New Approach for Asian Security Cooperation

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China I Updated: 2021-12-13

New Approach for Asian Security Cooperation* 

May 21, 2014 

Distinguished guests,
Dear colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends, 

I would like to thank Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Special Representative of the Turkish President, for his address. China has assumed the chairmanship of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), so please allow me to take this opportunity to express heartfelt thanks to all sides, in particular Kazakhstan, the initiator of the CICA, and Turkey, the previous chair of the CICA, for your trust and support. 

Now, let me make some observations on behalf of the People's Republic of China. 

The summit today has brought together leaders and representatives from 47 countries and international organizations, including CICA member states, observers and invited guests of the Shanghai Summit. Under the theme "Enhancing Dialogue, Trust and Coordination for a New Asia of Peace, Stability and Cooperation," we will discuss the important subject of security cooperation, explore policies for long-term peace and stability, and jointly promote development and prosperity. As such, this summit is of great importance to security in Asia and the world at large, and will have far-reaching consequences. 

Asia today is home to 67 percent of the world's population, and accounts for one third of the global economy. It is a place where diverse civilizations and nations meet and interact. Peace and development in Asia are closely connected with the future of mankind, and Asia's stability and revival are a blessing to the peace and development of the rest of the world. 

Asia today, though facing risks and challenges, is still the most dynamic and promising region in the world. Peace, development and mutually beneficial cooperation are the main trend in the region, and countries in the region generally prefer policies that address differences and disputes through consultation and negotiation. Asia enjoys a rising status in the international strategic landscape, and plays an increasingly important role in promoting a multi-polar world and democracy in international relations. Such a healthy situation in the region has not come easily and ought to be doubly cherished. 

Asia today is engaged in vibrant cooperation in the economic field. Cooperation in the security field is making progress despite difficulties, and various cooperation mechanisms are becoming more dynamic. Asia has come to a crucial stage in security cooperation at which we need to build on past achievements and strive for new progress. 

As a Chinese saying goes, "A wise man changes his way as circumstances change; a knowledgeable person alters his means as times evolve."1 We need to keep pace with changing circumstances and evolving times. One cannot live in the 21st century with the outdated thinking of the era of the Cold War and zero-sum game. We believe that it is necessary to advocate common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in Asia. We need to innovate our security concept, establish a new regional security cooperation architecture, and jointly build a road towards security in Asia that is shared by and of benefit to all. 

Common security means respecting and ensuring the security of each and every country. Asia is a region of great diversity. The countries there differ in size, wealth and strength. They vary in historical and cultural traditions as well as social systems, and have different security interests and aspirations. However, we are all part of the same Asian family. With our interests and security so closely intertwined, we will sink or swim together, and we are increasingly becoming a community of shared future. 

Security must be universal. We cannot have the security of just one or a few countries while leaving the rest insecure, in no way can we accept the so-called absolute security of one at the expense of the security of others. Otherwise, just as a Kazakh proverb aptly puts it, "One who tries to blow out another's oil lamp will get his beard singed." 

Security must be equal. Every country has the equal right to participate in the security affairs of the region as well as the responsibility for upholding regional security. No country should attempt to dominate regional security affairs or infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of other countries. 

Security must be inclusive. We should turn Asia's diversity and the differences among Asian countries into a vital driving force for regional security cooperation. We should abide by the basic norms governing international relations such as respecting sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs, respect the social systems and development paths chosen by individual countries, and fully respect and accommodate the legitimate security concerns of all parties. To buttress and entrench a military alliance targeted at a third party is not conducive to common security. 

Comprehensive security means upholding security in both traditional and non-traditional fields. Asia's security challenges are extremely complicated, and include a range of flashpoints and sensitive issues, as well as ethnic and religious problems. The challenges brought by terrorism, transnational crime, environmental safety, cyber security, energy security, and major natural disasters are clearly on the rise. Traditional and non-traditional security threats are interwoven. Security is a growing issue in both scope and implication. 

We should take full account of the historical background and reality of Asia's security issues, adopt a multi-pronged and holistic approach, and enhance regional security governance in a coordinated way. While tackling the immediate security challenges facing the region we should also make plans for addressing potential security threats, and avoid a fragmented and palliative approach that only treats the symptoms. 

We should have zero tolerance for terrorism, separatism and extremism, strengthen international and regional cooperation, and step up the fight against these three forces, so as to bring peace and happiness to the people of this region. 

Cooperative security means promoting the security of both individual countries and the region as a whole through dialogue and cooperation. As the proverb goes, "Strength does not come from the muscles in the arms, but from the unison of the heart." We should engage in sincere and in-depth dialogue and communication to increase strategic mutual trust, reduce mutual misgivings, seek common ground while resolving differences, and live in harmony with each other. We should bear in mind the common security interests of all countries, and start with low-sensitivity areas to build the awareness of meeting security challenges through cooperation. We should expand the scope and means of cooperation and promote peace and security through cooperation. We should stay committed to resolving disputes through peaceful means, stand against the arbitrary use or threat of force, oppose the provocation and escalation of tensions for self-interest, and eschew the practice of shifting trouble onto neighbors and seeking gain at the expense of others. 

In the final analysis, let the people of Asia run the affairs of Asia, solve the problems of Asia and uphold the security of Asia. The people of Asia have the capability and wisdom to achieve peace and stability in the region through enhanced cooperation. 

Asia is open to the world. While enhancing our own cooperation with each other, countries in Asia must also firmly commit ourselves to cooperation with countries in other continents, other regions and international organizations. We welcome all parties to play a positive and constructive role in promoting Asia's security and cooperation, and work together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for all. 

