Statement for the Foreign Minister for the CICA Foreign Ministers Meeting 24 September 2018
Mr. Chairman Distinguished Foreign Ministers Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen! It is a privilege and a unique opportunity for me to address this august gathering of leaders from across Asia, who share a common vision of collective security and prosperity for the Asian Continent.
On behalf of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, I express my sincere gratitude to the People's Republic of China for convening this special meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). We cherish the fact that under the able and dynamic leadership of China and support from the member countries, CICA in the last few years has taken significant strides toward promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.
I would like to convey our warm greetings and good wishes to the Republic of Tajikistan for assuming the Chair of CICA. We are confident that under Tajikistan’s worthy leadership the Forum will continue to grow and embrace new areas of cooperation. I would also take this opportunity to warmly welcome the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka as CICA’s full member.
Last but not the least, I would like to express my profound gratitude to the government and people of Kazakhstan whose continued support to this Forum remains an invaluable asset. Mr. Chairman
Asia is home to over half the global population, covering almost 1/3rd of earth’s land. Our strength lies in our diversity; in the dynamism, toil and resilience of our people which have already transformed Asia into World’s fastest growing region. The global economic centre of gravity is indeed shifting, and we need to seize the opportunity.
But I must say that this should be done in an inclusive manner, by strengthening political linkages, pooling economic resources and spreading the dividends across our continent.
We also need to identify and address the issues that have hampered our march toward collective progress. Longstanding political disputes, ongoing conflicts, conventional and emerging security challenges including transnational organized crimes, poverty, illiteracy and climate change all pose a serious challenge to Asia’s development.
We must come together to reckon these challenges and work toward their solution through dialogue and constructive engagement.
The concept of Asian family would remain elusive without restoring peace and tranquillity across the continent through negotiated settlement of ongoing conflicts. We must raise the price tag on use of force and conflict in our region. This would require more innovative diplomacy aimed at replacing the outdated concept of zero-sum game with that of collective and comprehensive security and inclusive economic growth. This seems to me the only plausible way toward creating an Asia with common destiny.
We also need to provide our people, a peaceful and enabling environment to help them grow to their full potential and synergize their creative abilities. I think we owe it to posterity to make strenuous efforts to create healthy, safe and secure societies, banish poverty and deprivation, and leave behind an ecologically sustainable planet through prudent use of water and other natural resources. There is no denying that Asia has the political acumen and collective wisdom to craft a bright future for its inhabitants.
Mr. Chairman Pakistan fully recognizes the imperative of approaching issues of peace, security and development in a holistic manner. Our historical and active role in international and regional organizations signifies our contribution to global efforts for peace and security. From drug trafficking to terrorism, Pakistan has proven to be a bulwark providing protection to the entire region and beyond, though incurring huge human and economic losses for itself in the process. Nonetheless, Pakistan remains resilient and its commitment to fight terrorism and associated crimes remains unwavering.
I would like to reiterate our condemnation of all terrorist activities whether perpetrated by individuals, groups or states. Terrorism knows no border, no religion and no creed and it should be associated with none.
Mr. Chairman, As an emerging economy, Pakistan remains committed to regional connectivity to build on its existing bilateral ties with other countries in Asia. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), guided by the Asian spirit of solidarity and team play, manifests this commitment. We earnestly believe that CPEC will benefit not just China and Pakistan but the entire region. The strengthening of geographical linkages with improved road, rail and air transportation system will enhance exchange of ideas through people to people contacts which is so vital for creating an Asian community with shared values. In addition, it would facilitate flow of knowledge and trade, create new economic opportunities and promote development, thus creating an integrated region and emblem of win-win model.
At the end, I would like to reiterate Pakistan’s support to the spirit of CICA’s Declaration on the Principles Guiding Relations among the Member States and the Almaty Act which underscores the interdependence of political, military, economic, social and cultural aspects of relationships among the member states and calls for developing a comprehensive security model in Asia based on mutual respect, equality and common understanding. We are optimistic that, guided by our collective Asian Spirit, this Forum will continue to grow stronger, making Asia a bastion of peace and prosperity. I thank you!