Seoul, June 7 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Top Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Friday wrapped up his widely-watched state visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the first of its kind in 14 years, bringing bilateral ties to a new height in history and reaffirming China's commitment to a political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue.
The landmark visit has sent a clear message to the rest of the world: the China-DPRK traditional friendship has been ushered in a new era and the stronger-than-ever bilateral bonds will provide new impetus for addressing the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.
During his state visit, Xi, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese president, met with Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, for the fifth time over the past 15 months.
The meeting is expected to open up a fresh chapter for advancing bilateral relations under new circumstances and carrying forward the unshakable friendship between the two peoples.
Xi's two-day visit to Pyongyang received hearty hospitality from the DPRK side. More than 250,000 people flocked to the streets in Pyongyang to welcome Xi.
At the square of the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun which serves as a mausoleum honoring two former DPRK leaders, Xi received a salute from the DPRK's party and government officials as well as crowds of Pyongyang residents, making him the first foreign leader to be given such an honor at the highly symbolic venue.
The extraordinarily high-level reception once again showcased the close bonds between China and the DPRK. As Xi wrote in a signed article published ahead of his trip on Rodong Sinmun, the DPRK's mainstream newspaper, the time-honored friendship between the two peoples, which is more precious than gold, grows even stronger as time goes by.
More than a chance to look back on and consolidate 70 years of China-DPRK traditional friendship, Xi's visit offers an opportunity to inject more vitality into the traditional and cooperative relations and lift bilateral ties to a higher level, as the international landscape is going through profound and complex changes.
What's more, enhancing strategic communication and building closer ties between Beijing and Pyongyang not only accord with the interests of the two countries, but will, in a larger picture, contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity.
As Xi stressed in his talks with Kim, China is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with the DPRK as well as other relevant parties, and play a positive and constructive role in achieving denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and long-term stability in the region.
The denuclearization process has seemingly faced a stalemate since the summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, ended without an agreement four months ago.
During their talks, Kim told Xi that over the past year, the DPRK has taken many active measures to avoid tensions and control the situation on the Korean Peninsula, but has not received positive responses from the party concerned, which the DPRK does not want to see.
Fortunately, resolving the highly sensitive and complex issue through negotiations has not veered off course.
China, for its part, has always been a strong supporter of a political settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and has advocated accommodating the reasonable concerns of all relevant parties through dialogue and consultations.
Better coordination between China and the DPRK will facilitate that ongoing process and help provide more positive force, pushing forward dialogue among parties concerned.
A peaceful and nuclear-free Korean Peninsula is what the international community desires. It is expected by all that a brand new chapter in the China-DPRK relations on the occasion of Xi's historic visit can also gather more momentum for dialogue and possibly greater progress on the Korean Peninsula issue.
Beijing, June 5 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping is traveling to Pyongyang on Thursday for a two-day state visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) at the invitation of DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un.
The trip, Xi's first as general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and head of state, will lend fresh momentum to the bilateral relationship, and help promote lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula in changing times.
The historic visit, the first of its kind in 14 years, comes at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, and the situation on the peninsula is standing at a critical juncture.
China-DPRK relations have now opened a new chapter following an unusually vigorous streak of top-level diplomacy, which saw Xi and Kim, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, meet four times within 10 months since March last year.
Over the past seven decades, bilateral ties have ridden out the vicissitudes of the global political landscape and evolved into a special bond of trust and friendship.
That traditional friendship now serves as the ballast of China-DPRK ties, and the two neighbors have a strong consensus that such a valuable asset should be cherished and passed down from generation to generation.
"No matter how the international situation changes, the CPC and the Chinese government have held and will always hold a firm position on consolidating and developing China-DPRK relations," Xi said in a signed article published on the DPRK's mainstream media ahead of his visit.
In the past year, the DPRK unveiled a new strategic line, and achieved notable progress on multiple fronts through economic reforms. As Pyongyang is trying to concentrate on economic development and improve its people's livelihood, Beijing, as always, will support the country in choosing a path of development that suits its national conditions.
Steady economic growth demands a peaceful environment. It is a shared responsibility for China and the DPRK, as well as other related parties, to safeguard stability and realize permanent peace in the region in a way that address their respective legitimate concerns.
Over the past few months, although the positive momentum in fixing the nuclear issue on the peninsula has lost some steam following the February summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam that ended with no agreement, hope remains alive and kicking.
For decades, China has been a staunch supporter of denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of a peace mechanism through diplomatic means.
