Statement by Commissioner Liu Guangyuan on the
General Debate of The 59th Annual Session of the AALCO
November 30, 2021
Congratulations on your election as President of the 59th Annual Session of the AALCO. I believe that under your excellent leadership, this session will be a full success. Please allow me to use this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to Secretary-General Kennedy Gastorn for his contributions to the development of the AALCO over the past five years, and extend my warm congratulations to Dr. Kamalinne Pinitpuvadol on his election as Secretary-General. We expect that under the leadership of the new Secretary-General, the AALCO will promote closer exchanges and cooperation between Asian and African countries in international law, and further contribute to maintaining the international order underpinned by international law.
As the representative of the host country, I sincerely welcome all delegations to this annual session held both online and on site for the first time. My appreciation also goes to the Secretariat and the HKSAR Government for their thoughtful arrangement despite challenges brought by Covid-19. The session in such a special backdrop indicates that the pandemic cannot stop Asian and African countries from strengthening international law cooperation. It will leave a historic “AALCO mark” in Hong Kong.
Today’s world is full with uncertainties and emerging global challenges. Faced with the major questions of our time – “what is happening in the world?” and “what shall we do about it?” – President Xi Jinping has called for building a community with a shared future for mankind.Yesterday, Premier Li Keqiang came back to the AALCO annual session and delivered a speech after six years, which fully demonstrates China’s support for the AALCO and the high importance China attaches to exchanges and cooperation between Asian and African countries on issues concerning international law. In his speech, Premier Li Keqiang made five proposals on how Asian and African countries should uphold the international rule of law and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind. Here, I wish to share some of my suggestions based on the work of the AALCO and practice of Asian and African countries.
First, we need to be a defender of international law. Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday that international Law is crucial in upholding the cause of fairness and justice and safeguarding the environment for peaceful development. In the last century, Asian and African countries, as good partners with a shared future, jointly put forward the basic norms of international law, such as the Ten Principles of Bandung Conference and the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, thus making important historical contributions to the post-war international law system. Going forward, Asian and African countries should continue to defend the authority of international law and contribute to the codification and gradual development of international law. At the same time, we must guard against the hypocritical position of certain countries exploiting or discarding international law at their own will, and jointly oppose their acts of seeking hegemony under the cover of “rules”.
Second, we need to be a follower of multilateralism. The AALCO is the only international law cooperation platform across Asia and Africa. It promotes consultation and exchanges in the field of international law between different countries, and is a model of multilateralism. Asian and African countries should join hands to uphold the international system with the UN at its core, the international order underpinned by international law and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. In the face of global challenges in today’s world, Asian and African countries should continue to advance open and inclusive multilateral cooperation, and take practical actions to meet Asian and African people’s aspirations for peaceful development, fairness and justice as well as their pursuit of win-win cooperation. On the other hand, Asian and African countries must tell right from wrong, and resolutely resist “pseudo-multilateralism” that draws ideological lines and creates division in the disguise of “democracy” and “human rights”.
Third, we need to be a builder of global governance. Since our independence, Asian and African countries have worked together to oppose hegemony and advocate democracy in international relations. With three-fourth of the world’s population and the largest global market, Asian and African countries have been deeply integrated into the global trend of development. A more just and equitable global governance system is in the vital interest of Asian and African people and a matter of fairness and justice, so Asian and African countries should take an active part in the reform of important international institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization, so as to increase the representation and decision-making power of developing countries. In the emerging fields of deep sea, outer space, cyberspace and digital development, Asian and African countries need to step up communication and coordination, engage in international rules-setting, have a bigger Asian and African voice, and contribute more Asian and African wisdom.
Our world is moving towards greater multi-polarity and economic globalization. In such a world, interests of countries around the world are deeply inter-connected, and more attention has been paid to the common interests of the international community in the field of international law. The Covid-19 pandemic has once again driven home the message that all countries are a community with a shared future where we share weal and woe together. Building a community with a shared future for mankind is in the fundamental interest of the Asian and African people. It should be what Asian and African countries work for in promoting the development of international order and international law. Asian and African countries need to answer the call of our time, jointly respond to global challenges, uphold the international rule of law together, and safeguard the common interests of human society.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. China has built a moderately prosperous society in all respects and eliminated absolute poverty. It is moving towards the second centenary goal of fully building a great modern socialist country. This year is also the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People’s Republic of China in the UN. Over the past half a century, China has stayed committed to true multilateralism as a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of the international order. It has taken concrete actions to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.
Earlier this month, the Communist Party of China held the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, which had a comprehensive review of major achievements and historical experience of the Party over the past century. During the 100 years, the Communist Party of China has been not only seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation, but also pursuing progress for mankind and common good for the world. Looking to the future, China will continue to work with other countries to defend and develop international law and contribute to building a community with a shared future for mankind.