Openness for Greater Prosperity, Innovation for a Better Future

By: Xi JinpingFrom:English Edition of Qiushi Journal July-September 2018|Vol.10,No.3,Issue No.36 | Updated: 2018-Sep-7 17:36
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Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Heads of International Organizations, and Ministers,

Distinguished Incumbent and Incoming Members of the Board of Directors of the Boao Forum for Asia,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

Hainan in mid-spring shares with us its lush mountains, emerald seas, balmy sunshine, and gentle breeze. In this pleasant season, all our distinguished guests are gathered here to attend the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018. To quote a Hainanese folk song, “It has been a long time since we last met, and I hope it will be a long time before we part.” Today, I feel immensely pleased to have this opportunity to meet with old friends and new.

First of all, on behalf of the Chinese government, the Chinese people, and myself, I extend a sincere welcome to all the distinguished guests attending the Forum, and heartfelt congratulations on the opening of the conference.

The Boao Forum for Asia is based in Asia and global in scope. Since its founding, it has generated feedback on a range of issues such as forming consensus in Asia, encouraging cooperation on all sides, driving economic globalization, and building a community of shared future for humanity. On the basis of this feedback, the Forum has generated many valuable “Boao proposals” which have made a positive contribution to addressing these issues. This year will see a transition in the Forum’s Board of Directors. Thus, I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the directors who will be stepping down, and heartfelt congratulations to those who were recently elected.

The theme of this year’s Forum, “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity,” is in line with current trends and meets the expectations of all parties. I am convinced that with everyone here engaging in open discussion, many great insights will be produced.

Xi Jinping gives the keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018 on April 10. PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER LI XUEREN

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

In the course of history, there are always landmark occasions which empower us to draw wisdom and continue forward. This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up, and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Hainan Province and the Hainan Special Economic Zone. Of Hainan, people say that “Reform and opening up created it, and likewise made it prosperous.” Since the launch of reform and opening up , the relatively undeveloped and remote island of Hainan has turned into one of China’s most open and dynamic regions that has made phenomenal economic and social achievements.

Just as a drop of water can reflect the radiance of the sun, an individual region can reflect the vitality of a country. Hainan’s development stands as an important historical testimony to four decades of reform and opening up in China.

On Mr. Deng Xiaoping’s initiative, the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in 1978 initiated China’s historic journey of reform and opening up. Going from rural areas to cities, from pilot programs to nationwide projects, and from economic reform to deepening reform in all areas, this journey continued through 40 years of strength in unity, 40 years of forging ahead, and 40 years of fostering development. Along this journey, the Chinese people have devoted their energy to making epic accomplishments in the development of the country and the nation.

– Over the last four decades, the Chinese people have continued to work hard and make tremendous efforts, significantly unleashing and raising national productivity. Heaven rewards hard work, and spring flowers become autumn fruit. Committed to development with keen focus and reform and opening up with resolve, the Chinese people have driven a tectonic transformation in the country through enduring and unrelenting perseverance. Today, China is the world’s second largest economy, the largest manufacturing country, the largest trader of goods, and holds the largest foreign exchange reserves. Over the last four decades, China’s GDP has grown on average around 9.5% per annum when calculated in constant prices, and foreign trade has grown on average 14.5% per annum when calculated in US dollars. Once living with shortage and poverty, the Chinese people now enjoy lives of abundance and modest prosperity. According to current UN standards, more than 700 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty, accounting for more than 70% of the global total over the same period.

– Over the last four decades, the Chinese people have continued to make exhaustive explorations and forge ahead with determination, forging a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We the Chinese people have both a keen awareness of national realities and a global vision. We want independence and self-reliance while stressing openness and win-win cooperation. We uphold the socialist system while continuing with reforms to develop the socialist market economy. We “cross the river by feeling the stones” while boosting top-level design. We have studied new circumstances, addressed new problems, and reflected on our new experiences. With these efforts, the Chinese people have successfully forged a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The successful efforts of the Chinese people make it clear to all that there is more than one path toward modernization. Provided we find the right direction and make unremitting efforts, all roads lead to Rome.

