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President Jiang Zemin Speech in Islamabad December 1996

Carrying Forward Generations of Friendly and Good-Neighborly Relations and Endeavoring Towards a Better Tomorrow for All


Speech by President Jiang Zemin of the People's Republic of China

Islamabad, Pakistan

2 December, 1996

Your Excellency President Leghari,

Your Excellency Mr. Sajjad, Chairman of the Senate

Respected Friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great joy that I have come to our close neighbor, the friendly Pakistan, for a state visit at the invitation of His Excellency President Leghari. I am exceptionally delighted today by the privilege of meeting all of you here. Please allow me to take this opportunity to convey to you and, through you, to the fraternal people of Pakistan the cordial greetings and best wishes of the Chinese People.

Pakistan is a great country with a time-honored and a splendid culture and its people are industrious, brave and talented. Brave and talented. Since independence, the Government and people of Pakistan have worked hard and scored gratifying achievements in the cause of nation-building. Pursuing a foreign policy of peace, independence, and non-alignment, Pakistan plays a constructive and positive role in regional and international affairs. The Chinese Government and people are overjoyed by the accomplishment of our Pakistani brothers and wish them new and greater successes on their path of nation-building and economic rejuvenation.

China and Pakistan enjoy a profound friendship dating back to ancient times, a friendship that has withstood the test of international vicissitudes. Over the past 45 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, thanks to the loving care of the leaders of the two countries and the joint efforts of the two sides, Sino-Pakistani relations have enjoyed an all-round growth and bilateral cooperation based on mutual benefit has produced fruitful results. Our two peoples have regarded each other as friends in need and brothers bound by common fate, always sympathizing with and supporting each other. The Chinese Government and people cherish profoundly the traditional friendship between our two countries and stand ready to join the Pakistani side in further solidifying and strengthening this friendly and cooperative relationship.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The subcontinent of South Asia is an ancient and fascinating land. When human cultures in many parts of the world remained in their infancy, the people here had already created the resplendent Harappa Culture, adding a glowing page to ancient civilization of mankind. In modern times, when colonialism and imperialism ran amuck in South Asia, the people here fought back with an unyielding struggle that lasted more than a century, writing down a glorious chapter in the history of winning national independence by Asian peoples. Today, the people in South Asia have, with firm steps, embarked on a new journey towards stability and development, determined to end poverty and backwardness and catch up with the trend of the times. We are pleased to see the heartening progress made by the South Asian countries in recent years in improving their relations with one another and strengthening regional cooperation. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has played a meaningful role in promoting peace, stability and economic cooperation in the region. As all South Asian countries are committed to economic development while vigorously exploring for a path of economic reform and development suited to their respective national conditions, a favorable momentum of steady economic growth has begun to emerge across the region.

South Asia has a large population, vast area, rich natural resources and huge potential for development. It is my firm belief that the various South Asian peoples, who won their independence with a display of a dauntless spirit, will surely usher in a new era of prosperity and abundance on their fertile land of millennial civilization through their indomitable endeavor. Asia's booming economies and the unfolding economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region have presented a valuable opportunity for the economic development of South Asia, whereas economic rejuvenation of South Asia will in turn facilitate Asia's rise and a more prosperous Asia-Pacific. China and South Asia are linked not only by common mountains and rivers, but also by a time-honored history of cultural exchanges and friendly contacts. Since ancient times we have been good neighbors, good friends and good brothers. Looking back, Chinese high monks Fa-Hsien and Hsuan-Tsang, renowned South Asian monks Buddhabhadra and Bodhidharma, were among numerous forerunners who, undeterred by the hardship of journeying through mountains and rivers, helped build bridges of friendly contacts between the two sides.

China and South Asia have had similar historical experience, in that they all suffered from the frenzied plunder and ruthless trampling of colonialism and imperialism. It is our common fate in bad times that makes our friendship all the more endearing. We have all along sympathized with and supported each other, be it in our erstwhile fight for national liberation and independence or in our current quest for state sovereignty and faster economic development. We will always engrave on our mind the invaluable support from our friends.

As much as they are cradles of human civilizations, China and South Asia are also the birthplace of the famous Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in modern times. In mid-1950s, in a display of extraordinary vision, the statesmen of China, South Asia and some other Asian countries jointly initiated the five principles of 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. This was a groundbreaking event of historic significance, giving expression not only to the common wish of the newly-independent Asian countries for world peace and equal coexistence but also to the universal demand of the people all over the world. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, like an evergreen tree drawing nutrients from both the oriental civilization and the spirit of the times, are displaying an undiminishing vitality after braving 40 years' of vicissitudes as they have norms governing state-to-state relations and the foundation for the new international political and economic order.

China and South Asian countries are all members of the developing world dedicated, as they are now, to developing their economies and improving their peoples' livelihood. They all need a peaceful and stable international environment and, particularly, a favorable surrounding environment. Given this, we are all positive factors making for peace and faster development.

To solidify our friendly and good-neithborly ties with the surrounding countries is our sincere wish and unswerving policy. Thanks to concerted efforts of the two sides in recent years, the multi-dimensional exchanges and cooperation between China and the various South Asian countries in many fields have grown steadily from strength to strength. Blessed with favorable political, economic, cultural and geographical conditions, the development of friendly relations and cooperation between the two sides holds out broad prospects and enjoys a huge potential for progress. We are ready to join hands with the South Asian countries in building a friendly and good-neighborly relationship that is long-term, stable and oriented towards the 21st century. To this end, we wish to propose. Broadening exchanges and deepening the traditional friendship. We should, through a variety of exchanges, particularly direct contacts and dialogues between top leaders, enhance mutual understanding and trust and build closer ties between each other. We should make joint efforts to carry forward the friendship between China on one hand and various South Asian counties on the other which was cultivated by our older generations of leaders.

