China will stay committed to peaceful development and win-win cooperation in a rather “chaotic” world, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun said Friday.
Zhang made the remarks while addressing a forum held in Beijing by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to elaborate on China’s foreign policy after the conclusion of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China last month.
“China’s overall foreign policy will not change,” Zhang told the forum attended by foreign diplomats, representatives of international organizations, businesspeople and scholars of international relations.
China will adhere “to the independent foreign policy of peace and the path of peaceful development, to the win-win strategy of opening up and friendship and cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and to the construction of a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity,” said the vice foreign minister.
The world is “a bit chaotic” due to uncertainties in the international economic landscape, the rise of power politics to some extent and wars raging in some countries, he said.
Zhang said China’s foreign policy has effectively safeguarded the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests and has contributed to world peace and stability, which is endorsed and supported by the Chinese people and has won the appreciation and respect of the international community.
“There is no reason for a right policy to be changed or abandoned,” Zhang said.
“Even if it were to change, it would only improve,” he added.
At the forum, Zhang highlighted the country’s advocacy of a “new type of global development partnership.”
“Countries need to raise awareness about human beings sharing a community of common destiny,” he said, adding that a country needs to accommodate the legitimate concerns of others while pursuing its own interests.
“No country, not even the most powerful country in the world, could ensure its security without respecting and accommodating other countries’ security interests,” he said.
Zhang said it is not contradictory for China to stay committed to the path of peaceful development while upholding its sovereignty, security and development interests.
“What China upholds is its own legitimate rights and interests,” he said, adding that China has no intention to grab from others.
Zhang said China will strengthen its good-neighborliness and friendship, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation and make sure the country’s neighbors will benefit more from its development.
“As we Chinese say, ‘A close neighbor is better than a distant relative,'” he said.
“In a somewhat chaotic world, Asian countries…need to cherish all the more the sound environment of peace and stability and the momentum of sustained and fast development, and should not allow any factor to disrupt, delay or destroy our development and cooperation,” said the vice minister.
On the issue of the South China Sea, Zhang said China’s position and proposition is “consistent and clear-cut.”
“The essence of the issue is the disputes between relevant countries over the sovereignty of some islands and reefs in the Nansha Islands and the delineation of some waters in the South China Sea.
“China believes that the disputes should be resolved by countries directly concerned through dialogue and consultation,” he said, adding that all parties need to endeavor to maintain stability in the South China Sea, pending a solution.
“China believes that the proposal put forward by (late Chinese leader) Mr. Deng Xiaoping of shelving differences and conducting joint development may still well be a practical approach to tackle the tricky issue,” he said.
Zhang said while China is firm in its resolve to follow the path of peaceful development, it is equally firm in the nation’s resolve to uphold its territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests.
“We remain committed to working with neighboring countries to properly address disputes over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests and uphold the overall good relations with our neighbors,” he said.
During his speech, Zhang also said China respects the legitimate interests of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region and welcomes the only superpower’s “constructive” role in the region.
“The Asia-Pacific is a region where China and the United States have more closely intertwined interests and more frequent interactions than elsewhere,” he said.
The official said China and the United States need to work to ensure that dialogue and cooperation outweigh frictions and differences in the region.
As the world’s two largest economies, Zhang said, China and the United States should deepen communication, expand pragmatic cooperation and respect each other’s core interests to address the “strategic distrust” between them.
The two sides need to increase candid discussions of issues concerning the situation in the region and their respective Asia-Pacific policies so as to boost mutual understanding, expand common ground, steadily promote trilateral and multilateral cooperation and appropriately approach and manage differences, he said.
“As far as the differences and frictions between countries in the region are concerned, we hope the United States will take an objective and impartial position instead of siding with one party or doing things that are of disservice to settling the issue,” he said.
“The Asia-Pacific region should not be an arena for China-U.S. competition,” Zhang said. “Instead, it should be a grand stage for China-U.S. cooperation.”
THE DIAOYU ISLANDS < During his speech, Zhang said China will neither create nor fear any troubles concerning the Diaoyu Islands. Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islets are inherent parts of China's territory, and the determination of the Chinese government and people to safeguard the country's territorial sovereignty is firm, said the vice foreign minister. "We hope for a stable and peaceful surrounding environment, we will not create troubles, but we definitely do not fear any trouble," Zhang said. China believes the two sides should manage the issue through talks and consultations to avoid an escalation of the situation, he said. "We hope the Japanese side can face history and reality and make correct decisions in order to properly handle the issue," he said, adding that stable and healthy bilateral relations are in the interests of the two countries and the region. Zhang added that China has recognized that some officials in Japan's newly established cabinet have shown willingness to boost bilateral ties, adding that China hopes Japan's new government can improve ties and properly handle differences. The official said China has paid great attention to developments in Japan's domestic politics and hopes Japan will follow a path of peaceful development, which he described as the premise of Japan's constructive role in maintaining regional peace and stability. Xinhua