A New Partnership of Mutual Benefit and a Community of Shared Future*
September 28, 2015
Seventy years ago, those before us fought heroically and secured victory in World War II, closing a dark page in the annals of human history. That victory was hard-won.
Seventy years ago, those before us, with vision and foresight, established the United Nations. This universal and most representative and authoritative international organization has carried mankind's hope for a new future and ushered in a new era of cooperation. This was a pioneering initiative never before undertaken.
Seventy years ago, those before us pooled together their wisdom and adopted the Charter of the United Nations, laying the cornerstone of contemporary international order, and establishing the fundamental principles of contemporary international relations. This was an achievement of profound impact.
On September 3, 2015 the people of China, together with the rest of humanity, solemnly commemorated the 70th anniversary of victory in the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and World War II. As the main theater in the East, China made a national sacrifice of over 35 million casualties in its fight against the main forces of Japanese militarism. It not only saved itself and its people from subjugation, but also gave strong support to the forces combating aggression in the European and Pacific theaters, making a historic contribution to the ultimate victory.
History is a mirror. Only by drawing lessons from history can the world avoid repeating past calamity. We should view history with awe and through the prism of human conscience. The past cannot be changed, but the future can be shaped. Bearing history in mind is not perpetuating hatred. Rather, its purpose is to ensure that we do not forget the lessons. Remembering history does not mean being obsessed with the past. Rather, in doing so, we aim to create a better future and pass the torch of peace from generation to generation.
Over the past seven decades the United Nations has experienced both successes and setbacks. It has witnessed efforts made by all countries to uphold peace, build their own countries, and pursue cooperation. Having reached a new historical starting point, the United Nations needs to address the central issue of how to better promote world peace and development in the 21st century.
The world is going through a historical process of accelerated evolution. The light of peace, development, and progress will be powerful enough to dispel the clouds of war, poverty and backwardness. The movement towards a multipolar world and the rise of emerging markets and developing countries have become an irresistible trend of history. Economic globalization and the advent of an information age have greatly unleashed and boosted productive forces. They have presented unprecedented development opportunities while giving rise to new threats and challenges which we must face squarely.
As an ancient Chinese adage goes, "When the Great Way rules, the land under Heaven belongs to the people."1 Peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom are common values of humanity and also the lofty goals of the United Nations. Yet these goals are far from being achieved; therefore we must continue our endeavors. In today's world, all countries are interdependent and share a common future. We should renew our commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, build a new model of international relations featuring mutually beneficial cooperation, and create a community of shared future for mankind. To achieve this goal, we need to make efforts in the following areas:
– We should build partnerships in which countries treat each other as equals, engage in extensive consultation, and enhance mutual understanding. The principle of sovereign equality underpins the Charter of the United Nations. The future of the world must be shaped by all countries. All countries are equal. The large, the strong, and the rich should not abuse the small, the weak, and the poor. The principle of sovereignty is not just embodied in the inviolability of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and noninterference in the internal affairs of other countries. It is also embodied in the right of all countries to make their own choice of social systems and development paths. It also means that all countries' endeavors to promote economic and social development and improve their people's lives should be respected.
We should commit ourselves to multilateralism and reject unilateralism. We should adopt a new vision of seeking positive outcomes for all, and reject the outdated mindset of zero-sum game or winner-takes-all. Consultation is an important form of democracy, and it should also become an important means of exercising international governance. We should try to resolve disputes and differences through dialogue and consultation. We should forge a global partnership at both international and regional levels, and embrace a new approach to state-to-state relations, one that features dialogue rather than confrontation, and seeks partnership rather than alliance. Major countries should follow the principles of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect, and mutually beneficial cooperation in handling their relations. Major powers should treat small countries as equals, and should try to balance between the greater good and their own interests by favoring the former over the latter.
– We should create a security environment featuring fairness, justice, joint efforts, and shared interests. In the age of economic globalization, the security of all countries is interlinked and they impact each other. No country can maintain absolute security by its own efforts only, neither can any country achieve stability by destabilizing other countries. The law of the jungle leaves the weak at the mercy of the strong; it is not the way for countries to conduct their relations. Those who adopt the self-serving approach of using force will find that they are shooting themselves in the foot.
