Russian-Chinese Joint Declaration on a Multipolar World and the Establishment of a New International Order

23 April 1997 – Moscow

The Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as “the Parties”), desiring to develop a partnership based on equality and mutual trust for the purpose of strategic interaction in the twenty-first century, and considering the responsibility to the international community, that they bear as permanent members of the Security Council and also considering their common approaches to major international issues, declare the following:

1.   In a spirit of partnership, the Parties shall strive to promote the multipolarization of the world and the establishment of a new international order.

The Parties believe that profound changes in international relations have taken place at the end of the twentieth century.  The cold war is over.  The bipolar system has vanished.  A positive trend towards a multipolar world is gaining momentum, and relations between major States, including former cold-war adversaries, are changing. Regional economic cooperation organizations are showing considerable vitality.  Diversity in the political, economic and cultural development of all countries is becoming the norm, and the role played by the forces in favour of peace and broad-based international cooperation is expanding.  A growing number of countries are beginning to recognize the need for mutual respect, equality and mutual advantage – but not for hegemony and power politics – and for dialogue and cooperation – but not for confrontation and conflict.  The establishment of a peaceful, stable, just and rational new international political and economic order is becoming a pressing need of the times and an imperative of historical development.

2.   The Parties are in favour of making mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual advantage, peaceful coexistence and other universally recognized principles of international law the fundamental norm for conducting relations between States and the basis for a new international order.

Every country has the right independently to choose its path of development in the light of its own specific conditions and without interference from other States.  Differences in their social systems, ideologies and value systems must not become an obstacle to the development of normal relations between States.

All countries, large or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community.  No country should seek hegemony, engage in power politics or monopolize international affairs. The Parties believe that the renunciation of discriminatory policies and practices in economic relations, and the strengthening and expansion of trade, economic, scientific, technical and humanitarian exchanges and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual advantage will promote their common development and prosperity.

3.   The Parties are in favour of establishing a new and universally applicable concept of security.  They believe that the cold-war mentality must be abandoned and they oppose bloc politics. Differences and disputes between countries must be settled by peaceful means, without resorting to the use or threat of force.  Dialogue and consultations must be pursued with a view to promoting mutual understanding and confidence, and peace and security must be sought through bilateral and multilateral coordination and cooperation.

The Parties are of the view that the Commonwealth of Independent States is an important factor in ensuring stability and development in Eurasia.  They stress that the Agreement between the Russian Federation, the Republic of Kazakstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan and the People’s Republic of China on confidence-building in the military field in the border area, as well as the Agreement on the mutual reduction of their armed forces in the border area are of great importance and can serve as a model for the achievement of regional peace, security and stability in the post-cold-war era.

The Parties intend to facilitate the disarmament process and emphasize the importance of signing the comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty and implementing the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  The Parties express concern at attempts to enlarge and strengthen military blocs, since this trend can pose a threat to the security of individual countries and aggravate tension on a regional and global scale.

4.   The Parties are of the view that the role of the United Nations and the Security Council must be strengthened, and they highly appreciate United Nations efforts to maintain world peace and security.  They believe that the United Nations, as the most universal and authoritative organization of sovereign States, has a place and role in the world that cannot be supplanted by any other international organization.  The Parties are confident that the United Nations will play an important role in the establishment and maintenance of the new international order.

United Nations peacekeeping efforts should focus on the prevention of conflicts or their escalation.  Peacekeeping operations can be conducted only on the basis of a Security Council decision and only with the consent of the countries concerned, in strict compliance with the mandate issued by the Security Council and under the Council’s supervision.

Whenever the Security Council, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, adopts a resolution on the use of sanctions, the damage caused by the imposition of such sanctions, as well as damage to third countries and neighbouring regions, must be kept to a minimum.  The sanctions themselves must be eased and lifted in due course in the light of the implementation of Security Council resolutions.

The Parties express their readiness to cooperate closely with the United Nations and its specialized agencies and to strive to improve the effectiveness of the United Nations activities.  The Parties intend to hold regular consultations on matters relating to the work of the Organization and to coordinate their actions in this area in the light of prevailing circumstances.

5.   The Parties stress that numerous developing countries and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries are an important force that promotes multipolarization  and the establishment of a new international order. Interaction among developing countries is gaining momentum.  Their role in international politics is growing, and their share in the world economy is increasing.  The rise of the developing countries will provide a powerful impetus for the historical process of establishing a new international order.  These countries should take their rightful place in the future new international order and participate in international affairs on an equal and non-discriminatory basis.

6.   The Parties note with satisfaction that the establishment and development of a Russian-Chinese partnership based on equality and mutual trust for the purpose of strategic interaction in the twenty-first century is in keeping with the development of the international situation and international relations in the post-cold-war era, fully meets the vital interests of the peoples of the two countries and is conducive to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole.

As permanent members of the Security Council, the Russian Federation and China, adhering to the principles of partnership, good-neighbourliness and friendship, equality and trust and mutually advantageous cooperation, and in strictly abiding by the principles of international law, are forging a new type of long-term inter-State relations that are not directed against third countries.  This provides important practical experience for the establishment of a new international order.

The Parties intend to make active use of and strengthen the existing system of summit meetings and high-level contacts.  Their heads of State, heads of Government and Ministers for Foreign Affairs meet regularly to exchange views on bilateral relations and major international issues. Guided by a sense of their historical responsibility for world peace and development and for the future of mankind, the Parties are strengthening coordination and cooperation in international affairs. The two countries are making efforts to ensure friendly coexistence and cooperation on an equal footing with all other States and are making their due contribution to the strengthening of world peace and the common progress of mankind.

7.   Mankind is on the threshold of a new era.  The peoples of all countries are faced with the increasingly urgent question of the kind of international order they will live under in the next century.  The Parties call on all countries to engage in an active dialogue on the establishment of a peaceful, stable, just and rational new international order, and they are prepared to take part in a joint discussion of any constructive proposals to this end.

FOR THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION:           FOR THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA:

(Signed)  B. YELTSIN                      (Signed)  JIANG Zemin

This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).  Reproduction and dissemination of the document – in electronic and/or printed format – is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

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