Over the next generation, we need to pursue a shared vision of the future. We need a system which will help us navigate the month-to-month crises of foreign policy, and to capital on the international sense of community expressed so powerfully in the aftermath of 11 September.
What should we be working towards in the coming 30 years? I believe there are three major challenges if we are to preserve the global order and strengthen the international rule of law.
First, we need a secure global environment. This means a renewed consensus to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In the 1960s and 70’s we saw the introduction of a raft of international treaties and export control regimes to control the spread of nuclear, chemical, biological and missile technologies.
Some countries show little compunction in shipping WMD technologies to any bidder. This technology is destabilizing security in the Middle East, South Asia and potentially beyond. This trade secures immediate financial returns for the vendor, but undermines international security. There is an obvious responsibility on arms-exporting nations—the UK and China included to take all necessary steps to end it.
We also have to maintain the momentum we have developed since 11 September in defeating terrorism. China's continued engagement in the UN's Counter-Terrorism Committee underlines its commitment to pursuing a multilateral approach on this issue.
The second challenge is to create a prosperous world. In recent years, China has made an enormous contribution to the cause of global prosperity. In the past two decades China has lifted the living standards of more people than during any other period of human history. We have a shared interest in eliminating the conditions that contribute to global insecurity and state failure. By promoting a cleaner environment, raising educational standards and providing professional healthcare we can create a more stable world.
I welcome China’s contribution to the international effort. Your donation of US $150m has thrown a lifeline to thousands of Afghan people. As your economic influence grows, I hope China will seize the opportunity to build up its overseas aid policy. Just as your economy is becoming the engine for future economic growth in Asia, so the Chinese aid programmer could become a great force for good in a continent where, for too many people, poverty is a fact of life.
The final challenge is to promote the universal adoption of good governance. In country after country, across Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, people and governments have adopted this principle. Countries which apply this will run with the grain of international opinion; they will be acknowledging the innate aspirations of their people.