Work Together for Peace, Prosperity and a Beautiful Future | 作者: Tang Jiaxuan | 时间: 2015-02-15 | 责编: Li Minjie
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Tang Jiaxuan[1]


      Since China and the Republic of Korea established diplomatic ties in 1992, relations between the two countries have developed by leaps and bounds. Multi-level and multi-dimensional exchange and cooperation mechanisms have been set up in various areas and are functioning smoothly with sound momentum. The two sides are more closely related by mutual interest. Bilateral trade in 2013 broke US$27 billion, surpassing the total volume of trade between Korea and the US, Japan and the EU combined. The “China Wind” and the “Korean Wave” enhance and reinforce each other. Friendly feelings between the peoples of China and Korea are deepening. Over 800 flights shuttle between the two countries every week and people-to-people exchange exceeds 8 million a year. Cooperation in international affairs is getting ever closer and the two countries are making more and more contribution in the region and the world at large. The attractive achievements scored in China-Korea relations are the result of concerted efforts by both sides under the condition of opportune time, favorable geographic position and harmonious human relationship.

The formation of new government in both China and Korea in 2013 ushered in fresh and sound opportunity for the development of bilateral relations. The successful visits already made by the heads of state of the two countries and the ever-deepening exchange and cooperation in various fields have pushed the bilateral relationship into a new period of development. The state visit President Xi Jinping made to Korea in July 2014 is of particular significance in that the two heads of state made top-level design for the bilateral relations from a long-term and strategic perspective on the basis of summing up the experience of the development of China-Korea relations, thus further identifying and enriching the content of China-Korea strategic cooperation partnership. The two sides set forth to become partners for achieving and promoting common development, regional peace, Asian rejuvenation and world prosperity, put forward 107 concrete items to be accomplished in 23 areas and decided upon a range of new targets, thus injecting fresh strong impetus into the development of bilateral relations.

China-Korea relations at present are at their best in history and enjoy tremendous potentials. The two sides can, through their concerted efforts, further promote the level, breadth and depth of their strategic cooperation partnership to better serve the well-being of the two peoples and make greater contribution to safeguarding regional peace and promoting regional prosperity. To this end, the two sides should make efforts to realize integration in the following three aspects.


First, integration between deepening political mutual trust and strengthening result-oriented cooperation

At present, communication at various levels between China and Korea is ever deepening and political mutual trust between the two countries is increasingly strengthening, which provide a solid foundation for the development of bilateral relations. In the meantime, the strong complementariness between Chinese and Korean industries, as well as the result-oriented cooperation between the two countries in the economic, trade and other fields, has always been providing constant impetus for the continuous fast development of bilateral relations. The two sides may, through their common efforts, make the political foundation and economic impetus to complement and promote each other to realize the state of warm relationship in both political and economic fields. The two sides are at present engaged in free trade area (FTA) talks which not only need weighing and balancing on the economic level but also resolve in making political decision. If agreement could be reached by the end of the year as the two heads of state expected, it would not only give impetus to economic growth and industrial upgrading of the two countries and raise their ability in offsetting and coping with external economic risks but also further promote political mutual trust and interest integration between the two sides as well as FTA building in Asia, thus making the strategic cooperation partnership between the two countries a reality.


Second, integration between cooperation in the traditional areas and that in new spheres

China is devoted to achieving high-quality economic growth through innovation and scientific advancement. In 2013, China emerged as the largest commodity trading country when the total volume of its export and import amounted to US$1.4 trillion. In the coming five years, China will import goods worth over US$10 trillion, its overseas investment will exceed US$50 billion and the number of Chinese traveling abroad will surpass 500 million persons/times. This will provide fresh opportunities and broad space for extensive cooperation between the two countries. The Korean government is vigorously engaged in developing “creative economy” to push forward economic transformation and stimulate export and domestic demand. The two sides may integrate their respective development goals in this process and create new areas of growth through making better macro policy coordination and building better cooperation platforms. At present, cooperation between the two sides in finance and securities, products and research results transformation, technological innovation and other fields is just unfolding, cooperation potentials in the areas of new energy, e-communication, smart manufacturing and green and low-carbon matters are enormous, and the successful experience of Korea in developing information service, medical and health services, e-commerce, and cultural originality will find tremendous opportunities on China’s enormous potential market. I am confident that on the basis of fully displaying the traditional edge in trade and economic cooperation between China and Korea and by constantly tapping potentials and opening up new spheres, the target of US$30 billion in annual trade volume between the two countries is within reach and cooperation between the two sides shall be more dynamic and vigorous.


