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Peaceful coexistence is vital for world

By MA LI | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-29 08:36
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On Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a significant speech at the Conference Marking the 70th Anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. In his address, he underscored the pivotal role of these principles in guiding the coexistence of nations with diverse social systems, enhancing collaboration among developing countries, and advancing the international order.

President Xi announced the establishment of a Global South research center, along with, in the next five years, offering 1,000 scholarships to countries in the Global South, providing 100,000 training opportunities, and initiating a Global South youth leadership program. Furthermore, he pledged continued support for agricultural development as part of China's commitment to fostering growth and cooperation among nations.

Just as President Xi said, the establishment of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence was a call of the times and a choice of history.

After gaining independence from colonial rule following the end of World War II, thanks to their decades of freedom struggle, countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America were eager to establish fair and equitable international relations and an equitable world order. Against this backdrop, then Chinese premier Zhou Enlai put forward in full these principles — mutual respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence — to guide international relations.

Later, on June 28-29, 1954, China issued two joint statements with India and Myanmar respectively, confirming they will be committed to following the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence not only in bilateral relations but also international relations.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. In the seven decades since their adoption, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have become the basic norms governing international relations.

It is no coincidence that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence were born in Asia, because they embody the Asian tradition of peace and harmony. More importantly, after being tested by the evolution of international relations over the past seven decades, they have been adopted by many other countries in Asia and the rest of the world.

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence give concrete expression to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and facilitate their implementation. They have become the general principles of international law, which reflect inclusiveness and openness, and emphasize the significance of respect for the sovereignty of all countries, and promote justice, democracy and rule of law. They play an important role in promoting global peace and human progress, and offer a peaceful way of resolving bilateral and multilateral disputes.

Moreover, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence reflect the new expectations the Asian countries have of international relations and the global governance system.

The world is undergoing unprecedented changes thanks to the rapid development of science and technology, especially information and communications technology, including artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and Internet Plus, giving rise to new trends and mechanisms. However, the trends of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit will never change, for they benefit not only all countries but also all humankind.

But the hegemonic, aggressive foreign policy and bullying tactics of some Western powers, which use their strength to intimidate weaker nations, take from others by force and subterfuge, and play zero-sum games, have sullied international relations. By doing so, those Western powers have increased the deficits in peace, development, security and governance, posing a serious challenge to humankind. Peace and development are the common aspirations of the people of all countries. Against this backdrop, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are more relevant and significant today than ever before.

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence contribute Chinese wisdom to the improvement of the international order. Mutual respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries is the foundation, mutual non-aggression and non-interference in each other's internal affairs are the guarantee, and equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence are the goals of Chinese diplomacy. These three parts of Chinese diplomacy promote fair international relations, and are opposed to hegemony, power politics and the strong preying on the weak.

The goal of Chinese diplomacy is to foster interactions among nations founded on mutual respect and equality, while working to enhance the international order toward fairness, justice and mutually beneficial cooperation.

The core of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence is that no country should monopolize international relations, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected, and countries with different political systems can coexist peacefully.

Non-interference in other countries' internal affairs has become a rallying call for enhancing solidarity and cooperation among countries across the world.

Also, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have deepened mutual understanding and mutual trust among developing countries, boosted South-South cooperation and contributed to the improvement of North-South relations. In fact, they have played a positive role in building a more equitable and rational international political and economic order.

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, as inclusive principles of international law, embody the values of sovereignty, justice, democracy and rule of law, as well as the concepts of sovereignty, peace, win-win cooperation and justice.

China and the rest of the world should jointly uphold common security and development, win-win cooperation, inclusiveness, mutual learning, fairness and justice in the new era, and promote true democracy and strengthen the rule of law in international relations.

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence form the core of China's diplomacy. As late leader Deng Xiaoping said, it is essential to build a new international economic order as well as a new international political order by adhering to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Accordingly, China has proposed to help build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.

The concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind is based on the values of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and sublimates the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in the new era. The world has entered a period of turbulence and transformation. Yet the overall direction of human development and progress will not change, the overall dynamics of world history will keep moving forward despite the many twists and turns, and the overall trend toward a shared future for the international community will continue.

China will always be a member of the Global South and continue to work with other developing countries to carry forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, while firmly pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace and development, upholding multilateralism, promoting equity and justice, and facilitating the common development of the world. It will also continue to contribute Chinese wisdom to the development of civilizations.

The author is a research fellow at the Secretariat of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy Studies Center. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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