On 20 April 2016, Duan Jielong, Ambassador to Hungary representing the People’s Republic of China paid a visit to the National University of Public Service. As a guest of the university’s Ludovika Ambassador’s Forum His Excellency delivered a lecture on China’s peaceful development and the debates surrounding the South China Sea issue. In his speech he said that with China’s economic growth the role of the country has also revalued in the region and among the international superpowers. Five main principles guide the country’s foreign policy today: equality, mutual respect, non-violence, peaceful coexistence and non-interference.
The People’s Republic of China is the first country in the world who guaranteed never using nuclear weapons first – emphasized the ambassador. As the country is committed to solving problems through means of diplomacy, its life is currently governed by more than 300 multilateral treaties. In view of the UN peacekeeping missions it can be said that China provides the second biggest financial and human resources. In addition to its Asian presence, the country plays an important role in Africa: it provides medical aid to millions in need, battling malaria and ebola. China also takes part in anti-terrorist actions and plays a constructive role in fighting climate change.
China has always ruled the South China Sea as it were the Chinese who have mapped the region and started to use it for trading – pointed out Duan Jielong. Historical documents prove that before the Second World War only Chinese have inhabited the sea whereas with the end of the war it was the country once more who recovered the formerly occupied islands. Unfortunately, peace stayed as long as the early 1970s. Having revealed the richness of the South China Sea in oil and other natural resources, following the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, neighbouring countries have occupied a portion of the islands illegally. Nevertheless, China’s foreign policy did not change with time: the country continued and is still continuing to seek peaceful negotiation to settle the disputes on the basis of the international law, keeping the territorial sovereignty and the right to free navigation. The ambassador in the end emphasized that it should be in our utmost interest to keep the Chinese priorities in mind as the commercial activities in the region are of high international importance as well.
Text: Dorottya Petery
Photos: Denes Szilagyi