In general, the present international security situation has continued to tend toward relaxation. With the end of the cold war, a tendency toward multipolarity has further developed both globally or regionally in the political, economic and other fields as various world forces are experiencing new splits and realignments. The relations among the major powers are undergoing significant and profound readjustments; various kinds of partnerships are gradually developing along the line of institutionalization; and each country is enhancing its consciousness of independence, unity for strength, and coordinated development. The overall strength of the developing countries is growing, and they are becoming an important force on the international stage. The sustained development of the multipolarity tendency and economic globalization has further deepened their mutual reliance and mutual condition and helped toward world peace, stability and prosperity. The factors for safeguarding world peace are growing constantly.
The influence of armed conflicts and local wars on the overall international situation has been remarkably weakened. In the past, when the two major military blocs confronted each other, armed conflicts and local wars in some regions seriously disturbed world security and stability. For a time in the post-cold war period, regional conflicts were still frequent, even showing a trend of escalation. In the past few years, however, some conflicts and wars that had lasted for many years have been settled, and some are being put on the track of political settlement, or are gradually being cooled down. At present, armed conflicts and local wars touched off by disputes about territory, natural resources, ethnicity or religion are relatively limited in terms of scale, intensity and region, and are under control to varying degrees. The international community is making more and more efforts to mediate such disputes, with its capability to do so improving constantly.
Military factors still occupy an important position in state security. In the new international security environment, while stressing the settlement of disputes through political, economic and diplomatic means, most countries still regard military means and the reinforcement of military strength as important ways to safeguard their own security and national interests. A profound reform in the military field led by the development of high-tech weapons is taking place throughout the world. This reform, which is developing rapidly, will exert an important and profound influence on weaponry, military system and setup, combat training and military theory. To adapt to the new situation and strive for their own advantages, many countries have readjusted their defense policies and military strategies, reduced the scale of armaments and paid more attention to improving the quality of their armed forces.
Economic security is becoming daily more important for state security. In international relations, geopolitical, military security and ideological factors still play a role that cannot be ignored, but the role of economic factors is becoming more outstanding, along with growing economic contacts among nations. The competition to excel in overall national strength, focused on economy and science and technology, is being further intensified; globewide struggles centered on markets, natural resources and other economic rights and interests are daily becoming sharper; and the quickening of economic globalization and intensification of the formation of regional blocs render the economic development of a country more vulnerable to outside influences and impacts. Therefore, more and more countries regard economic security as an important aspect of state security. The financial crisis in Asia has made the issue of economic security more prominent, and has set a new task for governments of all countries to strengthen coordination and face challenges together in the course of economic globalization.
The political security situation in the Asia-Pacific region is relatively stable. The development of the trend toward multipolarity in this region is being quickened, and the relations among the big nations are being readjusted strategically and gradually becoming stable. Despite the emergence of a nancial crisis in Asia, the Asia-Pacific region remains one of the areas with the greatest economic development vitality in the world, and developing the economy is the most important task for each country. The countries in the Asia-Pacific region rely more and more on each other economically, and, to solve their disputes by peaceful means, to stress the search for the meeting points of their common interests and to strengthen cooperation and coordination are becoming the main current of the relations among the countries of the region. Various forms of regional and sub-regional multilateral cooperation are constantly being developed, and security dialogues and cooperation are being carried out at many levels and through many channels.
However, there still exist some factors of instability both globally and regionally: Hegemonism and power politics remain the main source of threats to world peace and stability; cold war mentality and its influence still have a certain currency, and the enlargement of military blocs and the strengthening of military alliances have added factors of instability to international security; some countries, by relying on their military advantages, pose military threats to other countries, even resorting to armed intervention; the old unfair and irrational international economic order still damages the interests of developing countries; local conflicts caused by ethnic, religious, territorial, natural resources and other factors arise now and then, and questions left over by history among countries remain unsolved; terrorism, arms proliferation, smuggling and trafficking in narcotics, environmental pollution, waves of refugees, and other transnational issues also pose new threats to international security.
In May 1998, in defiance of strong opposition by the international community India flagrantly carried out nuclear tests, thus provoking a nuclear arms race in South Asia. Then Pakistan followed suit, in response to India's nuclear tests. The nuclear tests successively conducted by India and Pakistan have seriously impeded the international non-nuclear arms proliferation efforts and produced grave consequences on peace and stability in the South Asian region and the rest of the world. The task for the international community to strengthen non-proliferation mechanisms has become even more pressing now.
