A Better Future for Asia and the World*
April 7, 2013
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government, Speakers of Parliament, Heads of International Organizations, Ministers,
Members of the Board of Directors of the Boao Forum for Asia, Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
In this balmy season of clear skies and warm, coconut-scented breezes, I am so glad to meet all of you at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2013 here in Hainan, a picturesque island embraced by the vast ocean.
Let me begin by extending, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and also in my own name, a heartfelt welcome to you and warm congratulations on the opening of the Annual Conference of the Boao Forum.
In the 12 years since its founding, the Boao Forum for Asia has become an important forum with growing global influence. In Chinese culture, 12 years form a zodiacal cycle1. In this sense, the Boao Forum has reached a new starting point, and I hope it will scale even greater heights.
The theme of the current annual conference, "Asia Seeking Development for All: Restructuring, Responsibility and Cooperation," is a highly relevant one. I hope you will engage in in-depth discussions on promoting development in Asia and beyond, thus contributing, with your vision and commitment, to peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the world at large.
The world today is going through profound and complex changes. Countries have become increasingly inter-connected and inter-dependent. Several billion people in a large number of developing countries are embracing modernization. The trend of the times – peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit – is gaining momentum.
On the other hand, our world is far from peaceful. Development remains a major challenge; the global economy has entered a period of profound readjustment, and recovery remains elusive. The international financial sector is fraught with risks, protectionism in various forms is on the rise, countries still face many difficulties in adjusting their economic structure, and the global governance mechanisms call for improvement. It remains an uphill battle for all countries to achieve common development.
Asia is one of the most dynamic and most promising regions in the world, and its development is closely connected with that of other continents. Asian countries have energetically explored development paths suited to their national conditions and greatly boosted global development through their own. Working side by side with the rest of the world in a time of difficulty to tackle the international financial crisis, Asia has emerged as a major engine driving world economic recovery and growth. In recent years, Asia has contributed more than 50 percent of global growth, instilling much-needed confidence into the rest of the world. What is more, Asia's cooperation with other groupings at regional and sub-regional levels has great vitality and promising prospects.
But we should also be keenly aware that Asia still faces many difficulties and challenges in boosting both its own development and joint development with other regions. The road ahead is neither smooth nor straight.
Asia needs to transform and upgrade its development model in keeping with the trend of the times. Sustainable development is still of paramount importance to Asia, because this holds the key to solving major problems and difficulties. It is important that we should shift the growth model, adjust the economic structure, make development more cost-effective and improve the quality of life.
We should make concerted efforts to resolve major difficulties to ensure stability in Asia, which now faces new challenges, as new flashpoints keep emerging, and both traditional and non-traditional security threats exist. Asian countries should increase mutual trust and work together to ensure durable peace and stability in our region.
We need to build on past success and promote cooperation in Asia. There are many mechanisms and initiatives for enhancing cooperation in Asia, and a lot of ideas are being explored by various parties. What we need to do is to enhance mutual understanding, build consensus and enrich cooperation so as to strike a balance among the interests of the various stakeholders and build mechanisms that bring benefits to us all.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Mankind has only one earth, and it is home to all countries. Common development – the very foundation of sustainable development – meets the long-term and fundamental interests of all the people in the world. As members of the same global village, we should foster a sense of community of shared future, follow the trend of the times, keep to the right direction, stick together in time of difficulty and ensure that development in Asia and the rest of the world reaches new heights.
First, we should boldly break new ground and create an irresistible impetus for common development.
Over the years, many countries and regions have developed good practices in maintaining stability and promoting growth. We should continue such practices. However, nothing in the world remains constant, and, as a Chinese saying goes, "A wise man changes his way as circumstances change; a knowledgeable person alters his means as times evolve."2 We should abandon our outdated mindsets, break away from the old confines that fetter development, and unleash all potentials for development. We should redouble our efforts to shift the growth model and adjust the economic structure, raise the quality of development and improve the quality of life. We should steadily reform the international economic and financial systems, improve global governance mechanisms, and ensure sound and stable global economic growth. Asia, with its long-standing capacity for adjusting to change, should ride on the waves of the times, and make changes in Asia and the development of the world reinforce and benefit each other.
Second, we should work together to uphold peace so as to provide a secure environment for common development.
Peace is the ever-lasting wish of our people. Peace, like air and sunshine, is hardly noticed when people enjoy it. But none of us can live without it. Without peace, development is out of the question. Countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, should all contribute their share to maintaining and enhancing peace.
Rather than undermining each other's efforts, we should complement each other and work for joint progress. The international community should champion the vision of comprehensive, common and cooperative security so as to turn our global village into one big platform for common development rather than an arena where gladiators fight each other. No one should be allowed to cause chaos in any region or even the whole world for selfish gains.
With growing interaction among countries, problems are inevitable. What is important is that countries should resolve differences through dialogue, consultation and peaceful negotiation in the broader interest of a sound growth of their relations.
Third, we should boost cooperation as an effective vehicle for enhancing common development.
