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Speech at the Dinner Hosted by the Chinese Embassy

H.E. Dr. Huang Huikang

Ambassador of the People's Republic of China in Malaysia

Hilton Kuala Lumpur, 31 May 2016


The Honourable Tan Sri Rastam Mohd Isa, Chairperson of ASEAN Institute of Strategic and International Studies, and Chairman and Chief Executive of Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia,

Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening! Selamat Petang! Selamat Datang!


  Welcome all of you to attend this dinner hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia. The Embassy is honored to become a long term partner of ISIS Malaysia and a sponsor of the APR@30.

  As an old Chinese saying goes, "a man is steadfast at the age of thirty." The APR@30 represents an important milestone for ISIS Malaysia and ASEAN-ISIS. In the three decades since 1987, the APR has brought together great minds from around the world to ponder, reflect, debate and explore solutions on the region's strategic challenges. The APR has been ranked among the world's top 20 think-tanks conferences. I believe the APR@30 will continue to serve as an effective platform for strengthening dialogues, reducing misunderstanding and building trust, which will be conducive to maintaining peace and stability in the region.

  Today's world is experiencing huge changes and facing tough challenges, but peace, development and win-win cooperation still represent the unstoppable trend of our times. Asia-Pacific holds a uniquely important position in the pursuit of world peace and development. On the one hand, Asia-Pacific enjoys vibrant regional cooperation, integration and rising strategic status in the global development landscape. On the other hand, some parts of our region are still plagued by turbulence and conflicts caused by traditional security challenges while terrorism and other non-traditional security threats are posing more and more dangers. The situation cries out for  closer and more substantive regional security cooperation.

  At the Fourth Summit of Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Shanghai in 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a vision on common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and called for joint efforts to explore an inclusive and win-win approach to regional security that is for all and by all. Developments in the region and the world over the past two years have shown that it  takes concerted efforts to uphold security. Regional countries need to build consensus, and step up dialogue and coordination.

  The theme of APR@30 is "Cooperation and Contestation in a Changing Regional Landscape". I would like to take this opportunity to share my views on this topic.

  First, regional countries need to increase mutual political trust and reduce strategic misunderstanding and misjudgment. Countries in Asia-Pacific share weal and woe and the future of our nations is closely tied with each other. We should accommodate reasonable concerns of others during the pursuit of our own interests, promote common development while seeking our own development, respect security of others while safeguarding our own security, and join hands in advancing peace, stability and prosperity in the region. We need to deepen security cooperation and confidence-building in military, political, economic, people-to-people, cultural, environmental protection and other fields as well as in tackling emerging threats and challenges, so as to open up new prospects for security and development in Asia-Pacific.

    Second, regional countries should gradually explore the building of a security architecture that fits regional conditions. There are multiple security cooperation frameworks in Asia-Pacific, and they contribute to regional security in their own ways. Some countries have proposed new security initiatives in recent years. In the process, we should uphold and promote the principle of mutual respect, consensus-building and accommodation of each other's comfort level, strengthen coordination among regional security frameworks, and gradually channel cooperation toward the same or similar goals to create synergy and work for practical results. On such basis, may we explore the building of an architecture that reflects the needs of regional countries. We can discuss relevant matters at such platforms as APR and put forward ideas and suggestions on the principles and priorities of regional security cooperation.

  Third, regional countries should stick to peaceful settlement of disputes through dialogue and consultation. The law of the jungle goes against the trend of the time and belligerence cannot lead to peace. Only mutual understanding and mutual accommodation will bring about lasting stability and security. We need to resort to peaceful settlement of disputes through dialogue and consultation in accordance with international law. We need to enhance trust, resolve disagreements and promote security. Faced with complex regional hotspot issues, relevant parties need to stay calm, commit to peace, refrain from taking actions that may escalate or complicate the situation, and promote crisis management through communication, with a view to defusing crisis through political means and promoting gradual resolution if necessary.

  Recently, developments in the South China Sea have attracted extensive attention. I want to stress that China is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea, and will remain committed to resolving disputes peacefully through friendly consultation and negotiation with countries directly concerned. As a Chinese proverb reads, "a close neighbor is better than a distant relative." We will continue to work with relevant ASEAN countries to make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

  Dear Friends, Ladies and gentlemen,

  By coincidence, today also marks the 42nd Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Malaysia. 42 years ago, then Malaysian Prime Minister    Tun Razak and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai planted a seed of friendship for China-Malaysia relationship. Today, the seed has grown into a towering tree. Thanks to Tun Razak's political vision and wisdom, Malaysia took the lead in Asean member states to establish diplomatic relations with China. Hand in hand, China and Malaysia have created a period of "Golden 40 Years" of bilateral relationship and set an example of good neighbors for regional countries. Now our two countries are working with joint efforts to open up"Diamond 40 Years".

  I am not saying that there is no problem between China and Malaysia. Malaysia is one of the claimant states of the South China Sea, and our two countries have also encountered other incidents. However, our bilateral relationship has not been affected by such incidents. The key lies in the way China and Malaysia have chosen to deal with problems. The leaders of our two sides have reached important consensus on resolving disputes through friendly dialogue and consultation, so that we can focus on comprehensive cooperation and bring benefits not only to the peoples of our two countries, but also to the peace, development and prosperity of the region. That is how China-Malaysia relationship has survived all the ups and downs and arrived at its best time of history, with cooperation flouring in economy, security, culture and many other fields. With the dynamics of the updated regional and international environment, and security and economic challenges faced by all regional countries, to maintain peace, development and prosperity in the region, we need more visionary politicians like Tun Razak, who are able to look at the big picture, willing to keep friendly relations with neighboring countries and committed to promoting regional stability.

  On the contrary, some individual countries have chosen contestation instead of cooperation for the sake of their narrow selfish interests, putting the peace and stability of the whole region at risk. We can see clearly that there are two models to deal with disputes that lead to two different results. Which model is better? I think you will find the right answer.

  Today, many distinguished speakers have shared their perspectives on several issues and sparked hot discussions, leading us to get a clearer picture of the situation of the regional security. I hope this dinner will provide a platform for the discussions to continue in a more relaxed way. And we look forward to more fruitful and constructive dialogues in tomorrow's sessions.

  Last but not the least, I wish the APR@30 a great success. And I hope you all will enjoy this evening.

  Thank you.


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