China at the Munich Security Conference 2019: A positive vision

China at the Munich Security Conference 2019: A positive vision

“Working for a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind by Promoting International Cooperation and Multilateralism”

By Yang Jiechi

February 18, 2019

MUNICH, Germany, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) – Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, delivered China’s keynote speech on February 16, 2019 at the 55th Munich Security Conference.

Italics added by The Transnational for pedagogical, easier-read reasons.

This is the English translated version of the speech reprinted from
China Org. cn here:


Mr. Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to join you at this year’s Munich Security Conference (MSC). As a global forum on security policy, the MSC provides an important platform for people around the world to express views and share insights on major issues concerning world peace and development. This year’s focus on promoting international cooperation and multilateralism is important, timely and has much practical relevance.

Our world today is undergoing fast and profound changes with growing uncertainties and instability. Unilateralism and protectionism have been on the rise; the multilateral international order and global governance system have come under challenge.

Our world stands at a crossroads and faces a consequential choice between unilateralism and multilateralism, confrontation and dialogue, isolation and openness. As President Xi Jinping pointed out, multilateralism provides an effective way of upholding peace and promoting development, and the world needs multilateralism now more than ever.

It’s been China’s consistent view that the United Nations is the symbol of multilateralism, and the UN-centered multilateral architecture provides an overarching framework for international cooperation. The consensus of the global community on multilateralism has been enshrined in the UN Charter, which serves as the cornerstone for the modern international order.

As a founding member of the UN and a permanent member of its Security Council, China has all along supported multilateralism, followed the multilateral approach, and advocated peace, development and win-win cooperation, playing its consistent role as a promoter of world peace, contributor to global development and upholder of the international order.

To serve the common and fundamental interests of the people of China and around the world, President Xi Jinping called for the fostering of a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

He expounded on a vision of an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity. Such thinking and vision encapsulate the propositions and principles that China holds dear as a staunch supporter of multilateralism.

They include, first, the principle of sovereign equality, which is the most important norm governing state-to-state relations. All countries, regardless of size, strength and wealth, are equal. The right of people of all countries to independently choose their development paths should be respected. And the practice of imposing one’s will on others or interfering in others’ internal affairs should be rejected.

Second, dialogue and consultation, which is an important approach to sound global governance in today’s world. Dialogue and consultation should be pursued in the interest of peaceful resolution of differences and disputes. The willful use or threat of force, hegemony and power politics should be rejected.

Third, the rule of law, which is central to the pursuit of law-based international relations. The basic norms governing international relations centering on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter must be safeguarded. International law must apply equally to all, and double standards or selective application of international law should be rejected.

Fourth, win-win cooperation, which is essential for achieving common development. We must work together to pursue the greatest possible common interests among nations and expand areas of converging interests on the basis of mutual benefit.

To advocate and practice multilateralism is not just China’s choice, but also the preferred option of an overwhelming majority of countries. The UN-centered system of international institutions have engaged in extensive dialogue and cooperation across the political, economic, security and cultural fields and worked to address global issues and challenges.

Such efforts have advanced democracy in international relations and vigorously contributed to global peace, stability, development and prosperity. Inspired by the core principles of multilateralism, the G20, APEC, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Asia-Europe Meeting and other global forums have all carried out meaningful cooperation. The EU, ASEAN, the African Union, the Arab League, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and other international organizations have contributed to peace and development by advancing regional cooperation.

All this has shown that to pursue global cooperation, multilateralism and a community with a shared future for mankind represents a momentous trend of our times and is the right way to go.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

History tells us that we can only realize our peoples’ dreams for a better life by upholding multilateralism and enhancing global cooperation. It falls to us to grasp the underlying trend of our times, respond to the call of the people, and make the right choices. China advocates a steadfast commitment to advance international cooperation, uphold and develop multilateralism, and make the international order more just and equitable.

First, we need to forge partnerships through mutual respect. Choosing dialogue over confrontation, we should work vigorously to develop partnerships that are more inclusive and constructive. This is a foundation and prerequisite for multilateralism and international cooperation.

China is committed to building a generally stable and balanced framework of major-country relations. We are ready to work with the United States to solidly implement the important common understanding reached between the two Presidents and jointly build a China-US relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability.

Over the past few weeks, the economic teams of the two sides have engaged in intensive consultations, and important progress has been made. We hope that the two sides will continue to make concerted efforts toward a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement.

Following the strategic guidance from the top leaders, China and Russia will work to elevate their comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination to new heights. China remains a staunch supporter of European integration. We welcome a Europe that is more united, stable and prosperous, and support Europe in playing an important and constructive role in international affairs.

