Remarks by H.E. Xi
President of the People's Republic of China
At the Asian-African Summit
Jakarta, 22 April 2015
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, we, the leaders of Asian and African countries, are gathered here in this beautiful city of Jakarta to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference, and to discuss important issues bearing on friendship and cooperation between Asia and Africa as well as development and rejuvenation in our respective countries. To me, this is a conference of far-reaching significance. First of all, I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to President Joko Widodo and the Indonesian government and to convey to you the sincere greetings and best wishes of the Chinese people.
Sixty years ago, leaders from 29 Asian and African countries attended the Bandung Conference, giving birth to the Bandung Spirit of solidarity, friendship and cooperation, galvanizing the national liberation movement that swept across Asia, Africa and Latin America, and accelerating the global process of decolonization. On the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, the Conference put forth the ten principles for the handling of state-to-state relations, which played a historic role in charting the right course for international relations, advancing Asia-Africa and South-South cooperation, and promoting North-South cooperation. The Bandung Conference, indeed, stands as a major milestone for the solidarity and cooperation between Asian and African peoples.
Over the past sixty years, sweeping and profound changes have taken place in the two ancient continents of Asia and Africa. Having won political independence as masters of their own destinies, the people of Asian and African countries have worked steadfastly to promote economic and social development, and endeavored to turn the once impoverished and backward continents into lands brimming with vigor and vitality for development. Inspired by the Bandung Spirit, Asian and African countries have enhanced their strength through unity and made steady progress in their cooperation at regional, sub-regional and cross-regional levels. By playing an increasingly important role in regional and international affairs, the stature of the Asian and African countries in the world strategic landscape has been elevated steadily.
Today, sixty years later, with the trend of the times featuring peace, development and win-win cooperation picking up steam, countries have evolved to forge a community of common destiny with each having a stake in others. At the same time, no one should lose sight of the fact that the world is by no means a tranquil place. Local turbulences keep cropping up, and such global challenges as terrorism and major communicable diseases are on constant increase. North-South gap remains staggering. Asian and African countries still face multiple difficulties and challenges in upholding sovereignty and security, maintaining unity and cooperation and achieving common development.
The Bandung Spirit under the new circumstances retains strong vitality. We must carry forward the Bandung Spirit by enriching it with new elements consistent with changing times, by pushing for a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, by promoting a more just and equitable international order and system, and by building a community of common destiny for whole humanity so as to bring about even greater benefits to the people in Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. To this end, I wish to make the following proposals:
First, we should deepen Asian-African cooperation. As important cradles of human civilization, the two continents are home to three quarters of the world population, and boast more than half of the UN member states. Asian-African cooperation is acquiring a global dimension of growing importance. In the face of new opportunities and new challenges, Asian and African countries need to hold on to their tradition of sharing weal and woe, seize the opportunities and meet the challenges together, and push Asian-African cooperation constantly to a higher level, so that we will always stay as good friends, good partners and good brothers.
As an African proverb goes, "One single pillar is not sufficient to build a house." In China, we have an old saying, which reads, "The going is difficult when doing it alone; the going is made easier when doing it with many others." By working closely together, Asian and African countries will gain far more than what their combined strengths could produce. We need to follow a win-win approach for common development, align our development strategies, enhance infrastructure connectivity, promote result-oriented cooperation in industry, agriculture, human resources development and other fields, and cultivate such new bright spots of cooperation as green energy, environment and e-commerce so as to translate the economic complementarity of the two continents into a collective driving force for their development. We should deepen regional and sub-regional cooperation, make better use of the existing mechanisms, build new cooperation platforms when conditions allow to advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and promote a new architecture of wide-ranging, multi-levelled and all-dimensional Asian-African cooperation.
There are more than 100 countries in Asia and Africa. Though diverse in social system, history, culture and values, they present a colorful tapestry of civilizations. We should seek common ground while shelving differences, and be open and inclusive. By drawing on each other's strengths through exchanges and mutual learning, we may see all civilizations progress and thrive together. What is more, Asian-African cooperation is not a closed and exclusive pursuit, but an open and win-win endeavor. We therefore welcome active participation and constructive contribution by countries from other regions.
Second, we should expand South-South cooperation. Mr. Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect of China's reform and opening-up, once said that South-South cooperation was such a well-put term that we must give whoever invented it a big medal. Indeed, developing countries in their large numbers are all faced with the common mission of accelerating development and improving people's lives. They ought to look to one another for comfort and come to each other's aid in times of difficulty. And they should actively carry out cooperation across the board to realize their respective development blueprints. A successful Asian-African cooperation will set a good and important example for South-South cooperation in other parts of the world.
While deepening their cooperation, Asian and African countries should step up unity and cooperation with the developing countries in Latin America, South Pacific and other regions, including in such areas as dialogue and exchange on governance, communication and coordination on major international and regional issues, and enhancement of forces making for world peace and common development.
Enhanced South-South cooperation calls for more effective institutions and mechanisms. It is important to make good use of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and other groupings, strengthen cooperation platforms such as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and BRICS, encourage dialogue and exchanges among regional organizations of developing countries and explore new frameworks for South-South cooperation. In this connection, China supports Indonesia's initiative of establishing an Asia-Africa Center. It is necessary to increase the representation and voice of the developing countries in the various international systems, guide the negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda so that they will focus more on addressing the difficulties and challenges of the developing countries, especially African countries and the least developed countries, and safeguard more effectively the legitimate rights and interests of the developing countries.
