Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech at a conference marking the 60th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, June 28, 2014. [Photo by Li Xueren/Xinhua]
Address by H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping
President of the People's Republic of China
At meeting marking the 60th anniversary of the initiation of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence
28 June 2014
Your Excellency President U Thein Sein,
Your Excellency Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, we are meeting here to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the initiation of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. This is an important occasion not only for China, India and Myanmar, but also for the international community. It is of great significance for carrying forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, enhancing friendship and cooperation among peoples of various countries, and promoting world peace and development.
On behalf of the Chinese government and people and in my own name, I extend a very warm welcome to all of you, distinguished guests and friends.
President U Thein Sein and Vice President Hamid Ansari have just delivered warm and important remarks, which I very much appreciate.
Six decades ago, in the course of decolonization that started at the end of the Second World War, the struggle for independence and liberation in Asia, Africa and Latin America surged. The newly independent countries longed for equality in international relations. Echoing this historical trend, China, India and Myanmar jointly initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, namely, mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.
On 28 and 29 June 1954, China issued two joint statements respectively with India and Myanmar, confirming their commitment to these Five Principles in conducting their mutual relations and their respective relations with other countries in Asia and the world. This was a major initiative in the history of international relations and a historic contribution to the building of a new type of just and equitable international relations.
At this moment of reflection, we greatly cherish the memory of the past leaders of our three countries who initiated the Five Principles and pay high tribute to people with vision in all countries who have carried forward the Five Principles over the years.
The commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence today gives us an opportunity to explore ways to better promote these Five Principles in the new era so as to build a new type of international relations and a better world of win-win cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,
It is no coincidence that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence were born in Asia, because they embody the Asian tradition of loving peace. The Chinese nation has always held such beliefs as "peace is most precious", "harmony without uniformity", "peace among all nations" and "universal love and non-aggression". The people of India, Myanmar and other Asian countries also cherish the values of love, kindness and peace. In one of his poems, Rabindranath Tagore, the great Indian poet, wrote that if you think friendship can be won through war, spring will fade away before your eyes. Myanmar has a World Peace Pagoda where people go to pray for world peace.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence give concrete expression to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and facilitate their implementation. The key elements of the Five Principles, namely, "mutual" and "coexistence", demonstrate the new expectations the Asian countries have for international relations and the principle of international rule of law that give countries rights, obligations and responsibilities.
In the 1950s, guided by the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, the wind of friendship swept across the vast land of China and India. When Premier Zhou Enlai visited India, everywhere he went, the local people greeted him with "Panchsheel Zindabad", which means long live the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and "Hindi-Chini Bhai", which means Indians and Chinese are brothers. Under the guidance of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, China and Myanmar settled the boundary issue. The China-Myanmar boundary treaty signed in 1960 is the first boundary treaty the People's Republic of China signed with its neighbors. The Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Non-Aggression between China and Myanmar is also the first treaty of peace and friendship between Asian countries.
For 60 years, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have struck deep roots and flourished in China, India and Myanmar. Meanwhile, thanks to the important contribution made by the three countries, these principles are accepted in other parts of Asia and the world. China believes that the successful application of the Five Principles in international relations fully testifies to their strong vitality. India has said that, if these principles are recognized in mutual relations of all countries, then indeed there would hardly be any conflict and certainly no war. Myanmar also believes that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are appropriate guiding principles for all countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,
Having been tested by the evolution of international relations in the past six decades, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, as open and inclusive principles of international law, embody the values of sovereignty, justice, democracy and rule of law.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have become the basic norms governing international relations as well as basic principles of international law. These Five Principles, as an integrated, interconnected and indivisible concept, capture the essence of today's international relations, and can apply to relations among all countries regardless of their social system, stage of development or size. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence were expanded into ten principles adopted at the Bandung Conference in 1955. The Non-Aligned Movement which emerged in the 1960s adopted the Five Principles as its guiding principles. These principles were also incorporated in the relevant declarations adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1970 and 1974. Today, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are also endorsed by a host of international organizations and international instruments, and are widely supported and observed by the international community.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have effectively upheld the rights and interests of the developing world. The core of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence is that there is sovereign equality among all countries and that no country should monopolize international affairs. These principles offer a powerful intellectual tool for developing countries to uphold their sovereignty and independence, and they have thus become a rallying call for enhancing solidarity, cooperation and strength among them. These principles have deepened the mutual understanding and trust among developing countries, boosted South-South cooperation and also contributed to the improvement of North-South relations.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have played a positive role in building a more equitable and rational international political and economic order. Rejecting the law of the jungle by which the strong bullies the weak, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence strengthened the movement against imperialism and colonialism that eventually brought colonialism to an end. During the Cold War of East-West confrontation, none of the policies such as "the big family", "bloc politics" or "sphere of influence" was successful in handling state-to-state relations, and they only heightened antagonism and tension. By contrast, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence provided a new approach for peacefully resolving historical issues and international disputes.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,
Today's world is going through profound and intricate changes. Peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit have become an unstoppable trend. Countries are bound together in this community of common destiny. On the other hand, injustice and inequality are still pronounced problems in international relations. Global challenges keep emerging, so do conflicts and local wars in various regions. People in many countries, children in particular, are ravaged by war. Many people in developing countries still suffer from hunger. To uphold global peace and promote common development remains a daunting challenge facing mankind.
