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August 09, 2020

Statement by the State Counsellor “Addressing Critical Challenges of Our Time: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values” (Kathmandu, 1 December 2018)

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Photo: MNA
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Photo: MNA

The Right Honourable K. P. Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal,
Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, Chairman of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF),

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour and a pleasure for me to be at this Asia-Pacific Summit held in Nepal, where I have passed some of the happiest days of my life. I was struck by the warm welcome and hospitality of the Nepalese people.

I would like to express my appreciation to the Prime Minister of Nepal the Honourable K.P. Sharma Oli, for inviting me to take part in this Summit, in conjunction with my first official visit to Nepal. It provides a valuable opportunity for meeting peoples from across the world who are dedicated to the promotion of peace, prosperity and humanity in our world.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The world today is going through global uncertainty, trade tensions and power competitions, especially in our region. Traditional and non-traditional threats are posing profound challenges, sometimes from unexpected directions. The incessant reports of disasters, terrorism, hunger, disease, migration and displacement, poverty, injustice, discrimination, prejudice, and bigotry in our daily life are overwhelming. There are negative forces everywhere eroding the foundations of peace. In all parts of the globe we can see thoughtless dissipation of material and human resources that are necessary for the conservation of harmony and happiness in our world.
With the rapid rise of information technology and the globalisation process, the peoples and the nations of the world have become increasingly inter-connected and interdependent. This global interdependence has compelled, and resulted in, increased cooperation to identify the causes of the problems that threaten harmony and to find the right solutions that will help to ensure peace and stability on this planet, which is home to all of us. No nation can survive in solitary splendor. We have to engage with each other, either bilaterally or regionally, to project and protect our national interests and to seek peace and mutual prosperity. Only by promoting a culture of peace in this world of interdependence will it be possible to create harmony between diverse communities and societies.
I need hardly emphasise that peace is essential for sustainable development, that peace and development are two sides of the same coin. Sustainable peace is more than the mere absence of war or conflict. It is a positive force that springs from within the mind of each human being, each family and each society, not merely a temporary condition imposed by force. Research on global attitudes today indicates that humans are more receptive to traffickers of hate than to advocates of loving-kindness or compassion. At the basis of conflict is ill-will, which seeks to hurt and to destroy and thus open the way to conflict which, in its turn, spews out an ever renewing cycle of hate and fear, snuffing out the light of peace.
To break away from this vicious cycle, to reignite the hope of peace, we need to construct a culture of peace that will nurture the positive traits in human nature, to work together not just to promote greater mutual respect and understanding, but also to foster greater confidence in our own ability to stay firmly on the path of peace.
Peace is a critical need not just for our time but for all time; not just for some countries but for all. Countries, such as Myanmar and Nepal, which have suffered severely from lack of peace, acquire a keen sensitivity to its links with the critical challenges this Summit is addressing today: interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values. At the base of all three is partnership. It is as partners that we can hold together these rocks on which the edifice of a peaceful, progressive world can be built.
Partnership implies a relationship between equals. Interdependence is not the opposite of independence but the result of equally independent entities recognizing the need for cooperation, accepting that one plus one equals more than two. Mutual prosperity springs from the practical application of the concept of partnership, working together for the benefit of all partners, that all may enjoy the fruits of joint labours.
Universal values constitute both the seed from which true partnerships spring and the fruit that good partnerships bear. Nowadays, it often seems as though universal values no longer have a place in this world where norms are set by the powerful with little reference to the needs and constraints of those who do not possess the privileges of wealth and influence.
Yet there are values which few would deny to be of universal relevance. For example, the four Sublime States, the Brahma –vihāras, loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity, can surely be accepted as values conducive of goodwill, cooperation, and positive partnership, anywhere, everywhere, any time.
As Myanmar grapples with the daunting task of creating peace and sustainable development out of an unhappy, tangled legacy, we look to critical challenges as opportunities for us to gain true friends who share our belief in equal partnership for peace.
I believe this Forum will offer opportunities for us to reach out to one another in our efforts to find positive, unifying ways of meeting the critical challenges of our times.
All lovers of peace wish you success.
Thank you.


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