China has unswervingly pursued an independent foreign policy of peace. The basic objectives of the policy center on safeguarding national independence and state sovereignty, and creating an international environment favorable to its reform, opening and modernization efforts, as well as maintaining world peace and promoting common development. The policy is based on the following main elements:
Maintaining independence. We are principled in international affairs, determining our own position and policies in accordance with the merits of each case and never yielding to pressure from major powers, nor entering into alliance with any major power or power bloc.
Maintaining world peace. China does not participate in the arms race, nor does it seek military expansion. China resolutely opposes hegemonism, power politics, aggression and expansion in whatever form, as well as encroachments perpetrated by one country on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another, or interference in the internal affairs of another nation under the pretext of ethnic, religious or human rights issues.
Friendly relations and cooperation. China sincerely hopes to establish and develop friendly ties and cooperative relationship with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Relations with other states are never based on social systems or ideologies.
Good-neighborly and friendly relations. China has vigorously advanced friendly relations with neighboring countries, worked diligently for regional peace and stability, and promoted regional economic cooperation. Our nation stands for fair and reasonable settlements of border and territorial disputes through negotiations and consultations, including the offshore territory. Disputes defying immediate solutions can be temporarily shelved in the spirit of seeking common ground while putting aside differences. They should never be allowed to stand in the way of the development of normal state-to-state relations.
Enhanced unity and cooperation with developing countries. This factor has always been a cornerstone of our foreign policy. We attach great importance to the development of comprehensive friendly relations and cooperation with other developing countries. We have vigorously explored ways to engage in mutually complementary cooperation with other developing nations in the economic, trade, scientific and technological sectors, and have expanded consultations and cooperation with them on international issues in order to maintain the rights and interests of all developing countries.
Opening policy. China is open to both developed and developing countries and has engaged in extensive international cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit to promote common development. China, the world's largest developing country and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, stands ready to make unremitting efforts to ensure world peace and development, and the establishment of a new fair and equitable international political and economic order based on peace and stability.
(Excerpts of Premier Li Peng's speech at the 96th Inter-Parliamentary Conference on September 19, 1996)