And what exactly is the order that should be safeguarded? These terms must be clearly defined, and there should be no vagueness or evasiveness. China’s position is very clear: The system that is recognized by all countries can only be the UN-centered international system; the order that is to be jointly upheld by all countries can only be the international order based on international law; and the rules that are observed by all countries can only be the basic norms governing international relations founded on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
We must categorically oppose interference in other countries’ internal affairs. Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference in each others’ internal affairs are stipulated in the UN Charter, and they are the important basic norms governing international relations. They are the foundation for ensuring world peace and stability. They are also the safeguard for developing countries to uphold their own security and achieve independent development. China never interferes in other countries’ internal affairs, and never obstructs others’ development. And we absolutely do not accept meddling in our internal affairs by any country, or any foreign attempt to halt our development. Today’s China is no longer the same country of one hundred years ago. No individual and no force should underestimate the firm determination and strong capacity of the Chinese people to uphold the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests.
Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. This is a basic fact universally recognized by the international community. To advance the peaceful reunification of the motherland is an established policy the Chinese government has always upheld. For some time, certain forces in the US have been making desperate and reckless moves on the Taiwan question, and kept emboldening and encouraging the Taiwan-independence separatist elements. This is extremely wrong and dangerous! Let me make this clear to these forces: China’s full reunification is a trend of history that no one can stop, and it is a trend of our times that no external force can disrupt.
In the past few years, Hong Kong suffered from rampant turbulence and many violent terrorist acts. The root cause of all this was that some local political elements colluded with foreign forces and blatantly clamored for Hong Kong independence, posing a serious threat to China’s national security and One Country, Two Systems in Hong Kong. The Central Government could not simply sit idly by, and turbulence must not continue in Hong Kong. It is therefore totally justified, lawful and reasonable for us to promptly advance legislation on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong and improve the electoral system of the Special Administrative Region. The rule of law has been restored and improved in Hong Kong. The implementation of One Country, Two Systems will be sound and sustained.
The motto of Tsinghua University, “Self-discipline and social commitment”, reflects the enterprising spirit and broad vision of the Chinese nation. It also speaks volumes about China’s commitment to making greater contribution to humanity as a responsible major country. In the face of the common challenges to mankind, China will promote the common values of humanity, uphold true multilateralism, actively implement the new security vision, and work with all countries to safeguard world peace and security and build a world of lasting peace and common security.