In the new era today, the spirit of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, instead of being outdated, remains as relevant as ever; its significance, rather than diminishing, remains as important as ever; and its role, rather than being weakened, has continued to grow.
As an ancient Chinese teaching goes, all good principles should adapt to changing times to remain relevant. Just now, both President U Thein Sein and Vice President Hamid Ansari have elaborated on how to carry forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence to build a new type of international relations and a better world in the new era. Indeed, China, India and Myanmar have a lot in common in this regard. Here, I wish to state the following:
First, we should uphold sovereign equality. Sovereignty is the most important feature of any independent state as well as the embodiment and safeguard of its national interests. No infringement upon the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a country is allowed. Countries should respect each other's core interests and key concerns. These are fundamental rules which should not be cast aside or undermined at any time.
All countries, regardless of their size, strength or level of development, are equal members of the international community, and they are entitled to equal participation in international affairs. The internal affairs of a country should be managed by its own people. We should respect the right of a country to choose its own social system and model of development, and oppose the attempt to oust the legitimate government of a country through illegal means to seek self interests or to impose one's own views.
Second, we should uphold common security. Security should be universal. All countries have the right to participate in international and regional security affairs on an equal footing and shoulder the shared responsibility to maintain security both internationally and in various regions. We should champion common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security, and respect and ensure every country's security. It is unacceptable to have security just for one country or some countries while leaving the rest insecure, and still less should one be allowed to seek the so-called "absolute security" of itself at the expense of others' security. We need to step up cooperation at the global and regional level and jointly counter non-traditional security threats which are on the increase, fight against terrorism of all forms and remove the breeding ground of terrorism.
Disputes and differences between countries should be resolved through dialogue, consultation and peaceful means. We should increase mutual trust, and settle disputes and promote security through dialogue. Willful threat or use of force should be rejected. Flexing military muscles only reveals the lack of moral ground or vision rather than reflecting one's strength. Security can be solid and enduring only if it is based on moral high ground and vision. We should work for a new architecture of Asia-Pacific security cooperation that is open, transparent and equality-based, and bring all countries together in a common endeavor to maintain peace and security in both our region and the world.
Third, we should advance common development. The sky, earth and world are big enough to allow the common development and prosperity of all countries. Today, some countries are getting richer while others are locked in poverty and underdevelopment. Such a situation should not be allowed to continue. Just as rising water lifts all boats and more water in the tributaries make a wider river, all will benefit when everyone develops. When developing themselves, countries should work actively for common development of others so that the gains of development will reach more people in the world.
We should jointly uphold and develop an open global economy, promote strong, sustainable and balanced global growth as well as trade and investment liberalization and facilitation and uphold open regional cooperation. We should oppose protectionism of all forms and any attempt or practice to hurt others' interests or shift crisis to others.
We should enhance South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue, strengthen developing countries' capacity for self-development, urge developed countries to shoulder more responsibilities, and narrow the North-South gap. This will help build a more equal and more balanced new global partnership for development and cement the foundation for achieving long-term and stable global growth.
Fourth, we should promote win-win cooperation. "Cooperation generates strength while isolation only leads to weakness." Win-win cooperation should be the basic policy goal of all countries in handling international affairs. It is a universal principle that applies to not only the economic field, but political, security, cultural and other areas as well.
Countries should align their own interests with those of other countries and expand areas of converging interests. Instead of undercutting each other's efforts, countries should reinforce each other's endeavor and make greater common progress. We should champion a new vision of win-win outcomes for all and reject the obsolete notion of zero-sum game or winner taking all. Countries should respect others' interests while pursuing their own and advance common interests of all.
We should help each other out in times of difficulty and assume both rights and responsibilities. We should work together to address growing global issues such as climate change, energy and resources security, cyber security and major natural disasters, in a common endeavor to protect our planet which is so crucial to our survival.
Fifth, we should champion inclusiveness and mutual learning. Diversity of civilizations is a defining feature of the human society. In today's world, there are 7 billion people of more than 2,500 ethnic groups who live in over 200 countries and regions and speak more than 5,000 languages. Different nations and civilizations are rich in diversity and have their own distinct features. No one is superior or inferior to others.