History has proved that the concepts and systems of security with military alliances as the basis and increasing military might as the means could not be conducive to peace during the cold war. Under the new situation, especially, enlarging military blocs and strengthening military alliances run counter to the tide of the times. Security cannot be guaranteed by an increase in arms, nor by military alliances. Security should be based on mutual trust and common interests. We should promote trust through dialogue, seek security through cooperation, respect each other's sovereignty, solve disputes through peaceful means and strive for common development. To obtain lasting peace, it is imperative to abandon the cold war mentality, cultivate a new concept of security and seek a new way to safeguard peace. China believes that this new concept and way should include the following:
-- The relations among nations should be established on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence: mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. These are the political basis and premise of global and regional security. Each country has the right to choose its own social system, development strategy and way of life, and no country should interfere in the internal affairs of any other country in any way or under any pretext, much less resort to military threats or aggression.
-- In the economic field, all countries should strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation, open up to each other, eliminate inequalities and discriminatory policies in economic and trade relations, gradually reduce the development gaps between countries and seek common prosperity. Such steps can form the economic basis of global and regional security. Maintaining a normal and sound economic, trade and financial order calls for not only a perfect macro-economic management system as well as a sound system of economic operations, it also calls for strengthening regional and international economic contacts and cooperation, so as to jointly create a stable and secure external economic environment.
-- All countries should promote mutual understanding and trust through dialogue and cooperation, and seek the settlement of divergences and disputes among nations through peaceful means. These are the realistic ways to guarantee peace and security. Security is mutual, and security dialogues and cooperation should be aimed at promoting trust, not at creating confrontations, still less at directing the spearhead against a third country or infringing upon the security interests of any other nation.
As a country in the Asia-Pacific region, China places great importance on the region's security, stability, peace and development. China's Asia-Pacific security strategy has three objectives, i.e., China's own stability and prosperity, peace and stability in its surrounding regions, and conducting dialogue and cooperation with all countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Hence China devotes its efforts to promoting equal treatment and friendly cooperation with other countries, and attaches importance to developing healthy and stable relations with all countries and all major forces in the region; actively participates in regional economic cooperation and promotes an open type of regionalism; insists on handling and settling disputes among countries through peaceful means; and takes an active part in the dialogue and cooperation process aimed at regional security.
On the basis of equal consultation, mutual understanding and mutual accommodation, China has solved in an appropriate manner border issues with most of its neighbors. As for remaining disputes on territorial and marine rights and interests between China and neighboring countries, China maintains that they are to be solved through consultation by putting the interests of the whole above everything else, so that the disputes will not hamper the normal development of state relations or the stability of the region. China has clearly stated that relevant disputes should be properly solved through peaceful negotiation and consultation, in accordance with commonly accepted international laws and modern maritime laws, including the basic principles and legal systems as prescribed in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory. It is a lofty mission and a common aspiration of all Chinese people, including the Taiwan compatriots, to put an end to the cleavage between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits and realize the reunification of the motherland. The Chinese government adheres to its stand for solving the issue of Taiwan according to the basic principle of "peaceful reunification, and one country, two systems,'' and resolutely opposes any attempt, by words or deeds, to split the country by creating an "independent Taiwan,'' "two Chinas,'' or "one China, one Taiwan.'' The issue of Taiwan is entirely an internal affair of China. Directly or indirectly incorporating the Taiwan Straits into the security and cooperation sphere of any country or any military alliance is an infringement upon and interference in China's sovereignty. The Chinese government seeks to achieve the reunification of the country by peaceful means, but will not commit itself not to resort to force. Every sovereign state has the right to use all means it thinks necessary, including military means, to safeguard its own sovereignty and territorial integrity. In deciding which way to deal with the issue of Taiwan, the Chinese government has no obligation to make a commitment to any country or any person attempting to split China. The Chinese government opposes any country selling arms to Taiwan, which not only violates the basic norms of international law but also threatens China's security and regional peace and stability.
The Chinese government steadfastly follows an independent foreign policy of peace, and stands for establishing and developing relations of friendship and cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and other commonly recognized international relationship norms. China is willing to make unswerving efforts to safeguard world peace and promote international security together with other countries.