2. Respecting each other and handing down the friendly and good-neighborly relations from generation to generation. China has always held that all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are all equals, While firmly opposed to such hegemonistic behaviors as infringing on other countries' sovereignty and interfering in other countries' internal affairs, China will never seek hegemony for itself. Always respecting other countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity, China also hopes that its position of achieving reunification and opposing national dismemberment will be understood and respected by others. China stands ready to live harmoniously with the South Asian countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China is forever a trustworthy friend and neighbor to them. 3. Promoting mutual benefit and common development. Economic and technical technical cooperation of various forms should be carried out on the basis of equality and mutual benefit with emphasis on practical results so as to supply each other's needs and draw on each other's advantages. New ways of cooperation should be explored with a view to constantly expanding the scope of cooperation, upgrading its level and laying a more solid foundation for closer bilateral relations.

4. Properly handling existing disputes in the spirit of seeking common ground while setting aside differences. China and the South Asian countries have a great deal of common ground and converging interests just as all neighbors do. However, as neighbors, it is difficult not to have some differences or disputes from time to time. We stand for seeking common ground on major issues while reserving differences on minor ones. We should look at the differences or disputes from a long perspective, seeking a just and reasonable settlement through consultations and negotiations while bearing in mind the larger picture. If certain issues can not be resolved for the time being, they may be shelved temporarily so that they will not affect the normal state-to-state relations.

5. Working together towards a better future through unity and cooperation. While the world is undergoing a structural transition, it is necessary for our two sides to step up consultation, cooperate closely and come to each other's support in international affairs with a view to jointly safeguarding the rights and interests of developing countries and facilitating the establishment of a fair and equitable new international political and economic order. In the international relations today, economic factor is gaining an increasingly important role. Past experiences have proved that only through closer unity and cooperation and with a sound economic development can developing countries effectively resist hegemonism and outside interference, safeguard their independence, sovereignty and interests and secure a firm foothold in the community of nations.

As home to one third of Asia's population, South Asia is an important part of Asia. Without its stability and development, there can be no peace and prosperity in Asia as a whole. We sincerely hope that this region will enjoy long-term stability and vigorous economic development; that South Asian countries will treat one another as equals and live harmoniously, thus becoming exemplary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in practice; and that they will settle their differences and disputes peacefully in the spirit of seeking common ground while reserving differences, mutual understanding and mutual accommodation. China will, as always, support South Asian regional cooperation, support the proposal and initiative for the establishment of South Asia Nuclear-free Zone and Indian Ocean Zone of Peace, and support all efforts designed to serve peace, stability and development in the South Asian region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to take this opportunity to say something about my own country. Over the past 47years since the founding of New china, the Chinese people have worked hard in self-reliance and are now advancing towards the goal of socialist modernization. Since the introduction of reform and opening-up, China's national economy has enjoyed a sustained, rapid and sound development. From 1979 to 1995, Our GNP increased by an annual rate of 9.9% and the income for our urban and rural residents by 6.3%. In 1995, our total import and export trade volume reached 280 billion US dollars. In the coming 15 years, according to our development program, China's economy will still be growing by over 7% annually.

During the course of modernization drive, we pay extra attention to properly handling the relations among reform, development and stability. Economic development is central to all our undertakings, with reform being the driving force for development, development being the foundation for social stability and prosperity, and stability being the precondition for economic growth and smooth implementation of reform.

Upholding the principle of ethnic equality, we attach great importance to developing economic and social undertaking in areas inhabited by minority ethnic groups, respecting their customs and lifestyles and protecting their freedom of religious belief. As a result, a sound relationship characterized by equality, mutual assistance, unity, cooperation and common prosperity has emerged among the people of all ethnic groups.

At present, China enjoys political stability, economic prosperity, national unity and social progress. Our endeavors on all fronts are progressing successfully.

It is the sacred duty of every people to maintain its national unification. The Chinese people are resolved to overcome all interferences and settle the questions of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan in accordance with the principle of "one country, two systems" so as to fulfill the lofty mission of national reunification. China will resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macao in 1997 and 1999 respectively. After returning to the motherland, they will maintain prosperity and stability, and continue to play an active role in strengthening the economic and trade links among Asian countries and between Asia and the rest of the world, Hong Kong will retain its status as an international trade, financial and shipping center, and the legitimate rights rights and interests of foreign enterprises there will be protected by law. A reunified and prosperous China will be a major contribution to peace and development in Asia and the world at large.

We are at a crucial moment where a new century will descend on a world undergoing profound historical changes. The trend of multipolarization featuring the rise of the developing countries is rolling on like an irresistible deluge. The pursuit of peace, stability, cooperation and development has become the main theme of our times. However, hegemonism and power politics linger on, numerous contradictions and disputes continue to plague the world, and peace and development remain severely challenged. The Chinese people stand ready to work with the peoples of South Asia and other countries towards a new century of peace and cooperation and a new world of stability and prosperity.

Thank you.

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