The ICAS Lectures


China and Asia

Zheng Zeguang

ICAS Fall Symposium
Humanity, Peace and Security
October 11, 2005 12:30 PM -- 5:30 PM United States Senate Russell Office Building Caucus Room SR 325 Capitol Hill, Washington D C 20510

Institute for Corean-American Studies, Inc.

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Biographic Sketch & Links: Zheng Zeguang

China and Asia

Zheng Zeguang
Minister of the Chinese Embassy


China's View on Asia

Since the latter half of the last century, Asian countries have been committed to exploring the development roads in accordance with their own realities. The result: a group of industrialized countries have emerged out of them. Asia has become the most dynamic region with the fastest growing economy in the world.

As we have entered the 21-century, Asia remains energetic and faces historical opportunities of rejuvenation and development. The overall eased international situation provides a favorable external environment for Asia. Rich resources, abundant labor forces and vast markets create unique advantages for Asia's sustained economic growth. The regional cooperation keeps speeding up, which raises the competitiveness of Asia comprehensively.

Asia is a region full of hopes but also filled with challenges. There exist the territorial, ethnic and religious issues left over from history, regional hot issues, the issue of imbalanced economic development, and such new problems as terrorism, cross-border crime, deterioration of the environment and spread of epidemic diseases.

Asia needs peace. Peace is the prerequisite and guarantee for building happiness and prosperity. Wars and conflicts not only inflict trauma on the people but also bungle the opportunities of national development. And the road to peace is through dialogue and cooperation in keeping with the principles of mutual respect and mutual accommodation.

Asia needs stability. Sovereignty and territorial integrity of Asia countries, like elsewhere, should be respected. The international community should make more efforts favorable to regional stability and the stability of individual countries and pay greater attention and deliver greater help to the economically underdeveloped countries.

Asia needs cooperation. The diversification of Asia provides vast space for the cooperation among countries in the region and with countries in other regions. We should focus on economic and trade cooperation, establish and improve the cooperation mechanisms in energy development and exploration, environmental protection, utilization of resources and financial dialogue and gradually raise cooperation to higher levels.

Asia needs development. Most Asian countries are still underdeveloped and their poverty-stricken population account for two thirds of the world's total. The development of Asia and improvement of people's living standards are themselves major contributions to the world.

China's Role in Asia

China is a member of the Asian family. The Chinese people love peace, value stability, seek cooperation and are committed to development.

With a population of 1.3 billion, China is the biggest developing country in Asia and indeed, in the world. Since the reform and open-up policies were introduced in 1978, China has scored remarkable achievements. Its GDP has grown from 150 billion to 1.65 trillion U.S. dollars, and its per capita GDP from 190 to over 1,200 U.S. dollars. People's lives are improving everyday. Democracy, rule of law and various other undertakings are making constant progress. The people of China are full of hope for building socialism with Chinese characteristics.

China is still a developing country. We rank behind the one hundredth place in the world in per capita GDP. We have 26 million people in need of basic subsistence. We need to create 24 million new jobs every year, but can create only 10 million a year on the condition that the current growth rate is maintained. To meet these challenges, the recently concluded 5th plenary of the 16th Central Committee of our Party approved the proposals for formulating the 11th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development. The Plan is set to adjust the nation's development model and aims at building a harmonious society by narrowing the yawning gap between the rich and the poor and curbing widespread environmental degradation. We are soberly aware of the long journey ahead and the arduous efforts required of us to ensure everyone in China a well-off live.

We have embarked on a road to peaceful development ever since the beginning of reform and open-up. The centerpiece of this strategy is "maintaining external peace and internal harmony". The Chinese-style diplomacy is centered on the theme of "peace, development and cooperation". Based on such a theme, China is committed to working together with people of all the countries, the United States included, to build a peaceful, amicable and harmonious new world. While seeking a peaceful international environment to develop itself, China, by its own development, is contributing to the maintenance of world peace at the same time.

China is sincere and determined to follow the peaceful development road. The Chinese people will always be a trustworthy and reliable partner of the people of other Asian countries.

--- We will continue to concentrate on handling our own business well. China still has a long way to go to realize modernization. Even if we grow strong in the future, we will hinder nobody, not to mention threatening anyone. China will never seek hegemony!

--- We will continue to expand and intensify cooperation with all the other Asian countries. All countries, no matter big or small, rich or poor, are our equal partners. Mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation is our goal. China supports the role of Asian regional and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms. We will work with all the rest countries in Asia to strengthen mutual trust in politics, deepen economic and trade cooperation, expand cultural exchanges, strengthen security dialogue and make greater contribution to promoting all-round cooperation in the region.

--- We will continue to properly handle the problems left over from history. To adhere to the five principles of peaceful coexistence and reinforce dialogue and consultations is helpful to resolving contradictions, building common consensus and appropriately addressing problems left over from history. China has solved the historical land border issues with the majority of countries through equal consultations and mutual accommodation and understanding. In the principle of putting aside disputes and engaging in joint exploitation, we have reached common consensus with some countries on the joint development of South China Sea. The Chinese government unswervingly pursues the policy of "becoming a good neighbor and a good partner" to constantly improve and develop the friendly relations with all the other countries in Asia.

--- We will continue to play a constructive role in regional affairs. China is a responsible country and has fulfilled its due responsibilities in guarding against the Asian financial crisis, fighting against the SARS epidemic and assisting the Indian Ocean tsunami-affected countries. In the future we will continue to uphold justice in both regional and international affairs and protect the rights and interests of developing countries. We will, as always, extend mutual support and help in safeguarding economic security and fighting against major natural disasters. China provides assistance to other countries in its own power sincerely and selflessly without any political conditions attached.

--- We will continue to support Asia in maintaining its openness. China's development benefits from its opening up. Therefore, we always hold that Asia's development must maintain openness. Asia's cooperation is neither exclusive nor targeted at any third party. China and all the other Asian countries welcome all countries and organizations in the world to get involved in Asia's development process and play an active role.

China ľU.S. Cooperation in Asia

China and the U.S. are the biggest developing country and the biggest developed countries of the world respectively. Developing China-U.S. relations is not only in the interest of the two countries and peoples, but also conducive to peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large. The history of China-U.S. relations show that China and the U.S. can develop together, benefit together and win together.

In mid September, President Hu Jintao and President Bush held a meeting in New York where they reached important agreement. Both believe that China and the U.S. should enhance mutual trust and strengthen cooperation so as to advance their constructive and cooperative relationship in the 21st century in an all round way and promote peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large. They have indeed pointed the direction in which China-U.S. relations should go.

In the Asia-Pacific region, it is essential for China and the U.S. to work together for greater regional peace, stability and security by deepening their cooperation in such fields as regional stability, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, economy and trade, finance, and most recently, avian flu and disaster relief in the earthquake-hit regions in South Asia.

At the Six-Party Talks concluded last month, an agreement on principle was adopted thanks to the concerted efforts of China, the U.S. and the other parties. This is of major significance to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.

China respects U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region and hopes to see it play an active and constructive role in Asia. We also believe that China and the U.S. are fully capable of cooperating more closely for a mutually beneficial and win-win result.

This page last updated 11/4/2005 jdb

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