Address at the Opening Ceremony of the 12th General Conference and 23rd General Meeting of TWAS

From: Ministry of foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China Updated: 2013-01-26 13:47
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Hu Jintao

Tianjin, September 18, 2012

Honorable President Jacob Palis,
Distinguished Fellows and Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nine years ago, the 14th General Meeting of TWAS was held in Beijing. Today, we are gathered here in Tianjin for the 23rd General Meeting of TWAS. This is a grand gathering for the international scientific community. On behalf of the government and people of China, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations on the opening of this meeting and my warmest welcome to all TWAS Fellows, scientists and delegates from around the world.

Science and technology are the crystallization of mankind's invaluable wisdom and immense creativity. They are important drivers of economic prosperity, social development and human progress. The history of world development is one that finds science and technology running through the entire process of the emergence, growth and prosperity of human civilizations. The scientific and technological achievements made by the developing countries in the long history of mankind helped lay an important foundation for development of science and technology in modern times and are making a vital contribution to the global surge of science and technology.

Every significant step in human progress has been closely related to some revolutionary breakthroughs in science and technology. It is the continuous innovation and development of science and technology that has brought mankind from barbarism to civility, from poverty to prosperity, and from the Realm of Inevitability to the Realm of Freedom. It is the endless progress and innovation of science and technology that has constantly changed the way of mankind's thinking, production and life, extending its scope of cognition, deepening its perception of the universe, nature and its own, and enhancing its power to create better lives.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As global modernization moves forward, the developing countries are working unremittingly to change their own lot and improve their people's lives, resulting in a historic transformation from modernization only for the few to modernization for the majority at long last. This unprecedented change has brought about both fresh opportunities of development and severe challenges to human development. Tensions between economic and social development on the one hand and supply of natural resources and the sustaining capacity of the eco-system on the other are on the increase. Such major global issues as energy and resources security, food security, ecological environment, population, health, natural disasters and climate change call not only for concerted efforts by all countries, but also greater play of science and technology as a support and catalyst in addressing these challenges.

Our world is at the eve of a new round of science and technology revolution. The vast demand for economic and social development, the intrinsic dynamism in the system of knowledge and technology, and the in-depth integration between science and technology on the one hand and the economy, society, culture and education on the other are presenting a vivid picture of multiple breakthroughs and thought-provoking combinations in the field of science and technology. Never before have science and technology made such a profound impact on the pace of human advancement and have linked so closely with the development and welfare of mankind.

Science and technology have an extraordinary power to change the destiny of a country, create a better future and bring a happier life to the population. This is particularly true to the developing countries. Thanks to their long and tenacious efforts, the developing countries have indeed made remarkable achievements. However, significant gaps remain either in the level of economic and social development or in the development of science and technology between them and the advanced countries in the world. The developing countries must work even harder to catch up, by focusing on innovation, attaching greater importance to science and technology and vigorously developing them.

We must base ourselves on our respective national conditions and our reality in science and technology development. At the same time, we must adapt to the general trend in the world, draw on the successful experience of both developed and emerging countries and pioneer a model of national characteristics that is consistent with both laws of science and technology innovation and the needs of the country's own development.

We must put particular emphasis on innovation capacity building, formulate a clearly defined strategy for science and technology development, and identify strategic priorities in light of development needs with vigorous efforts to promote original innovation, secure breakthroughs in key technologies, pay greater attention to the introduction, digesting and absorbing of advanced technologies, and strengthen the science and technology reserves. We must build more science and technology infrastructure and platforms, promote closer integration between science and technology and the economy, and accelerate the application of R&D achievements in favor of real productivity.

We will give greater priority to cultivating scientific talents, especially those who are young and have great potential. We must build an environment favorable to bring out the best in the talents, create enabling opportunities and platforms for them and bring about a large high-caliber workforce in the field of science and technology.

We must step up openness and cooperation, bearing in mind rapid global flows of science and technology resources, making effective use of external innovation resources with an open mind. We must improve on domestic capacity of innovation, introduce talents, knowhow, advanced technologies and managerial expertise in a well-thought-out way, and strengthen science and technology exchanges and cooperation among developing countries in the interest of achieving mutually-complementary and win-win results.

Ladies and gentlemen,

China attaches great importance to the development of science and technology. We have formulated a national program for mid- to long-term science and technology development, substantially increased R&D investment and successfully implemented a number of key programs, plans and projects, such as manned space exploration, manned deep sea submersible, supercomputing, quantum communication, neutrino oscillation and super-hybrid rice. China is now ranking among the most advanced countries in some key disciplines of world science and technology. The rapid development of science and technology in China has provided a strong support to the country's economic and social development. Yet, China also faces some challenging problems, such as lack of balance, coordination and sustainability in its development, a rather weak capacity for indigenous innovation, a poor industrial structure and increased restraints from resources and environment. Solution to these problems requires an urgent shift of the growth model and the introduction of an innovation-driven development.

