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Home > China-UK Events > 2007
Working Together to Pursue Peaceful Development And Build A Harmonious World

Speech at the International Seminar on

China's Peaceful Development and A Harmonious World

Tang Jiaxuan

8 November 2007

Respected Mr. Schroeder, former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

It gives me great pleasure to attend this international seminar which is being held in the golden autumn, a season of harvest and the best time in Beijing. I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government, warm congratulations on the opening of the seminar and sincere welcome and cordial greetings to you all, and particularly former political leaders and academics coming from overseas. I wish the seminar full success and wish you an enjoyable stay in Beijing.

China has maintained rapid development and is opening itself as never before, bringing itself into increasingly close contact with the world. At the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held successfully not long ago, General Secretary Hu Jintao sent a clear message to the world, that is, China will follow the path of peaceful development and promote the building of a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity. The opening of this international seminar on "China's peaceful development and a harmonious world" jointly hosted by the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs and other institutes of international studies against this background is highly timely and relevant. Now, I would like to share my views on this subject with you.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

How can a nation and a country both achieve prosperity and contribute to world peace and promote the common development of mankind? This is a key question every responsible member of the international community should ask itself and address in real earnest. To unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development – this is the answer given by the Communist Party of China and the Chinese Government. It is both a major decision on development strategy and solemn commitment made by China to the international community. The CPC and Chinese Government leaders have expounded on this theme on many occasions. What does following the path of peaceful development mean? It means China is committed to building socialism with distinctive Chinese features, and it will uphold a peaceful international environment to develop itself and contribute more to world peace and common development through its development. It means China will actively participate in economic globalization and regional cooperation while mainly relying on itself to achieve all-round, coordinated and sustainable development through reform and innovation. China will open itself wider to the outside world and promote cooperation of mutual benefit with all other countries. It means China will never seek hegemony or external expansion and will remain a staunch force for world peace and common development.

The development path China pursues is quite different, and indeed fundamentally different from those pursued by other major powers in history. First, China is committed to achieving development by peaceful means and through cooperation. China is mainly tapping its own resources and potential peacefully while carrying out extensive international exchanges and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit to build itself into a rich and strong country. China does not seek to pursue its national interest through aggression, expansion or colonization. Second, China is committed to maintaining peace in the course of its development. China does not seek hegemony or spheres of influence, nor does it challenge the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries. It will remain a staunch force for upholding world peace and regional stability. Third, China is committed to common prosperity and progress of all countries while developing itself. China does not seek to develop itself at the expense of others. By following a path of peaceful development, China will not only bring benefits to its own people, but also contribute to the common development of the world. This serves not only the fundamental interests of the Chinese people, but the shared interests of people of the whole world. China's development is peaceful, open, cooperative and is a win-win for all.

The path of peaceful development is fully consistent with China's historical and cultural traditions. The Chinese nation is peace-loving, and the pursuit of peace and harmony is central to the Chinese way of thinking. The traditional Chinese political culture is noted for the following concepts: "benevolence" and "harmony", "the benevolent should love the people", "harmony is most precious", "harmony without sameness", "treat neighbor kindly", "give more and take less" and "a gentlemen should have the virtue of embracing all things with value". Six hundred years ago, during China's Ming Dynasty, Zheng He, a famous navigator, led the most powerful fleet of the time on seven expeditions to the Western Seas, and visited more than 30 countries and regions in Asia and Africa. They conducted fair and friendly barter trade with local people, bringing them tea, porcelain, silk and handicraft skills and they left behind fine culture, advanced technologies and friendship. Zheng He never robbed the local people of their wealth or occupied a single inch of their land. Similarly, China's current development has not only benefited the 1.3 billion Chinese people, but also provided the world with a vast market and tremendous development opportunities.

The path of peaceful development is fully consistent with China's history and current realities. History has shown that any country that attempted to advance its interest through expansion, aggression or plunder of other countries not only brought untold losses and sufferings to the oppressed nations and countries, but also caused tremendous damage to itself, undermined world peace and development and hindered human civilization and progress. In the 100-plus years after the Opium War in 1840, China was subjected to the bullying and humiliation by foreign powers. To eliminate war, achieve peace and build an independent, strong, democratic and prosperous country this has always been the ardent hope of the Chinese people in contemporary China. As a Chinese saying goes, do not do unto others what you don't want others do unto you. Having suffered from the scourge of wars, the Chinese people deeply cherish peace. They will not pursue development at the expense of others. With all the progress it has made, China remains the most populous developing country in the world, facing daunting challenges in the economic, political, cultural and social fields. To promote scientific development, social harmony and improve people's livelihood is the top priority for the Communist Party of China and the Chinese Government, a task whose accomplishment requires persistent and long-term efforts. We are convinced that by following the path of peaceful development, China will be able to turn itself into a strong country and bring prosperity to its people.

The path of peaceful development is in keeping with the trend of the world today. History has also shown that human progress and national prosperity can be achieved only through peaceful development. Having gone through the scourge of two world wars and the suffering of the Cold War, the people of all countries share the fervent desire of pursuing peace, development and cooperation. This has become an irreversible historical trend. At the same time, progress towards world multi-polarity and economic globalization has created new opportunities for world peace and development. As a member of the international community and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China will, as always, hold high the banner of peace, development and cooperation, follow an independent foreign policy of peace and promote friendly relations and cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. We are confident that following the path of peaceful development in keeping with the trend of the times will provide reliable guarantee for promoting China's development.