Third, integration between input of governmental resources and involvement of non-governmental forces

The feelings of the people determine the closeness of relations between countries. The development of relations between China and Korea depends not only on vigorous work on the part of the two governments but also the wisdom and efforts of the two peoples. China and Korea are close to each other geographically, they are linked together culturally, and the peoples feel akin to each other. They enjoy a long history of contact and exchange and the friendly feelings toward each other are deeply rooted in their hearts. Mutual identification and understanding between the two peoples and mutual inclusion and learning of the cultures of each other’s country are the important basis of the development of relations between the two countries. At present, both governments pay high attention to strengthening people-to-people and cultural links between the two countries. The heads of state of the two countries personally initiated the formation of the China-ROK Joint Committee on People-to-People Exchanges, which serves as a locomotive driving the people-to-people cooperation between the two countries. People form the main body in people-to-people exchanges while the resources of such exchange originate from the people and the results of exchanges shall benefit broad sections of the people. “The fire burns high when everybody brings wood to it.” The people-to-people exchanges between China and Korea call for extensive involvement of non-governmental forces from the friendship, business, media and academic circles so that their zeal will provide endless energy for the fast train of China-Korea relations. It is my hope that the two governments and peoples will coordinate more closely to create a sound situation of the governments and peoples working together to promote China-Korea cooperation and write a new chapter in the annals of friendship between Chinese and Korean peoples.

Besides, as close neighbors, it is inevitable that China and Korea will have some small frictions and disagreements. In this case, we should proceed from the overall situation and always keep in mind the general orientation of the development of bilateral relations to properly handle and control the sensitive issues in the bilateral relations so that they will not affect the overall friendly relationship between China and Korea.

The international situation is now undergoing profound and complicated changes. World polarization and economic global-ization are growing deeper and deeper, and cultural diversity and IT application in society are continuously advancing. Countries are linked together more closely and become more and more interdependent. Global cooperation grows to be multi-leveled and all-directional while peace, development, cooperation and win-win results become ever more the main trend of the times. Meanwhile, the world today is not at all peaceful. Regional turmoil and conflicts occur from time to time, hegemonism, power politics, and neo-interventionism are on the rise, traditional and non-traditional security problems intertwine with each other, and global issues such as food security, energy resources security, cyber security and climate change are getting ever more prominent.

Economic interaction and cooperation in Northeast Asia where China and Korea locate are most dynamic and the region has gradually shaken off the influence of the international financial crisis to show a strong momentum of recovery. Just as President Xi Jinping has pointed out, “Peace is something like air and sunshine: you benefit from it without noticing it but will be unable to survive in its absence.” A peaceful and tranquil regional environment is especially valuable to China and Korea. Maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia and further more realizing durable peace and order in the region not only accords with the trend of the times but also represents the common aspirations of the people of various countries in the region including China and Korea.

However, reality shows that there are plentiful of challenges and tests in Northeast Asia. The region is where international attention is focused on and where the major powers are engaged in competition. Problems like the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, the territorial and maritime disputes, and the understanding on the history of the Second World War constitute grave obstacles to the process of peace and development in the region. Some countries lack mutual trust and there is even huge trust deficit between them; some countries are still reinforcing bilateral military alliance and engaged in acts that harm the others under the pretext of ensuring their own security; and some country is getting more and more right-wing politically, attempting to deny history and challenge  the post-war international order.

In view of the fact that the development of the situation in Northeast Asia is closely related to the interests of China and Korea, the two countries have carried out fruitful cooperation for maintaining and promoting peace and stability in the region. As strategic partners having close cooperation on issues in Asia and the world at large, China and Korea need to work together in the process of maintaining regional peace and stability and promoting the settlement of the entangled and complicated problems in the region. In this regard, there are both opportunities and challenges as well as hopes and tests. We should keep the good momentum of cooperation and deepen strategic coordination on the basis of political mutual trust to jointly manage and control the sensitive issues in the region. We should refrain from doing things that may impair the interests of the other side and promote security cooperation both within and without the region. We should probe to form a mechanism for peace and security and cultivate more mutual trust so as to lay a more solid foundation for achieving durable peace in the region.

Korea is a principal party to the Korean Peninsula issue and China is a close neighbor of the Peninsula countries. Hence, the process of settling the Korean Peninsula issue is closely related to both China and Korea. China has always upheld justice, holding that the Peninsula’s peace and stability must be maintained, denuclearization on the Peninsula must be realized and dialogue and consultation must be stuck to as the means to solve the relevant issues. This is the only way to resolve the Peninsula problem, which accords with the fundamental interests of the people on the Peninsula and in the whole region. Of course, “it takes more than one cold day to freeze three feet of ice.” As the various major parties to the Peninsula issue have deep-rooted contradictions and gravely lack mutual trust, the solution of the relevant problems cannot be reached by one single effort. The Chinese side is willing to work together with the Korean side to make active efforts in promoting peace and negotiation and pushing the various parties to go in the same direction, keep on talking and remain in contact so as to create conditions for the restoration of the Six-Party Talks.

The Korean Peninsula has been split for over 60 years. It is most regrettable to see that a cold iron curtain still hangs between the ROK and DPRK and kith-and-kin brothers are separated and quarrelling with each other. Longing for reunification is the long-cherished wish of the people on the peninsula, which is a feeling we Chinese share as well. The situation on the Peninsula has been relatively stable in recent months with increased contact between the ROK and DPRK but tense confrontation on the whole has not been defused. We hope that the two sides would, proceeding from the overall situation and setting store by the national righteousness and interests, maintain their patience and resolve and remain in contact and dialogue to unswervingly promote mutual trust for the improvement of relations between the North and the South. China supports the efforts of the two sides of the Peninsula to improve relations through dialogue and make reconciliation and cooperation. China also favors the ultimate peaceful reunification of the Peninsula in an independent way and is ready to play a constructive role in the process.

