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Cooperation is the Only Choice
By China's State Councilor Dai Bingguo in London
2011-09-29 23:00

27 September 2011

It's a great pleasure to be back in Britain after two years and co-chair with Foreign Secretary William Hague the China-UK Strategic Dialogue.

Nowadays, to have new breakthroughs in our relationship, we need new ideas and new ways to take our cooperation forward. And both our countries must manage differences appropriately to create conditions for closer cooperation.

China-UK relations have made significant progress in the decades past. Today, Britain hosts more Chinese students than any other EU member and is China's 3rd largest trading partner and 2nd largest investor within the EU.

This year and next year will see quite a number of major occasions in bilateral relations. A pair of giant pandas from China will settle in Britain later this year. 2012 marks 40 years of full diplomatic relations between China and Britain. And it's also when London will host the Olympic Games. All these momentous events will open the way for our relations to move still further.

China and Britain have different histories, cultural traditions and social systems. It's unavoidable that we may disagree here and there. What's essential is that we should respect, accommodate and help each other instead of forcing our own ideas on each other. In real life no one is able to change others. The world is very much like a garden, whose most beautiful season comes when all kinds of flowers blossom.

The world today has increasingly become a global village. Countries are more interdependent and their interests more closely interwoven than any time in history. And the destinies of developed and developing countries, the east and the west, and the South and the North, are inseparable.

All countries must recognize such a significant change and take actions to adjust and adapt. Those outdated ideas and practices must be dropped, and new visions, policies, behaviors and governance approaches must be developed. No country alone can tackle the growing number of global challenges and non-conventional security threats. The only option for the international community is to come together to pursue harmony and win-win solutions.

Developed and developing countries should build a sincere, genuine partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. Some suggest that the global power is shifting away from the west to the east. It's much too early to talk about that. In many aspects, western developed countries are still in the lead.

If the world power is shifting, then I believe the power has started to diffuse toward relative equity and equilibrium. This is a positive development to the world. We sincerely hope developed countries will grow at a higher level and developing countries can continue to make greater progress at their own level.

China firmly commits to the path of peaceful development. Our focus is on our own development. We will not repeat the beaten track of the rising powers in the past. And invasion, expansion, beggar-thy-neighbour policy and hegemony are not our options.

We hope to live in peace and seek common development together with the world. This policy is not for selling to other countries. Instead, it's our own action plan that will be followed through. Because peaceful development is in the best interests of China and the world.

We do not seek to maximize our own interests at the expense of others, but rather will carry out a win-win, opening-up strategy. We will continue to do what we can to help developing countries and, on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, work collaboratively with developed countries.

As we speak, some western countries have run into certain difficulties. Instead of standing by and blaming others, we have given as much support as we could.

Why is that?

Because in a globalised world, helping others is helping ourselves.

Cooperation is our only choice.

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