China follows the policy of building friendships and partnerships with neighboring countries based on amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. China is committed to pursuing the greater good and shared interests and to the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith. We will earnestly implement all the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the meeting between leaders of China and Pacific island countries, the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum and the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, to advance the building of a community with a shared future with all other developing countries.

Second, we need to uphold universal security through mutual support. We should work toward a new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and respect and protect the security of each and every country.

Global issues such as climate change, cyber security, terrorism and major natural disasters should be tackled through global responses, and regional and global security must be protected with common efforts. International cooperation must be intensified to safeguard the security and stability in West Asia and North Africa, and a holistic approach is required to tackle the issue of refugees and migrants at its root. A few weeks ago, Egypt, the new rotating Chair of the African Union, hosted the successful 32nd AU summit, where constructive and meaningful dialogue and cooperation were carried out in addressing the issue of refugees, migrants and displaced people in Africa.

China has been actively involved in the UN peacekeeping missions, and is the largest troop contributor among the P5 and the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget. The Chinese navy has conducted escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast over the past ten years, serving over 6,600 Chinese and foreign vessels.

China has been an active player in international cooperation against terrorism, supported African countries in resolving African issues in an African way, and supported the AU and other regional and subregional organizations in playing a leading role in meeting the security challenges in their region.

China is committed to facilitating the proper resolution of regional hotspots such as the Iranian nuclear issue and the Syrian, Palestinian and Afghanistan issues through dialogue and negotiation.

China supports security dialogue among the Asia-Pacific countries and efforts to explore a regional security vision and architecture that fits the reality of this region. We welcome the upcoming second meeting between the DPRK and U.S. leaders, and will continue to work with other parties concerned toward the full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of a permanent peace regime on the Peninsula.

China is resolute in defending its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. We firmly oppose any activity that undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests under the pretext of freedom of navigation and overflight.

China is committed to working with ASEAN countries to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and advance consultations on the Code of Conduct. And we hope that these efforts by the countries in the region will be respected and supported by all non-regional countries.

Third, we need to foster global development and prosperity through win-win cooperation. Given the complementarity of our strengths, there is much potential to be tapped for promoting inter-connected growth.

We need to follow the new approach of win-win and all-win cooperation, and abandon ideological prejudices and the outdated mentality of zero-sum game and winner-takes-all. We need to rise to the challenges and promote common development through closer cooperation.

We need to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, and accommodate the interests of all countries, particularly emerging markets and developing countries.

The rapid advance of the new round of global technological and industrial revolution brings both opportunities and challenges for humanity. Countries should pursue the path of open, integrated and win-win development, and work together to foster an open, fair and transparent environment for international cooperation. We should reject technological hegemony and narrow the digital divide to deliver the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to people of all countries.

Following a win-win strategy of opening-up, China has introduced a host of major steps, including broadening market access, to open wider to the world and build an open economy. Last year, we held the first China International Import Expo (CIIE), which produced deals worth nearly 60 billion U.S. dollars. Going forward, China will host the International Import Expo on an annual basis to open its door further.

China is firm in upholding the multilateral trading system and advancing trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. We have deeply engaged in regional and sub-regional cooperation, and concluded 17 free trade agreements with 25 countries and regions.

China is committed to advancing regional integration with Asia-Pacific countries and building a community with a shared future in the Asia-Pacific. China-ASEAN relations have seen comprehensive and in-depth growth. In 2018, China-ASEAN trade approached 600 billion U.S. dollars, making China the largest trading partner of ASEAN for the tenth consecutive year. And mutual visits between the two sides reached about 50 million.

China supports ASEAN centrality in East Asian cooperation and encourages greater synergy among free trade arrangements and cooperation frameworks in the Asia-Pacific. We will also work with all relevant countries including India for the early conclusion of negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Fourth, we need to improve global governance through reform and innovation. Facing a growing number of global challenges, no country can manage them on their own, or stay immune. To strengthen global governance and reform the global governance system represents the call of the times. We need to firmly defend the central role of the UN in international affairs and uphold the rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at its center.

Guided by a vision of global governance featuring consultation, cooperation and benefit for all, China has actively engaged in the reform of the global governance system and taken a clear stand against unilateralism and protectionism, thus injecting stability and positive energy to a world fraught with uncertainties. We believe that the purpose of the reform is not to overturn the current system or start something new, but to improve the existing framework to reflect new realities and increase the representation and voice of emerging markets and developing countries.

In reforming the WTO, we need to uphold the core values and basic principles such as openness, inclusiveness and non-discrimination, and move forward in a gradual manner based on extensive consultation to safeguard the development interests and policy space of developing countries.

