Harnessing Opportunities of Our Times to Jointly Pursue Prosperity in the Asia-Pacific
– Remarks at the 26th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting
H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China
Port Moresby, 18 November 2018
Honorable Prime Minister Peter O’Neill,
It gives me great pleasure to join you in the beautiful city of Port Moresby. This is the first time for us APEC economic leaders to meet in the Pacific Islands region. We gather under the theme “Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future” to review what we have achieved in our cooperation and chart the course for the future of the Asia-Pacific. I wish to thank the Papua New Guinean government and Prime Minister O’Neill in particular for the commendable efforts you have put in to host this meeting.
Our world is undergoing rapid development and changes. A new round of technological and industrial revolution is unfolding. The system of global governance is being profoundly reshaped; and the evolution of the international architecture is accelerating. On the other hand, global development faces acute deep-seated problems. Protectionism and unilateralism are resurfacing. The multilateral trading system is under assault. The global economic environment is fraught with risks and uncertainties.
As a line in the Chinese classics reads, “A man of vision sees the trend of the times and follows it.” We have reached a crossroads of history, when we must have a keen appreciation of the trend of our world and take the pulse of the world economy. That is how we will be able to respond to the call of our time and chart our future course accordingly.
First, we need to advance economic integration in our region so as to build an open economy in the Asia-Pacific. We should continue to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. The road toward a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) will not be smooth. Yet, we need to remain committed to this goal and move toward it. We need to adopt an open, inclusive and transparent approach to the various kinds of free trade arrangements to ensure coordinated and positive interactions among them. We need to firmly uphold the rules-based multilateral trading system and say no to protectionism. The World Trade Organization is exploring a new round of reform. Such reform should be designed to enable the WTO to better play its role and uphold the core values and underlying principles of the multilateral trading system instead of having the Organization overhauled. What we need is to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up initiative. China will pursue with resolve continued reform across the board. We will speed up efforts to improve our socialist market economy and put in place a modern economic system. China will continue to pursue its fundamental policy of opening-up by significantly expanding market access, better protecting intellectual property rights, and making our investment and business environment more attractive. The first China International Import Expo, which was successfully concluded in Shanghai just a week ago, was attended by 172 countries, regions and international organizations, and 3,600-plus companies and over 400,000 Chinese and foreign buyers who sealed 57.8 billion U.S. dollars worth of deals. The Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum held alongside the Expo was attended by over 4,500 leading personages from various sectors. This sent one more message about China’s strong commitment to support free and open trade and to voluntarily open its market to the world.
Second, we need to pursue innovation-driven growth and foster new growth drivers. Digital economy represents the development of the future for both the Asia-Pacific and the world at large. We need to recognize and follow the trend of innovation-driven development as a trend of the times, and fully implement the Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap in a balanced way, so as to unleash the growth potential of digital economy. We need to promote the building of digital infrastructure and capacity, make digital economy more accessible and bridge the digital divide. Our goal should be for the benefits of digital economy to reach all member economies at different stages of development and for the people of the Asia-Pacific to get aboard the fast train of a growing digital economy.
China is endeavoring to build a “Digital China”. Many innovations have been made in areas such as Internet Plus and artificial intelligence. New technologies and new forms and models of business like sharing economy, online retail, and mobile payment continue to emerge in China, bringing profound changes to the lives of the Chinese people. China seeks deeper cooperation on digital economy with other members of the Asia-Pacific so as to expand convergence of interests and create more growth areas, thus adding strong and fresh impetus to the Asia-Pacific economy.
Third, we need to improve the connectivity network to promote inclusive and interconnected development. Connectivity is the foundation of inclusive and interconnected development. Efforts are required to turn our connectivity blueprint into reality and extend our connectivity network to every corner along the Pacific shores. We need to take the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a guide and adopt more concrete steps to make development more balanced, growth more sustainable, opportunities more equal and societies more inclusive.
China takes it a high priority to strengthen connectivity. Thanks to five years of joint efforts, cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative has entered a new phase of full implementation. China will host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April next year. China will work with all countries involved under the principle of consultation and collaboration for shared benefits to pursue the Belt and Road Initiative against high standards so that it will deliver quality outcomes and create even greater development opportunities for the people in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.
Fourth, we need to forge a closer partnership and jointly meet common challenges. APEC has traversed a journey of cooperation for close to 30 years; and it has fostered a partnership featuring mutual trust, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, something we all hold dear. As we Asia-Pacific countries vary in national conditions, differences among us are normal. What is important is for us to stay committed to the shared goal of common development, address differences through consultation and explore solutions to common challenges in the spirit of partnership. We need to respect diversity and each other’s choices of development path, promote integration and mutual learning on the basis of openness and inclusiveness, and engage in both healthy competition and mutually beneficial cooperation. With these efforts, we can jointly build a community with a shared future in the Asia-Pacific.
China follows a people-centered development philosophy and a new development vision that features innovative, coordinated, green and open development for the benefit of all. In the past few decades, China has lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty and will completely eliminate poverty by 2020. The Chinese economy has been contributing over 30 percent of the global growth for many years. Its shift from high-speed to high-quality growth is gathering pace. For one thing, consumption accounts for 78 percent of China’s growth this year. The overall momentum of sustained and sound growth will continue.
As leaders of the Asia-Pacific, we share a common responsibility to chart the long-term development course for APEC and draw up a post-2020 vision. We should follow the underlying trend of economic globalization and prevail over difficulties as they arise. We should remain committed to our goal of economic integration in the region and work toward the direction of an open global economy. We should keep the momentum of Asia-Pacific cooperation and steadily bring it to a higher level.
China is a champion of Asia-Pacific cooperation and has taken concrete steps to promote cooperation on the ground. Close cooperation with other members of the Asia-Pacific is indispensable for China’s development. China’s development, on its part, offers broad opportunities of development for the Asia-Pacific. China will stay deeply engaged in the Asia-Pacific cooperation process, increase its input, deepen practical cooperation with other parties involved, and make new contribution to the development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.