Statement of Ambassador Gong Jianwei, CICA Executive Director, at the Second CICA Non-Governmental Forum (Beijing, 28 June 2017)
Second Conference of CICA Non-Governmental Forum Beijing, 28-29 June 2017
Statement of Ambassador Gong Jianwei Executive Director, CICA Secretariat
Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen! On behalf of CICA Secretariat, I will like to welcome you all to the second conference of CICA Non-Governmental Forum. CICA Non-Governmental Forum was an important initiative announced by President Xi Jinping at the Shanghai CICA Summit in May 2014 for further promoting the CICA process. In his message to the first NGF Conference in 2015, President Xi mentioned that NGOs can play important role in spreading CICA security concept and promoting CICA process, which is indeed true. NGOs can make things work by enhancing people to people contacts, raising awareness about issues of common concern and enthusing both decision makers and the people at grassroots to have better understanding and resolve differences. The second conference of CICA Non-Governmental Forum is being held in the 25th anniversary year of CICA. As you must be aware, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan proposed convening of CICA in his first address to the UN General Assembly in October 1992. This was the time when world was undergoing major upheavals. Cold war had ended; many independent states had emerged in Eurasia; and a new political order was evolving. Time was ripe to have a common platform for promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. Previous attempts to create such a platform were not successful because of mutual suspicions. In last twenty five years CICA has gone through a long evolutionary process from a proposal for establishing peace and security in Asia to a practical mechanism of collective diplomacy ushering new mechanisms for maintaining peace and security in the continent. Twenty six member states account for nearly ninety percent of the area and population of Asia. The highly successful Shanghai CICA Summit was a watershed in the history of CICA. This was one of the largest gatherings of Asian Heads of State and Government. President Xi Jinping proposed a new Asian Security Concept at the Summit encompassing the four basic principles of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. The concept espouses that countries should promote common security by respecting and ensuring each other’s security concerns at an equal footing and in an inclusive manner. Security should be comprehensive and should address both traditional and non-traditional challenges. Countries should cooperate in addressing both, the symptoms and root causes of common security challenges like terrorism, transnational crime, illicit drug production and trafficking, cyber security etcetera. Since there is undeniable linkage between development and security, countries should adopt a coordinated approach towards economic development to ensure sustainable security. Chinese Chairmanship of CICA is working together with Member States to make the new concept a reality and create better security architecture in Asia.
Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen! In last few decades, Asia has witnessed phenomenal growth in all fields including economy, science and technology. It has been generally acknowledged that 21st century will be the century of Asia. At the same time, paradoxically, Asia continues to face numerous security challenges that threaten not only the economic gains but also peace and stability of the continent. There are ongoing conflicts and many other flashpoints with significant conflict potentials that could lead to much wider ramifications and threaten global peace and security. Asia is also facing a number of new threats and challenges, such as international terrorism, trans-national organised crime, religious extremism, drug trafficking and environmental degradation. There are also cultural, ethnic and religious differences to overcome; and significant gaps in the levels of economic progress among and within different countries that need to be bridged. CICA seeks to address these issues through active cooperation among the member states and implementation of confidence building measures in fourteen specific areas under five broad dimensions, namely, military-political, economic, environmental and human dimensions as well as countering new threats and challenges. In three years since assumption of Chairmanship by China, CICA has made notable strides. New institutions like CICA Youth Council, CICA Business Council, CICA Non-Governmental Forum and CICA Think-Tank Forum have been established. Youth Council and Business Council are actively promoting cooperation among youth and businesses in the region. Non-Governmental Forum and Think-Tank Forum provide ideal platforms for the academicians, former political leaders and alike to discuss issues of peace, security and stability in Asia. Chinese Chairmanship and other member states, including Bangladesh, India, Kyrgyz Republic and Thailand, have organised events towards implementation of confidence building measures in different areas. China undertook to coordinate and co-coordinate CBMs in the areas of agriculture, finance and environment and Thailand undertook to coordinate CBMs in the area of sustainable development. China’s Belt and Road initiative is another important step in promoting regional cooperation in the true spirit of CICA. This initiative represents the most comprehensive vision for China’s engagement with its neighbours and beyond. It is an inclusive initiative which does not restrict itself to trade and investment. It seeks to promote tolerance and dialogue among civilizations, extensive cultural and academic exchanges, personnel exchanges and cooperation, media cooperation, youth and women exchanges and volunteer services among all the stake holders. Most importantly, it advocates respect for the paths and modes of development chosen by different countries in the spirit of seeking common ground while shelving differences and drawing on each other’s strengths, so that all countries can coexist in peace for common prosperity. In short, this initiative is a way for win-win regional cooperation and building trust and confidence in the CICA region. China and other member states have planned a number of activities during the last one year of Chinese Chairmanship. Activities include training programmes, seminars and workshops in the areas of illicit drugs, tourism, trade promotion, environment, cooperation among ethno-cultural groups, border management, forums for heads of military academies and visits to military sites. Chinese Chairmanship will also organise an informal meeting of ministers of foreign affairs in New York on the sidelines of the next UN General Assembly. I am confident that all these activities will go a long way to promote trust and confidence among the member states. Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen! We have a very constructive agenda for this forum and I am looking forward to fruitful discussions and suggestions for further progression of the CICA process. Thank you,