China has set the goal to become an innovation-driven country by 2020. Upholding the concept of scientific development, we will continue to give top priority to science and technology, implement the strategy of revitalizing the country through science, education and cultivation of talents, and enhance indigenous innovation capacity by achieving leap-frog progress in key areas, supporting development and paving the way to the future.

China has identified the main direction and priority areas of science and technology innovation. We are making forward-looking plans in such frontier areas as physical science, life science, space and ocean studies, geo-science and nanotechnology where revolutionary breakthroughs are anticipated in the hope to achieve original development. We are stepping up efforts to strengthen pioneer research in such key areas bearing on long-term development aimed at transformational innovation as information technology, bio-technology and energy technology. We are working to enhance innovation through system integration by combining informatization with industrialization, achieving major breakthroughs in key techniques and key technologies and higher-end products R&D and supporting industrial restructuring, transformation and upgrading. We are working to promote deep integration of emerging technologies and emerging industries and develop such strategic emerging industries as energy conservation, environmental protection, next-generation information technology, biotech, high-end equipment manufacturing, new energy, new materials and new energy vehicles. We are working to develop a green agriculture featuring high-yield, high-quality and high-efficiency, extending the agricultural industrial chain, enhancing the comprehensive agricultural productivity, and meeting the demand of 1.3 billion people for agricultural products in terms of quantity, quality safety and multi-functionality. We are working to adjust the energy mix, strengthen the efficient, clean and safe utilization of traditional fossil energy, accelerate the commercialization of new energy sources, enhance the capacity to explore, develop and comprehensively utilize oil and gas, vital minerals and water resources and ensure the effective supply of energy and raw resources. We are working to promote science and technology innovation important to people's daily life, find technological solutions to food safety, water safety and air quality issues, develop diagnostic and pharmaceutical technologies for frequent, common and infectious diseases to give people a healthier and happier life. We are working to develop technologies for urban and rural environmental protection, treatment and rehabilitation, address such salient issues as pollution and waste disposal and enhance the capacity of disaster prevention and reduction, including the capacity to monitor and forecast natural disasters.

In meeting these goals, China is accelerating the efforts to build a national innovation system, steadily increase investment in science and technology, deepen institutional reform, strengthen collaborative innovation, combine science and technology and economy more closely, build a market-driven innovation system with enterprises playing the leading role and the industry, the academia and the research institutes working collaboratively, build some high-caliber research institutes and research-oriented universities, cultivate competitive disciplines and innovation-capable talents and make sure that new resources are rationally allocated, efficiently utilized and freely accessed.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a member of the developing world, China has all along valued its science and technology cooperation with the fellow developing countries, including a number of joint research programs and international initiatives. Moving forward, China will continue to vigorously promote similar cooperation with the other developing countries in the spirit of equality, mutual trust, mutual benefit and common development in the service of both peoples.

First, tapping into its accumulated science and technology strength, China will accelerate its assistance and transfer of advanced and applicable technologies to the developing counties in response to their social and economic development needs such as in the areas of desertification control, water conservation, arid land agriculture, crop breeding and cultivation, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, low-cost medical care, information telecommunications and new energies. China will step up collaborative research in light of the respective advantages of the developing countries in areas such as food security, eco-environment, demographic health and disaster prevention and reduction with a view to jointly addressing key science and technology problems bearing on economic and social development and betterment of people's lives.

Second, China will further increase its support for government scholarship programs in both scope and intensity. It will support efforts by Chinese research institutions and universities to establish talents training programs for developing countries and organize science and technology training courses targeted at high-caliber and young talents in specialized areas. China welcomes research in China by more science and technology personnel from developing countries and academic pursuit in China by more young students from developing countries.

Third, China will continue to support the developing countries in their science and technology capacity building. We will gradually increase the number of high-tech projects in our foreign assistance programs, help the developing countries build research infrastructure and technology demonstration platforms, support domestic research institutions and enterprises in establishing joint R&D centers with their foreign counterparts in areas of mutual interest, and support joint research efforts by Chinese scientists and their developing country colleagues on key science and technology tasks where they have a common interest.

As an international scientific organization with extensive influence, TWAS has long dedicated itself to promoting scientific excellence and innovation capacity in the developing countries and contributed enormously to science and technology progress in the developing countries. The Chinese government has decided to donate a total of US$1.5 million to TWAS in support of its more active role in promoting exchanges and cooperation in science and technology, and assisting innovation capacity building and talents cultivation in the developing countries.

In conclusion, I wish the conference a full success.

Thank you all.

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