Jointly Charting a Course Toward a Brighter Future
– Keynote Speech at the APEC CEO Summit
H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China
Port Moresby, 17 November 2018
Honorable Prime Minister Peter O’Neill,
Chairman Isikeli Taureka,
Members of the business community,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good Morning! It gives me great pleasure to come to the picturesque city of Port Moresby and meet with you on board Pacific Explorer. As we brave the rough waters of the global economy and confront the many risks and challenges, it is all too befitting that we have come together on this ship to chart the course for future development and cooperation.
The theme of this CEO Summit, “Inclusion in the Age of Disruption: Charting a Common Future”, couldn’t be more important. The world today is going through major development, transformation and change. While economic globalization surges forward, global growth is shadowed by protectionism and unilateralism. A new revolution in science, technology and industry is in the making; but old driving forces are yet to be replaced by new ones. The international landscape is undergoing profound changes, but imbalance in development is yet to be addressed. The reform of the global governance system is gathering momentum, but improving its efficiency remains a major challenge.
The changes we are encountering in the world are unseen in a century. Changes create opportunities, but more often than not, they are accompanied by risks and challenges. Mankind has once again reached a crossroads. Which direction should we choose? Cooperation or confrontation? Openness or closing one’s door? Win-win progress or a zero-sum game? The interests of all countries and indeed, the future of mankind hinge on the choice we make.
A review of the world’s modern history clearly shows that different choices would lead the world onto different paths.
In the Asia-Pacific, the establishment of APEC is such a success story. Its birth and growth echoed the historical trend of openness and integration, our region’s fervent desire for development and our people’s need to meet challenges through cooperation. Openness and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific has not only boosted its prosperity but also injected vitality into the vast ocean of global economy. Today’s Asia-Pacific has the world’s most dynamic and promising economy, which is recognized as a key engine driving global growth.
However, not all that happened in the past are success stories. Mankind has learned lessons the hard way. World War II, for instance, plunged mankind into the abyss of calamity in the last century. Not far away from where we are meeting now are the sites of the fierce Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II. Today, this part of the ocean has long restored its peace and calm, but never should we forget the lessons of history.
An ancient Chinese philosopher observed that one needs to clean the mirror before taking a look at himself and that one should learn the lessons of the past before making decisions of the day. In reviewing history, we should draw its lessons to prevent the recurrence of past tragedies. Facing the surging historical trend, we need to ask ourselves: How can we steer the right course for global economic development? How can the international community find an effective way of conducting global governance? I believe it is imperative that we keep the following focuses:
First, we should focus on openness to create more space for development. Economic globalization is the sure way for the human society to achieve development, and the multilateral trading system has created opportunities for us all. In today’s world, countries’ interests are so closely intertwined, and the global supply chain, industrial chain and value chain are so closely connected. We are all links of the global chain of cooperation; increasingly, we are becoming one and same community with shared interests and a shared future.
This is the working of the laws of economics, a fact no one can change. We need to gain a keen appreciation of this underlying trend of our times and view the changing world for what it is and, on that basis, respond to new developments and meet new challenges in a responsible and rules-based way. Attempts to erect barriers and cut the close economic ties among countries work against the laws of economics and the trend of history and run counter to the shared desire of people around the world. This is a short-sighted approach and it is doomed to failure.
Each era faces problems of its day. Problems themselves are not to be afraid of; what truly matters is for us to take a right approach to resolve the problems. Resorting to old practices such as protectionism and unilateralism will not resolve problems. On the contrary, they can only add uncertainties to the global economy. Only openness and cooperation can bring more opportunities and create more space for development. This is a well proven historical fact. One who chooses to close his door will only cut himself off from the rest of the world and lose his direction.
APEC is a pioneer in building an open global economy. As the Bogor Goals are set for 2020, we should set our sights on post-2020 cooperation and endeavor to build a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). We should say no to protectionism and unilateralism, uphold the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, and expand converging interests and share opportunities through opening-up and cooperation.
Second, we should focus on development to deliver more benefits to our peoples. More than anything else, we should strive to deliver better lives to our people. Every country is entitled to an equal right to development; and no one has the right or the power to stop people in developing countries from pursuing a better life. We should strengthen development cooperation and help developing countries eliminate poverty so that people in all countries will live better lives. This is what fairness is essentially about; it is also a moral responsibility of the international community.
