|Making the World a Safer Place|
Keynote Speech by Director Wang Yi
Munich, 18 February 2023
I am delighted to join you in person at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) after three years, and meet face to face with friends old and new.
I recall vividly how I came here with the Chinese delegation three years ago when COVID-19 just struck. I presented China’s efforts in fighting the virus and urged solidarity among countries in face of the trying times. The international community gave China valuable understanding and support, for which we are deeply grateful.
Humanity’s three-year fight against COVID tells us a simple truth: as President Xi Jinping repeatedly stressed, we are members of one global village, and we belong to one community with a shared future. We can overcome challenges when we stand together; we can win victory when we trust each other.
Three years on, the pandemic is contained, but the world is not yet safer. Trust between major countries is lacking, geopolitical rifts are widening, unilateralism is rampant, the Cold War mentality is back, new types of security threats from energy, food, climate, bio-security and artificial intelligence keep emerging.
Standing at a critical juncture of history, human society must not repeat the old path of antagonism, division and confrontation, and must not fall into the trap of zero-sum game, war and conflict. Making the world a safer place is the strong desire of all people, the common responsibility of all countries, and more importantly, the right direction for the advance of our times.
For a safer world, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected.
Power politics and hegemony are a recipe for global instability, and do the biggest damage to global peace. Interference in other countries’ internal affairs, in whatever name, disregards and defies the basic norms of international relations. Any violation of the one-China principle on the Taiwan question, and attempt to create “one China, one Taiwan” or “two Chinas”, however framed, are a gross infringement on China’s territorial integrity, and pose real threats to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
The principle of sovereignty is the cornerstone of the contemporary international order. All countries should abide by the principle in both words and deeds, rather than apply it selectively, still less with double standards. China will resolutely curb acts of separatism and interference to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
For a safer world, disputes should be peacefully resolved through dialogue and consultation. Disagreements and frictions do exist between countries. Yet handling them with pressuring, smear campaigns or unilateral sanctions is often counterproductive, and may even entail endless trouble. However complex the issue is, dialogue and consultation should not be abandoned. However intense the dispute is, a political resolution should be pursued. However difficult the situation is, peace should be given a chance.
China follows a new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, as put forward by President Xi Jinping. China takes a responsible stance on international disputes based on the merits of each issue, and plays a constructive role. On the Ukraine issue, China’s position boils down to supporting talks for peace. We will put forth China’s proposition on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, and stay firm on the side of peace and dialogue.
For a safer world, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be upheld. The chaos and conflicts plaguing our world today occur because the purposes and principles of the Charter have not been truly observed. Fanning ideological confrontation and forming exclusionary blocs harms international solidarity and hampers global cooperation. Hyping security threats and stoking tensions undercuts strategic mutual trust and elevates the risk of miscalculation.
The pressing need now is for all to put the larger interest embodied in the purposes and principles of the UN Charter above one’s own lesser interest, and work together to oppose the Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation.
For a safer world, the key role of development must be fully harnessed. The world should not be a place where the rich stay rich while the poor remain poor. Efforts should be stepped up in implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the legitimate right to development of all countries, especially developing countries, should be effectively protected, and assistance should be extended to under-developed regions to improve people’s lives and grow the economy. A holistic approach is needed to address both symptoms and root causes and remove the breeding ground for conflict.
The world should not veer off into the wrong path of protectionism, decoupling and cutting chains. We must firmly reject the attempts to politicize, weaponize and draw ideological lines in the cooperation on trade, science and technology. If security is to be firmly established and last, people in all countries should get to lead a better life.
Making the world a safer place is China’s abiding commitment.
Last October, the Communist Party of China convened its 20th National Congress. General Secretary Xi Jinping declared that China’s central task in the new era and on the new journey is to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization. On how to accomplish this modernization of the largest scale in human history, China has given an unequivocal and steadfast answer — keeping to peaceful development. Peaceful development is not an expediency, nor diplomatic rhetoric, but a strategic choice informed by a deep grasp of the past, present and future.
Looking over the past, China suffered deeply from foreign aggression and expansion in modern times. This country fully appreciates the value of peace and the importance of development. Shortly after the founding of New China, we put forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Over the past seventy-plus years, China has never initiated a war or occupied an inch of foreign land. It is the only country that has put peaceful development in its Constitution, and the only country among the five nuclear-weapon states to pledge no-first-use of nuclear weapons. China’s track record on peace can stand the scrutiny of history, and China’s peaceful rise is an unprecedented miracle in human history.
At present, the top priority for the CPC and the Chinese government is to pursue high-quality development and deliver a better life for all Chinese people. We know full well that development is only possible in a peaceful and tranquil international environment. This requires that China must live in peace with other countries and pursue win-win cooperation with the rest of the world. We will always be an advocate for peace, development and win-win cooperation, and work to deepen and expand global partnerships based on equality, openness and cooperation.
Looking to the future, peace and development remain the trend of history and the aspiration of the people. Some people assert that a strong country is bound to seek hegemony, and assume that China will walk away from peaceful development as it gets stronger. However, China’s experience shows that the path of peaceful development has worked, and worked well. There is no reason for us to discontinue, but every reason to stay the course, and come together with more countries in the pursuit of peaceful development. Any increase in China’s strength is an increase in the hope for world peace. When all countries pursue peaceful development, the future of humanity will be full of promise.
With a keen grasp of the changing world, President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and the Global Security Initiative (GSI) in recent years, offering China’s proposals and wisdom for advancing peace and development, the two main issues facing humanity. As of now, more than 100 countries and international organizations, including the UN, have expressed support for the two initiatives. Some 70 countries have joined the “Group of Friends of the GDI”. I am pleased to announce that China will be launching a GSI Concept Paper, to lay out a more systematic approach and more practical measures to address global security challenges. We welcome your active participation.
Making the world a safer place hinges on the right choice of both China and Europe.
China and Europe are two major forces, markets and civilizations in an increasingly multi-polar world. The choices we make have a huge impact on where the world goes. If we choose dialogue and cooperation, bloc confrontation will not emerge. If we choose peace and stability, a new Cold War will not break out. If we choose openness and win-win, global development and prosperity will have greater hope. Making the right choice is a responsibility we share. This should be how we respond to the call of history and the needs of the people.
Here in Munich stands the Angel of Peace, a renowned monument marking the end of a war and embodying the wish for lasting peace. Long as the journey is, we will reach our destination if we stay the course; difficult as the task is, we will get the job done if we keep working at it. Let us all join hands and work together to make the world a safer place.
Thank you. Now I am happy to take your questions.