Written Statement by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the 11th Ministerial Plenary Meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum
7 October 2021
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). On behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to congratulate the Forum, and thank the Forum’s Co-Chairs, the Working Groups Co-Chairs and all the members for their hard work for the Forum’s development. Over the past decade, the GCTF has played a unique role in promoting frontier research, capacity building and practical cooperation on counterterrorism, and provided strong support for the efforts of the international community to effectively implement Global Counterterrorism Strategy of the United Nations. The GCTF has become an important platform for global counterterrorism cooperation.
This year also marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Two decades have gone by. The world is witnessing waves of terrorist threats, and international counterterrorism remains a complex and grave challenge. Thanks to the joint efforts of all countries, significant progress has been made in international counterterrorism cooperation. However, terrorist forces are yet to be wiped out. Their networks are still growing. Terrorist organizations exploit social networks, encrypted communication, virtual currencies, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies to conduct terrorist activities, making prevention and crackdown more difficult. The lingering pandemic of COVID-19 has further complicated international counterterrorism efforts. Fighting terrorism remains a formidable task for the international community, and global counterterrorism cooperation must be strengthened rather than weakened.
When looking back at the past ten years of international counterterrorism cooperation since the founding of the GCTF and the past 20 years of global counterterrorism since 9/11, we should learn some valuable experience and lessons. China would like to make the following five propositions on future global counterterrorism.
First, we need to give full play to the central role of the UN. All countries share the same future in face of terrorism, and solidarity and cooperation is the only way forward. The mindset of building small exclusive blocs and zero-sum games must be discarded. We must practice true multilateralism, and always stand on the right side of history and the side of fairness and justice. The purposes and principles of the UN Charter and other basic norms of international relations must be truly observed, UN Security Council resolutions must be strictly enforced, and the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy must be fully implemented.
Second, we need to uphold the principle of addressing both the symptom and the root cause. Fighting terrorism is a systematic project, both complicated and challenging. Only through combined efforts on the political, economic, social, cultural and religious fronts with a long view, can we eliminate the breeding ground of terrorism and defeat it in the end. The Afghan war once again proves with its result that military means alone can hardly eliminate terrorism, and that forced “transplanted democracy” in the name of counterterrorism is incompatible with local conditions and cannot sustain.
Third, we need to abandon any double standard. There is no such distinction of good and bad terrorists. Politicizing counterterrorism or using it as a tool to meet one’s own political needs is like taking a wild tiger as a pet, which will only bring disaster. One must not under the pretext of protecting ethnic minorities or religious freedom groundlessly attack or slander other countries’ legitimate counterterrorism and deradicalization measures. It is even more unacceptable to connive with or even use terrorist groups for selfish geopolitical interests.
The East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is a terrorist organization listed by the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council. ETIM has long been active, and is responsible for numerous horrendous crimes. It is not only detrimental to China’s security and stability, but also a real threat to the international community. There must be zero tolerance in eliminating ETIM.
Fourth, we need to tackle new threats and challenges. We must all be alerted to the new tendencies of global terrorist activities. We need to tackle new threats and challenges such as the abuse of cyber and emerging technologies by terrorists, the collusion of terrorism and organized crimes, and diversification of terrorist financing. For justice to prevail over evil, countries need to keep pace with the times, upgrade their capabilities of counterterrorism technology, enhance communication and synergy, and resolutely stop the escalation and spread of terrorism.
Fifth, we need to strengthen counterterrorism capacity building for developing countries. We need to help developing countries enhance counterterrorism and deradicalization capacity, particularly African countries and those on the front line of counterterrorism, so as to shore up every link in fighting terrorism. During its presidency of the UN Security Council in March 2020, China promoted the adoption of a presidential statement on helping African countries strengthen their counterterrorism capacity. We need to earnestly implement the statement, and give African countries strong support in fighting terrorism.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As a founding member of the GCTF, China always participates actively in the Forum, gives it strong support, and provides useful proposals and contribution to its development. Under the GCTF framework, China has proposed and held two symposiums on combating Terrorists’ Use of the Internet (TUI). These events helped build international consensus and expand practical cooperation, and achieved important outcomes. China will continue to support the GCTF, implement the Strategic Vision for the Next Decade, and work for more tangible outcomes.
Looking forward, China has three proposals for the future development of the GCTF. First, deepen coordination and cooperation. The Forum must stay apolitical and informal. We need to enhance communication and cooperation between members, strengthen coordination and cooperation with the UN and other international and regional organizations, step up information sharing, and draw on each other’s strength. Second, reinforce the Forum’s strength in research. We need to continue to leverage the Forum’s ability of being pragmatic, efficient, and professional, and step up research on deradicalization, combating TUI, preventing terrorists from using new technologies and other key issues. Third, improve allocation of resources. We need to prioritize and channel more resources to developing countries, provide them with more training and capacity building programs, and help them improve their counterterrorism and deradicalization capacity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Terrorism is a common enemy of humanity. Addressing the threat of terrorism matters to every country. We need to see humanity as a community with a shared future, unite and work together to remove the “cancer” of terrorism. China has always been an important participant and contributor in the international campaign against terrorism. China will continue to carry out effective exchange and cooperation with other countries on counterterrorism and deradicalizaion, and contribute China’s solutions to global counterterrorism through its efforts. China will work with the international community, make even greater achievements in the global fight against terrorism in the Forum’s second decade, and contribute more to building a world of lasting peace and security for all.