We should abandon the Cold War mentality in all its manifestations, and foster a new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security. We should give full play to the central role of the United Nations and its Security Council in ending conflict and keeping peace, and adopt the dual approach of seeking peaceful solutions to disputes and taking coercive actions, so as to turn hostility into amity. We should advance international cooperation in both social and economic fields and take a holistic approach to addressing traditional and non-traditional security threats, so as to prevent conflicts from breaking out in the first place.
– We should promote open, innovative and inclusive development that benefits all. The 2008 global financial crisis has taught us that allowing capital to blindly pursue profit will result in chaos, and that global prosperity cannot be built on the shaky foundations of a market without moral constraints. The growing gap between rich and poor is both unfair and unsustainable. It is important for us to use both the invisible hand and the visible hand to form synergy between market forces and government functions, and strive to achieve both efficiency and fairness.
Development is meaningful only when it is inclusive and sustainable. To achieve such development requires openness, mutual assistance, and mutually beneficial cooperation. In the world today, close to 800 million people still live in extreme poverty, nearly 6 million children die before the age of five each year, and about 60 million children are unable to go to school. The recent UN Sustainable Development Summit adopted the Post-2015 Development Agenda. We must translate our commitments into actions and work together to ensure that everyone is free from want, has access to development, and lives with dignity.
– We should increase inter-civilization exchanges to promote harmony, inclusiveness, and respect for differences. The world is more colorful as a result of its cultural diversity. Diversity breeds exchanges, exchanges create integration, and integration makes progress possible.
In their interactions, civilizations must accept their differences. Only through mutual respect, mutual learning, and harmonious coexistence can the world maintain its diversity and thrive. Each social model represents the unique vision and contribution of its people, and no model is superior to others. Different civilizations should engage in dialogue and exchanges instead of trying to exclude or replace each other. The history of humanity is a process of exchanges, interactions, and integration among different civilizations. We should respect all civilizations and treat each other as equals. We should draw inspiration from each other to boost the creative development of human civilization.
– We should build an ecosystem that puts Mother Nature and green development first. Humanity may utilize nature and even try to transform it. But we are ultimately a part of nature. We should care for nature and not place ourselves above it. We should reconcile industrial development with nature and pursue harmony between man and nature to achieve sustainable development throughout the world and the all-round development of humanity.
To build a sound ecology is vital for humanity's future. All members of the international community should work together to build a sound global eco-environment. We should respect nature, follow nature's ways, and protect nature. We should firmly pursue green, low-carbon, circular, and sustainable development. China will shoulder its share of responsibility and continue to play its part in this common endeavor. We also urge developed countries to fulfill their historical responsibilities, honor their emissions reduction commitments, and help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.
More than 1.3 billion Chinese people are endeavoring to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. The dream of the Chinese people is closely related to the dreams of other peoples of the world. We cannot realize the Chinese Dream without a peaceful international environment, a stable international order, or the understanding, support, and help of the rest of the world. The realization of the Chinese Dream will bring greater opportunities to other countries and contribute to global peace and development.
China will continue to participate in building world peace. We are committed to peaceful development. No matter how the international landscape may evolve and how strong we may become, China will never pursue hegemony or expansion, nor will it seek to create spheres of influence.
China will continue to contribute to global development. We will continue to pursue common progress and the mutually beneficial strategy of opening up. We are ready to share our experience and opportunities with other countries and welcome them aboard our development train heading towards common development.
China will continue to uphold the international order. We will remain committed to the path of development through cooperation. China was the first country to put its signature on the Charter of the United Nations. We will continue to uphold the international order and system underpinned by the purposes and principles of that charter. China will continue to stand together with other developing countries. We firmly support greater representation and say for developing countries, especially African countries, in international governance. China's vote in the United Nations will always belong to the developing countries.
I wish to take this opportunity to announce China's decision to establish a 10-year, US$1 billion China-UN peace and development fund to support the work of the United Nations, advance multilateral cooperation, and make a greater contribution to world peace and development. I wish to announce that China will join the new UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System, and has thus decided to take the lead in setting up a permanent peacekeeping squad and building a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops. I also wish to announce that China will provide a total of US$100 million in free military aid to the African Union in the next five years to support the establishment of the African Standby Force and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis.
As the United Nations enters a new decade, let us unite ever more closely to build a new partnership of mutual benefit and a community of shared future for mankind. Let the vision of a world free of war and enjoying lasting peace take root in our hearts. Let the aspirations of development, prosperity, fairness, and justice spread across the world.
* Speech at the General Debate of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, the United States.
1 Book of Rites (Li Ji).
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)