(November 8, 2014)
Teachers, students and parents,
It's my first time to speak before such a huge audience, a great honor indeed, especially standing here at the renowned historic Saint Ignatius College Prep together with so many talented students from 35 schools.
First, I wish to congratulate all of you on the opening of the Thirteenth Saint Ignatius Model United Nations. I am very glad to learn that today we have more than 1,000 participants, which shows how popular and successful this event is.
The large participation of this event also tells us that American high school students do have a global vision with a strong interest in what's going on in the whole world. I am sure you also have your own suggestions on promoting world peace and development.
Today, you are here not only as students, but also as "Ambassadors" and "senior diplomats" representing about 100 member states of the United Nations, although not officially appointed yet. I think if you were the diplomats sitting in the General Assembly or Security Council, the United Nations might do a much better job.
The main purpose of the United Nations is to maintain international peace and security and promote economic and social advancement of all peoples. This is exactly what China has always been doing as a founding member of the UN and permanent member of the Security Council.
China's economic miracle over the past three decades has not only significantly raised the living standards of the Chinese people, but also made great contribution to the world economy.
Over 600 million of the Chinese people, or twice that of US population, have been lifted out of poverty since 1980s. This is indeed a remarkable achievement unprecedented in the history of the world's poverty alleviation effort.
As a driving force for the global economic growth, China has become an increasingly important export market for many countries as well as a key investor in many places of the world. The role of China in helping the global economy recover from the financial crisis in 2008 has been widely recognized.
In line with its own development, China has lent its hand to many countries who need help. China has so far spent over 55 billion US dollars in its foreign development aid. You can find schools, hospitals, bridges, roads and sports facilities built with Chinese assistance in many African countries, Pacific islands as well as some countries in Asia and Central America. China has also provided technical training programs to 170,000 personnel from other developing countries.
China is now a major donor to many UN organizations and has been active in promoting the social advancement of the world as well as dealing with major public health challenges. In the recent fight against the Ebola epidemic, China took prompt actions in providing urgent assistance to the affected West African countries. The total amount of financial and material support given by China has reached about 120 million US dollars. More than 300 Chinese medical experts dispatched by the Chinese government are working on the disaster areas in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
China has also adopted a responsible attitude on the issue of climate change. Although still facing a very heavy task of developing itself, China has redoubled its efforts in balancing economic growth against energy conservation and environmental protection.
Regarding China's contribution to maintaining world peace and stability, I wish to mention China's role in UN peacekeeping operations first. Now, over 2,100 Chinese peacekeepers are on their posts safeguarding peace in conflict zones such as Mali, Liberia and South Sudan. Since 1990, China has sent over a total of 25,000 soldiers and policemen to UN peacekeeping missions, seventeen of them have sacrificed their lives. China is proud to have become the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the Security Council.
China has also been active in the international efforts of combating pirates and maintaining security of relevant international waters. As of May 2014, China had dispatched a total of 45 navy vessels to the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali Coast, providing escort services to over 5600 Chinese and foreign commercial vessels.
China firmly opposes all forms of terrorism and has been actively engaged in counter-terrorism cooperation in the Global Counter-terrorism Forum and under such mechanisms as BRICS, APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum. China has given strong support to the US in its counter-terrorism efforts after the September 11 Terrorist Attack. China also supports the Security Council's adoption of Resolution 2170 to combat such terrorist groups as ISIL.
China supports the international non-proliferation regime, and calls for a proper solution to the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation so as to maintain peace and stability in the Middle East. On the Korean nuclear issue, China is committed to a denuclearized, peaceful and stable Korean Peninsula. As the initiator of the Six-Party Talks, China hopes that the parties concerned will resume the talks and resolve the differences through dialogue and consultation.
China pays great attention to assisting countries who suffer from years of chaos and wars in rebuilding themselves, which we believe is critical to maintaining regional peace and stability. Just eight days ago, China hosted in Beijing the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan to promote the process of peace, reconciliation and reconstruction in Afghanistan.
China's position and attitudes on international and regional issues are guided by its pursuit of an independent foreign policy of peace. Here are some of the basic principles that China always follows.
First, sovereign equality. All countries, regardless of their size, strength or level of development, are equal members of the international community. The internal affairs of a country should be managed by its own people. The right of a country to choose its own social system and model of development should be respected, and the attempt to oust the legitimate government of a country through illegal means should be opposed.
Second, common security. All countries have the right to participate in international and regional security affairs on an equal footing and shoulder the shared responsibility to maintain security both internationally and in various regions. Disputes between countries should be settled through dialogue, and willful threat or use of force should be rejected. It is unacceptable to have security just for one country or some countries while leaving the rest insecure, and still less should any country be allowed to seek the so-called "absolute security" of itself at the expense of other countries' security.
Third, common development and win-win cooperation. While developing themselves, countries should work actively for common development of others so that the benefits of development will reach more people in the world. Win-win cooperation should be the basic policy goal of all countries in handling international affairs. It is a universal principle that applies to not only the economic field, but political, security, cultural and other areas as well.
As the most populous developing country, China still has a long way to go in its national development. China needs a peaceful and stable international environment and will continue to adhere to the path of peaceful development. China hopes to develop friendly relations with all countries and is ready to undertake more international obligations with the increase of its national strength.
China has always attached great importance to its bilateral relationship with the US, and our goal is to build a new model of major-country relations between our two countries featuring "no conflict or confrontation", "mutual respect" and "win-win cooperation". It is indeed encouraging that President Xi Jinping and President Obama have reached agreement on that goal in June last year at their first summit meeting in California. Next Monday, President Obama will visit China again, which will for sure bring about new important opportunities for the development of China-US relations as well as for the further enhancement of China-US cooperation in international affairs.
In closing, I wish today's event a complete success and all of you good luck. Thank you.