9th June, 2014, Yangon, Myanmar
It’s a great pleasure to meet you again. I wish to thank our host Myanmar for its warm hospitality and thoughtful arrangements.
Asia has enjoyed peace and stability in the past twenty years since the end of the Cold War. Asian countries have created one economic miracle after another, making our region the strongest driver of global growth. Economic integration in Asia is also gaining speed.
Globally, major countries in Asia-Pacific have maintained generally stable relations. The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has become a good example for major-country relations. China and the United States are working to build a new type of major-country relationship since our two presidents met in Sunnylands in June last year.
Regional cooperation with ASEAN in the driver’s seat has played an important role for mutual trust and positive interaction among countries concerned. This is the mainstream of Asia today.
In the meantime, Asia is also facing growing challenges. While historical legacies from World War II and the Cold War and disputes over territory and maritime rights remain un-resolved, non-traditional security threats such as terrorism, cyber-security, cross-border crimes are posing new challenges.
For most people, probably non-traditional security challenges bring most direct impact to their lives. The missing Aircraft of MH370 and the sunken ferry ship in the ROK have taken almost 600 lives. The Prism scandal last year shows how cyber-space is confronted with attempts for cyber hegemony and absolute security.
Terrorism in Asia is a growing threat. Eastern Turkistan Independence Movement and other terrorist forces recently launched repeated terrorist attacks in Chinese cities. Karachi was threatened by a serious terrorist attack. This shows once again that terrorism is a public enemy of all of us, and countering it requires joint efforts.
Coming back to the traditional security landscape, our region is also beset with challenges. Outdated security concepts and arrangements left over from the Cold War are exerting a negative impact on peace and development in Asia. In the age of globalization, certain countries are still clinging to the old security concepts based on military alliances, deterrence by force, and power politics.
The financial crisis that started in the Wall Street in 2008 has swept the whole world. It was against this backdrop that the United States launched the “re-balance strategy”, or “pivot” to Asia, with the aim to strengthen its military alliances that target third parties.
Looking back to history, military alliances generally focus on security for countries within the alliances. But such security often prejudices the interests of countries out of the alliance, and could lead to greater division in the regions concerned. In Europe, for instance, NATO sought to strengthen its own absolute security in the past 20 years through eastward expansion and deployment of anti-missile defense systems. In addition, a series of color revolutions were engineered. This eventually worsened the division in Europe. The current Ukraine crisis is a reflection of this.
Now it seems that some people want to replay this strategy in Asia. But it is very clear that there will be no winners, but only losers in a divided Asia, and countries in the region will bear the brunt of the impact. Developing countries in Asia must be highly alert and should not allow our region to go in this direction.
Another problem with military alliances is that it often draws a line between allies and non-allies when problems occur, without due regard to the merits of the matter. Support will be given to whatever the ally does, regardless of whether it’s right or wrong. Naturally, some members of the alliance will not resist taking adventurous actions at the backing of a strong ally.
Military alliances are therefore insufficient for meeting Asia’s security needs. They often lead to greater problems, such as the trust deficit, and more intense confrontation in the region.
Maritime security in the South China Sea has raised concerns. As a country directly concerned, China has its own concern.
China urges its neighbor to respect China’s sovereignty, sovereignty rights and jurisdiction in conducting the operations by the drilling rig in its own waters, immediately stop all forms of disruptions of the Chinese operation and withdraw all vessels and personnel from the site, so as to ease the tension and restore tranquility at sea as early as possible. China will continue its effort to communicate with this neighbor with a view to properly addressing the current situation.
We hope that all parties to the DOC shall respect and honor their commitment to the DOC. The disputes should be resolved through negotiation between directly concerned countries. Choosing to disregard consensus under the DOC and unilaterally submit the disputes for international arbitration is a violation of the DOC and encroachment on the legitimate rights of my country under international law including UNCLOS. China will not participate in or accept any international arbitration and this arbitration proceeding for such purpose must be discontinued.
