Follow the Trend of the Times and Promote Global Peace and Development*
March 23, 2013
Distinguished Mr Anatoly Vasilyevich Torkunov, Rector of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations,
The Honorable Olga Golodets, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation,
Dear faculty members and students,
I am very pleased to come to the beautiful Moscow State Institute of International Relations today and meet so many faculty members and students here.
The Moscow State Institute of International Relations is a prestigious school of world renown, boasting an outstanding faculty and distinguished alumni. I wish to express my warm congratulations on the remarkable successes you have achieved in various fields.
Russia is a friendly neighbor to China. My current visit to Russia is the first leg of my first overseas trip since becoming China's president. It is also my second visit to your beautiful and richly endowed country in three years. Yesterday, I had fruitful talks with President Putin, and together we attended the launch of the Tourism Year of China in Russia.
The month of March marks the return of spring, a season of sowing and great renewal. As a popular Chinese saying goes, "he who hopes for a good year starts planning in spring." China and Russia, having taken advantage of this season to plough and hoe not only for our bilateral relations but also for peace and development in the world, will surely reap a bumper harvest to the benefit of our two peoples and those of other countries.
Dear faculty members and students,
The Institute of International Relations, as an institution of higher learning specialized in the study of international issues, pays close attention to the international landscape and can appreciate especially keenly the enormous changes the world has gone through over the past decades. Indeed, we live in a time of kaleidoscopic changes that make the world constantly different.
It is a world where peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit have become the trend of the times. The old colonial system has long since disintegrated, and confrontations between blocs as during the Cold War have long gone. No country or group of countries can dominate world affairs single-handedly.
It is a world where emerging markets and developing countries in large numbers have embarked on the track of fast development. Billions of people are moving towards modernization at an accelerating pace. Multiple growth engines have emerged in regions across the world. And the international balance of power continues to evolve in a direction favorable for peace and development.
It is a world where countries are linked with and dependent on one another at a level never seen before. Mankind, by living in the same global village in the same era where history and reality meet, has increasingly emerged as a community of shared future in which everyone has in himself a little bit of others.
And it is a world where mankind is beset with numerous difficulties and challenges. They range from the continued underlying impact of the international financial crisis, an apparent upsurge of all kinds of protectionism, incessant regional flashpoints, rising hegemonism, power politics and neo-interventionism, to a web of conventional and non-conventional security threats, such as the arms race, terrorism and cyber security. Upholding world peace and promoting common development remain a long and uphill battle.
We hope that the world will become a better place. We have every reason to believe that it will. At the same time, we are soberly aware that while the future is bright, the path leading to it can be tortuous. Chernyshevsky once wrote, "The path of history is not paved like Nevsky Prospekt; it runs across fields, either dusty or muddy, and cuts across swamps or forest thickets." Yet as shown by humanity's progress, history always moves forward according to its own laws despite twists and turns, and no force can hold back its rolling wheels.
The tide of the world is surging forward. Those who submit to it will prosper and those who resist it will perish. Keeping up with the times, one cannot live in the 21st century while thinking in the old fashion, lingering in the age of colonial expansion or with the zero-sum mentality of the Cold War.
In the face of the profoundly changed international landscape and the objective need for the world to rally together like passengers in the same boat, all countries should join hands in building a new model of international relations featuring cooperation and mutual benefit, and all peoples should work together to safeguard world peace and promote common development.
We stand for the sharing of dignity by all countries and peoples in the world. All countries, irrespective of size, strength and wealth, are equal. The right of the people to independently choose their development paths should be respected, interference in the internal affairs of other countries opposed, and international fairness and justice maintained. Only the wearer of the shoes knows if they fit or not. Only the people can best tell if the development path they have chosen for their country suits or not.
We stand for the sharing of the fruits of development by all countries and peoples. Every country, while pursuing its own development, should actively facilitate the common development of all countries. There cannot be sustainable development in the world when some countries are getting richer and richer while others languish in prolonged poverty and backwardness. Only when all countries achieve common development can there be better worldwide development. Such practices as beggar-my-neighbor, shifting crises onto others and feathering one's nest at the expense of others are both immoral and unsustainable.
We stand for the sharing of security by all countries and peoples. Countries should make concerted efforts to properly address the issues and challenges they face. As challenges often take on global dimensions, there is all the more need for countries to take them on cooperatively, turning pressure into motivation and crises into opportunities. Confronted with complex threats to international security, fighting alone or fighting with a blind faith in the use of force will not get one anywhere. The only solution lies in cooperative, collective and common security.
