It gives me great pleasure to get together with you in the golden October of Beijing, to exchange views on international security, regional cooperation, friendship, and world peace. On behalf of the Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China and the People’s Liberation Army, I would like to warmly welcome all guests here and thank you for joining us.
H.E. President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the forum. He expressed the ardent hope for world peace and common development, the sincere aspiration to enhance strategic mutual trust and security cooperation between China and all countries, and the strong determination of the country to unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development and contribute to the joint efforts to build a community of shared future for mankind. By the letter, he charted the direction of deepening exchanges for greater consensus for us to ensure the quality of the forum and thus making it another success.
Since its inception in 2006, upholding the ideas of openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and cooperation, the Beijing Xiangshan Forum has endeavored to pool collective wisdom across the international community on major security issues of the world and become a platform of great influence for multilateral security dialogues. Facing the profound changes of the international situation, President Xi Jinping follows the trends of history, aims to advance the well-being of human race, and puts forward the major initiative to build a community of shared future for mankind, which has been widely acclaimed by all countries and peoples. Based upon this idea, this year’s forum bears the theme of “Building a New Type of Security Partnership of Equality, Mutual Trust and Win-win Cooperation” and encourages open discussion and wide consultation. I believe that the forum will contribute to our exploration for the way for us to get along and make the world a safer place.
I. Given the risks and challenges in world security situation, it is the prevailing trend to build a new type of security partnership.
President Xi Jinping points out that mankind is in an era of major development, transformation and changes, and also an era of increasing challenges and risks. Therefore, the international community should follow a new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. While multipolarisation and globalization continue to deepen, our world today is facing surging anti-globalization, new challenges to international system and rules, interwoven traditional and non-traditonal security threats and increasingly interconnected, transnational and complex security issues. Although the Asia-Pacific is generally stable, potential risks exist with military alliances, military provocation, and external interference adding to the uncertainty and instability of the region.
In response to these threats and challenges, the international community should make rational judgements based on thorough reflections over major security issues affecting international peace and development. Peace and development have become irreversible trends of the times. Who is going against the trends? In a recent public speech, a senior US official defamed China for interfering in the US internal affairs and made unwarranted accusations against China’s domestic and foreign policies. The speech severely undermined the relations, mutual trust and cooperation between China and the US. The Chinese side expressed strong indignation and firm opposition. We urged the US side to correct its wrongful statement and refrain from harming China’s interests and the China-US relations. We believe that people of the world are able to tell what is fair. Facts have proven that hegemonism and confrontational security relations are out-dated. Instead of repeating the old story of the Cold War, all countries should respect each other’s sovereignty, security and development interests, pursue common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and foster a new type of security partnership of equality, mutual trust, and win-win cooperation. To this end, the Chinese side would like to propose the following:
Firstly, we should seek mutual benefit instead of playing a zero-sum game. Only one winner does not make a real cooperation. Mutual benefit takes cooperation far. It is only natural that countries hold diversified views. What is important for us is to enhance strategic communication, properly manage risks, and prevent crises from getting out of control. To promote international security cooperation, we should enhance mutual trust and cooperation while resolving existing problems, continuously deepen bilateral military cooperation, and improve global security governance. We oppose cold-war mentality, arms race and the egoism of some countries to pursue their own security in disregard of that of others.
Secondly, we should pursue openness and inclusiveness instead of alliances and confrontation. Building a community of shared future for mankind is a noble cause and requires joint efforts to seek common ground while shelving differences. All countries should transcend differences in social system, development level and cultural tradition, and jointly pave the way for win-win and all-win security. We should make more friends and expand partnership, and stand firm against the beggar-thy-neighbor practice that serves one’s own interests at the cost of others, the exclusive approach to building cliques and the Big Stick policy to threat or interfere by the use of force.
Thirdly, we should pursue wide consultation and joint contribution instead of unilateralism. In the face of global security challenges, countries of the world should stick together like passengers in the same boat. We should all perform due international responsibilities and play a constructive role. Major countries, in particular, ought to make more contributions instead of adopting double standards and applying international rules in a selective way. We are up for consultation and multilateral coordination, and against provocation for individual countries’ own interests, willful sanctions and unilateral risky military actions.