– Over the last four decades, the Chinese people have continued to move with the times and forge ahead, fully demonstrating China’s strength. We the Chinese people continue to free our minds and seek truth from facts. In doing so, we bring together open minds and reform and opening up to invigorate both, and integrate innovative ideas and practical inquiries to propel both, thus fully demonstrating the great strength of our guiding philosophy. We have the courage to carry out self-reforms and self-improvement. We continue to improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and remove institutional barriers in all areas, thus fully demonstrating the great strength of our institutional guarantees. We dare to pioneer, experiment, and break new ground. Our enthusiasm, initiative, and creativity are at an unprecedented high, thus fully demonstrating the great strength of over 1.3 billion Chinese people, the masters of the country and true heroes who drive history forward.

– Over the last four decades, the Chinese people have continued to be open-minded and embrace the world, actively contributing to the world. Reform and opening up is a great undertaking that has seen China and the world grow and progress together. The Chinese people have upheld the fundamental national policy of opening up, pursued development with doors wide open, and successfully made a great transition from being a largely closed society to a society open to the world in all respects. In the course of opening up, China has assumed the role of a responsible major country. From “bringing in” to “going global,” from WTO accession to jointly pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, China has made major contributions in response to the Asian financial crisis and the global financial crisis. Contributing over 30% of global economic growth for many years running, China has become a key stabilizer and engine for world economic growth which has spurred the noble cause of global peace and development.

Today, the Chinese people can say with great pride that China’s second revolution of reform and opening up has not only profoundly changed the country but also deeply influenced the whole world.

An ancient Chinese classic teaches that the law of heaven is consistent, and those who govern in accordance with this law will prosper. China’s reform and opening up has met its people’s historical needs for development, innovation, and a better life, while also meeting the current trend of the people of the world toward development, cooperation, and peace. As such, China’s reform and opening up can and will be a great success!

Four decades of reform and opening up have taught us many invaluable lessons. The most important one is that for any country or nation to flourish, its progress must be consistent with its history, and its development must follow current trends.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

From a global perspective, the world today is undergoing a new round of great development, transformation, and adjustment, and humankind still faces many factors that bring instability and uncertainty. While the new technological and industrial revolution brings fresh opportunities for the development of human society, it also presents unprecedented challenges. In some countries and regions, people still live in the shadow of war and conflict, and many vulnerable people including the elderly, women, and children still suffer from hunger and poverty. Climate change and serious communicable diseases remain formidable challenges. Humanity has a major choice to make between openness and isolation, and between progress and regression.

Faced with a complex and changing world, where is human society headed next? Where is the future of Asia? In my opinion, in answering these questions of our time we must not fear that passing clouds might block our view. Instead, we must be adept at dispelling the clouds to see the sun, grasp the underlying patterns of history, and recognize global trends.

In today’s world, the trend toward peace and cooperation rolls ever forward. Peace and development are the common aspiration of all the people of the world, the Cold War and zero-sum mentalities are increasingly passé, and arrogance or going it alone are universally decried. Only peaceful development and cooperation can truly bring mutual benefits, and indeed benefits for all.

In today’s world, the trend toward openness and connectivity rolls ever forward. The history of the development of human society shows us that openness leads to progress while isolation leaves one behind. The world has become a global village where our interests are intertwined and our economic and social progress is increasingly interconnected and interactive. Driving interconnectivity and hastening integrated development have become the only choice if we are to promote common prosperity and development.

In today’s world, the trend toward reform and innovation rolls ever forward. As early as 2,500 years ago, our Chinese forebears recognized that to benefit the people one does not have to follow a beaten path, and to get things done one does not have to observe old conventions. Change and innovation are the fundamental forces driving human progress. Those who refuse to change and reject innovation will be left behind and consigned to the dust heap of history.

To follow current trends and advance the well-being of all people, I proposed that we build a global community of shared future, about which I have since had many in-depth discussions with various parties. I am glad that this proposal has been welcomed and endorsed by a growing number of countries and their people, and that it has been written into important UN documents. I hope that people around the world will work hard and advance together to build this community of shared future and make Asia and the world peaceful, tranquil, prosperous, open, and beautiful.

– With the future in mind, we need to treat each other with respect and as equals. We need to uphold the five principles of peaceful coexistence, respect the social systems and approaches to development that other countries have chosen, respect each other’s core interests and main concerns, and take a new approach to developing state-to-state relations with communication, not confrontation, and with partnership, not alliance. We must refrain from seeking dominance and reject zero-sum games. We must refrain from beggaring-thy-neighbor and reject power politics or hegemony with the strong bullying the weak. Instead, we must properly manage differences and work hard to bring about enduring peace.

