Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the 17th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit
H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China
Beijing, 27 November 2020
Your Excellencies Leaders of Participating Countries,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As the 17th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) open today, I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and also in my own name, a hearty welcome and warm greetings to all the guests attending in person or via the Internet.
This year’s CAEXPO, themed “Building the Belt and Road, Strengthening Digital Economy Cooperation”, aims to deepen China-ASEAN cooperation on the digital economy, promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and inject new vitality into the economic and social development of both sides.
China and ASEAN countries, connected by the same mountains and rivers, share close affinity and a longstanding friendship. In 2013, I announced an initiative for China to work with ASEAN countries for a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and for a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future.
We are glad to note that, seven years on, China and ASEAN enjoy growing connectivity, deepening economic integration, robust business ties, and closer people-to-people exchanges. The China-ASEAN relationship has grown into the most successful and vibrant model for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and an exemplary effort in building a community with a shared future for mankind.
When confronted by the sudden onslaught of COVID-19 this year, China and ASEAN have helped each other and took on the challenge in solidarity. We have reached important consensus in many respects, including sharing experience on COVID-19 response, ensuring medical supplies, conducting joint research and development of vaccines, and keeping the regional industrial and supply chains stable. At a crucial stage in China’s fight against the coronavirus, ASEAN countries promptly provided invaluable support and selfless assistance to China. Once the situation began to ease on its domestic front, China sent expert teams to ASEAN countries, offered material and technical assistance, shared containment experience, and speedily opened “fast tracks” and “green lanes” to facilitate the flow of people and goods.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our world is undergoing momentous changes unseen in a century. It is moving toward greater multi-polarity, economic globalization and cultural diversity, and is becoming increasingly information-oriented. Never before have the destinies of people in different countries been so closely connected. At the same time, however, the world is faced with growing uncertainties and instability. The world economy is sluggish; unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise; cyber security issues, major infectious diseases, climate change, and many other non-traditional security threats continue to spread; and the international order and global governance system are being challenged.
Under the new circumstances, China continues to regard ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy and a key region in high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. China supports ASEAN’s community-building, supports ASEAN centrality in East Asian cooperation, and supports ASEAN in playing a bigger role in building an open and inclusive regional architecture.
China will work with ASEAN to advance all-round cooperation under the guidance of the Strategic Partnership Vision 2030. Such efforts will help maintain the good momentum for development and prosperity in our region and cultivate a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future. For that to happen, let me make the following suggestions on what we need to do:
First, we need to enhance strategic mutual trust and further synergize our development plans. China will work with ASEAN to advance our wide-ranging cooperation in the coming five years in line with the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2021-2025). China will also work with ASEAN to implement the China-ASEAN Joint Statement on Synergizing the Belt and Road Initiative and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025. To be specific, more efforts will be made to build the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, strengthen cooperation on infrastructure connectivity including railways, highways, ports, airports, power and communications, speed up the development of existing economic corridors and key projects, and continue to develop the China-ASEAN Multimodal Transport Alliance. Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. China will work with ASEAN on the planning and organization of commemorative events and take our strategic partnership to a higher level.
Second, we need to elevate economic and trade cooperation and facilitate an early and full recovery of the regional economy. China will enhance coordination with ASEAN countries, and take the 10th anniversary of the full establishment of the China-ASEAN FTA as an opportunity to further implement our free trade agreement. China welcomes the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and looks forward to its early entry into force. China will work with ASEAN countries to sustain the smooth flow of trade, promote mutual investment, open up markets wider to each other, and foster deeply integrated industrial, supply and value chains. Provided that all necessary COVID-19 containment protocols are duly observed, steps should be taken to facilitate the movement of people and goods. We also need to further deepen and substantiate Lancang-Mekong cooperation and China-BIMP-EAGA cooperation. The CAEXPO should be used fully as a platform with a bigger role to play in promoting all-round economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN and in the entire East Asia.
Third, we need to enhance innovation in science and technology and deepen cooperation on the digital economy. This year is designated the China-ASEAN Year of Digital Economy Cooperation. China will work with ASEAN countries to seize the opportunities presented by the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation. We should tap into our complementarity and pursue mutually beneficial cooperation. We could create more highlights of cooperation in such areas as smart city, 5G, artificial intelligence, e-commerce, big data, blockchain and telemedicine, and strengthen the protection of data security and policy communication and coordination, as these efforts will help nurture new drivers for the social and economic development of our two sides. China will work with ASEAN on the China-ASEAN Information Harbor to advance digital connectivity and build a digital Silk Road.
Fourth, we need to strengthen cooperation against COVID-19 and enhance capacity building in public health. China stands ready for policy dialogue on public health with ASEAN to improve cooperation mechanisms. It is important that we join forces in fighting the coronavirus and step up information sharing and cooperation on the production, development, and deployment of vaccines. When its COVID-19 vaccines are available for use, China will actively consider the needs of ASEAN countries. China will provide financial support to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, and work with ASEAN in developing the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies and launching a Liaison Mechanism for Public Health Emergencies with ASEAN. China will act on the China-ASEAN Human Resources Training Program of Health Silk Road (2020-2022) to train for ASEAN countries 1,000 administrative and specialized personnel in the health sector, in a bid to help deliver higher quality public health services in the region. China will work with ASEAN countries and other members of the international community through greater solidarity and cooperation to support the World Health Organization in playing a leadership role and to build a global community of health for all.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China has secured major strategic achievements in coordinating COVID-19 response and economic and social development. It is the first major economy in the world to resume growth. The recently concluded Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee adopted recommendations for formulating China’s 14th five-year plan. The plenum underscored that China will finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects within the set time frame, and will embark on a new journey next year toward fully building a modern socialist country. Based on a scientific analysis of the new stage of China’s development, we will stay committed to the new development philosophy, and actively foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. China will stay as committed as ever to further opening-up, and seek greater synergy through the interplay of its domestic and world economies. China will fuel a worldwide recovery with its own economic rebound, and countries around the world, ASEAN members included, will all benefit from it. Looking ahead, China-ASEAN cooperation will enjoy still greater prospects.
The CAEXPO and CABIS are a results-oriented platform for us to advance regional economic integration. I hope this year’s gathering will enable China and ASEAN countries to find more business opportunities, reap more fruits, and usher in a brighter future of prosperity.
To conclude, I wish the CAEXPO and CABIS a full success.