Countries outside of the South China Sea region should exercise self-restraint and refrain from interfering in the disputes in the South China Sea. Their involvement will only be counter-productive.
In the world today, countries are getting more and more interdependent. We the Asian countries are becoming a community of common destiny, common interests, and common responsibilities. As a Chinese saying goes, “A wise man changes with time and circumstances”. We should update our security concept to solve security problems of today.
In a recent speech, President Xi Jinping of China elaborated on an Asian Security Concept with common security, comprehensive security, cooperative security and sustainable security at the core. He appealed to Asian countries to improve the multilateral framework to cultivate a new security architecture in the region. This is echoed by many Asian countries.
Common security means respecting and ensuring the security of each and every country. We cannot have security for just of one or a few countries while leaving the rest insecure. Security must be equal. The idea that “bilateral alliances are the foundation of regional peace” is a legacy of the Cold War and should be abandoned.
Comprehensive security means providing security in both traditional and non-traditional fields. We should take into full account 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.
Cooperative security means promoting the security of both individual countries and the region as a whole through dialogue and cooperation. The people of Asia should play a leading role in solving Asian problems. In the meantime, Asia is inclusive and open to the world. We welcome all parties to play a positive and constructive role in promoting Asian security.
Sustainable security means that we need to focus on both development and security to make security durable. We need to promote common development and regional economic integration, foster sound interactions and common progress of regional economic cooperation and security cooperation.
Let me conclude with a few thoughts on how we could promote peace and security in Asia:
First, we should promote regional economic integration. Closer economic cooperation and better communication can help to enhance mutual trust, and put regional development and prosperity on a more solid footing. Economic integration in Asia is about to boom and expand, and China would be happy to play an important role in this regard.
Second, we should strive for positive relations among major countries. It is crucial for major countries to view each others’ strategic intentions in a rational way, discard the Cold War mentality, and cooperate with each other to fight global challenges.
China will continue its efforts to cultivate a new type of major-country relations. China and Russia are committed to promoting secure and sustainable development in the region. China and the US have agreed on building a new type of major-country relationship.
Thirdly, we should properly handle differences and disputes, many of which are legacies of our modern history. We should work to settle these disputes peacefully through direct negotiations and consultations, so that they will no longer do any harm to us. The “quiet diplomacy” advocated by ASEAN is a good example. This should be practiced. Asian countries are wise enough to solve their problems on their own. Inviting external forces or unilaterally resorting to international arbitration will not lead anywhere.
On the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, China will continue to push for the denuclearization process. Currently, the DPRK and the US are in sharp disagreement over how to resume the Six Party Talks. China hopes that countries concerned could set a reasonable threshold to reopen the Talks as early as possible.
On disputes over territory and maritime rights in the South and East China Sea, China will continue to strive for negotiated solutions with countries directly concerned on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law. We stand for shelving disputes and seeking joint development. We are committed to working with ASEAN countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea by implementing the DOC in a comprehensive and effective way, and steadily moving forward COC discussions.
Fourthly, we should improve existing regional framework and foster a new security architecture. We should adhere to multilateralism and oppose unilateralism and military alliances targeting third parties. China is willing to work with other Asian countries to gradually foster a new security architecture that works well for the region and caters to the needs of all parties. The Asian Security Concept can serve as a good starting point.
To this end, China strongly supports a greater role of ASEAN-led frameworks for regional security cooperation, including ARF and ADMM+. In recent years, China has undertaken almost a third of the cooperation projects under the ARF. In the following inter-sessional year, China will undertake another 6 projects with ASEAN counterparts, covering areas of disaster relief, maritime security, preventive diplomacy and cyber-security. China will also co-chair the ISMs on Disaster Relief and Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crimes. We believe that these projects will be conducive to enhancing ARF practical cooperation.
Thank you for your attention.