Current: The 8th Beijing Xiangshan Forum >Speeches>Detail

Speech by Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China

Source:Beijing Xiangshan Forum Secretariat   Date:2018-10-24 21:00:00   Num:8629

Follow Historical Trend and Uphold World Peace


Speech at the Opening Dinner of the 8th Beijing Xiangshan Forum

 Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China

 Beijing, 24 October 2018


Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,


It gives me great pleasure to attend the Beijing Xiangshan Forum. I would like to begin with warm congratulations on the opening of the forum and sincere regards to all guests and friends joining us from different parts of the world.


Thanks to the joint efforts and strong support of all parties, seven sessions of the Beijing Xiangshan Forum have been held successfully since its inception in 2006. The forum has grown into a high-level platform for security and defense dialogues in the Asia-Pacific region, and made positive contribution to enhancing trust, reducing misgivings, building consensus, expanding cooperation and upholding peace and stability in the region.


The theme of this year’s session, “Building a New Type of Security Partnership of Equality, Mutual Trust and Win-Win Cooperation”, echoes President Xi Jinping’s call for building a community with a shared future for mankind and pursuing an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity. It reflects the development trend of the world and the shared aspirations of all countries. Leaders of defense and military establishment, experts and scholars will come together for extensive exchange of views on the theme and make fresh contributions.


Ⅰ. China and the World in the Past Four Decades


This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up. Over the past four decades, the Chinese people have been committed to the principles of freeing up the mind, seeking truth from facts, and keeping up with the times. Striving forward in an unremitting spirit of self-renewal, they have opened up the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and greatly unleashed and developed productive forces. China’s composite national strength rapidly increased, and nearly 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty. This is hailed as a miracle in the history of human development.


China’s historic achievements and transformation through reform and opening-up are the result of the tenacious efforts of the Chinese people, and are also attributable to the overall stable international security environment. China suffered from foreign aggression and chaos caused by wars for a century and it is the first time for it to enjoy such a long period of peace in modern times. The Chinese people are keenly aware of the value of peace and stability.


China’s development is part of the collective development of East Asia, and a chapter of the symphony of rapid development of Asian countries. China’s integration into the world offers not only products, services and capitals, but also investment opportunities and consumer market. China’s reform and opening-up is also a path towards win-win cooperation between China and the rest of the world.


Hence, President Xi Jinping pointed out that prosperity and stability of the world brings opportunities to China, and a developing China presents opportunities to the world. China will stay on the path of peaceful development, remain committed to friendship and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, uphold world peace, and work for common development.


Ⅱ. A Number of Principle Issues to be Clarified


The Asia-Pacific region, with the largest share of global economy -- nearly 60% of world economic aggregate and half of global trade volume, is a major engine for world economy. In recent years, the Asia-Pacific region has been accelerating integration, making solid achievements in sub-regional cooperation, and playing an increasingly important role in the global strategic architecture.


At the same time, the world still faces a number of destabilizing factors and uncertainties. Potential security risks remain high as evidenced by the persisting zero-sum mentality from the Cold War years, and hegemonism and power politics, rise of unilateralism and protectionism, and emerging regional hotspots and non-traditional security threats including terrorism. Therefore, how to ensure lasting peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific is an issue of major strategic significance. In this connection, I believe the following principle issues need to be clarified.


First, zero-sum game or win-win cooperation. An essential rule of the zero-sum game is winner takes all, under which one nation builds its security upon the insecurity of others, or even pursues its so-called absolute security at the cost of others. Such a mentality, which denies the universality or inclusiveness of security, and rejects the possibility of cooperation, is both obsolete and harmful to all in today’s world of interdependence.


China is always committed to win-win cooperation. It pursues the greater good and shared interests in international relations, accommodates the interests of others while maintaining its own, and promotes common progress through its own development. China advocates increased trust, reduced misgivings and greater common security through in-depth dialogues and mutually beneficial cooperation. This brings win-win results to all parties. China adheres to a defensive national defense policy and poses no threat to any other countries. China will not follow the beaten path of a stronger power seeking hegemony and it will never seek hegemony however strong it may become.


Second, unilateralism or multilateralism. A typical move of unilateralists is to exit established arrangements and start new ones. It is a challenge to international rules and systems, with the real purpose to pursue one’s own interests in disregard of the interests of most countries. Trade protectionism is also a form of unilateralism, as it puts the interests of oneself above all others, rejects complementarity and win-win cooperation in international trade, and aims to benefit oneself and harm others. In the end, such an approach will be self-damaging.


China is committed to multilateralism. It firmly upholds the UN-centered multilateral international system, adheres to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and basic norms of international law and international relations, and insists on seeking solution for global issues through multilateral frameworks. China always maintains that international issues should be properly resolved in accordance with rules and consensus and through equal-footed dialogue and consultation. China’s position is aimed at not only preserving its own legitimate rights and interests, but also upholding the free trade system, the international rules and order, and the shared interests of all countries.