China is committed to playing a constructive role on regional and international hotspot issues. It strives to uphold the interests of both the Chinese people and the people of other countries and stands for fairness and justice. China strictly abides by the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and recognized norms governing international relations. It pursues a foreign policy of building good-neighborly relations and partnerships with neighbors and fostering an amicable, peaceful and prosperous neighborly environment. China will always be a good partner of its neighbors. China has actively participated in counter-terrorism and nonproliferation cooperation to uphold global security and strategic stability. China vigorously implements a win-win strategy of opening up. We will continue to contribute to regional and global development through our own development and expand common interests with other countries. While pursuing our own development, we will accommodate the legitimate concerns of other countries, especially other developing countries. China follows a defense policy that is defensive in nature, and it does not engage in arms race or pose a military threat to any other country. China is committed to international disarmament and arms control.

China's strategy of peaceful development embodies and carries forward the fine traditions of Chinese history and culture. It draws upon the cream of civilization and is based on the core principles of China's foreign policy. Past progress has shown that pursuing the path of peaceful development is the right decision made by China, a decision that meets the common interests of the peoples of both China and the world. China will unswervingly follow this path and strives to build itself into a strong, prosperous, democratic, civilized and harmonious socialist and modernized country, achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and contribute to world peace and progress.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Building a harmonious world is a major strategy and a new vision that the Communist Party of China and the Chinese Government put forward in the new stage of development in the 21st century. Peace and development remain the general trend in the new century. Economic globalization is gaining momentum and countries are becoming increasingly interdependent. The world continues to move toward multi-polarity, and the diversity of civilizations is growing. On the other hand, the world is not yet a fully peaceful one. Major global issues are becoming more acute. Unilateralism continues to haunt the world, and democracy in international relations remains a distant goal. Local conflicts and hotspot issues keep emerging. Imbalances in the world economy are growing, the North-South gap is widening, and traditional and non-traditional threats to security are intertwined. They pose difficulties and challenges to world peace and development. We face both unprecedented opportunities and challenges and this has made it imperative for all countries to enhance coordination and cooperation. In the new historical era, we should share development opportunities and work together to meet new challenges. Advancing the noble cause of peace and development of mankind represents the fundamental interests of people of all countries and their common aspirations. With this in mind, the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese Government call on people in all countries to join hands to build a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity and a better future for mankind.

The vision of building a harmonious world offers insight into China's new thinking on global development and the new approach that China pursues to address state-to-state issues. It calls for promoting enduring peace, common prosperity and harmonious co-existence between man and nature. It believes that enduring peace will promote common prosperity of the world and help settle global issues and this, in turn, will help realize enduring peace. This new vision calls on the international community to take the following steps:

Politically, we should respect each other, make decisions based on consultation on an equal footing and make concerted efforts to promote democracy in international relations. All countries, big or small, are equal members of the international community and should coexist in peace irrespective of their social systems. Decisions on a country's internal affairs should be made independently by its own people. Global issues should be handled by all countries through consultation on an equal footing. All countries should abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, international law and universally recognized norms governing international relations. Disputes and conflicts should be resolved peacefully through dialogue, exchanges and cooperation. All countries should join efforts to make the international order more equitable and fairer.

Economically, we should cooperate with each other, draw on each other's strengths and work together to ensure balanced progress in economic globalization so that we can all benefit from it. We should enhance consultation, intensify international economic and technological cooperation, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation and eliminate trade barriers. And we should make joint efforts to build an open, just, equitable, transparent, inclusive and non-discriminatory international multi-lateral trading system. Developed countries should shoulder greater responsibilities for achieving common development. Trade disputes should be properly addressed. Practices of shifting one's troubles onto others and willfully resorting to sanctions should be rejected.

Culturally, we should learn from each other, seek common ground while shelving differences, respect the diversity of civilizations and make joint efforts to advance human civilization. We should take an equal, open and inclusive attitude toward all civilizations, respect the different historic and cultural traditions of all countries and respect the rights of all countries to choose development paths and models compatible with their respective national conditions. Exchanges and dialogue on an equal footing among cultures and civilizations should be encouraged, and efforts should be made to remove misgivings and misunderstanding among them. Attempts to link some conflicts and problems in the world to a particular civilization, ethnic group or religion should be opposed.

In the area of security, we should trust each other, strengthen cooperation, settle disputes through peaceful means, and work together to uphold world peace and stability. We should pursue a new thinking on security of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination by transcending differences in ideology and social system and discarding the "Cold War Mentality" and power politics. We should explore effective ways to address security issues through consultation on an equal footing, oppose the threat or use of force and work together to prevent conflicts and wars. We should step up international cooperation in non-traditional security fields and firmly oppose terrorism in all forms.

Regarding the environment, we should help each other and make joint efforts to promote harmonious development of man and nature. We should work together to bring under control the trend of excessive global population growth, enhance the educational level of the people, promote human development, and to build a world with a population of optimal size and structure. A new approach toward energy security that calls for mutually beneficial cooperation, diversified development and ensuring energy supply through coordination should be pursued, so as to build a resources conserving world. We should adhere to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities", effectively tackle climate change and strengthen ecological protection to build an environment friendly world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

Unswervingly following the path of peaceful development is a key decision and solemn commitment that the Communist Party of China, the Chinese Government and people have made in order to achieve China's development. The vision of building a harmonious world represents the important strategic thinking of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese Government on global development. China has reached a new historical starting point in its modernization drive, and the Chinese people are striving to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. China will firmly adhere to the path of peaceful development and work tirelessly with the international community to build a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity!

Thank you.

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