"All living things are nourished without injuring one another, and all roads run parallel without interfering with one another." We should respect diversity of civilizations and promote exchanges, dialogue, peaceful and harmonious coexistence among different civilizations and should not seek supremacy or denigrate other civilizations and nations. Human history tells us that any attempt to establish a dominant civilization in the world is an illusion.
Everything has its strengths and weaknesses. We should promote mutual learning and draw on all that is good created by different countries, nations and civilizations in a joint effort to create a splendid human civilization.
Sixth, we should uphold fairness and justice. According to the ancient Chinese philosophy, "A just cause should be pursued for the common good". Justice is the noble goal that people of all countries pursue in international relations. However, we are still far away from realizing this goal.
We should jointly promote greater democracy in international relations. The destiny of the world must be determined by people of all countries, and world affairs should be managed through consultation by governments and peoples of all countries. The notion of dominating international affairs belongs to a different age, and such an attempt is doomed to failure.
We should jointly promote the rule of law in international relations. We should urge all parties to abide by international law and well-recognized basic principles governing international relations and use widely applicable rules to tell right from wrong and pursue peace and development. The ancient Chinese believed that "law is the yardstick for measuring all things under the heaven". In the international society, there should be just one law that applies to all. There is no such law that applies to others but not oneself, or vice versa. There should not be double standards when applying the law. We should jointly uphold the authority and sanctity of international law and the international order. All countries should exercise their rights in accordance with the law, oppose bending international law, and reject any attempt to undermine, in the name of "rule of law", other countries' legitimate rights and interests as well as peace and stability.
We should jointly promote more balanced international relations, advance reform in global governance in keeping with new changes in the relative strengths of international forces, respond to concerns and aspirations of various parties, and better uphold the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,
China champions and firmly observes the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Enshrined in China's Constitution, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence constitute the cornerstone of China's foreign policy. China is actively involved in building the current international system.
- China will firmly pursue peaceful development. This is a strategic choice China has made in keeping with the trend of the times and based on its fundamental interests. We Chinese believe that "no one should do to others what he does not want others to do to himself". China does not subscribe to the notion that a country is bound to seek hegemony when it grows in strength. Hegemony or militarism is simply not in the genes of the Chinese. China will unswervingly pursue peaceful development, because it is good for China, good for Asia and good for the world. Nothing can ever weaken China's commitment to peaceful development. China firmly upholds its sovereignty, security and development interests and supports other countries, developing countries in particular, in doing the same. China neither interferes in other countries' internal affairs nor imposes its will on others. It will never seek hegemony no matter how strong it may become. China truly hopes that all other countries will also pursue peaceful development, and that together, we can make steady progress in this common endeavor.
- China will firmly pursue friendship and cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Our ancestors believed that "mutual trust brings neighboring countries together and goodwill brings distant countries together". China is guided by the principle of boosting amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness in deepening mutually beneficial cooperation with its neighbors and strives to deliver greater gains to its neighbors through its own development. Relations with other developing countries underpin China's foreign policy and China pursues a balanced approach to upholding principles and pursuing interests. China will remain a reliable friend and sincere partner of other developing countries. China places high importance on the standing and role of other major countries and is committed to growing relations of all-round cooperation with them. We are actively working towards building a new model of major-country relationship with the United States, forging a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with Russia and building partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilization with Europe. In short, we are ready to work with all others to uphold world peace and boost common development.
- China will firmly pursue a win-win strategy of opening-up. China has proposed several important cooperation initiatives, namely the Silk Road economic belt, the 21st century maritime silk road, the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor and the China-ASEAN community of common destiny. China will seize the opportunity presented by these initiatives to launch a new round of all-round opening-up, build an open economic system and create new opportunities and space for the development of Asia and the world.
We in China are striving to finish the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and realize the Chinese dream of the great national renewal. The Chinese dream is interconnected with the dreams of the people of all other countries. The Chinese people and the people of other countries should support and help each other to realize their respective dreams. China hopes to work with all the other countries, its neighbors in particular, to achieve common development and prosperity.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,
In recognition of the commitment and contribution made by groups and individuals to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and encourage more people to join this noble cause, I now announce the decision of the Chinese government to establish the "Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence Friendship Award" and the "Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence Scholarship of Excellence".
An old Chinese adage says, "A journey of one thousand miles begins with the first step." An Indian proverb goes, "Drops of water join to make a stream, and ears combine to make a crop." And people in Myanmar often say, "Be ambitious in thinking but down-to-earth in action." China will strive to be a pacesetter in observing the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. We will work with India, Myanmar and the rest of the international community to build a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity.