Fourth, we should promote the rule-setting and improve the institutional safeguards for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. To live together in peace, countries should follow the spirit of the rule of law, the international norms based on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and the widely-recognized rules of fairness and justice. International and regional rules should be discussed, formulated and observed by all countries concerned, rather than being dictated by any particular country. Rules of individual countries should not automatically become “international rules,” still less should individual countries be allowed to violate the lawful rights and interests of others under the pretext of “rule of law.”
China has firmly upheld and actively contributed to international law, and regional rules and norms. To practice the rule of law in international relations, China, together with India and Myanmar, initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in 1954. China has acceded to almost all inter-governmental international organizations and more than 400 international multilateral treaties so far. China is committed to upholding regional maritime security and order, and enhancing the building of institutions and rules. In 2014, China presided over the adoption of the updated Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium held in China. China and ASEAN countries will continue to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and strive for the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct (COC) on the basis of consensus in the framework of the DOC. In addition, China has taken an active part in consultations on setting rules in new areas such as cyberspace and outer space, so as to contribute to the formulation of widely accepted fair and equitable international rules.
Fifth, we should intensify military exchanges and cooperation to offer more guarantees for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. China faces diverse and complex security threats and challenges, as well as the arduous task of safeguarding national unity and territorial integrity. Building strong national defence and armed forces that are commensurate with China’s international standing and its security and development interests is a strategic task in China’s modernization drive, and provides a strong guarantee for its peaceful development. China’s armed forces provide security and strategic support for the country’s development and also make positive contributions to the maintenance of world peace and regional stability.
China’s armed forces have called for, facilitated, and participated in international security cooperation. China has followed the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, conducted all-round military exchanges with other countries, and developed non-aligned and non-confrontational military cooperation not targeting any third party. It has worked to promote the establishment of just and effective collective security mechanisms and military confidence-building mechanisms.
On the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and mutually beneficial cooperation, China has increased interactions and cooperation with the armed forces of other countries, and intensified cooperation on confidence-building measures in border areas. China has promoted dialogue and cooperation on maritime security, participated in United Nations peacekeeping missions, international counter-terrorism cooperation, escort missions and disaster-relief operations, and conducted relevant joint exercises and training with other countries.
Sixth, we should properly resolve differences and disputes, and maintain a sound environment of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Most of the hotspot and sensitive issues in this region have been left over from history. To handle them, the countries in the region should follow the tradition of mutual respect, seeking common ground while reserving differences, and peaceful coexistence, and work to solve disputes properly and peacefully through direct negotiation and consultation. We should not allow old problems to hamper regional development and cooperation, and undermine mutual trust. For disputes over territories and maritime rights and interests, the sovereign states directly involved should respect historical facts and seek a peaceful solution through negotiation and consultation in accordance with the fundamental principles and legal procedures defined by universally recognized international law and modern maritime law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Pending a satisfactory solution to disputes, the parties concerned should engage in dialogue to promote cooperation, manage each situation appropriately and prevent conflicts from escalating, so as to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the region.
China is committed to upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea, and working for peaceful solutions to the disputes over territories and maritime rights and interests with the countries directly involved through friendly negotiation and consultation. This commitment remains unchanged. China has actively pushed for peaceful solutions to hotspot issues such as the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and the Afghanistan issue, and played its due role as a responsible major country.