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Full Text: Address by Chinese President Xi Jinping at conference marking 70th anniversary of Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2024-06-28

BEIJING -- Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at the Conference Marking the 70th Anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence on Friday in Beijing.

The following is the full text of his speech:

Carrying Forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and Jointly Building a
Community with a Shared Future for Mankind

Address by H.E. Xi Jinping

President of the People's Republic of China

At the Conference Marking the 70th Anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence

June 28, 2024

Distinguished Guests,
Diplomatic Envoys,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Seventy years ago, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence were officially initiated. It marked a groundbreaking and epoch-making achievement in the history of international relations. Today we gather here to commemorate its 70th anniversary for the purpose of carrying forward these principles under the new circumstances, building together a community with a shared future for mankind, and providing a strong driving force for human progress.

At the outset, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and in my own name, let me extend a warm welcome to all distinguished guests and friends present here!

In the course of the modern history of human society, handling well state-to-state relations, jointly maintaining world peace and tranquility, and promoting development and progress for humanity have always been big topics on the minds of all nations.

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence answered the call of the times, and its initiation was an inevitable historic development. In the wake of the Second World War, national independence and liberation movements swept across the globe, and the colonial system around the world crumbled and collapsed. At the same time, the world was overshadowed by the dark clouds of the Cold War and menaced by the rampant clamors that "Might is right." Newly independent countries aspired to safeguard their sovereignty and grow their national economy. New China followed the principle of independence, actively sought peaceful coexistence with all countries, and endeavored to improve its external environment, especially in its neighborhood. Against this backdrop, the Chinese leadership specified the Five Principles in their entirety for the first time, namely, mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. They included the Five Principles in the China-India and China-Myanmar joint statements, which jointly called for making them basic norms for state-to-state relations.

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence were born in Asia, but quickly ascended to the world stage. In 1955, more than 20 Asian and African countries attended the Bandung Conference. They proposed ten principles for handling state-to-state relations on the basis of the Five Principles, and advocated the Bandung spirit of solidarity, friendship and cooperation. The Non-Aligned Movement that rose in the 1960s adopted the Five Principles as its guiding principles. The Declaration on Principles of International Law adopted at the 25th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1970 and the Declaration on the Establishment of the New International Economic Order adopted at the Sixth Special UNGA Session in 1974 both endorsed the Five Principles. With their inclusion in important international documents, the Five Principles have been widely recognized and observed by the international community.

Over the past 70 years, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have transcended time and space and overcome estrangement, showing robust resilience and everlasting relevance. They have become open, inclusive, and universally applicable basic norms for international relations and fundamental principles of international law. They have made indelible historic contributions to the cause of human progress.

First, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have set a historic benchmark for international relations and international rule of law. They fully conform with the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter, with the evolving trend of international relations of our times, and with the fundamental interests of all nations. In addition, they stress the importance of mutuality and equality in handling state-to-state relations, thus highlighting the essence of international rule of law, i.e. the intercorrelation of rights, obligations and responsibilities of all countries. The Five Principles provide a whole set of basic norms for peaceful coexistence among countries across political, security, economic and diplomatic domains. They constitute an unequivocal and effective code of conduct for all countries to follow in promoting the spirit of international rule of law and finding the right way to get along with each other.

Second, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have served as the prime guidance for the establishment and development of relations between countries with different social systems. When following the Five Principles, even countries that differ from each other in social system, ideology, history, culture, faith, development stage, and size can build a relationship of mutual trust, friendship and cooperation. The Five Principles offer a new path toward peaceful settlement of historic issues and international disputes, triumphing over obsolete, narrow-minded, antagonistic and confrontational mindsets such as bloc politics and sphere of influence.

Third, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have been a powerful rallying force behind the efforts of developing countries to pursue cooperation and self-strength through unity. They mirror the deep thoughts of developing countries about improving their future and about reform and progress. Inspired and encouraged by the Five Principles, more and more countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America have voiced and extended support to each other, stood up against foreign interference, and embarked on an independent path of development. The Five Principles have also boosted South-South cooperation, and improved and further developed North-South relations.

Fourth, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have contributed historic wisdom to the reform and improvement of the international order. The Five Principles were initiated with the purpose of protecting the interests and pursuits of small and weak countries from power politics. They categorically oppose imperialism, colonialism and hegemonism, and reject belligerent and bullying practices of the law of the jungle. They have laid an important intellectual foundation for a more just and equitable international order.

Having traversed an extraordinary journey of 70 years, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are a common asset of the international community to be valued, inherited and further promoted. At this moment, I recall with deep admiration leaders of the older generation who jointly initiated the Five Principles. I also wish to pay high tribute to the visionaries from all countries who have been promoting the Five Principles with perseverance over the years!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The baton of history is passed from generation to generation, and the cause of human progress moves forward from one era to another as mankind seek answers to the questions of the times. Seventy years ago, our forefathers, who experienced the scourge of hot wars and the confrontation of the Cold War, concluded that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence were the crucial way to safeguard peace and sovereignty. This answer has withstood the test of international vicissitudes, and has become more appealing rather than obsolete. Seventy years later today, challenged by the historic question of "what kind of world to build and how to build it," China has answered the call of the times by proposing a community with a shared future for mankind. Today, this Chinese initiative has become an international consensus. The beautiful vision has been put into productive actions. It is moving the world to a bright future of peace, security, prosperity and progress.

