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China upgrades diplomatic guiding principles
By Li Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-14 23:33

China is willing to add new dimensions to the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence that have guided the country's diplomatic practices for half a century, said former Vice-Premier Qian Qichen.

He said that in order to bring new life to the five principles, countries worldwide should foster a new sense of security featuring mutual trust and benefits, equality and co-ordination.

Meanwhile, respecting the diversity of the world and promoting multilateralism are also among the new contents, he added.

Qian made the remarks Monday at the opening ceremony of an international seminar to honour the 50th anniversary of the principles Monday in Beijing.

More than 100 senior domestic and foreign statesmen, scholars and experts from China and 12 other countries across the world attend the two-day seminar that was sponsored by the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs.

Qian said that in a world where economic globalization is surging forward rapidly and interdependence is deepening, the Five Principles still had a potentially wide application as the fundamental theory guiding international relations.

Qian's view was echoed by Indian former President K. R. Narayanan.

"The appropriate code of conduct for a globalized world would be the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence and not the over-lordship of one super power or group of nations," he added.

The Five Principles, initiated by China, India and Myanmar in 1954, include mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence.

Butros Butros-Ghali, former secretary-general of the United Nations, said that the Five Principles had been incorporated into the UN Charter and gradually accepted by the international community as fundamental rules in dealing with state-to-state relations.

But he noted that some of the five principles are facing challenges under the new circumstance such as the principle of non-interference that has been severely weakened by humanitarian intervention and unilateral sanctions applied by member states without approval by the UN.

"The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence have close links with the UN, and if the UN becomes weak, then the principles will be weak," said Ghali, replying to China Daily's questions in a joint interview with Chinese media over the weekend in Beijing.

Taking the principle of non-interference for instance, the 82-year-old former secretary general said: "When a poor African country is confronted with anarchy and chaos, how can we be sure that the international intervention is not related to political reasons without any links to the internal dispute?"

Ghali, as well as former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, former US Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and George P. Shultz, also gave speeches at Monday's seminar.

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