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中国国际法学会会长李适时在“亚洲的共同未来” 国际法研讨会上的开幕致辞

更新时间: 2017/07/13 来源: 点击数: 74

Hand in Hand Towards a Common Future in Asia Based on the Rule of Law

以法治为基石,共创亚洲共同未来

—中国国际法学会会长李适时在“亚洲的共同未来”

国际法研讨会上的开幕致辞(全文)

201777日,香港)


 

 Distinguished Mr. Tung Chee Hwa, Vice Chairman of the CPPCC National Committee,

 

Distinguished Ms. Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,

 

Honorable guests, Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Good morning,

 

On behalf of the Chinese Society of International Law, one of the co-hosts of the Colloquium on International Law themed Common Future in Asia, I have the pleasure to welcome all of you. This is a high-level academic conference on international law once again co-organized by this Society along with a Hong Kong based institution. While actively promoting the research and practice of international law in China, this Society is increasingly committed to the enhancement of the exchanges between the Chinese international law community and their counterparts in the world for common development. The Asian Academy of International Law, co-host of this Colloquium, is a newly set-up academic institution in Hong Kong. Benefiting from its unique location and international vision of its founders, the Academy has a very good start and great potential for development. With Professor Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah as its President, I believe that the Asian Academy of International Law will surely have a brilliant future.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

The theme of this Colloquium is “Common Future in Asia”. President Xi Jinping stated that “we should, through efforts towards a community of common destiny for Asia, promote a community of common interest for all human beings”. From such perspective, the topics of this Colloquium are carefully selected, including "One Country, Two Systems" and international law, opportunities and challenges of investment collaboration in Asia, and the application of relevant articles in UNCLOS. The above topics are highly relevant to the theme and corresponding with the current trend regionally and internationally. A luncheon will be held to exchange on issues regarding the implementation of the Paris Agreement. We sincerely hope that the in-depth exchange and discussions among the participating experts and scholars on the topics will bring us with fruitful outcome and valuable insights. For this purpose, I would like to share with you some of my observations on the theme.

 

First, the common future in Asia is rooted in our constant pursuit for a peaceful world. As the most cherished dream of human beings since ancient times, peace is the precondition and foundation for a better life in the present age. It is essential to have dialogues and consultations on an equal footing in line with the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international law, aiming at resolving disputes and managing conflicts in a timely manner, building a community of common destiny as countries are more interdependent in their interests than ever before. Such dialogues and consultations are of great significance to maintaining regional peace and security based on current situations. A few days ago, a grand ceremony was held here for the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China, which is a fine example of solving issues left over from history in accordance with the peaceful resolution of international disputes, one of the basic principles of international law. President Xi Jinping pointed out at the celebration event that “what has happened in Hong Kong fully demonstrates that the concept of 'One Country, Two Systems' provides the best solution to the historical issue of Hong Kong and the best institutional arrangement to ensure Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability after its return, 'One Country, Two Systems' has proved to be a workable solution welcomed by the people”. Indeed, “One Country, Two Systems” is a rational answer to a series of complex issues arising out of the different social systems adopted in a certain region and the majority of the country. Such a policy properly handles the relationship between the sovereign rule of the Central Government and the high degree of autonomy of the HKSAR. It contains the special arrangements for the HKSAR  to widely participate in a broad range of international treaties, international organizations and international affairs under the framework of national sovereignty. From the perspective of international law, I believe “One Country, Two Systems” is one of the creative contributions of China to the international rule of law, therefore worthy of in-depth theoretical exploration.

