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A. Kurti: Address to Peace Summit 2023, Session V: Think Tank 2022 Forum

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen First of all, let me sincerely thank you for the invitation to participate in the conference and to speak at the forum “Toward Peace in the Indo-Pacific.”

The time we are going through represents a historical turning point. Two trends are sweeping through the world today: freedom, peace and democracy on the one hand; and invasion, war and autocracy on the other. Both of these trends have become very clear, especially after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We find that these two trends are present all over the world, so also in the Indo-Pacific.

In this time of globalization, Europe, Asia and the Pacific are not far away. My country is located in Europe, but developments in the Indo-Pacific are also having an impact on the Southeast Europe region, just as the unprovoked Russian aggression against Ukraine is having an impact on the Indo-Pacific region.

This region is receiving great attention. It is not only diverse but also one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing parts of the world, very important both in terms of population size, economic strength and military capacity. This is the region with some of the largest and most populous countries on earth, such as India, China and Indonesia, which together account for more than half the world's population. But it is also a region of sparsely populated countries such as the Pacific Islands, with their unique histories, cultures and perspectives. Sixty percent of global GDP is generated in this part of the world, which is also home to seven of the world's largest armies.

We are closely following the US-China competition in the Indo-Pacific on regional security, technology and global leadership. China's perspective in Europe is diverse: as a trading partner, as an economic competitor, and as a political opponent.

We in Europe find it difficult to understand the reluctance of some Asian countries to openly condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the decision not to impose sanctions on Russia. Some countries have even increased cooperation with Russia since the invasion.

Despite its diversity, the Indo-Pacific region shares a common interest in maintaining peace, stability and prosperity. This is reflected in the many initiatives and organizations that have sprung up to promote regional cooperation and integration, such as ASEAN, QUAD and the Pacific Islands Forum. In our view, the cooperation of Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India, Indonesia and other countries in the region, with the United States, Europe and Australia, is very important for peace and security, both here and beyond.

The Republic of Kosovo supports peaceful developments in the Indo-Pacific. Respect for territorial integrity, peace and security in the region are vital to world peace and prosperity. Stability in the Taiwan Strait and freedom of navigation through the South China Sea are very important to that end. Peace is regularly disturbed by missile launches from North Korea. Like our allies, we find such conduct dangerous and unacceptable.

Another serious problem is climate change. Pacific countries such as Tuvalu, Marshall Islands and Kiribati are seriously threatened by rising sea levels. It would be a great loss to world culture if the territories of these countries were to be covered with water due to our negligence in combating global warming. We therefore wholeheartedly support worldwide efforts against climate change. And we have also joined those efforts by investing in renewable energy and beginning our transition to a green economy.

Kosovo’s strategic interests are identical to those of our allies. Kosovo shares the democratic values of the European Union and the United States, has a similar multi-party system, and holds regular and free elections. Freedom of expression, freedom of the press and association, human rights and non-majority communities are respected in our country.

We will continue to work with our allies to combat transnational threats to peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region, and to promote mutual respect, safe movement and navigation, cooperation on climate change challenges, global health and cybersecurity. If we work together for peace and security, the region will prosper. The future of the Indo-Pacific is a free and open region, connected, prosperous, secure and resilient for generations to come.

Kosovo greatly admires the achievements and the potential that Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan have in the digital field. We are very interested in working with these countries, and with others, in this area.

We have excellent relations with Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and almost all the Pacific Islands. The government I lead has reached out to the countries of the Indo-Pacific to cooperate in a number of areas. We commit to working together in the future, on the basis of mutual respect and shared values, to promote peace, stability, democracy and prosperity.

Let me conclude by saying that I believe people are good and peace-loving. People do not start wars, people suffer from wars. This is why I'm hopeful that freedom of the people and peace among the people will prevail. Thank you very much.

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