Third, alliance or partnership. Alliance means exclusive blocs or groups targeting a third party. Such a confrontational mentality is an important root cause of instability and hotspots in the world.


China is committed to non-alliance. It makes many friends and opposes small-group politics in international relations. Partnerships can be built not only on shared purposes, but also on the willingness to shelve differences. China advocates the kind of partnership that is committed to a win-win approach and common interests in state-to-state relations, not the zero-sum mentality with a hypothetical enemy or targeted third party. This partnership follows the principle of equality of nations, respects sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and respects partners’ core interests and major concerns, as well as their people’s independent choice of social systems and development paths. This partnership conforms to the global trend of interdependence and the shared aspiration of all countries for friendly relations, aims to promote mutual learning through exchanges, and seeks common progress despite differences. The purpose of such a partnership is to make the pie of common interests bigger through cooperation, so that more fruits of success can be shared and common development and prosperity will be realized.


Fourth, isolation or interconnection. Today, in this global village where economic globalization and IT application develop rapidly, no country can address the diverse challenges all by itself, nor can anyone retreat into isolation.


China always believes that it is impossible for countries to develop themselves behind closed doors when the trend of the times moves towards multi-polarity, economic globalization, IT application, and cultural diversity. Isolation will lead to nowhere and only opening-up can bring about development. China has put forth the Belt and Road Initiative to promote interconnection, which includes connectivity of policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people. This Initiative has become an international cooperation platform with extensive support, a public good provided by China to the world. Over 130 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China; a large number of collaborative projects have been carried out; infrastructure networks are taking shape; industrial cooperation along the routes is gaining momentum; and people in the regions concerned have enjoyed the benefit of cooperation.


Ⅲ. China’s Position on Several Major Questions


China-US relations. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America. The most important lesson from the past 40 years is that both countries win from cooperation and lose from confrontation; and cooperation is the only correct choice for both sides. China’s policy toward the United States is consistent and clear-cut. We are committed to working with the United States to achieve the goal of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation. China pursues development for creating happier lives of its over 1.3 billion people, and for greater contribution to peace and development of the world. China’s development achievements are attributed to the right leadership of the Communist Party of China, the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the constantly-advanced reform and opening-up, and the hardworking and ingenious Chinese people. The US trade deficit with China is a result of multiple objective factors. Essentially, it is caused by the comparative strengths of the two countries and the international division of labor. China never deliberately pursues trade surplus. Bilateral trade between China and the US is never a one-way street where wealth only flows from the US to China. In fact, the US has benefited enormously from economic cooperation and trade with China. The two sides should work in the same direction, properly resolve problems in China-US relations through dialogues and consultations, so as to keep bilateral ties on the right track.


The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. Thanks to the efforts of all parties concerned, the situation on the Korean Peninsula has seen a major turnaround this year. China has made its own contribution. We are committed to denuclearization, peace and stability on the Peninsula, as well as a solution through dialogue and consultation, and have made enormous efforts to this end. The positive developments we are seeing now are exactly what China has pursued and hoped for. China supports all-round improvement in inter-Korean relations, and continued dialogues between the DPRK and the US, and encourages the DPRK to continue moving in the right direction toward denuclearization. At the same time, we also believe it is necessary for the US to make timely and positive responses to truly meet the DPRK halfway. An effective settlement of the issue requires complete denuclearization as well as the establishment of a peace mechanism on the Peninsula. Only when both “wheels” move in tandem can the issue be truly resolved and can peace have a chance.


The South China Sea. In recent years, there has been a positive momentum of resolving disputes through dialogue and consultation between countries directly concerned, and the overall situation in the South China Sea has remained stable. China and ASEAN countries have arrived at a single draft negotiating text of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, marking a solid step to maintain peace in the South China Sea through the establishment of maritime rules. However, as the saying goes, the tree may crave for peace but the wind will not drop. Some countries outside the region have frequently sent large warships and strategic bombers to the region in a show of force, posing threats to the security of regional countries. This is not only a typical act of militarization, but also the most important reason behind militarization in the South China Sea. China’s peaceful construction and development of defense facilities on relevant islands and reefs are legitimate and lawful as they are fully consistent with the rights to self-preservation and self-defense enjoyed by sovereign states under international law.


The Taiwan Question. There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. This is the common understanding of the international community. Abiding by the One China principle and refrain from official contacts with Taiwan has become an international rule followed by all countries. The separatist force advocating “Taiwan independence” and its activities not only constitute the greatest threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits but also erode regional peace and stability. Moreover, the wrong actions taken by some country on the Taiwan question have emboldened the “Taiwan independence” separatist force, undermined peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits, and threatened regional peace and stability. The international community must stay highly vigilant. China will continue to uphold the principles of peaceful reunification and “one country, two systems”, push for the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, and work toward the goal of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and maximum efforts. At the same time, we stand firm in safeguarding China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We have firm resolve, full confidence, and sufficient capability to defeat separatist attempts for Taiwan independence in any form.


More people means more ideas. I look forward to your wisdom and insights on the prospect of peaceful development and win-win cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.


Thank you!