Third, we should advance North-South cooperation. The Bandung Spirit is not only relevant to Asian-African cooperation and South-South cooperation, it also provides important inspiration and useful reference for greater North-South cooperation. Balanced global development will remain elusive if a group of countries is allowed to get richer and richer while another group gets trapped in prolonged poverty and backwardness. From the strategic perspective of building a community of common destiny for mankind, North-South relations are not merely an economic and development issue but one that bears on the whole picture of world peace and stability.
Mutual respect and equality in state-to-state relations forms the political foundation in North-South cooperation. The win-win cooperation must be based on equality without which there would be no win-win cooperation. All countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are all equal members of the international community entitled to equal participation in relevant regional and international affairs. It is necessary to respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries, respect their independent choices of social system and development path, oppose any interference in the internal affairs of other countries and reject the behavior to impose one's will on others.
Helping developing countries to achieve development so as to close the North-South gap is the bounden responsibility and obligation of the developed countries. It is important to prod developed countries to earnestly deliver on their ODA commitments, step up their support for developing countries with no political strings attached, and build a more fair and balanced new global development partnership by strengthening the developing countries' capacity for independent development. It is also important to uphold and promote an open world economy, build fair, equitable, inclusive and rules-based international economic and financial systems, and create a sound external environment favorable for the development of developing countries.
It is necessary to abandon such outdated thinking as Cold War mentality and zero-sum game, champion the new vision for common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and settle conflicts and disputes peacefully through dialogue and consultation. Concerted efforts should be made to address non-traditional security issues and meet global challenges such as terrorism, public health hazards, cyber security and climate change, so as to build a community of common destiny, find a new path featuring security by all, of all and for all, and work together for lasting peace and stability in regions and around the world.
As a champion and staunch advocate for Asian-African solidarity and cooperation, China has given its firm and persistent support to the just cause of Asian and African countries for national liberation, acted resolutely to promote the common development of Asian and African countries, and provided them with sincere and selfless assistance. China, in its efforts to safeguard sovereignty, promote reunification and build the nation, has also received valuable support and help from Asian and African countries. The Chinese people will never forget that.
Under the new circumstances, China will stay firmly committed to closer Asian-African cooperation. Having already signed with eight of its neighbors the treaty of good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation, China is ready to do the same with the rest of its neighboring countries. China will step up peace and security cooperation with African countries with a view to enhancing their capacity for peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, and counter-piracy operations. China is ready to carry out production capacity cooperation with Asian and African countries, helping African countries with the building of high-speed rail, expressway and regional aviation networks and facilitating the industrialization process in Asia and Africa. By the end of this year, China will extend zero-tariff treatment to 97% of tax items from all the least developed countries having diplomatic ties with China. And China will continue to provide assistance to developing countries without political conditions. China will work with all parties in the building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, managing well the launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and making proper use of the Silk Road Fund. China will join the relevant countries in improving ASEAN Plus China, the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other cooperation platforms, and ensuring the success of the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to be held in South Africa later this year. China will continue to promote South-South cooperation and North-South cooperation, working with other countries to secure peace and stability at regional and global levels and achieve common development and prosperity.
I would like to announce here that in the next five years, China will offer 100,000 training opportunities for candidates from developing countries in Asia and Africa and host the annual Asia-Africa Youth Festival, inviting a total of 2,000 Asian and African youth to China. China will set up a China-Asia and Africa cooperation center to further exchanges and cooperation among Asian and African countries. China will launch a program for exchanges and research on international law between China and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization. And China will host an international seminar this year themed on the Bandung Spirit. Your active participation in the event will be greatly appreciated.
Guided by the strategic vision of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and comprehensively deepening reform, advancing law-based governance, and enforcing strict Party discipline, the Chinese people are working in concert to achieve the two centenary goals (completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects when the Communist Party of China celebrates its centenary in 2021 and having a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious country when the People's Republic celebrates its centenary in 2049) and realize the Chinese dream of great national rejuvenation. The Chinese dream, which is highly compatible with the dreams of other people in Asia, Africa and beyond, will bring benefit not only to the Chinese people but also to the people all over the world.
The Chinese nation is one that loves peace, cherishes peace and advocates peace. Committing itself to the path of peaceful development, China will continue to pursue an independent foreign policy of peace, an opening-up strategy of mutual benefit, and a balanced approach to principles and interests. Dedicated to developing friendship and cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, China will always be a staunch force for world peace and common development. No matter how developed it may become and how much the international landscape may change, China will remain a reliable friend and sincere partner to the developing countries. This bedrock of China's foreign policy has not and will never change.
According to the traditional Chinese calendar, every 60 years form a cycle. That brings Asian-African cooperation of 60 years to a new starting point. The past six decades saw China and countries in Asia and Africa stand together, rain or shine, with a relationship that flows as vigorous as the mighty Yangtze, Solo and Nile rivers. Looking ahead, we should carry forward the Bandung Spirit and make our dream for rejuvenated Asia and Africa come true. In so doing, we can bring more benefits to our people and contribute more to the lofty cause of peace and development for mankind.