The Vision of Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind carries forward the same spirit of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Both are rooted in traditional Chinese values such as "Be kind to your neighbor," "Seek amity through integrity," and "Promote harmony among all nations." Both attest to China's diplomatic tenets of self-confidence, self-reliance, justice, protection of the disadvantaged, and benevolence. Both demonstrate the broad vision of the Communist Party of China to contribute more to humanity. Both manifest China's firm resolve to follow the path of peaceful development. The Vision of Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind is the most effective move to sustain, promote and upgrade the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in the new circumstances.

The Vision captures the reality that all countries have a shared future and intertwined interests, and sets a new model of equality and coexistence for international relations. China believes that all countries, regardless of their size, strength and wealth, are equal members of the international community. They have common interests, common rights, and common responsibilities in international affairs. All countries should join hands to overcome challenges, achieve shared prosperity, build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security, and shared prosperity, and realize peaceful coexistence with greater security and prosperity for mankind.

The Vision responds to the world's prevailing trend of peace, development, cooperation and win-win, and opens up new prospects for peace and progress. China calls on all countries to bear in mind the future of humanity and the wellbeing of the people, and uphold their essential commitment to equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence. We should all champion the common values of humanity, promote global governance that features extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared benefit, and cultivate a new type of international relations. We should all work together to implement the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and deliver more benefits to all peoples.

The Vision keeps pace with the historic trend toward multipolarity and economic globalization, and inspires new ways to achieve development and security. China has been working together with all sides to take profound and real measures to build a community with a shared future for mankind. We have together enabled the Vision to make historic achievements - expanding from bilateral to multilateral, regional to global, development to security, and cooperation to governance. This has guided and boosted the efforts for an equal and orderly multipolar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization. It has given the international community broad prospects of peace and stability, and presented the world with more prosperity and development.

Looking at the past and future at this critical moment in history, we believe our exploration for the betterment of human civilization will not end, and our efforts for a better world will not end. No matter how the world evolves, one basic fact will not change. There is only one Planet Earth in the universe, and the whole mankind have one common home. Our shared future depends on Earth. We must take good care of it, and leave a happy land for our future generations.

The future beckons with promise, and challenges must be tackled. At this historic moment when mankind have to choose between peace and war, prosperity and recession, unity and confrontation, we must champion more than ever the essence of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and we must always strive tirelessly for the lofty goal of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

We need to uphold the principle of sovereign equality. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence center on the principle of sovereign equality. And on that basis, they promote equal rights, equal opportunities and equal norms for every country. They reject the big subduing the small, the strong bullying the weak, and the rich exploiting the poor. An equal and orderly multipolar world means every country can find its place in a multipolar system and play its due role pursuant to international law, so that the process of multipolarization is stable and constructive on the whole.

We need to cement the foundation of mutual respect. Countries must make equality, mutual respect and mutual trust the ground rules of engagement. They should show respect for different historical and cultural traditions and different stages of development, for each other's core interests and major concerns, and for the development paths and systems independently chosen by people of all countries. We must jointly uphold the "golden rule" of non-interference, and jointly oppose acts of imposing one's will on others, stoking bloc confrontation, creating small circles, and forcing others to pick sides.

We need to turn the vision for peace and security into reality. The past and present have enlightened us that all countries must shoulder their common responsibility for peace, and commit to a path of peaceful development. They must work together to seek peace, safeguard peace, and enjoy peace. In today's interdependent world, absolute security and exclusive security are just not viable. The China-proposed Global Security Initiative is aimed to advocate the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. It strives to achieve development and security through cooperation, and put in place a more balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture.

We need to unite all forces to achieve prosperity. An ancient Chinese philosopher observed, "The benevolent treat others with love, and the wise share with others benefits." As a Latin American saying goes, "The only way to be profitably national is to be generously universal." An Arab proverb has it, "With unity, the fire grows; without unity, the fire extinguishes." In the era of economic globalization, what is needed is not gaps of division but bridges of communication, not iron curtains of confrontation but highways of cooperation. China has been advocating a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization, promoting high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and endeavoring to deliver on the Global Development Initiative. Our goal is to benefit all with the opportunity of development, to diversify development paths, to help all nations share development fruits, to encourage common development and prosperity for all countries in the global village, and to turn win-win into a solid consensus.

We need to commit to fairness and justice. Without them, power politics will be the order of the day, and the weak will be at the mercy of the strong. In face of the new developments and challenges, the authority and central role of the United Nations can only be strengthened rather than weakened. The purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter are never outdated, and they are getting ever more important. China advocates the vision of global governance featuring extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared benefit, and China believes in true multilateralism. Our goal is that international rules should be made and observed by all countries. World affairs should be handled through extensive consultation, not dictated by those with more muscles.