Sustainable security means that we need to focus on both development and security, so that security will be durable. As a Chinese saying goes, "For a tree to grow tall, a strong and solid root is essential; for a river to reach far, an unimpeded source is necessary."2 Development is the foundation of security, and security the precondition for development. The tree of peace does not grow on barren land, and the fruits of development are not harvested amidst the flames of war. For most Asian countries, development means the greatest security and the master key to regional security issues. 

To build an Asian security stronghold that can stand the test of any gale we need to focus on development, zealously improve people's lives and narrow the wealth gap so as to cement the foundation of security. We need to advance the process of common development and regional integration, foster sound interaction between regional economic cooperation and security cooperation for synchronized progress, and promote sustainable security through sustainable development. 

Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,

The CICA is the largest and most representative regional security forum with the largest number of participants. Over the past two decades the CICA has undertaken the responsibility to strengthen mutual trust and coordination and promote Asia's security and stability. It has followed the principle of consensus through consultation and made an important contribution to increasing understanding, seeking common ground and expanding cooperation. 

Today more than ever, the Asian people wish for peace and stability, and the need to work together to tackle challenges to security is greater than before. 

China proposes that we make the CICA a security dialogue and cooperation platform that covers the whole of Asia and, on that basis, explore the establishment of a regional security cooperation architecture. China believes that it is advisable to increase the frequency of the CICA foreign ministers' meetings and possibly summits as circumstances change, so as to strengthen the political guidance of the CICA and chart a blueprint for its development. 

China proposes that we enhance the capacity and the institutions of the CICA, support improving the functions of the CICA secretariat, establish a defense consultation mechanism of member states and a task force for supervising the implementation of confidence-building measures in various areas within the CICA framework, and enhance exchanges and cooperation in counter-terrorism, business, tourism, environmental protection, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges. 

China proposes that we put in place a nongovernmental exchange network for various parties through holding CICA nongovernmental forums and other means, so as to lay a solid social foundation for spreading the CICA concept of security, increasing the CICA's influence and promoting regional security governance. 

China proposes that we strengthen the inclusiveness and openness of the CICA. We need to step up coordination and cooperation with other relevant organizations in the region, and expand dialogue and communication with other regions and relevant international organizations. 

China will fulfill its responsibilities as CICA chairman and work with other parties to further improve the status and role of the CICA so that together we can raise security cooperation to a higher level. 

Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,

China is a staunch force for upholding peace in the region and the world as a whole and for promoting common development. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence initiated by China together with India and Myanmar have become basic norms governing state-to-state relations. China remains committed to seeking the peaceful settlement of disputes with other countries over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. China has completely resolved, through friendly consultations, land boundary issues with 12 of its 14 neighboring countries. As an active participant in regional security cooperation, China, jointly with other relevant countries, initiated the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and proposed the concept of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination. China supports ASEAN, the SAARC and the LAS in playing a positive role in regional affairs. China and Russia jointly proposed an Asia Pacific security and cooperation initiative, which has played an important role in strengthening and maintaining peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region. China works to push forward the Six-Party Talks Concerning the Korean Peninsula, and supports peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan, making unremitting efforts in solving international and regional flashpoint issues through dialogue and negotiation. China joined forces with countries in the region and the wider international community to tackle the Asian financial crisis and the international financial crisis, making its due contribution to promoting regional and global economic growth. 

China is firmly committed to the path of peaceful development and the mutually beneficial strategy of opening up. It seeks to develop friendly relations and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China's peaceful development begins here in Asia, finds its support in Asia and delivers tangible benefits to Asia. 

"Neighbors wish each other well, just as family members do." China always pursues friendship and partnership with its neighbors, seeks to bring amity, security and common prosperity, and works hard to ensure that its development brings benefits to all other countries in Asia. China will work with other countries to speed up the development of a Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, and hopes that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank can be launched at an early date. China will be more involved in the regional cooperation process, and play its part to ensure that development and security in Asia facilitate each other and are mutually reinforcing. 

As the saying goes, "Readiness to converge with others makes a mountain high and a river mighty."3 As a strong champion of the Asian security concept, China also works to put such a security concept into practice. China will take solid steps to strengthen security dialogues and cooperation with other parties, and jointly explore the formulation of a code of conduct for regional security and an Asian security partnership program, making Asian countries good partners who trust one another and cooperate on an equal footing. 

China is ready to introduce mechanisms for regular exchange and cooperation with countries in the region to jointly combat the three forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism. China is ready to discuss with other countries in the region the creation of an Asian forum for security cooperation in law enforcement and an Asian security emergency response center, to enhance security cooperation in law enforcement and better respond to major security emergencies. China calls for exchanges and mutual learning among different civilizations and religions through various means, such as conferences for dialogues among Asian civilizations, so that we will be able to draw on each other's experiences and achieve common progress. 

Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,

The Chinese people, in their pursuit of the Chinese Dream of great national renewal, stand ready to support and help all other peoples in Asia to realize their own great dreams. Let us work together to realize the Asian dream of lasting peace and common development, and make a greater contribution to advancing the noble cause of peace and development of mankind. 

Thank you! 

* Speech at the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia.


1  Huan Kuan: On Salt and Iron (Yan Tie Lun), an important work for the study of the history of economics and thought during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 25). The author (dates unknown) was a court minister of that dynasty. 

2  Wei Zheng: Ten Suggestions to the Emperor. Wei Zheng (580-643) was a statesman of the Tang Dynasty. 

3  Liu Yuxi: Inscription on the Stele by the Sacred Way to the Tomb of Wang Ling, Former Imperial Censor of the Tang Dynasty.

(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)

Copyright © The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China. All Rights Reserved. Presented by China Daily.