As the trends of world multipolarity and economic globalization grow and those of upholding cultural diversity and applying information technology in social life continue to make progress, mankind has never been better blessed with opportunities for taking strides towards peace and development. And mutually beneficial cooperation provides the only practical way to achieving such a goal.
The destiny of the world must be left in the hands of the peoples of all countries. Matters that fall within the sovereign rights of a country should be managed only by the government and people of that country. And affairs of the world should be addressed by the governments and peoples of all countries through consultation. Herein lies the democratic principle for the handling of international affairs which should be universally observed.
Dear faculty members and students,
Last November, the CPC held its 18th National Congress. According to the blueprint it mapped out for the country's development in the near future, China will double its 2010 GDP and per capita income for both urban and rural residents by 2020, complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects when the Party celebrates its centenary in 2021, and turn itself into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious when the PRC marks its centenary in 2049. At the same time, we are soberly aware that, as a large developing country with over 1.3 billion people, China will encounter still greater and more testing challenges on the road to progress, which calls for continuous and strenuous efforts on our part if the goals as identified are to be reached.
The great renewal of the Chinese nation has become the grandest dream of the Chinese people in modern times. We call it the Chinese Dream, with prosperity for the country, renewal for the nation and happiness for the people as its fundamental elements. China has always been a peace-loving nation. But it was subjected to a century of untold sufferings as a result of repeated foreign aggression and domestic turmoil. We know too well the value of peace, and the need to build the country and improve the people's wellbeing in a peaceful environment. China is committed to the path of peaceful development, dedicating itself to open, cooperative and mutually beneficial development, while calling on all countries to follow this path. China always pursues a defense policy that is defensive in nature, not engaging in any arms race nor posing a military threat to any country. By growing stronger through development, China will bring more opportunities, rather than threats, to the rest of the world. The Chinese Dream which we cherish will not only serve the Chinese people but benefit people throughout the world.
It is heartening to see that, each as the other's largest neighbor, China and Russia enjoy a high complementarity in development strategy. Russia has set the goal of reaching or approaching the level of the developed countries by 2020 in terms of per capita GDP and is accelerating its advance in material development. We sincerely wish you success in achieving your goals as soon as possible. A strong and prosperous Russia is in the interests of China, and conducive to peace and stability in the Asia Pacific and the world at large.
The relationship between China and Russia is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. It is also the best relationship between major countries. A strong and high-performance relationship like this not only serves the interests of our two countries but also provides an important safeguard for maintaining the international strategic balance as well as peace and stability in the world. With our consistent efforts over the past 20 years and more, we have established a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, and a relationship that fully accommodates each other's interests and concerns, and delivers tangible benefits to the two peoples. We have resolved historical boundary issues once and for all and signed the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation Between the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation, thus laying a solid foundation for the long-term growth of China-Russia relations.
At present, both China and Russia are at a crucial stage of national renewal, as their relations have entered a new period characterized by provision of vital mutual development opportunities and serving as primary mutual cooperation partners. To ensure continued growth of China-Russia relations, we need to work still harder in the following areas:
First, stay firmly committed to building a forward-looking relationship. That China and Russia should live in everlasting amity and never be enemies is the shared aspiration of the two peoples. We need to stand tall and look far, working on our bilateral relations with a holistic approach. President Putin once said, "Russia needs a prosperous and stable China, and China needs a strong and successful Russia." I could not agree more. By achieving common development, we will give ever broader space to our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination and provide positive energy to the international order and global systems in their movement towards greater fairness and rationality. China and Russia will forever be good neighbors, good friends and good partners, taking concrete actions to firmly support each other on respective core interests, on respective development and renewal, on following the development paths suited to our national conditions and on success in our affairs and endeavors.
Second, stay firmly committed to cultivating a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship. China and Russia differ in realities and national conditions. By engaging in close cooperation and drawing on each other's strengths to make up for respective shortcomings, we can show to the world that one plus one can be greater than two. Last year, our two-way trade reached US$ 88.2 billion-worth and there were 3.3 million visits exchanged between our peoples. These figures give full expression to the enormous potential and broad prospects of China-Russia relations. Bilateral cooperation in energy has advanced steadily. The China-Russia oil and gas pipelines have long since replaced the "Ten Thousand Li Tea Route"1 of the 17th century as the new "arteries of the century" connecting the two countries. Right now, we are looking actively to bridge the development strategies of our respective countries and regions in an effort to create still more converging interests and growth areas in bilateral cooperation. We will expand the scope of bilateral cooperation from the energy and resources sector to investment, infrastructure, hi-tech, finance and other areas, and from trade in goods to joint R&D and joint production so as to elevate the result-oriented cooperation between the two countries.
