Join hands for high-quality development in Asia-Pacific

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Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech titled "Staying True to APEC Founding Mission and Enhancing Unity and Cooperation to Jointly Promote High-Quality Growth in the Asia-Pacific" at the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in San Francisco, the United States, Nov. 17, 2023. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

In the beautiful U.S. city of San Francisco, leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members gathered on Friday, uniting in their commitment to deliver a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, inclusive, and predictable trade and investment environment.

In the world today, changes on a scale unseen in a century are unfolding at an accelerating pace. The world economy faces multiple risks and challenges. The Asia-Pacific region, which is an engine of global growth, thus has greater responsibility.

“We, the leaders of Asia-Pacific economies, must think very hard as to what kind of Asia-Pacific region we should have by the middle of this century, what we should do to usher in another ‘golden 30 years’ for the region, and how we can bring out the best of APEC in this process,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping in a speech at the 30th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.

China will continue to pursue high-quality development and high-standard opening up. Chinese modernization will bring the world more and greater opportunities for the modernization of all countries, he said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech titled “Staying True to APEC Founding Mission and Enhancing Unity and Cooperation to Jointly Promote High-Quality Growth in the Asia-Pacific” at the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in San Francisco, the United States, Nov. 17, 2023. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

 

“GOLDEN 30 YEARS”

“Since the establishment of the economic leaders’ regular meeting mechanism, APEC has always stood at the global forefront of openness and development,” said Xi.

“It has played a robust role in promoting Asia-Pacific trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, economic growth and technological progress, and the flow of goods and people. It has helped create the ‘Asia-Pacific miracle’ that has staggered the world,” he said.

Over the past three decades, the Asia-Pacific has cut its average tariff rate from 17 percent to 5 percent and contributed 70 percent of global economic growth. Per capita income in the region has more than quadrupled, and one billion people have been lifted out of poverty, an important contribution to human progress and global sustainable development.

As the world entered a new phase marked by turbulence and rapid change, accompanied by sluggish economic growth, it is of utmost significance for leaders in Asia Pacific to figure out what they “should do to usher in another ‘golden 30 years‘ for the region, and how we can bring out the best of APEC in this process,” as Xi pointed out.

To achieve this, Xi offered a Chinese solution in which he called on leaders of the APEC member economies to stay committed to innovation-driven development, openness in development, green development and inclusive development that delivers benefits to all.

As for China, Xi said his country is advancing the noble cause of building a great country and national rejuvenation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization.

“Chinese modernization will bring the world more and greater opportunities for the modernization of all countries. I am ready to work with you for new success in Asia-Pacific cooperation and for another ‘golden 30 years’ of the region,” Xi said.

China’s commitment to contributing to the modernization of all countries demonstrates a cooperative and inclusive mindset, said Rusa Bagirishya, a Rwandan expert in economic and political affairs.

“By inviting all parties to participate in global development initiatives and advocating for unity and cooperation, China plays a vital role in creating a golden future for the Asia-Pacific,” said Bagirishya.

BRINGING OUT THE BEST OF APEC

Since its inception, APEC has become a dynamic engine of economic growth and one of Asia Pacific’s most important regional forums. Its 21 member economies are home to around 2.95 billion people, representing approximately 62 percent of world GDP and 48 percent of world trade in 2021.

In an increasingly complex world full of challenges, how can we bring out the best of APEC to bolster economic growth and prosperity for the region? The answer is to further promote cooperation among APEC economies.

“We must remain steadfast in our commitment to APEC’s founding mission. We must respond to the calls of our times responsibly and meet global challenges together. We must fully deliver on the Putrajaya Vision of building an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community for the prosperity of all our people and future generations,” Xi said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech titled “Staying True to APEC Founding Mission and Enhancing Unity and Cooperation to Jointly Promote High-Quality Growth in the Asia-Pacific” at the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in San Francisco, the United States, Nov. 17, 2023. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

For Egide Karuranga, a retired Rwandan professor of International Economics at the University of Virginia in the United States, Xi’s words are significant as they remain committed to the founding mission of APEC while highlighting the importance of state-to-state relations.

“Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region has always been at the forefront of global development, creating miracles. Currently, as the world is undergoing significant changes, Xi, in the speech, deeply analyzes and reflects on the responsibilities the Asia-Pacific region should undertake and how to respond to the call of the times. This demonstrates the image of a responsible major country in the region and the far-sightedness of regional leaders,” Karuranga said.

Commenting on Xi’s call for unity and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, Zoltan Kiszelly, director of the Center of Political Analyses at Hungary’s Szazadveg Institute, noted the importance of preserving peace across continents, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, deemed a powerhouse of the global economy.

“By offering cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and connectivity, not only the nations in the Asia-Pacific region but also those in other regions can benefit from the growth,” he said.

CHINA’S CONTRIBUTIONS

Addressing the 30th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, Xi called for staying committed to inclusive development that delivers benefits to all.

Global development now faces severe challenges and the development divide is getting wider, said the Chinese president, adding that he had said on many occasions that “true development is development for all.”

As China celebrates 45 years of its reform and opening up this year, it will continue to pursue high-quality development and high-standard opening up. Chinese modernization will bring the world more and greater opportunities for the modernization of all countries, he said.

Over the decades, China has achieved staggering economic success and has been sharing its development opportunities.

Xi’s speech reinforces China’s commitment to promote multilateralism, which is essential for lower and middle-income countries. It is time for all countries to open up and improve collaboration, so no countries will be left behind, said Karuranga.

Kin Phea, director general of the International Relations Institute of Cambodia, commended China for sharing the fruit of its peaceful development with the rest of the world. Kin said China has worked closely with like-minded international partners to maintain and restore confidence in multilateralism, build an open world economy, and create new pathways for inclusive and sustainable development.

Meanwhile, China has also offered solutions fused with Chinese wisdom to address various challenges articulated through global initiatives, including the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Global Development Initiative (GDI), Global Security Initiative and Global Civilization Initiative.

China welcomes participation by all parties in the GDI to deepen cooperation in poverty reduction, food security, industrialization and development financing and build a global community of development so that the fruits of modernization are shared by people across the world, Xi noted during his speech.

He said that China will continue to support APEC in its economic and technical cooperation and work together with other member economies to make the “cake” of Asia-Pacific development bigger.

China’s global initiatives, including the BRI and the GDI, cover a wide range of regions spanning from Asia to Africa and Europe, and they are critical to expanding regional economic collaborations and boosting the global economy in general, said Selcuk Colakoglu, director of the Ankara-based Turkish Center for Asia-Pacific Studies.

The China-proposed global initiatives, especially the BRI, have provided new opportunities for countries to develop and modernize. They play an essential role in building a new international relationship based on mutual respect, win-win cooperation and building a community with a shared future for humanity, said Konstantin Blokhin, an expert at the Center for Security Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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