For Friendship, Cooperation and Common Prosperity

Address by H.E. Wang Guangya
Vice Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China
At the Opening Ceremony of the 16th SAARC Summit
Thimphu, 28 April 2010

Your Excellency Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to be here to attend the 16th SAARC Summit in this beautiful city of Thimphu. I wish to express congratulations on the opening of the summit and thanks to the government of the Kingdom of Bhutan for the thoughtful arrangements.

SAARC is an important platform for advancing cooperation and common prosperity among South Asian nations. In the past 25 years since the founding of the organization, cooperation among SAARC members has developed in breadth and depth. It has played an irreplaceable role in promoting peace and stability in South Asia and stimulating economic and social progress in the region.

A South Asia that is peaceful, stable and prosperous and a united SAARC geared towards cooperation and progress serve the shared interests of all countries in the region, including China. China is heartened by SAARC's achievements and has full confidence in its future.

China is committed to developing friendly cooperation with all South Asian countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China respects the will of SAARC countries. On this basis and in a spirit of equality and mutual benefit, we are ready to conduct dialogue and exchanges and expand practical cooperation with SAARC. This will help enhance SAARC cooperation as well as peace and development in the region.

China became a SAARC observer in 2005. Since then, we have followed through on our cooperation commitments in a whole spectrum of sectors, including human resources training, poverty alleviation, disaster reduction, economic cooperation, trade, and media exchanges. We have undertaken to launch new cooperation projects such as the South Asian Countries Commodity Fair. All this fully shows our goodwill and support to SAARC.

Today's world is undergoing major changes, adjustments and development. Asia, including South Asia, is witnessing a steady rise of its international standing and influence. Cooperation between China and SAARC thus faces a historical opportunity. China is South Asia's biggest neighbor. Our traditional friendship boasts a history of more than a thousand years. Our good-neighborly relations are deep-rooted. With a combined population that accounts for over 40% of the world's total, we have a major responsibility to promote world peace and development. We all face the task of growing economy and improving people's livelihood. There is a lot we can learn from each other. There is even more we can do together. All in all, we have everything it takes to foster greater cooperation – the right time, favorable geographical conditions and most importantly, support from our people.

China will continue to tap our potential to expand cooperation with SAARC and elevate our friendly and cooperative ties to a new level. We plan to do the following:

First, we will contribute US$300,000 to the SAARC Development Fund and continue to play a positive and constructive role in the development of SAARC.

Second, we will invite Secretary General Sharma to visit China within this year and will be delighted to welcome the delegation of senior diplomats from South Asian nations to China in 2011.

Third, we will host the Third South Asian Countries Commodity Fair and China-SAARC Senior Officials' Meeting and the Fifth China-South Asia Business Forum.

Fourth, we would welcome the joint delegation of journalists from Southeast and South Asia to visit China this year and delegations from South Asian countries to attend the China-SAARC Cultural Cooperation Seminar to be held in my country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The theme of this summit – climate change – is a major challenge facing the whole world. China, like countries in South Asia, is a victim of climate change. We share similar experiences and a great deal of common interests. We fully understand the plight the small island developing states and the least developed countries face.

China has made strenuous efforts to address climate change which we regard as an important strategic task. The Chinese government has set a voluntary target of greenhouse gas reduction in consideration of our national realities. There is no condition attached to this target; nor is it linked to the emission cut target of any other country. We have done so out of a strong sense of responsibility to the Chinese people and the whole mankind.

China stands together with all the other developing countries, including countries in South Asia, in firmly upholding our common interests. We have taken part in the international cooperation to tackle climate change in a responsible way. We made our utmost efforts at the Copenhagen Conference to ensure that a positive outcome was achieved. The international community should work together to tackle the challenges posed by climate change. Developed countries should provide financial, technical and capacity assistance to developing countries to enhance their ability to cope with climate change. China is ready to strengthen practical cooperation with South Asian countries on climate change through bilateral channels and within the framework of South-South cooperation. We will offer help within our capabilities and work to make climate change a new area of cooperation and a bright spot in our relations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In just three days' time, the six-month long World Expo will open in Shanghai. We sincerely welcome friends from South Asia to the Shanghai Expo to enjoy the great event together with the Chinese people, and discuss ways to promote prosperity and harmony.

In conclusion, I wish the 16th SAARC Summit a great success!

Thank you.

Suggest to a Friend