Work Together to Build the Bridge of Friendship and Mutually Beneficial Cooperation
– Keynote Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 China International Friendship Cities Conference
H.E. Li Yuanchao, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China
10 November 2016, Chongqing
The 2016 China International Friendship Cities Conference is now open in the mountainous city of Chongqing. On behalf of the Chinese government, let me extend my warm congratulations on the opening of the conference and sincere welcome to all the distinguished guests and friends!
We are living in a fast-changing era and a colorful world. In this global village, countries need greater exchanges and understanding and cities should have more bridges of communication and friendship.
President Xi Jinping pointed out that we need to enhance friendship between Chinese and foreign cities through more exchanges between local governments, so that they can share resources, complement each other with their respective strengths and achieve win-win cooperation. In that connection and under the theme of this conference “Innovation for Development and Cooperation for Sharing”, I wish to make the following suggestions:
First, increase exchanges among friendship cities and deepen people’s friendship. Amity between the people is the cornerstone of friendship among countries and world peace, and exchange among friendship cities is an important channel for amity between the people. Over the past 40 years of international friendship cities activities, China has established 2,340 pairs of friendship city relations with more than 130 countries. Changsha city of Hunan province and the city of Entebbe in Uganda have had vibrant education and culture exchanges, and built together the “Entebbe-Changsha Demonstration Primary School”. Nanjing city of Jiangsu province and Aichi prefecture of Japan have deepened their friendship through youth and art troupe exchanges. Ruili city in Yunnan province and City of Muse of Myanmar organize the “China-Myanmar Pauk-Phaw Carnival” during China’s National Day holiday week each year, which is quite popular among the local communities. The development of state to state relations is rooted in the people and invigorated by exchanges. I hope that international friendship cities can expand the fields of exchanges, engage in more forms of interactions so as to deepen mutual understanding and friendship between the people.
Second, share experience in urban planning and promote innovative development of cities. Urbanization is an important part of modernization. Cities have become the center of our political, economic, cultural and social activities. Now 54% of the world’s population lives in cities. There are 28 mega-cities with a population of over 10 million, and six of them are in China, including Chongqing. Since the start of reform and opening up, China has experienced the largest and fastest urbanization in world history. Now, 750 million Chinese people live in cities. Cities have improved the quality of life, but they are also increasingly troubled by such “urban diseases” as backward infrastructure, traffic congestion, environmental pollution. In recent years, China has pursued the new vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. We have put people first in our development and worked hard to build harmonious, livable and dynamic modern cities with unique characteristics, contributing China’s wisdom to urbanization in the world. Activities of international friendship cities are aimed at transforming development model of cities and better governance of cities. Guangzhou, Auckland of New Zealand and Los Angeles of the United States have founded the “Tripartite Economic Alliance”; Fujian province and Liege of Belgium have jointly developed the smart urban management system of “integrating water, electricity and gas services with one card”; Zhenjiang city of Jiangsu province and the city of Mannheim of Germany have carried out exchanges and cooperation on low-carbon commute and building eco cities. I hope that international friendship cities can learn from each other, work together to make urban planning more rational and forward-looking, make cities more livable and sustainable, modernize and refine urban management so that people will live a more comfortable and convenient life in cities.
Third, expand win-win cooperation and share fruits of urban civilization. Cities, with the highest concentration of resources, are the locomotive of development. International friendship city activities serve as important platforms for Chinese and foreign cities to have equal-footed and mutually beneficial cooperation. Deepened cooperation between Chongqing city and Dusseldorf of Germany have contributed to the opening of the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe International Railway, which has become a golden pathway on “the Belt and Road”. The ancient European business camel team would need a year or two to reach China, but now the train ride takes only 13 days. Xi’an city and Groningen of the Netherlands strengthened their cooperation through friendship city relations. A “Groningen Day” event was included in the East-West Cooperation and Investment Trade Fair& The Silk Road International Exhibition in Xi’an. Xi’an municipal government has organized several trips by businessmen to business promotion events in Groningen in norther Netherlands. Cities are important carriers of modern civilization and urban civilization should be shared by all peoples. I hope that international friendship cities will promote practical cooperation in various fields and produce more win-win outcomes.
China’s economy is growing rapidly and steadily. In 2015, China’s GDP grew by 6.9%, contributing over 25% to world economic growth. In the first three quarters of this year, China’s economy grew by 6.7%, one of the highest among major economies in the world. We are confident that China’s economy will maintain a sound momentum in the long run with better quality and efficiency and innovative development, and bring more opportunities to the world.
The Chinese people are now working hard to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and realizing the Chinese Dream of the great national renewal. The Chinese Dream is interconnected with the beautiful dream of a happy life of all peoples. Holding high the banner of peace, development and win-win cooperation, China is pursuing friendly exchanges with other countries. Through international friendship cities exchanges, we hope to build together with other countries a bridge of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation and the community of shared future for mankind, and contribute to world peace and development.