We need to embrace an open and inclusive mindset. All countries are on board the same giant ship. It carries on it not only aspirations for peace, economic prosperity and technological advancement, but also the diversity of civilizations and the continuation of the human species. In history, different civilizations helped each other prosper through interactions, and brought about great progress and prosperity for mankind. This has left us with splendid chapters of mutual reinforcement and mutual learning among various civilizations. The Global Civilization Initiative proposed by China is aimed at increasing understanding and friendship among peoples and promoting tolerance and mutual learning among civilizations. The world is big enough to accommodate the common development and common progress of all countries. It is entirely possible for different civilizations to prosper together and inspire each other through mutual learning on an equal footing.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The past 70 years have proved time and again that an effective way for countries to meet challenges together and create a better future is to enhance unity, cooperation, communication and understanding. Of all the forces in the world, the Global South stands out with a strong momentum, playing a vital role in promoting human progress. Standing at a new historical starting point, the Global South should be more open and more inclusive, and join hands together to take the lead in building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Together, we should be the staunch force for peace. We should promote peaceful settlement of international disputes, and participate constructively in the political settlement of international and regional hotspot issues. Together, we should be the core driving force for open development. We should restore development as the central international agenda item, reinvigorate global partnerships for development, and deepen South-South cooperation as well as North-South dialogue. Together, we should be the construction team of global governance. We should actively participate in reforming and developing the global governance system, expand the common interests of all sides, and make the global governance architecture more balanced and effective. Together, we should be the advocates for exchange among civilizations. We should enhance inter-civilization communication and dialogue, and strengthen experience sharing on governance. We should deepen exchanges in education, science, technology and culture as well as subnational, people-to-people and youth interactions.

To better support Global South cooperation, China will establish a Global South research center. It will provide 1,000 scholarships under the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence Scholarship of Excellence and 100,000 training opportunities to Global South countries in the coming five years. It will also launch a Global South youth leaders program. China will continue to make good use of the China-U.N. Peace and Development Fund, the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund, and the Climate Change South-South Cooperation Fund, and will work with interested parties to set up a tripartite center of excellence for the implementation of the Global Development Initiative, so as to facilitate growth in Global South countries. It will renew the China-IFAD South-South and Triangular Cooperation Facility, and make an additional Renminbi contribution equivalent to US$10 million to be used to support agricultural development of the Global South. China is ready to discuss free trade arrangements with more Global South countries, continue to support the WTO's Aid for Trade initiative, and renew its contribution to the WTO's China Program. It welcomes more Global South countries to join the Initiative on International Trade and Economic Cooperation Framework for Digital Economy and Green Development. Between now and 2030, China's import from fellow developing countries is expected to exceed US$8 trillion.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence has been written into China's Constitution long before. They are the bedrock of China's independent foreign policy of peace. At present, China is working to build a great modern socialist country in all respects and achieve national rejuvenation through the Chinese path to modernization. On this new journey, we will continue to champion the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, work with all countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind, and make new and greater contributions to safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.

China's resolve to stay on the path of peaceful development will not change. We will never take the trodden path of colonial plundering, or the wrong path of seeking hegemony when one becomes strong. We will stay on the right path of peaceful development. Among the world's major countries, China has the best track record with respect to peace and security. It has been exploring for a distinctly Chinese approach to resolving hotspot issues. It has been playing a constructive role in the Ukraine crisis, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and issues relating to the Korean Peninsula, Iran, Myanmar, and Afghanistan. Every increase of China's strength is an increase of the prospects of world peace.

China's resolve to develop friendship and cooperation with all countries will not change. We will actively expand global partnerships based on equality, openness, and cooperation, and commit to expanding shared interests with all countries. China will promote coordination and sound interactions among major countries, and work to foster major-country dynamics featuring peaceful coexistence, overall stability, and balanced development. In its neighborhood, China will adhere to the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness as well as the policy of developing friendship and partnership with its neighbors. It will seek to deepen friendship, trust and common interests with its neighboring countries. With developing countries, China will stay committed to the principle of sincerity, real results, amity, and good faith, and take the right approach to friendship and interests. It will strengthen unity and cooperation with developing countries and safeguard our common interests. China will practice true multilateralism, and take an active part in the reform and improvement of the global governance system.

China's resolve to promote common development across the world will not change. High-quality development of the Chinese economy will provide strong impetus to world economic growth. Modernization achieved by 1.4 billion Chinese people means the addition of a new super-large market larger than all developed countries combined. China will only open itself ever wider to the outside world. Its door will never close. We are planning to take, and in some cases already taking, major steps to further deepen reform across the board and expand institutional opening up. We will build a business environment that is more solidly based on market and rule of law and is up to international standards. "Small yard with high fences," decoupling, and severing industrial and supply chains simply run counter to the tide of history. They will do nothing but harm the common interests of the international community.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A forerunner of Chinese revolution wrote a century ago, "The course of history is never smooth. It is sometimes beset with difficulties and obstacles. Nothing short of a heroic spirit can help surmount them." Today, the historic baton of advancing world peace and development has been passed to our generation. Let us take the 70th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence as a starting point, shoulder the historic missions, and forge ahead together to build a community with a shared future for mankind and usher in an even better future for humanity.

Thank you.