Address by Mr. Dai Bingguo at the Opening Ceremony of the Meeting Marking the 60th Anniversary of the Initiation of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence
Mr. Dai Bingguo Former State Councilor of China
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, we are meeting here to commemorate a historic event -- the 60th anniversary of the initiation of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence.
Sixty years ago, with extraordinary political vision and foresight, the older generation leaders of China, India and Myanmar jointly initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, namely, mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence, thus opening a new chapter in the history of international relations. Many of you present here are children of those leaders or had close ties with them. On an occasion like this, we naturally wish to pay high tribute to Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Jawaharlal Nehru and U Nu, past statesmen of our three countries, of whom we cherish profound memory.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence were a declaration that the new nation states in Asia and Africa had entered the world political arena. The national liberation movements in Asia and Africa surged high in the 1940s and 1950s, toppling the colonial system in the world. As a result, a large number of nation states won independence and entered the world political stage. They had their own vision and aspirations about what kind of international relations to build and what international norms to follow. The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence initiated by China, India and Myanmar in keeping with the trend of the times gave expression to the strong desire of those developing countries, new on the international stage, to uphold their sovereignty and independence and participate in international affairs on an equal footing. It is fair to say that the initiation of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence in 1954, together with the Bandung Conference held one year later, proclaimed the birth of developing countries as a new international political force.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence are a banner that guided the post-war international relations toward equality and progress. The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence came into being at a time when arms and fists dictated the order in the world. No sooner had the smoke of World War II dispersed than the dark cloud of the Cold War gathered over the world. Hegemony and power politics ran rampant. To build fair and equitable new international relations thus became a historical mission for developing countries. Against this backdrop, the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence were warmly received by countries around the world, especially developing countries, as soon as they were announced. From bilateral ties to multilateral relations, from Asia to the world, these principles have gained acceptance by an increasing number of countries as principles for building a new international political and economic order.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence are a cornerstone underpinning world peace and stability. These five principles, an integrated whole of five inter-related principles, cover the political, economic and many other areas. Consistent with the purposes and principles of theUN Charter, they embody the underlying norms governing contemporary international relations, and meet the fundamental interests of peoples of all countries. The international relations of the past 60 years have borne out that whenever the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence are observed, the world enjoys peace; whenever these principles are breached, the world has no peace.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The world today is drastically different from what it was six decades ago when the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence were initiated. Developing countries represented by emerging economies are rising with forceful momentum. The trend of the times, namely, peace, development and cooperation, has grown stronger. On the other hand, the international developments remain volatile. Acts of hegemony and power politics still occur from time to time. While old conflicts remain unresolved, new crises are spreading. To address various interwoven problems and challenges facing us, the international community should take a visionary approach in keeping with the times. At the same time, we also need to draw inspirations from history in addressing today’s challenges. Viewed from this perspective, the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence are by no means out-dated. They are still important principles that are highly relevant to current international relations. Today, we are commemorating these principles not to worship them as historical relics, but to make better use of them as a golden rule to continue to guide the international relations of the 21st century.
To promote the observance of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, we should, first and foremost, stay committed to the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence underpin international relations. Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is the core of these principles, and non-interference of internal affairs is their essence. There has been a lot of controversy among countries over the principle of non-interference of internal affairs. In recent years, in particular, some European countries and the United States have pursued new interventionism. Using humanitarianism and counter-terrorism as a pretext and employing different tactics, they have willfully intervened in sovereign affairs of other countries or even resorted to military means. They have not only created turbulences in many regions, but also caused confusion in the minds of people. Despite accelerated economic globalization and emergence of new players in international relations, sovereign nations are still the basic participants of international relations and the principle of non-interference, a basic norm governing state-to-state relations, should never be changed. It is up to the people of a country to choose its social system and development path. A country’s affairs should be run by its people, and the world’s affairs should be run by all countries through discussion. This is an incontestible truth. If the principle of non-interference is bypassed or even abandoned, the world will be thrown into chaos, and there will be no end of trouble. The lessons of Iraq are thought provoking.
To promote the observance of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, we should urgently forge a vision of community of common destiny and pursue peaceful co-existence and win-win cooperation. The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence summarize the way in which countries should deal with each other. There are about 200 countries on this planet, which are different in size, stage of development, social system, development path, history, culture and traditions. The vast world today has become a global village, where countries interact with and depend on one another for survival. With entwined interests, we rise and fall together. In fact, we live in a community of common interests and destiny.
To promote the observance of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence in today’s world, we should not only live in peace, but also strive for win-win cooperation. Facing increasing global issues, no country can solve them by itself or remain unaffected by these issues. Neither an beggar-thy-neighbor approach nor attempts to benefit oneself at the expense of others will resolve any problem, and ganging up to monopolize world affairs is doomed to failure. Countries should stick together like passengers in the same boat. They should not try to squeeze one another out of the boat or fight with one another in the boat. We should continue to expand areas where our interests converge and make the pie of common interests bigger. We should, through closer cooperation, jointly meet challenges we face and share development opportunities so as to achieve peaceful co-existence, progress and win-win outcomes. This is the sure way for us to create prosperity in the East, West, South and North and deliver a decent life to people of the world.
To promote the observance of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, we need to tap into the wisdom of the Eastern civilization. The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence were initiated by Asians and represent the vision of the Eastern civilization, which values harmony, advocates seeking common ground while shelving differences and upholds openness and inclusiveness. These principles are an important contribution made by the Eastern civilization to the world civilization. Over the past six decades, the Asian countries have created one economic miracle after another, giving a strong boost to the growth and prosperity of the world economy. In the next six decades when Asian countries grow in strength, we should aim even higher, carry forward the pioneering spirit of the forerunners, promote the traditional Eastern culture, draw on other civilizations, be bold in making change and innovation and make continuous self-improvement. This will allow us to provide more "Asia created" public goods to the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Chinese nation has always been a peace-loving nation. The pursuit of peace is in the blood of us Chinese, and it is an integral part of the Chinese culture. The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence are incorporated into the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the communiqués on the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and over 170 countries. They form a cornerstone of China's independent foreign policy of peace.
China has made tremendous progress in the past 60 years. The international community is closely following what policy China will pursue. Some are concerned whether China will stick to the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence and the path of peaceful development. Some people with ulterior motives even spread the fallacy of a "China threat" or "China's assertiveness". As a veteran diplomat who has been personally involved in the making of new China's diplomacy over half a century, I want to assure you that China is a champion of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence and it is dedicated to upholding and observing these principles. China will remain a staunch force of defending world peace and promoting common prosperity and development. China firmly opposes hegemony and power politics. China will never be a superpower and never seek hegemony in the world to bully, invade or exploit others. We will remain true to our commitment.
Under the leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary, the Chinese people are endeavoring to realize the two centenary goals (namely, to finish building a society of initial prosperity in all respects by 2020 when the Communist Party of China celebrates its centenary and to turn China into a modern socialist country by the mid-21st century when the People's Republic of China marks its centenary) and the Chinese dream of the great renewal of the Chinese nation. To realize the Chinese dream, we need a long-term peaceful and stable international environment and a sound neighboring environment. China will continue to pursue peaceful development, grow friendly ties and conduct cooperation with all other countries so as to create an even better future for humanity on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. We also sincerely hope that all other countries, major countries and superpower in particular, will also be committed to upholding and observing the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence and thus contribute their share to promoting world peace, stability and prosperity.
In closing, I wish this symposium and the conference every success!