Promoting a concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security for Asia, China has been playing a role of encouraging reconciliation and negotiation and has been supporting and participating in regional security dialogue and cooperation for the maintenance of regional peace and stability. The Chinese side highly values President Park Geun-hye’s “Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative” and looks forward to working together with the Korean side to make better use of the various current dialogue mechanisms and strengthen cooperation in the political, diplomatic, security and other fields so as to jointly maintain peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the whole Northeast Asia, create a good-neighborly and safe regional environment and build a beautiful homeland where Asian countries can co-exist in harmony.

The current world economy continues to recover in a slow manner while instabilities and uncertainties still exist. The new driving force for economic growth remains obscure while monetary policies as well as trade and investment patterns of the major powers are still uncertain and global economic and financial governance awaits further improvement. Various countries should strive to make reform and innovation, transform the mode of economic development, rectify economic structures and tap self-generating growth power. They should continue to oppose trade and investment protectionism, create a stable, transparent and fair investment environment and safeguard and develop an open world economy.

Asia, our common homeland, is one of the important cradles of human civilization. Boasting of a vast land mass, long and rich history, diligent peoples and varied and colorful lifestyles and traditions, it has witnessed the rich and colorful chapters the Asian people wrote in the annals of immense human history. The dawn of Asia’s rise is breaking but the road of rejuvenation is long and tortuous. In recent years, Asia has displayed the strongest vitality and potential for development in the world, making important contributions in pushing forward world economic recovery. In the meantime, building of FTAs and connectivity in Asia is advancing, political and security cooperation is being strengthened, and its international standing and role keep on rising with a promising future for development. On the other hand, the economy of Asian countries is faced with the risk of slowing down and there still exist among Asian countries some problems and differences regarding the patterns of cooperation and development. Therefore, various countries must make further efforts to intensify coordination and cooperation so as to increase their representation and right of speech. The economic development and cooperation in Northeast Asian region is most active and important in the whole of Asia as the region boasts of a combined GDP of more than US$17 trillion, one-fourth of the world total, and a combined export-import volume of US$7 trillion, nearly one-fifth of the world’s trade volume. Northeast Asia is not only an important pillar supporting Asia’s economic development but also an important engine driving the recovery of the world economy.

China is committed to taking the path of peaceful development and adheres to setting the neighboring countries, including Korea, as the basis for China’s foreign policy and acting forever as their reliable friend and sincere partner. China is at present comprehensively deepening its reform and opening-up and working hard for the realization of the two “Centenary Goals” and the dream of great renewal of the Chinese nation. We will deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with the surrounding countries in light of the guideline of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness and try our best to bring more benefits to our neighbors through our own development. The Korean people are devoted to opening up the “epoch of national happiness”, creating the “second miracle on the Han River”, and shaping a new situation of peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia and the whole of Asia to realize the Korean Dream. President Xi Jinping pointed out that we should link the Chinese Dream with the aspirations of the people of various neighboring countries for better life and the development prospects of the region so that the awareness of community of common destiny will take root in the neighboring countries. The Chinese Dream and the Korean Dream tally with each other, and the common development of the two countries shall serve as a great impetus for the development and prosperity of Asia and the larger world.

China and Korea are faced with the historic opportunity of sharing highly integrated interests and goals as well as identical development orientations. The Chinese side is willing, in line with the idea of “mutual benefit and win-win results, common development, being open and inclusive, and seeking common ground while reversing differences” and bringing their respective edges into full play, to work hand in hand with the Korean side to let the positive energy of China-Korea cooperation radiate in all directions and push the various Asian countries to raise their level of openness, accelerate market, capital and technological integration among them, and explore a path that is shaped and shared together by them and brings benefits to all.

In this process, breaking the bottleneck constraining connectivity between various countries is of vital importance. We need to build an investment and financing partnership involving various government departments, private sectors and international institutions. To this end, China will make positive efforts to explore ways to expand infrastructure building and the investment and financing channels. China has proposed to set up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is designed to create favorable conditions for speeding up connectivity and infrastructure building in the region.

China is often referred to as the “Chinese dragon” while Korea the “Taiji tiger”. Both dragon and tiger bear divinity in Oriental cultures and are full of wisdom and strength. In this time of intermixing and interdependence, the “Chinese dragon” and “Taiji tiger” can rise and bounce together to higher and farther destinations. On the basis of already most successful and fruitful bilateral relations and under the care of the leaders of the two countries and the common efforts of both sides, the two countries, attending to both righteousness and interests and working hand in hand, will surely drive the giant ship of China-Korea relationship to sail constantly forward to create peace, prosperity and a beautiful future for both countries.


 (Source: China International Studies, November/December, 2014(6) )

[1] Tang Jiaxuan is former State Councilor of the Chinese Government. This is the keynote speech he made at the opening ceremony of the 14th China-Korea Eminent Persons Forum on October 21, 2014.