Its "dual-track approach" and the "suspension for suspension" proposal have already proved to be an effective way to create the basic conditions for Washington and Pyongyang as well as other parties to return to the negotiating table.
However, as the nuclear issue has dragged on for decades and complicated factors remain, the relevant parties cannot expect the issue to be solved overnight. They need to have reasonable expectations and refrain from imposing unilateral and unrealistic demands.
In order to achieve a breakthrough, they also need to break the cycle of mistrust and jointly work out a roadmap for denuclearization and the set-up of a peace regime, and roll it out step by step. In this process, China can continue to play a unique, constructive role.
As Xi is going to shake hands with Kim again, it is believed that the two leaders will jointly usher in a new era for bilateral ties, and help bring the peninsula closer to peace.
Beijing, June 5 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Situated along rivers and beside mountains, Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan and host of this year's Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, used to be a key juncture along the ancient Silk Road.
The historical trade routes snaked through the Central Asian country for centuries, witnessing and facilitating commercial and cultural exchanges between the East and the West.
Today, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), proposed by China and inspired by the historical link, has offered Bishkek a new opportunity to rejuvenate its old glory in global trade. The city has now become an economic partner with China's eastern port of Qingdao, host of last year's SCO summit.
Over the years, the organization has made strides in bolstering security cooperation among its members, including combating the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as in cracking down on transnational organized crime across the region.
After 18 years of growth, the SCO has now matured under the guidance of the Shanghai Spirit, which features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development.
The SCO has expanded from a six-member group when it was founded in 2001 to one of the world's most important multilateral platforms that, in addition to tackling shared security problems in the region, also seeks to promote economic development and people-to-people exchanges.
Robust and sustainable economic and social development is key to fundamentally addressing security challenges. The BRI, now in its sixth year, can bring the SCO members both the "Belt" of security and "Road" to development in the face of rising trade protectionism and economic nationalism to achieve lasting stability and common prosperity.
Spreading across the Eurasian continent, the now eight-member SCO accounts for nearly half the global population, and over 20 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), according to official statistics. These numbers provide a glimpse of the SCO members' immense demand and potential for development cooperation.
In previous gatherings, leaders of the SCO members expressed their support for the BRI and pledged to dock their respective development strategies with it. Some SCO members like Russia and Pakistan have become key partners with China along the Belt and Road, and their BRI-related cooperation has made notable strides.
Take Russia for example. With a boost from the growing synergy between the BRI and the Eurasian Economic Union, two-way trade between China and Russia hit a record high of over 100 billion U.S. dollars last year.
The two sides have also worked closely on major inter-connectivity cooperation projects, such as the construction of gas pipelines and cross-border roads and bridges.
During Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Russia last week, the two nations vowed to join hands to increase two-way trade to 200 billion dollars and promote regional integration and economic development.
At the Qingdao summit last year, all eight member states made "building a community with a shared future for humanity" a shared notion in the Qingdao Declaration for the SCO community.
The BRI, with an aim to promote common development in Asia, Europe, Africa and beyond, can offer new opportunities for SCO members and, ultimately, build that shared community.
Addressing the plenary session of the just-concluded 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last week, Xi said that as the world is standing at a crossroads of history again, pooling wisdom and efforts to expand cooperation and achieve win-win outcomes is the way forward. He called sustainable development the "golden key" to solving global problems.
All SCO members can find this "golden key" along the Belt and Road and work together to build a more peaceful and prosperous world.
Moscow, June 7 (Xinhua/UNB) -- China and Russia agreed Wednesday to lift their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, opening a new stage of bilateral cooperation conducive to global stability and prosperity.
Seven decades after its establishment, the China-Russia diplomatic relationship has reached its highest level in history under the strategic leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
Now that the two leaders have decided to once again elevate their countries' ties, the pair of neighboring large countries are poised to open up a new chapter of bilateral cooperation for greater accomplishments.
In the new era of bilateral ties, China and Russia will cooperate more closely in a broader range of areas with greater depth.
The two countries have overlapping development strategies, which allows them to work together on major projects, along the border regions and even across the whole Eurasia.
China and Russia have different advantages in natural resources and technologies, and their economies are highly complementary, which can translate into a substantial increase in trade and investment in coming years.
Bilateral trade surged 27.1 percent in 2018 to hit a record of 107.1 billion U.S. dollars, the highest growth rate among China's top 10 trading partners. Analysts expect the strong momentum to continue and the trade volume to double in the near future.
Strategic projects in traditional fields of energy, aerospace and interconnectivity have made solid progress. Cooperation in such sectors as agriculture, finance, science and technology, and e-commerce has developed rapidly.