We should make the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development a part of our national development strategies, promote coordinated advances in the economic, social and environmental fields, pursue inclusive development in keeping with our respective national conditions, and forge equal and balanced global development partnerships. Developed countries should honor their commitments on official development assistance and increase support to developing countries.
We should give priority to development in international economic policy coordination and have a clear focus on development when adopting policies and rules on trade and investment, IPR protection, the digital economy and other areas. By doing so, we can create more opportunities and a more enabling environment for the development of all countries as well as robust drivers and a stable environment for global growth. The principle of “special and differential treatment”, which is a cornerstone of the WTO, is not to be challenged. Otherwise, the very foundation of the multilateral trading system will be shaken.
Third, we should focus on inclusiveness and promote interactions. We live on the same planet. It is home to more than 200 countries and regions, 2,500-plus ethnic groups and over 7 billion people. Trying to erase their differences will not work. Such differences are not a hindrance to exchanges, still less a cause for confrontation. Diversity and interaction between different civilizations, social systems and paths can provide strong impetus for human progress. We should reject arrogance and prejudice, be respectful of and inclusive toward others, and embrace the diversity of our world. We should seek common ground while putting aside differences, draw upon each other’s strengths and pursue co-existence in harmony and win-win cooperation.
When it comes to choosing a development path for a country, no one is in a better position to make the decision than the people of that country. Just as one does not expect a single prescription to cure all diseases, one should not expect a particular model of development to fit all countries. Blindly copying the development model of others will only be counterproductive, so will be any attempt to impose one’s own development model on others.
Fourth, we should focus on innovation to tap new sources of growth. Breakthroughs are being made one after another in frontier areas such as information technology, life sciences, smart manufacturing and green energy, and new materials, new products and new business forms are replacing existing ones at a faster pace. Big data, 3D printing and artificial intelligence, which we read about only in science fiction in the past, are now part of our daily life. The future is already with us.
In a boat race, those who row the hardest will win. If we do not move proactively to adapt to the surging tide of new scientific revolution and industrial transformation, we risk missing valuable opportunities or even falling behind the times. What we should do is to lose no time in making every effort to explore new growth drivers and development paths, and remove all institutional obstacles holding back innovation. We should boost innovation and market vitality and deepen international exchanges and cooperation on innovation so as to better meet our respective and common challenges in development.
The sweeping new scientific revolution and industrial transformation will have a profound impact on the mode of production, way of life and values of human society. The need to strike a balance between equity and efficiency, capital and labor, technology and employment has become a common challenge for the international community. If not handled properly, this issue will further widen the wealth gap between the North and the South. We should gain a keen understanding of the complex dimensions of this issue and make the right decision. This will enable us to steer the new scientific revolution and industrial transformation in the right direction.
Scientific and technological innovations should meet people’s needs. Every country is entitled to benefit from such innovations made through both their own efforts and international cooperation. Scientific and technological innovations should not be locked up or become profit-making tools for just a few. The IPR regime is designed to protect and encourage innovation, not to create or widen the scientific and technological divide. We should develop policy institutions and systems that are responsive to the new scientific revolution and industrial transformation, and foster an enabling environment for international cooperation that will deliver the fruits of innovation to more countries and peoples.
Fifth, we should focus on a rules-based approach to improve global governance. With the painful lessons of two world wars in mind, countries established the global governance framework underpinned by the United Nations and composed of the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO and other institutions. This framework, while not an ideal one, represents an important step in human history. Indeed, it has been pivotal to global peace and development in the past decades. We must strengthen rules-based global governance if we are to achieve stability and development. Rules should be formulated by the international community, not in a might-is-right way. Once the rules are made, they should not be followed or bent as one sees fit, and they should not be applied with double standards for selfish agendas.
For the system of global economic governance to be equitable and efficient, it must keep up with the times. We should advance the reform of the global governance system on the principle of conducting consultation and collaboration for shared benefits. This reform should be advanced on the basis of equality, openness, transparency and inclusiveness. Developing countries should have more say and greater representation in this process. Disagreements should be resolved through consultation. Attempts to form exclusive blocs or impose one’s will on others should be rejected. History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a hot war or a trade war, will produce no winners. We believe that there exist no issues that countries cannot resolve through consultation as long as they handle these issues in a spirit of equality, mutual understanding and accommodation.