Beijing, Jun 28: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday highlighted the relevance of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which gained traction with the Non-Aligned Movement, to end the present-day conflicts and sought to expand influence in the Global South amid its tussle with the West.

Xi, 71, invoked the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, termed as Panchsheel by India, at a conference here to mark its 70th anniversary and also sought to juxtapose them with his new concept of Global Security Initiative envisaging a shared future for mankind.

The Panchsheel pointers were first formally enunciated in the Agreement on Trade and Intercourse between the Tibet region of China and India signed on April 29, 1954, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

The five principles formed part of the legacy of the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his Chinese counterpart Zhou Enlai in their unsuccessful quest to find a solution to the vexed boundary issue.

“The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence answered the call of the times, and its initiation was an inevitable historic development. The Chinese leadership in the past specified the Five Principles in their entirety for the first time, namely, ‘mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity', ‘mutual non-aggression', ‘mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs', ‘equality and mutual benefit', and ‘peaceful coexistence',” Xi said.

“They included the Five Principles in the China-India and China-Myanmar joint statements which jointly called for making them basic norms for state-to-state relations,” Xi said at the conference where the invitees included former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and several political leaders and officials from various countries closely associated with China over the years.

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence were born in Asia but quickly ascended to the world stage. In 1955, more than 20 Asian and African countries attended the Bandung Conference, Xi recalled in his address.

The Non-Aligned Movement that rose in the 1960s adopted the Five Principles as its guiding principles, he said.

“The Five Principles have set a historic benchmark for international relations and international rule of law,” he said, highlighting their relevance to ending the present-day conflicts.

They fully conform with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, with the evolving trend of international relations of our times, and with the fundamental interests of all nations, Xi said and sought to juxtapose them with his new concepts of Global Security Initiative (GSI) which advocates for joint security of nations and the ‘Vision of Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind'.

Xi, who commenced his unprecedented third five-year term in power last year, has been advocating several initiatives, including his billion-dollar pet project the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to enhance China's global influence.

Under the BRI, Beijing has made huge investments in infrastructure projects in smaller countries which in subsequent years attracted allegations of debt diplomacy as many countries struggled to pay back loans taken from China.

Also, facing increasing strategic competition from the US and EU, China in recent years jostled with India and other developing countries to consolidate its influence in the Asian, African and Latin American countries, largely termed as Global South.

China will establish a Global South Research Centre to better support Global South-South cooperation, Xi said.

China will provide 1,000 ‘Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence Scholarship of Excellence,' 1,00,000 training opportunities to Global South countries in the next five years, and also launch a ‘Global South Youth Leaders' programme, he said. PTI