Fourthly, we should pursue mutual respect instead of bullying the weak. Only mutual respect can lead to harmonious coexistence. Countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are all equal members of the international community entitled to equally participate in international and regional security affairs. We should advance democracy in international relations, treat each other with sincerity, and accomodate each other’s concerns. We object to hegemonism, power politics, and any actions undermining the legitimate rights and interests of other countries, may it be wanton interference in other countries’ internal affairs or the attempts to impose one’s will on others.
II. China follows the military strategy of active defense, and the Chinese military has always been a staunch force for world peace.
President Xi Jinping has stressed that China has all along pursued a defensive national defence policy and a military strategy of active defense. No matter how strong it grows, China will never seek hegemony or expansion. Since China introduced reform and opening-up 40 years ago, it has been committed to a basic state policy of opening-up and endeavored to open its door to integrate itself into the world. Its economy and society have undergone profound changes, and the living standard of the Chinese people has been significantly improved. The development of China has exerted profound influence on the world, with its economy contributing to over 30% of global growth each year. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, China has made historic progress and taken on historic changes. It has found a development path of socialism with Chinese characteristics suited to its own national conditions, and provided valuable reference for the development of the world, especially developing countries. We welcome other countries to ride with us on the express train of our development. We also respect other countries’ rights to independently choose their development path. We will never impose our will on others. China will continue to pursue an opening-up strategy for win-win cooperation and work with other countries to realize common development and prosperity through advancing the Belt and Road Initiative.
In the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the mission of the Chinese military is to provide strong strategic support to the realization of the “two centenary goals” and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. At present, under the guidance of President Xi Jinping’s thought on strengthening the military, the Chinese military is strengthening development and reform in every aspect to achieve the strategic goal of the modernization of national defense and the military. The strategic purpose of our military development has always been consistent, clear-cut and transparent.
Firstly, the Chinese military firmly adheres to the path of peaceful development. We Chinese people love peace and cherish peace. We know too well the unspeakable pain and sufferings of war. The path of peaceful development is our state policy. It is stipulated in our Constitution and the Constitution of the CPC. It has become the will of our Party, our country, our military and our people. The fundamental purpose of China’s development is to provide a better life to its people. A modest development of its military is to safeguard the Chinese people’s rights to live and work in peace, and secure the peace and tranquility of humanity. The Chinese military will never pose a threat to any country. No matter how developed China may be, we will never seek hegemony, nor will we engage in military expansion or arms race.
Secondly, the Chinese military is resolute in safeguarding China’s sovereignty, security and development. China is the only major country that is still striving for its national reunification. Facing complex and grim security threats, the Chinese military has heavy responsibilities on its shoulders and dares not to slacken its efforts. We always bear in mind that we will not lose a single inch of our territory, nor will we seize any territory from others. The Taiwan question concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and is a matter of China’s core interests. It is extremely dangerous to repeatedly challenge China’s bottom line on this question. If anyone ever tries to secede Taiwan from China, the Chinese military will take resolute actions and pay whatever price that has to be paid. The islands in South China Sea have been China’s territory since ancient times. They are the legacy of our ancestors, and we cannot afford to lose a single inch of them. The necessary defense facilities that China builds on its own territory is an exercise of the rights of self-preservation and self-defense as a sovereign state. It has nothing to do with militarization. At present, the overall situation in the South China Sea is stable and showing encouraging signs. It proves that countries in the region are capable of resolving our own issues. China opposes the show of force in the South China Sea by countries from outside the region under the pretext of the freedom of navigation and overflight. Such actions are provocative and will only aggravate tension.
Thirdly, the Chinese military remains unwavering in its resolve to maintain national interests overseas. As economic globalization continues to develop, China’s overseas interests also keep growing. Hence more and better cooperation between the Chinese military and other militaries becomes an objective demand to maintain a sound security environment internationally and to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of China’s legal persons and citizens overseas. The Chinese military will strictly abide by related international rules and regulations, deepen security cooperation with the Belt and Road countries, and provide more public security goods and a reliable security guarantee for joint Belt and Road programs and projects.
Fourthly, the Chinese military is committed to maintaining peace and stability of the region and the world. We will continue to follow the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, work for a security architecture of fairness and justice that is built and shared by all, and make greater contributions to peace and stability of the region and the wider world. On the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, China’s position has been consistent and clear-cut. We are glad to see positive progress in the situation of the peninsula. We will maintain close contact with other parties, and continue to play a positive role in the denuclearization of the Peninsula and for lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
III. Maintaining regional security requires joint efforts of all countries and deepening pragmatic cooperation is the only correct choice.
