Statement on the Reports from the Asian Partners for Cooperation
As delivered by Ambassador James S. Gilmore III
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
September 3, 2020
The United States is a proud supporter of the OSCE’s Partners for Cooperation, with both the Asian and Mediterranean partnership States. While the OSCE is the world’s largest regional security organization, our security is linked to that of our neighbors, and there is much to learn from the partnering States from cooperating to stem the flows of Foreign Terrorist Fighters to reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula and other issues. Our Asian Partners often provide generous contributions to important extrabudgetary projects and activities, including the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. The Asian Partners program also allows for participating States to display their commitment to the principles and values of the Organization, which reinforces a rules-based international order.
We have been looking forward to this year’s Asian Partners Conference, hosted by the Republic of Korea. Of course, this year is unusual, and I know we are still working out the modalities of that conference. No matter the format or location, I want to assure our Korean hosts as well as the Slovakian Chair of the Conference that the United States is a staunch supporter of the work of the Asian Partners for Cooperation.
Mr. Chairperson, our Partners for Cooperation also remind participating States that the security of the OSCE region does not exist in a vacuum, and events outside the OSCE can have significant consequences inside the region. As noted in Declarations and Decisions of the 2007 Madrid Ministerial Council, OSCE participating States focus on threats to security and stability not only within the Organization’s area, but around it as well. We know all too well that unstable or dangerous situations outside the OSCE region can have dramatic cross-border and cross-regional consequences—and let me emphasize that’s a two-way proposition. Developments within the OSCE region can pose challenges for neighboring regions. We further clarified this at the 2010 Astana Summit Meeting, where we declared that “the security of the OSCE area is inextricably linked to that of adjacent areas, notably in the Mediterranean and in Asia.”
So, Mr. Chair, any thorough discussion about our security and shared principles needs to recognize what is happening on the OSCE’s doorstep.
I am referring to the egregious large-scale human rights violations and abuses occurring in Xinjiang, China. The People’s Republic of China has detained more than one million individuals in internment camps since 2017. OSCE participating States need to take note of the atrocities being perpetrated against the Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minority groups in the People’s Republic of China, to include: controls on expression of cultural practices and religious identities; coercive population controls, including forced abortion, involuntary birth control and sterilization of women; and state-sponsored forced labor.
Those advocating for the PRC’s Belt and Road initiative, many of whom are sitting in this room today, need to think hard about vulnerabilities in the supply chain by examining the risks associated with labor or goods sourced in Xinjiang, or from factories elsewhere in China implicated in the forced labor of individuals from Xinjiang. There are reputational, economic, legal, and other risks for procuring goods from entities engaged in human rights abuses.
The proliferation of the PRC’s predatory lending throughout the OSCE region and across some of our Partners for Cooperation occurs largely in the absence of more trustworthy alternatives.
So in response: in November 2019, the United States, along with Japan and Australia, launched the Blue Dot Network, a multi-stakeholder initiative that brings governments, the private sector, and civil society together to certify quality infrastructure projects. The Blue Dot Network promotes infrastructure development projects that are market-driven, transparent, and financially sustainable and that follow existing standards. We want to create partnerships that improve the underlying business climate and generate more trade, investment, and growth, without the sacrifice of safety, security, and having to give in to predatory lending.
Similarly, we have recently established the Clean Network, a set of recommendations and principles for nations to consider as they design, construct, and administer their 5G infrastructure and other critical telecommunications. The Clean Network contributes directly to building trust among companies and countries in support of protections of privacy from intrusion, and the security of personal information. These partnerships reinforce our shared values instead of undermining them.
Mr. Chairperson, our Asian Partners for Cooperation are at the forefront of some of the most serious challenges facing the world today.
On a broad range of issues, including the Code of Conduct, CoViD-19, disaster relief, and Digital Freedom, the Partners program provides an important forum for our shared work on some of the OSCE’s highest profile issues.
In conclusion, Mr. Chair, the United States welcomed today’s statements from our Partners for Cooperation. We look forward to close collaboration on our shared goals and addressing our shared challenges in the OSCE region and globally.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.