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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 08:50, June 16, 2004
New life to Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence
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Half a century after their initiation, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, a guiding norm of international relations, have not only weathered the vicissitudes of the international situation but display ever stronger vitality in the modern world, observers say.

"In recent years, there have been new developments in the international arena both in theory and practice on establishing a new international order under the new situation," said Former Chinese Vice-Premier Qian Qichen at a seminar sponsored by the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA) from June 14 to 15 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Five Principles.

"People have come to the same conclusion through practice and deliberation that in today's diversified world, the Five Principles still have wide application as the fundamental theory guiding international relations," Qian said.

Qian's remarks were echoed by participants of the international seminar, a gathering of over 100 politicians, scholars and experts from China and 12 other countries across the world.

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which are mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence, were initiated by China, India and Myanmar in 1954. Now after 50 years, it has been gradually and universally accepted by the international community as the fundamental norm guiding international relations.

"Many changes have taken place in the past 50 years ...but the new rules as conceived by the true envisioners in 1954 still bear realistic significance in today's south-north relations," said Amara Essy, former secretary-general of the Organization of African Unity.

Former US Secretary of State George P. Shultz said these principles have continuing relevance to this day, even as the context of world events in the ensuing fifty years has changed.

"There has never been a greater need to revive the spirit of the Five Principles," said Former Australian Prime Minister Robert James Lee Hawke.

Delegates to the seminar also exchanged their views on the challenge faced by the Five Principles in present time, noting that under the new situation, new dimensions to the principles should be added according to the characteristics of the times.

Song Mingjiang, president of the China Institute of International Studies, said not all countries were willing to respect certain principles of the Five Principles, and that's why the Five Principles had to meet challenges nowadays.

As to how to cope with the challenges, CPIFA President Lu Qiutian said the basic spirit and principles of the Five Principles should be insisted on, and meanwhile, the Five Principles should be developed further according to new situation.

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