As we often say in China, a single flower does not make spring, while one hundred flowers in full blossom bring spring to the garden. All countries are closely linked and share converging interests. They should both pool and share their strength. While pursuing its own interests, a country should respect the legitimate concerns of others. In pursuing its own development, a country should promote the common development of all. We should enhance South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue, promote balanced development of the developing and developed countries, and consolidate the foundation for sustaining stable growth of the global economy. We need to work harder to create and upgrade cooperation, deliver more development dividends to our people, and contribute more to global growth.
Fourth, we should remain open and inclusive to broaden the scope for enhancing common development.
The ocean is vast because it is fed by hundreds of rivers. We should respect the right of a country to independently choose its social system and development path, ease distrust and misgivings, and turn the diversity of our world and differences among countries into dynamism and momentum. We should keep an open mind, draw upon development practices of other continents, share development resources and promote regional cooperation.
During the first decade and more of the new century, trade within Asia has increased from US$800 billion-worth to US$3 trillion-worth, and Asia's trade with other regions has grown from US$1.5 trillion-worth to US$4.8 trillion-worth. This demonstrates that cooperation in Asia is open and goes hand in hand with Asia's cooperation with other regions, and that everyone has gained from such cooperation.
Asia should welcome non-Asian countries to play a constructive role in ensuring stability and development of the region. Likewise, non-Asian countries should respect Asia's diversity and its long-standing tradition of cooperation. This will create a dynamic environment in which Asia and other regions enjoy mutually reinforcing progress.
Ladies and gentlemen,
China is an important member of the Asian family and the global family. China cannot develop itself in isolation from the rest of Asia and the world. On their part, the rest of Asia and the world cannot enjoy prosperity and stability without China.
Last November, the CPC held its 18th National Congress, which designed the blueprint for China's development in the years to come. The main goals we set for China are as follows:
By 2020, China's GDP and per capita income for urban and rural residents will double the 2010 figures, and the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects will be accomplished. By the mid-21st century, China will be turned into a modern, prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious socialist country; and the Chinese Dream – the renewal of the Chinese nation, will be realized. Looking ahead, we are full of confidence in China's future.
Still, we are aware that China remains the world's largest developing country, and it faces many difficulties and challenges. We need to make relentless efforts in the years ahead to deliver a better life to all our people. We are absolutely committed to reform and opening up, and we will concentrate on the major task of shifting the growth model, focus on running our own affairs well and endeavor to advance the drive towards socialist modernization.
As a Chinese proverb goes, "Neighbors wish each other well, just as loved ones do to each other." China will continue to promote friendship and partnership with its neighbors, strengthen friendly ties, intensify mutually beneficial cooperation and ensure that its development will bring even greater gains to its neighbors.
China will contribute more to development and prosperity in both Asia and the world. Since the beginning of the new century, China's trade with its neighbors has grown from US$100 billion-worth to US$1.3 trillion-worth, making China the largest trading partner, the biggest export market and a major source of investment for many of these countries.
China's interests have never been so closely connected with those of the rest of Asia and the world as a whole in both scope and depth. Going forward, China will maintain its robust growth momentum. Its domestic demand, particularly consumption-driven demand, will continue to grow, and its outbound investment will increase substantially. It is projected that in the next five years, China's imports will reach some US$10 trillion-worth, and its outbound investment will reach US$500 billion-worth. In addition, over 400 million outbound trips will be made by Chinese tourists.
The faster China grows, the more development opportunities it will create for the rest of Asia and the world.
We are firm in our resolve to uphold peace and stability in Asia and the world. We Chinese deeply cherish peace, as we know too well the agonies inflicted upon us by war and turbulence. China will continue to develop by securing a peaceful international environment, and at the same time, it will uphold and promote world peace through its own development. China will continue to properly handle differences and disputes with relevant countries. On the basis of defending its sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, China will maintain good relations with its neighbors and overall peace and stability in our region. China will continue to play a constructive role in addressing regional and global flashpoints, encourage dialogue and talks for peace, and work hard to solve all issues properly through dialogue and negotiation.
China will energetically promote regional cooperation in Asia and around the world. It will enhance communication with its neighbors, explore the building of a regional financing platform, and advance economic integration within the region, thus increasing its competitiveness. China will take an active part in Asia's regional cooperation process and promote regional and sub-regional cooperation with non-Asian regions and countries.
China will continue to champion and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, step up two-way investment with other countries and boost cooperation in new priority areas. China firmly supports Asia's opening up and cooperation with other regions for their common development. China is committed to narrowing the North-South gap and supports other developing countries in their efforts to enhance their capacity for self-development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Promoting good neighborliness is a time-honored tradition of China. To enhance peaceful development and mutually beneficial cooperation in Asia and the world is a race that has one starting point after another and knows no finishing line. We in China are ready to join hands with friends from across the world in a concerted effort to create a bright future for both Asia and the world, and to deliver real gains to both the peoples of Asia and those of the rest of the world.
Finally, I wish the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2013 every success!
* A keynote speech at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2013.
1 Shengxiao, the Chinese zodiac – a 12-year cycle. Each year is related to an animal – rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
2 Huan Kuan: On Salt and Iron (Yan Tie Lun), an important work for the study of the history of economics and thought during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 25). The author (dates unknown) was a court minister of that dynasty.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)