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China fully adheres to Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence: Cambodian scholars

China has fully adhered to and implement the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence over the past 60 years, scholars in Cambodia have said.

"When we look at the overall foreign policy or diplomatic strategy of China, we see that China completely adheres to these principles very strictly, especially the principle of non- interference in the internal affairs of other countries," Dr. Joseph Matthews, the director of International Cooperation Department at the Asia Euro University in Phnom Penh, told Xinhua in an interview on Friday.

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, or known as Panchsheel Treaty in India, was initiated in 1954 by leaders of China, India and Myanmar. The principles stand for 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.

"The treaty was signed 60 years ago, but now, it is still very much relevant and is still working very well," he said.

Joseph said the concept of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence could be seen as the foundation of bilateral relations, not only between China and India, but also between China and more than 170 other countries around the world that have relations with China.

"China's policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries has won the hearts and minds of third world and developing countries around the globe, and especially in sub- Sahara Africa and South America, where most of the poor countries are located," he said.

China-India and China-Myanmar bilateral relations for the last 60 years have continued to grow and expand in almost all economic, cultural, social and political fields, he said, adding that China and India are partners in BRICS summit and also working together in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum.

China, India and Myanmar are marking the 60th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence on Saturday and Sunday in Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping, Myanmar President U Thein Sein and Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari attended the commemorative summit on Saturday and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will host a reception for the foreign guests on Sunday.

"By inviting India and Myanmar to celebrate the 60th anniversary of signing this treaty, China signifies the importance of its neighbors and peaceful co-existence," Joseph said. "You cannot have a peaceful co-existence unless you have a real peace with your neighbors."

Besides, China's contributions to its neighbors' economic development are also a sign of peaceful co-existence.

"China's contributions in developing the economies of Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and even Cambodia are tremendous and very significant," he said.

Commenting on China's role in and influence on international and regional issues, Joseph said the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence has been the cornerstone of China's policy.

"China's policy, to resolve all the conflicts bilaterally, is very principled stance, and all the think-tank and intellectual organizations around the world support this concept," he said. " Whether it is South China Sea or East China Sea maritime dispute, it should be resolved bilaterally and without the interference of a third, non-regional player."

Dr. Chheang Vannarith, a senior researcher of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, said the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are the foundation of international relations. However, more elaboration on concrete action plans is needed, he added.

"China, India and Myanmar are the pioneers in initiating such principle of international relations, they should further develop such concept in the new context of a fast-changing world," he said.

He said Chinese approaches to international conflicts are guided by these principles, and the outcomes of such foreign policy can only be tested in a long run as China is gradually becoming a global power.

"China needs to develop and strengthen its soft power (not only economic and cultural assets but also ideas)," said Vannarith, who is also a lecturer of Asia Pacific Studies at the University of Leeds in Britain. "The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence can serve that goal well."

[Source: Xinhua, Phnom Penh, 28Jun14]

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