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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Holds Briefing for Chinese and Foreign Media at Press Center of Fourth Summit of Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia

On May 18, 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a briefing for Chinese and foreign media at the press center of the fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping briefed the latest updates of the fourth Summit of the CICA.

Cheng Guoping said that in two days, the fourth Summit of the CICA will be ceremoniously opened in Shanghai. According to the latest confirmation by now, state leaders, heads or representatives from 46 countries and international organizations, including those from the CICA member states, observers and summit guests, will attend the Summit. Among them are 11 heads of state, namely the presidents of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Sri Lanka, one head of government, namely Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, as well as ten heads of international organizations including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations. At the time, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu of Turkey will attend the Summit as the special representative of President Abdullah Gül of Turkey.

Cheng Guoping introduced that during the Summit, China will receive four state visits to be paid by President Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, President Almazbek Atambayev of Kyrgyzstan and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. On the occasion, President Xi Jinping will hold talks and signing ceremonies respectively with the four heads of state. Moreover, President Xi Jinping will hold the bilateral meetings with the participating heads of other states, governments and international organizations including President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, President IIham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj of Mongolia, President Mamnoon Hussain of Pakistan, President Imomali Rakhmon of Tajikistan, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations. A number of bilateral activities will also be held among the participating states. In the evening of May 20, President Xi Jinping and his wife Mme. Peng Liyuan will hold a welcome banquet for the participating distinguished guests and together with them watch the evening gala titled “United and Harmonious Asian Countries Move Towards Future Together”.

Cheng Guoping pointed out that for the 22 years since its establishment, the CICA has become one of the few critical cross-civilizational and cross-regional multilateral platforms in Asia for discussing issues on regional security and cooperation, and made important contributions to the regional security and stability as well as dialogue and cooperation in Asia. The Chinese side believes that the CICA has the following prominent features:

First, wide coverage of member states and observers. Facing all the sub-regions in Asia, the CICA is security dialogue forum of Asia involving the largest number of countries. The CICA has developed from 16 member states at its establishment to the current 24 member states and 13 observers and international organizations.

Second, gradually completed mechanism construction. With the first CICA Foreign Ministers' Meeting in 1999 as a symbol, the CICA mechanism construction has been constantly accelerated. Up till now, three summit meetings and four foreign ministers' meetings of the CICA have been convened. A three-tier meeting mechanism has been set up, including the meetings of the heads of state and government (summits), the meetings of foreign ministers, and the meetings of senior officials committee. Permanent bodies and mechanisms such as the Secretariat and the Host Country Working Team have been established. A platform for multilevel official dialogues among the countries has been set up.

Third, a more comprehensive legal basis. The Declaration on the Principles Guiding Relations among the CICA Member States was signed at the first CICA Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in 1999, which reiterated the basic principles of international relations such as the member states’ compliance with the Charter of the United Nations and their commitment to respecting sovereign equality and refraining from the threat or use of force. The Almaty Act was approved by all the parties at the 2002 Summit, confirming that the main purpose and aim of the CICA are to enhance cooperation through formulating multilateral measures aimed at promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. The significance currently attached by all the countries to Asian security and to the CICA indicates that the above-mentioned philosophy advocated by the CICA is in consistence with Asia’s security realities and with the current security demands of the Asian countries.

Fourth, the course for cooperation been charted. The CICA Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures has established confidence-building measures in five major fields, namely military affairs and politics, new threats and challenges, economy, people-to-people and cultural engagement and ecology. All parties can participate in and implement relevant confidence-building measures on the principle of free will and conduct cooperation step by step. Azerbaijan, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand and Turkey volunteered to be the coordinators or joint coordinators for implementing confidence building measures in specific areas. Especially in recent years, member states have established exchange mechanisms in the fields of common interests including the development of SMEs, tourism promotion, youth exchanges and desertification prevention, and strengthened mutually beneficial cooperation, reflecting that the CICA attaches increasing importance to the development and livelihood issues while concerning issues of politics and security, which accords with CICA’s concept of seeking security through cooperation and promoting security by development.

Cheng Guoping said that the above-mentioned features of the CICA indicate that the CICA has great development potential in the future. The CICA has conditions, basis, and ability to play a greater role in maintaining and consolidating Asian security. We believe that as long as the member states of the CICA join hands, we are able to promote the CICA to be more mature, with more force of actions and influences, so as to make new contributions to the peace and stability in Asia.

Cheng Guoping pointed out that as CICA’s founding member, China has always been an active participant and builder in the CICA process. Chinese leaders attended all the CICA summits. China also actively participated in the establishment and implementation of the confidence-building measures in all fields of the CICA, and has maintained extensive dialogues and exchanges with other member states on topics of the common interests. China’s constructive engagement has made due contributions to pushing forward cooperation among the CICA member states and promoting solidarity and mutual trust among the Asian countries. China has decided to host the fourth CICA Summit and hold the CICA presidency in the next two years, which fully reflects the great importance China attaches to the CICA. China strives to achieve the following three goals by hosting the CICA Summit:

First, to enhance exchanges and mutual trust among all parties. Asia is a vast territory with prominent diversity of nationalities, religions and civilizations. The CICA member states have distinctive national conditions, unbalanced development levels and different interest demands. It is very important for all parties to strengthen exchanges and communication and enhance mutual understanding and trust. We hope that holding this Summit could provide a platform for exchanges and dialogues among all parties, guide them to exchange in-depth views on major issues concerning Asian security and cooperation, and to offer suggestions for the peaceful development of Asia.

Second, to pool consensus and wisdom from all parties. As the CICA has large number of member states, there really exists difficulty in coordinating the interests of all parties concerned. But it is the very diversity and difference of Asian countries that offer the source of wisdom for solving their problems. At this Summit, the CICA member states will express their common aspiration and firm faith in “Shanghai Declaration” in enhancing trust and coordination, and building a comprehensively inseparable security environment. They will also make the third 10-year plan for the development of CICA.

Third, to discuss and settle the pressing issues confronted by Asia. CICA’s purpose and idea of strengthening confidence-building measures, dialogue and cooperation to promote security has been approved and supported by an increasing number of countries. The wish and demand of all CICA member states to solve Asian security and cooperation through the CICA platform have risen increasingly. All CICA member states unanimously recognize that only through dialogue and cooperation can Asian countries jointly cope with challenges, safeguard stability and share security. As the host country of this Summit, the Chinese side is willing to guide relevant parties to handle conflicts and differences through equal consultation and peaceful cooperation within the framework of the CICA.

Cheng Guoping said that the Chinese side expects this CICA Summit to reach consensus, yield fruits and take effects, and become a grand meeting of milestone significance in the CICA history. The baton of CICA is about to be handed to China. For China, this means both trust and responsibility. China has confidence in working together with other CICA members to make new contributions to the peace and stability in Asia.

While answering the questions from the journalists, Cheng Guoping said that Shanghai, as the window of China’s reform and opening up, is an important international economic and financial center. Shanghai always upholds the spirit of openness, diversity, and inclusiveness. It is of symbolic significance for this CICA Summit to be held in Shanghai, which will provide important opportunities for Shanghai to further deepen its opening to the outside world and showcase China’s achievements in reform and opening up to Asia and the world at large. Shanghai has taken the lead in launching the establishment of the Free Trade Zone (FTZ), receiving extensive attention at home and abroad. We have reasons to believe that Shanghai will make greater achievements on the path of comprehensively deepening reforms in China.

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