The first ship carrying liquefied natural gas from Russia's Yamal Peninsula in the Arctic traversed the sea to China last summer, and millions of tonnes more are expected to be supplied every year thanks to the project partly financed by China.
A second line of the China-Russia oil pipeline began commercial operation in 2018, and the east-route natural gas pipeline is expected to supply gas to China by the end of this year.
The Tongjiang railway bridge and the Heihe highway bridge will be completed this year to make cross-border transportation much easier.
The booming China-Russia relationship is also bringing the two peoples closer.
In 2018, Chinese tourists made 1.8 million trips to Russia while Russian travelers made nearly 2 million trips to China. The two countries have become major sources of tourists and travel destinations for each other. Beijing and Moscow have also co-conducted Tourism Year activities.
A closer and stronger partnership between China and Russia, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, is also set to make the world more peaceful, stable and prosperous.
China and Russia share similar views on many regional and global issues. As they seek to better coordinate their foreign policies, they will continue to be a ballast stone and stabilizer in the world, which is now rife with uncertainties.
As the two have repeatedly affirmed, Beijing and Moscow will firmly uphold multilateralism and seek to build a more open world economy against the backdrop of rising unilateralism and trade protectionism.
They have also pledged to closely coordinate within such multilateral frameworks as the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Group of 20 to make the international system more fair, just and inclusive.
A solid foundation for a bright future has been laid over the past seven decades, particularly over the recent years with Xi and Putin at the helm of bilateral ties.
Now it is time for the two countries to build on the momentum and translate the latest upgrade of relations into more concrete achievements so as to bring greater benefits to the two peoples and the wider world.
Around the world, hate is on the march.
A menacing wave of intolerance and hate-based violence is targeting worshippers of many faiths across the globe. Sadly – and disturbingly – such vicious incidents are becoming all too familiar.
In recent months, we have seen Jews murdered in synagogues, their gravestones defaced with swastikas; Muslims gunned down in mosques, their religious sites vandalized; Christians killed at prayer, their churches torched.
Beyond these horrific attacks, increasingly loathsome rhetoric is being aimed not only at religious groups but also minorities, migrants, refugees, women and any so-called “other”.
As the wildfire of hate spreads, social media is being exploited for bigotry. Neo-Nazi and white supremacist movements are growing. And incendiary rhetoric is being weaponized for political gain.
Hate is moving into the mainstream in liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes alike – and casting a shadow over our common humanity.
The United Nations has a long history of mobilizing the world against hatred of all kinds through wide-ranging action to defend human rights and advance the rule of law.
Indeed, the very identity and establishment of the Organization are rooted in the nightmare that ensues when virulent hatred is left unopposed for too long.
We recognize hate speech as an attack on tolerance, inclusion, diversity and the very essence of our human rights norms and principles.
More broadly, it undermines social cohesion, erodes shared values, and can lay the foundation for violence, setting back the cause of peace, stability, sustainable development and human dignity.
In recent decades, hate speech has been a precursor to atrocity crimes, including genocide, from Rwanda to Bosnia to Cambodia.
I fear that the world is reaching another acute moment in battling the demon of hate.
That is why I have launched two United Nations initiatives in response.
First, I have just unveiled a Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech to coordinate efforts across the whole United Nations system, addressing the root causes and making our response more effective.
Second, we are developing an Action Plan for the UN to be fully engaged in efforts to support safeguard religious sites and ensure the safety of houses of worship.
To those who insist on using fear to divide communities, we must say: diversity is a richness, never a threat.
A deep and sustained spirit of mutual respect and receptivity can transcend posts and tweets fired off in a split second. We must never forget, after all, that each of us is an “other” to someone, somewhere. There can be no illusion of safety when hate is widespread.
As part of one humanity, it is our duty to look after each other.
Of course, all action aimed at addressing and confronting hate speech must be consistent with fundamental human rights.
Addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of speech. It means keeping hate speech from escalating into something more dangerous, particularly incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, which is prohibited under international law.
We need to treat hate speech as we treat every malicious act: by condemning it, refusing to amplify it, countering it with the truth, and encouraging the perpetrators to change their behaviour.
Now is the time to step up to stamp out anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred, persecution of Christians and all other forms of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance.
Governments, civil society, the private sector and the media all have important roles to play. Political and religious leaders have a special responsibility to promote peaceful coexistence.
Hatred is a danger to everyone – and so fighting it must be a job for everyone.
Together, we can put out the wildfire of hate and uphold the values that bind us together as a single human family.
* The author is the Secretary-General of the United Nations