Third, stay firmly committed to cementing the friendship between the two peoples. Amity between peoples holds the key to relations between countries. It is the people's deep friendship that drives state-to-state relations forward. Here, I want to share a couple of stories about the mutual support and mutual help between our peoples. During the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, Captain Gregory Kurishenko of the air force of the Soviet Union came to China and fought side by side with the Chinese people. He once said, "I feel the Chinese people's sufferings as if I were feeling the sufferings of my own motherland." He died heroically on Chinese soil. The Chinese people never forget this hero. An ordinary Chinese mother and her son have kept vigil at his tomb for more than half a century. In 2004, China invited some of the children traumatized in the Beslan school hostage incident2 to China for rehabilitation treatment. The children received meticulous care. The head doctor from the Russian side said to the Chinese side, "Your doctors have given our children such great help, and they will always remember you." When Wenchuan was hit by a devastating earthquake in 20083 Russia raced against time to extend a helping hand, and invited the children from disaster areas to Russia's Far East for rehabilitation. Three years ago, I saw with my own eyes at the Ocean Children's Center in Vladivostok the loving care Russian teachers showered on our children. As we Chinese often say, love knows no borders. These Chinese children have learned for themselves the love, friendship and kindness of the Russian people. There are many more touching stories like these, and together they keep the tree of our friendship nourished, strong and evergreen.
Russia and China each has a time-honored history and splendid culture, and cultural exchanges between us play an irreplaceable role in advancing the friendship between the two peoples. Ancient Chinese philosophers such as Confucius and Lao Zi are well known in Russia while Russian culture left a deep mark on the older generations of Chinese revolutionaries. Even people of my age have read many Russian classic masterpieces. In my youth, I read the works of such Russian literary giants as Pushkin, Lermontov, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov, and savored the powerful charm of Russian literature. It is no wonder that cultural exchanges between China and Russia enjoy fertile ground.
The youth are the future of a country and the future of the world. They also hold in their hands the future of China-Russia friendship. During this visit of mine, President Putin and I jointly announced that China and Russia would host the Year of Youth Friendship and Exchanges in 2014 and 2015, respectively. On the Chinese side, we will invite a delegation of Russian university students, including students of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, to China. I see in you some of the best and brightest of the young generation in Russia. I hope that more and more young people from both countries will take over the baton of China-Russia friendship by actively involving themselves in the cause of friendship.
Dear faculty members and students,
As a Russian proverb goes, "Big ships sail far." We also have lines of an ancient poem which read, "Forging ahead like a gigantic ship breaking through strong winds and heavy waves, I'll set my towering sail to cross the sea which raves."4 I am convinced that with the joint efforts of the governments and peoples of our two countries, China-Russia relations will continue to press ahead, overcoming difficulties, bringing greater benefits to the two peoples, and making ever-greater contributions to global peace and development.
* Speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Moscow, Russia.
1 The "Ten Thousand Li Tea Route" was a tea trade route stretching 13,000 km through more than 200 cities. Opened by Shanxi businessmen from the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it started from Meicun Village at the foot of the Wuyi Mountain in Fujian Province in Southeast China, reached Kyakhta in Russia and from there to St. Petersburg. It was an important route for international trade, enjoying equal fame with the Silk Road.
2 It refers to a terrorist attack at School Number One in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia (an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region) of the Russian Federation on September 1, 2004, resulting in more than 300 deaths.
3 The earthquake, registering 8.0 on the Richter scale, occurred at 14:28:04 China Standard Time on May 12, 2008 in Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province. The epicenter (06:08:01 UTC) was located 38° southwest of and 11 km away from Yingxiu Town. As of September 25, 2008, official figures stated that 69,227 were confirmed dead, 374,643 injured and 17,923 missing. The direct economic loss in the hardest-hit areas reached RMB 845.1 billion.
4 Li Bai: The Hard Road: Three Poems. Li Bai (701-762) was a Tang Dynasty poet.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)