 

It is worth mentioning a little bit about the updates of the South China Sea arbitration case, which was discussed here last year. The political fuss under a legal cover of the case has gradually subsided thanks to the joint efforts of China and other relevant countries. In May this year, China and ASEAN countries agreed on the framework for the “Code of Conduct in the South China Sea” ahead of schedule, demonstrating the sincerity of all parties concerned to meet each other half way and build consensus. It is also an evidence of the ability of Asian countries to eliminate external interference and create an amicable environment based on rules. Since the overall situation is turning for the better, the arbitration award of last July which is null and void does not deserve too much of our attention. However, in view of maintaining the stability of the Asia region, especially that of the littoral areas, it is the very responsibility of international law scholars to make further in-depth research on the law of the sea issues, in particular the interpretation and application of relevant articles of UNCLOS, aiming at deepening understanding of the issues, reducing friction, building consensus, consolidating and maintaining good-neighborly and friendly relations among the Asian countries through peaceful means including negotiation.

 

Second, the common future in Asia depends on the active promotion of development by all the parties concerned. Given most Asian countries are developing countries,a pragmatic discussion on common destiny of Asia must start with the means of boosting economic development and achieving common prosperity. The experience of China's reform and development informs us that the national development is premised not only  on finding the right path, but also on creating good opportunities and external atmosphere by adhering to the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. When launching the Belt and Road Initiative, China clearly puts forward the new concept of co-construction and co-sharing. Co-construction gives full play to the strengths and potentials of each country so that all parties will work closely together to drive the regional growth by enhancing national economic power and development quality. Co-sharing means actively maintaining an open economic system, unequivocally opposing trade and investment protectionism, while benefitting people of all countries in a more equitable manner through the outcomes of economic development. Nowadays, Asia boasts the most robust economy in the world. A number of regional cooperation framework, including the Belt and Road Initiative, have gained support from many countries. The ongoing pragmatic cooperation under these frameworks has injected strong driving force to the overall development of Asia and provided a number of new opportunities to the region. All these have put forward many new topics to the practice and research of international law.

 

Third, the common future in Asia has benefited and will continue to benefit from our shared faith in the rule of law. In retrospect, Asian countries have made historic contributions to the international rule of law. The five principles of peaceful coexistence, first advocated and practiced by Asian countries, have become norms of international law governing international relations. In the future, the peaceful development of Asian countries is increasingly relied on the rule of law. With regard to regional cooperation, more specific rules are waiting to be established or improved in various fields, such as regional security, economy and trade, cultural exchange as well as environmental protection. Meanwhile, “Asia belongs to the world”. Asian countries should play their roles in the common cause of addressing global challenges and shaping more equitable global rules.

 

International rules require strict universal adherence. International rule of law requires advocacy by all. Here, I would like to mention the implementation of Article 15 of the Protocol on the Accession of PRC to the WTO. This “sunset clause” provides for the termination of the application of “surrogate country” method to China in due course. Regrettably, a few members so far reject fulfilling their obligations under Article 15, while deliberately confuse the concept of this article with the so-called “market economy” in their domestic laws. Such an misinterpretation of the WTO rules, which also undermines the multilateral trading system must be opposed. This reminds me of the difficult times when I was the deputy head of the Chinese Delegation on the negotiation of China’s Accession to the WTO. I am fully aware, that only by firmly preserving the multilateral trading system, eliminating barriers tangible and intangible, promoting trade and investment liberalization, can we build an open economy which is more dynamic, inclusive and sustainable. To this end, our faith in the international rule of law must further be strengthened and preserved. The international law academia should focus on the relevant issues and conduct in-depth research. For international law scholars in Asia, efforts should be made to put forward international law theories that are consistent with the principles of international law as well as the common interests of the Asia region. By doing so, we are playing our role in promoting international consensus, speeding up international rule-making, enhancing the enforceability of international rules, facilitating compliance with international obligations, and finally contributing to the creation of a better future based on rule of law, equity and justice.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

This Colloquium is not possible without the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, the HKSAR Government and prominent people from various circles. On behalf of the Chinese Society of International Law, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the supports we have received. I hope this Colloquium will enable us to turn a new page of academic cooperation between the mainland of China and HKSAR in international law, and further promote exchange and dialogue among international law scholars and practitioners both at home and abroad.

 

I wish this Colloquium every success.

 

Thank you all.