By hosting international conferences such as the G20 Hangzhou Summit and initiating the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank, China has made important contributions to the improvement of global economic governance.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the country has embarked on the right path, one that is suited to its national conditions and follows the trend of the times. The nation has stood up, become prosperous and grown in strength. With these historic leaps, the Chinese people are embracing the bright prospect of great national rejuvenation.

The Chinese economy has entered a new phase of transitioning from high-speed growth to high quality development, operating within a proper range and maintaining overall stability and continued progress. For years running, China has contributed nearly 30 percent to the world economic growth, more than any other country in the world.

Growing at 6.6 percent in 2018, China’s GDP exceeded RMB 90 trillion, or 13.6 trillion U.S. dollars, for the first time, and the resulting increment year-on-year surpassed the average annual increment from double-digit growth over a decade ago. Facing lackluster new drivers and mounting downward pressure in the global economic context, China has enough resilience and huge potential to keep the economy on a sound track for a long time to come.

The enormous effective demand being generated by the 1.4 billion Chinese people who are moving up the income ladder will provide the world with even more opportunities in terms of market, investment and cooperation. It is estimated that in the coming 15 years, China will import more than 30 trillion U.S. dollars and 10 trillion U.S. dollars worth of goods and services respectively, injecting new and strong impetus and dynamism into global growth.

The Belt and Road Initiative is an important international public good that China contributes to global cooperation for common development. It is also an important pathway toward building a community with a shared future for mankind.

The Belt and Road cooperation has gained support and popularity from more and more countries across five continents. China and over 150 countries and international organizations have signed Belt and Road cooperation agreements.

With over 6 trillion U.S. dollars of cumulative trade between China and participating countries, over 80 billion U.S. dollars in direct Chinese investment and a large number of major cooperation projects up and running, the Belt and Road cooperation is contributing to greater well-being and development of local communities in many parts of the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The freight train service between China and Europe is a powerful example of how the Belt and Road cooperation can drive common development and prosperity of China and Europe with enhanced connectivity. Facts have shown and will continue to prove that the Belt and Road Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China creates opportunities and benefits for all countries and serves the common interests of humanity.

Guided by the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefit and the vision of green, clean and sustainable development, China will partner with all parties on the basis of universally accepted international rules, standards, laws and regulations to make the Belt and Road cooperation a road for peace, prosperity, openness, innovation and cultural exchange.

Building on the successful first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in 2017, China will host the second forum in Beijing in about two months’ time. With active participation and concerted efforts of all parties, the Belt and Road cooperation will achieve even greater progress to the benefit of all peoples.

Fifteen years on since the establishment of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, the two sides have developed an all-dimensional and multi-tiered framework of exchanges and cooperation covering wide-ranging areas. Efforts to build China-EU partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilization have made substantial progress. People-to-people and cultural exchanges are thriving, making China and Europe a great example of cultural dialogue and engagement.

Not long ago, the Berlin Philharmonic captivated the Chinese audience with its world-class performances. Traditional Chinese New Year was celebrated across Europe during the recent week-long holiday season. Chinese tourists coming in big numbers brought business opportunities and vibrancy to European cities like Berlin and Paris.

Strong complementarity and mutual benefit have always been the defining feature of China-EU cooperation. Anyone wise enough in Europe and elsewhere in the world can tell from their own experiences whether cooperation with China serves the EU’s interests. The new round of technological and industrial revolution has created new horizons for China’s mutually beneficial cooperation with the EU. It is essential that our two sides continue to draw on each other’s strengths, focus on shared interests, remove obstacles and work together to seize the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and meet our people’s aspirations for a better life.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a German saying goes, “Those who work alone, add; those who work together, multiply.” There is a similar saying in China, “One thread snaps easily; ten thousand threads woven together can pull a boat.” Let us all join hands to intensify global cooperation and firmly uphold multilateralism. Together, let us build a better and more prosperous world.

Thank you.

Comment by Jan Oberg

You may say that it is just words and words and – true – there is nothing fundamentally new in it. That would apply to most other speeches in this traditional, conservative forum.

However, the words chosen by China are fundamentally different in a) expounding basic principles, b) standing firm on the UN Charter norms, c) sharing a long-term vision, d) being inclusive meaning China interacting in partnership with the rest of the world, e) devoid of attacks and threats on anybody else and – from a peace research point of view – f) outlining preconditions for a more peaceful global system.

No such principles applied to most of the Western leaders’ speech. Here you can read Vice President Mike Pence’s speech focusing on how great the US itself is while issuing complaints at friends and threats at foes, Iran in particular.
By the way, the transcript from the White House states “Applause” after Pence conveyed greetings from President Trump. Here is what in fact happened… seconds of roaring silence.

Finally and deplorably, the Western press did not pay any attention to this speech.

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