– With the future in mind, we need to promote dialogue, consultation, and shared responsibility. We need to stick to the principles of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security, and firmly uphold the international order and system underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We need to take an integrated approach to counter traditional and non-traditional security challenges, and enhance coordination both bilaterally and multilaterally. We need to ensure that there is complementarity, inclusiveness, and coordination rather than obstruction between security mechanisms. This will lead us to universal and common security.

– With the future in mind, we need all-weather friendship and win-win cooperation. We need to stay committed to openness, connectivity, and mutual benefits, build an open world economy, and reinforce cooperation within the G20, APEC, and other multilateral frameworks. We need to promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, uphold the multilateral trading system, and jointly foster new technologies, industries, and forms and models of business. This way, we will drive economic globalization in a more open, inclusive, and balanced direction so that its benefits are shared by all.

– With the future in mind, we need to uphold inclusiveness and seek harmony without uniformity. We need to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation in culture, education, tourism, youth affairs, media, health, poverty reduction, and other fields. We need to promote mutual learning among cultures, and make this process create bridges for fostering friendship, drivers of social progress, and ties for safeguarding regional and world peace.

– With the future in mind, we need to revere nature and treasure our planet. We need development that is green, low-carbon, and sustainable, and we need to respect, accommodate, and protect nature. We need to increase exchanges and cooperation in climate change, environmental protection, energy conservation, and emissions reduction, and share our experiences and jointly meet challenges in this regard. We must pursue a model of sustainable development characterized by increased production, higher living standards, and healthy ecosystems so that our posterity can enjoy blue skies, emerald seas, lucid waters, and lush mountains.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

At the 19th CPC National Congress convened last October, the judgment that socialism with Chinese characteristics had entered a new era was announced, and a grand blueprint for our all-out efforts to develop into a great modern socialist country was formulated. This new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics marks a new stage in China’s rejuvenation and a new phase of integrated development with the rest of the world.

Just as each age has its challenges, each generation has its missions. Even though China has come a long way, it still faces new challenges to overcome on the way ahead. In the new era, we the Chinese nation will continue moving forward in the pursuit of progress and improving ourselves through reform. Ever committed to furthering reform in all areas, we will overcome whatever challenges lie ahead, be courageous in tackling persistent problems, dismantle barriers erected by vested interests, and see reform through. We the Chinese people will continue to be bold in innovation and boost development. Ever committed to our vision of people-centered development, we will act on the new development philosophy, develop a modernized economy, bolster supply-side structural reform, and implement the innovation-driven development, rural revitalization, and coordinated regional development strategies at a faster pace. We will also work on targeted poverty alleviation and eradication, promote social equity and justice, and work to raise people’s sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security. We the Chinese people will continue to increase openness and expand cooperation. Ever committed to the pursuit of a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up, we will pay equal attention to “bringing in” and “going global,” and cover new ground in opening China further through links running eastward and westward, across land and over sea. We will also adopt policies to promote high-standard liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, and explore the opening of free trade ports with Chinese characteristics. We the Chinese people will continue to work together with the rest of the world and make greater contributions to humanity. Ever committed to the path of peaceful development, we will actively pursue global partnerships, firmly support multilateralism, and take an active part in reforming the global governance system. We will also foster a new type of international relations and build a community of shared future for humanity.

Regardless of the extent to which it develops, China will never threaten any other country, never attempt to overturn the existing international system, and never seek spheres of influence. China will continue in its efforts at safeguarding world peace, contributing to global development, and upholding international order.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

By comprehensively assessing global trends, it is evident that economic globalization is an irreversible tide of our times. In line with this determination, I emphasized in my report to the 19th CPC National Congress that China will continue to adhere to the fundamental national policy of opening up and pursue development with its doors open wide. I wish to make it clear to all that China will not close its door to the world; it will only become more and more open.

Experience has proven that the past 40 years of economic growth came about due to opening up. To realize high-quality development in China’s economy in the future requires opening up even further. China’s decision to open up further is of a strategic nature which is made on the basis of its need for development. At the same time, it is a concrete action taken by China to move economic globalization forward in a way that benefits people across the world.

