Address by H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping
President of the People's Republic of China
At Meeting Marking the 60th Anniversary
Of the Initiation of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence
28 June 2014
Your Excellency President U Thein Sein,
Your Excellency Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, we are meeting here to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the initiation of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. This is an important occasion not only for China, India and Myanmar, but also for the international community. It is of great significance for carrying forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, enhancing friendship and cooperation among peoples of various countries, and promoting world peace and development.
On behalf of the Chinese government and people and in my own name, I extend a very warm welcome to all of you, distinguished guests and friends.
President U Thein Sein and Vice President Hamid Ansari have just delivered warm and important remarks, which I very much appreciate.
Six decades ago, in the course of decolonization that started at the end of the Second World War, the struggle for independence and liberation in Asia, Africa and Latin America surged. The newly independent countries longed for equality in international relations. Echoing this historical trend, China, India and Myanmar jointly initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, namely, mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.
On 28 and 29 June 1954, China issued two joint statements respectively with India and Myanmar, confirming their commitment to these Five Principles in conducting their mutual relations and their respective relations with other countries in Asia and the world. This was a major initiative in the history of international relations and a historic contribution to the building of a new type of just and equitable international relations.
At this moment of reflection, we greatly cherish the memory of the past leaders of our three countries who initiated the Five Principles and pay high tribute to people with vision in all countries who have carried forward the Five Principles over the years.
The commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence today gives us an opportunity to explore ways to better promote these Five Principles in the new era so as to build a new type of international relations and a better world of win-win cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is no coincidence that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence were born in Asia, because they embody the Asian tradition of loving peace. The Chinese nation has always held such beliefs as "peace is most precious", "harmony without uniformity", "peace among all nations" and "universal love and non-aggression". The people of India, Myanmar and other Asian countries also cherish the values of love, kindness and peace. In one of his poems, Rabindranath Tagore, the great Indian poet, wrote that if you think friendship can be won through war, spring will fade away before your eyes. Myanmar has a World Peace Pagoda where people go to pray for world peace.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence give concrete expression to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and facilitate their implementation. The key elements of the Five Principles, namely, "mutual" and "coexistence", demonstrate the new expectations the Asian countries have for international relations and the principle of international rule of law that give countries rights, obligations and responsibilities.
In the 1950s, guided by the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, the wind of friendship swept across the vast land of China and India. When Premier Zhou Enlai visited India, everywhere he went, the local people greeted him with "Panchsheel Zindabad", which means long live the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and "Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai", which means Indians and Chinese are brothers. Under the guidance of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, China and Myanmar settled the boundary issue. The China-Myanmar boundary treaty signed in 1960 is the first boundary treaty the People's Republic of China signed with its neighbors. The Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Non-Aggression between China and Myanmar is also the first treaty of peace and friendship between Asian countries.
For 60 years, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have struck deep roots and flourished in China, India and Myanmar. Meanwhile, thanks to the important contribution made by the three countries, these principles are accepted in other parts of Asia and the world. China believes that the successful application of the Five Principles in international relations fully testifies to their strong vitality. India has said that, if these principles are recognized in mutual relations of all countries, then indeed there would hardly be any conflict and certainly no war. Myanmar also believes that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are appropriate guiding principles for all countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Having been tested by the evolution of international relations in the past six decades, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, as open and inclusive principles of international law, embody the values of sovereignty, justice, democracy and rule of law.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have become the basic norms governing international relations as well as basic principles of international law. These Five Principles, as an integrated, interconnected and indivisible concept, capture the essence of today's international relations, and can apply to relations among all countries regardless of their social system, stage of development or size. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence were expanded into ten principles adopted at the Bandung Conference in 1955. The Non-Aligned Movement which emerged in the 1960s adopted the Five Principles as its guiding principles. These principles were also incorporated in the relevant declarations adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1970 and 1974. Today, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are also endorsed by a host of international organizations and international instruments, and are widely supported and observed by the international community.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have effectively upheld the rights and interests of the developing world. The core of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence is that there is sovereign equality among all countries and that no country should monopolize international affairs. These principles offer a powerful intellectual tool for developing countries to uphold their sovereignty and independence, and they have thus become a rallying call for enhancing solidarity, cooperation and strength among them. These principles have deepened the mutual understanding and trust among developing countries, boosted South-South cooperation and also contributed to the improvement of North-South relations.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have played a positive role in building a more equitable and rational international political and economic order. Rejecting the law of the jungle by which the strong bullies the weak, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence strengthened the movement against imperialism and colonialism that eventually brought colonialism to an end. During the Cold War of East-West confrontation, none of the policies such as "the big family", "bloc politics" or "sphere of influence" was successful in handling state-to-state relations, and they only heightened antagonism and tension. By contrast, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence provided a new approach for peacefully resolving historical issues and international disputes.