Keynote Speech on Historical Significance and Contributions of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence at the Meeting Marking the 60th Anniversary of the Initiation of the Five Principles of Peac
Ms. Than Than Nu Daughter of H. E. Mr. U Nu, former Prime Minister of Myanmar, Secretary-General of the Democratic Party (Myanmar)
H.E. Mr. Dai Bingguo,
H.E. Mr. Yang Wenchang, President of the CPIFA,
H.E. Mr. Lu Shumin, Vice President of the CPIFA,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great privilege to be among this august gathering and more over it is an exciting moment for me. I would like to express my earnest gratitude to Excellencies Mr. Dai Bingguo, Mr. Yang Wenchang and Mr. Lu Shumin for inviting me to participate in this symposium. In fact this is not my first visit to the People’s Republic of China. I first visited China in 1956 at the age of 9 with my parents U Nu and Daw Mya Yee. My second visit was around 1957, also in the company of my parents. Surprisingly, both the Chinese Prime Minister H.E Zhou Enlai and the Indian Prime Minister H.E Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru insisted my father to bring the children along whenever he visited China or India respectively. Therefore I had an opportunity to visit China and India more than once in my childhood.
In 1940, during World War II, my father visited China as a member of a goodwill mission. He was in Kunming, Chongqing and Chengdu and in all the places he saw the results of bombing and shelling by the then fascist Japan. My father saw the mass destruction of the Chinese population including thousands and thousands of children. My father visited museums, orphanages and schools where he saw the plight of the children, engraved in his heart refused to fade. I think this episode was the inspiration for my father to promote the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence.
Even after Burma, now known as Myanmar, gained independence in 1948 the situation was not normal, as in other free countries. Various armed groups attacked government posts, and in some parts of the country even the army personnel looted arms and ammunitions, and deserted. Most cities and towns fell into the hands of armed rebels. The national government was called a “Yangon government", because government had power only in and around Yangon, then Rangoon. While Myanmar was facing instability, and the whole country was up in flames, elsewhere in other countries, whether in west or in east, there were uncertainties and concerns about armed conflict.
In addition, Myanmar is sandwiched between the two great countries, namely China and India. Naturally there were a few border problems. To avoid internal and external problems, and to overcome the possibility of a Third World War, the three leaders from China, India and Myanmar namely Prime Minister Mr. Zhou Enlai, Prime Minister Mr. Nehru and Prime Minister U Nu jointly made an announcement of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co- existence.
Two years after the announcement of the principles of peaceful co-existence, in the year of 1956, my father again visited China. My mother, my elder brother and myself were with my father. During that visit my father requested Premier Zhou Enlai that he be given an opportunity to address the Political Consultative Committee of China, a five-hundred-member body. Premier Zhou Enlai made the arrangements, and he himself presided over the meeting. My father emphasized the friendship between China and Myanmar, as well as the foreign policy of Myanmar in the first part of his speech. In the second part, he dealt with the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. Though the distinguished guests present here doubtless are aware of these five principles, I would like to mention them very briefly.
1. Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty;
2. Mutual non-aggression;
3. Non-interference in each other's internal affairs;
4. Equality and Mutual benefit;
5. Peaceful Co-existence.
In his closing remarks my father pointed out very clearly the benefits of peaceful co-existence, especially the peaceful relationships between Myanmar and China. Here I want to quote his remarks in his autobiography, U Nu - Saturday's Son: "If we practice these principles honestly with full sincerity in order to eradicate mistrust and suspicion, China and Burma will go down in history as the two countries which turned a world of turmoil, suspicion and distrust into a world of peace and contentment". Furthermore, in the Sino-India joint declaration, which was officially announced on June 28, 1954 the following significant point was stated - I quote: "These principles are not only applicable to relations between nations, but also to the general international relationship. They will be concrete foundation for peace and security. With these principles apprehensions we are encountering will be substituted by confidence and security". Within a year after the announcement of Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, the Asian African Conference took place at Bandung, Indonesia in April 1955. In the days when much of the world was still under imperialist rule, such a meeting would have been out of the question. Asian leaders could not meet other Asian leaders, nor could Africans meet among themselves. Therefore the idea of bringing Asian and African leaders together was an appealing one and it was quickly approved. On this basis the Non-Aligned Movement was developed, and at the Bandung Conference a 10-point declaration on the promotion of world peace and co-operation was adopted.
Now I would like to touch upon a personal point of view. My father visited Beijing in 1954 December. There he had to meet H.E Chairman Mao Zedong on three separate occasions. Here also I would like to quote from my father’s autobiography, U Nu – Saturday’s Son: “With each meeting, the deepest impression was to be made in U Nu’s mind of a compassionate Chairman Mao. Benevolent was written on his expression.” On H.E Premier Zhou Enlai my father felt that Premier Zhou Enlai was an extremely humble and modest person. At the Asian-African Conference in Bandung - Indonesia, Mr. Zhou Enlai was also present. My father thought that Mr. Zhou Enlai had the art of winning friends as he brought with him excellent cooks and a number of interpreters proficient in the use of English and Arabic.
I was 9 years old when I first visited Beijing. I was so excited at seeing everything and was thoroughly enjoying myself. I had a memorable time visiting parks, day-care centres and shopping centres. Even staying at the government guest house was enjoyable for me as there were numerous colourful chrysanthemum flower pots everywhere. One of my enduring memories is watching a children’s play about unity. One of the characters in the play was a huge black cat posing as a villain. He destroyed villages, and tried to harm children. No one could catch him. One day the head of the village called a meeting and asked the villagers to catch the big cat. But no one dared to. Instead, the big cat scratched and bit the villagers. The villagers then pursued him vigorously, and the cat had to jump down from the stage to try and escape. Suddenly, members of the audience, many of which were children, jumped out of their chairs and caught the big cat, pulled him back onto the stage and handed him over to the villagers. This play showed that how Chinese children were given important moral lessons at a tender age. It taught me an important lesson too. The lesson was that we have instilled cultural values and morals into children from a very young age so as to ensure that they will abide by them. This play teaches us that we should instill the ideals of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence to our children from a very young age, so that the Principles will propagate throughout the world enduringly.