China will adopt the following major measures to facilitate further opening:

The first measure is significantly broadening market access. This year, we will announce a number of landmark measures in this vein. Regarding services, especially financial services, we will ensure the rollout of major measures announced at the end of last year on raising caps on foreign-owned equity in the banking, securities, and insurance industries. At the same time, we will make more moves toward further opening, including accelerating the opening up of the insurance industry, easing restrictions on the establishment of foreign financial institutions and expanding their business scope in China, and opening up more areas of cooperation between Chinese and foreign financial markets. Regarding manufacturing, we have already basically opened up this sector with a limited number of exceptions on automobiles, ships, and aircraft, and now these industries are in a position to open up. The next step is to ease foreign equity restrictions in these industries, especially the automobile industry, as soon as possible.

The second measure is creating a more attractive investment environment. An investment environment is like air, and only fresh air attracts more investment from the outside. In the past, China relied mainly on providing favorable policies to attract foreign investors, but now we must rely more on improving the investment environment. We will align more strictly with international economic and trading rules, increase transparency, strengthen property rights protection, uphold the rule of law, encourage competition, and oppose monopoly. In March of this year, we established a host of new agencies such as the State Administration for Market Regulation as part of a major readjustment of government institutions, the purpose of which was to remove systematic and institutional obstacles that prevent the market from playing the decisive role in resource allocation and the government from playing its role better. In the first six months of this year, we will finish the revision of the negative list on foreign investment and implement the management system based on pre-establishment national treatment and a negative list across the board.

The third measure is strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights. This is the centerpiece of the system for improving property rights protection, and it would provide the biggest boost to the competitiveness of the Chinese economy. Stronger protection for intellectual property rights is a requirement of foreign enterprises, and even more so of Chinese enterprises. This year, we are reinstituting the State Intellectual Property Office. In doing so, we will improve and expand its capacity for law enforcement, significantly raise the cost for offenders, and realize the full potential of the deterrent effect of relevant laws. We encourage normal technological exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and foreign enterprises, and protect the lawful intellectual property rights owned by foreign enterprises in China. At the same time, we hope foreign governments will do more to protect Chinese intellectual property rights.

The fourth measure is taking the initiative to expand imports. Domestic demand is the fundamental driving force for China’s economic development, and it is also an essential requirement for us to meet the people’s ever-growing need for a better life. China does not intentionally seek trade surplus; we have a genuine desire to increase imports and achieve a greater balance of payments under current accounts. This year, we will significantly lower the import tariffs for automobiles, reduce import tariffs for some other products, and import more products that are competitive and needed by our people. We will seek faster progress toward joining the WTO Government Procurement Agreement. We hope developed countries will stop imposing restrictions on the normal and reasonable trade of high-tech products and relax export controls on such trade with China. This November, we will hold the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai. It is not just an ordinary expo, but a major policy move taken of our own initiative to open up the Chinese market. We welcome our friends from around the world to come to China to participate in the Expo.

Regarding these major initiatives to open China up which I just announced, I wish to emphasize that we will launch them as quickly as is feasible and sooner rather than later. In this way, the outcomes of our efforts at opening up can deliver benefits to all enterprises and people in China and around the world as soon as possible. I am confident that with these efforts, China’s financial sector will be much more competitive, the capital market will continue to enjoy healthy growth, the development of a modern industrial system will be given a boost, our market environment will be greatly improved, and intellectual property rights will be firmly protected. Through these efforts, China will enter a completely new phase of opening up.

Five years ago, I proposed the joint pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative. Over these five years, more than 80 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China. Though the Belt and Road Initiative originated in China, its opportunities and outcomes are destined for the world. China does not engage in selfish geopolitical calculations, does not seek exclusionary blocs and does not impose its will on others. It must be pointed out that as this Initiative is quite new, it is perfectly normal that there will be differences of opinion among collaborative partners. As long as all parties uphold and abide by the principle of shared growth through discussion and collaboration, we can surely enhance cooperation and resolve differences. In this way, we can forge the Belt and Road Initiative into the broadest platform for international cooperation that keeps abreast of the trend toward economic globalization, and ensure that the joint pursuit of this Initiative brings greater benefits to all people.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

As a Chinese saying goes, “Earth, when accumulated, forms a mountain and water, when amassed, forms an ocean.” Happiness and a bright future do not appear on their own; success belongs to those with courage and perseverance. Let us dedicate ourselves to openness and mutual benefit, have the courage to change and break new ground, keep striving for a community of shared future for humanity, and come together to create a better tomorrow for Asia and the world!

In closing, I wish the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018 every success!

Thank you.

(Originally issued in Chinese by Xinhua News Agency, Boao, Hainan, April 10, 2018)