President Xi Jinping stated that no country in the world can enjoy absolute security. When our neighbors are in trouble, instead of tightening his own fences, one should extend a helping hand to them.
In recent years, the Chinese PLA earnestly implemented the idea of building a community of shared future for mankind, continuously deepened foreign military relations, and actively conducted diversified military cooperation with regional and neighboring countries. The PLA continued to make great efforts in providing military assistance gratis to the developing countries and neighbors, initiated a quadrilateral counter-terrorism coordination mechanism of Chinese, Afghan, Pakistani and Tajikistani militaries, took an active part in consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, sent naval task groups to the escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off the coast of Somalia, deployed troops worldwide for UN peacekeeping operations and HADR tasks, and established standby peacekeeping force of up to 8,000 troops. In early August, over 40 delegates from China and ASEAN countries participated in the TTX (tabletop exercise) of the 1st China-ASEAN Joint Maritime Exercise. Two days ago, naval troops of China and ASEAN countries gathered in the Chinese coastal city Zhanjiang and kicked off a maritime exercise, which was of great significance to enhancing defense cooperation and mutual trust between the two sides.
At the moment when we are speaking, the 16th SOM for implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and the 26th Joint Work-group Conference are convening in Manila, where China will continue to exchange views with ASEAN countries on the COC.
I am happy to see the vibrant momentum for regional dialogue and cooperation. The PLA is willing to join hands with other militaries and play a greater role in maintaining international and regional peace and stability. Hereby, the Chinese side would like to pledge the following:
Firstly, we will make efforts to build a new type of military-to-military relationship. We are ready to improve strategic communication with other armed forces and flesh out multilevel dialogue mechanisms for more effective control of strategic risks. We will endeavor to strengthen coordination and collaboration on international and regional affairs, and share the responsibilities and obligations with other major countries for world peace. As a good example of cooperation, the relationship between Chinese and Russian militaries, featuring non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting at a third party, continues to develop at a high-level. China-Russia military relationship will contribute to strengthening the comprehensive strategic coordination between the two countries. The China-US military relations are important and sensitive. The Chinese and US sides are bound to work together to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state, adhere to the principles of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, gather mutual trust, and meet each other halfway, thus making China-US military relationship a true stabilizer in the bilateral relations. At the same time, we attach great importance to developing a new type of military relationship with regional countries. We will work with them to carry out extensive and pragmatic cooperation, properly handle sensitive issues and jointly create a stable regional security environment.
Secondly, we will make efforts to promote the building of new Asia-Pacific security mechanisms. In the spirit of mutual benefit, win-win outcomes, openness and inclusiveness, we take an active part in cooperative programs under the frameworks of SCO, ADMM plus and ARF, work with regional countries to explore diversified platforms for security cooperation, advance dialogue and communication between existing security organizations, and push forward the establishment of a realistic and generally accepted security cooperation architecture for the region. I am aware that some country has put forth new propositions on regional security recently. We hope that these ideas could be open and inclusive, and favorable for regional win-win cooperation, rather than the other way around.
Thirdly, we will make efforts to deepen military cooperation with developing countries and our neighbors. We uphold the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness in neighborhood diplomacy, and the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith for our relations with developing countries. We are always, as good friends and partners, ready to strengthen traditional friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas and respond to security threats by joint efforts. The PLA will fulfill its due international obligations and contribute more to international peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance as well as demining and chemical weapon defense assistance. We will continue to promote counter-terrorism cooperation, safeguard the security of sea lines of communication and provide more public security goods to the international community.
Fourthly, we will make efforts to enhance security dialogues and consultations with foreign militaries. We will earnestly carry out the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, have in-depth discussions with other militaries and international organizations on international and regional hotspots, and pool our wisdom and strength for better solutions. In a word, the PLA will always embrace the world with open arms. We welcome extensive exchanges by all at the Beijing Xiangshan Forum. The Chinese side will continue to actively participate in international and regional multilateral security dialogues.
In the end, I wish the 8th Beijing Xiangshan Forum a complete success!