In this important speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping calls for a coordinated global effort to suppress the pandemic, to tackle climate change, and to prevent a New Cold War.
Xi reiterates his oft-stated belief that vaccines must be a global public good, and urges countries to work together to ensure fair and equitable distribution, with particular attention to developing countries. Speaking on the need for a comprehensive low-carbon transition, he points out that this will be impossible without simultaneously pursuing development and improving the living standards of those that currently live in poverty.
He notes that humanity’s major challenges cannot be solved in the context of a New Cold War, and warns against any attempts to divide the world on ideological lines or to break with the principles of multilateralism and respect for sovereign development, stating that “the Asia-Pacific region cannot and should not relapse into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era.”
Leaders of the Business Community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very glad to meet you again. At present, COVID-19 is still ravaging the world, and the journey to global economic recovery remains a difficult and tortuous one. The Asia-Pacific has all along been an important engine driving the global economy. Indeed, it is among the first to regain the momentum of recovery in this crisis. At this historical juncture, it is important that we in the Asia-Pacific face up to the responsibility of the times, be in the drive’s seat, and strive hard to meet the goal of building an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future.
First, we need to make all-out efforts to fight COVID-19. To emerge from the shadow of the pandemic and achieve steady economic recovery at an early date is the most pressing task for us in the Asia-Pacific. At this trying time, it is all the more important that we should stay confident, keep a steady hand on the tiller, and forge ahead with determination. Over the past decades, we in the Asia-Pacific have been able to make advances by overcoming crises and achieve success by meeting challenges. In the face of this once-in-a-century test that is crucial to the future of humanity, we the Asia-Pacific economies as well as various sectors should put our people and their lives first, follow the guidance of science, pull together with solidarity, extend assistance to each other, and fight to beat the pandemic.
We should support each other in fighting COVID-19 and step up cooperation in areas such as testing methods, treatment medicine and the research, development, production and mutual recognition of vaccines to truly create synergy against COVID-19. We should translate the consensus that vaccines are a global public good into concrete actions, ensure their fair and equitable distribution as well as their accessibility and affordability in developing countries, and thus work together to close the immunization gap.
Second, we need to uphold openness and cooperation. Openness is the sure way for realizing human prosperity and progress. Over the past 30-plus years, thanks to our concerted efforts such as the adoption of the Bogor Goals and the Putrajaya Vision as well as macroeconomic policy coordination and the building of high-standard free trade areas, we in the Asia-Pacific have succeeded in sustaining fast development for a fairly long period of time. Ultimately, this has become possible because we have endeavored to create an open economic architecture and forge an Asia-Pacific partnership based on mutual trust, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation.
No matter how global developments may evolve, the Asia-Pacific economy will keep its strengths of being resilient and robust. We should all be broad-minded, follow the underlying trend of the times and proactively expand opening-up. We should advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, keep industrial and supply chains stable and functioning, and promote the orderly flow of resources and inputs to boost economic recovery and achieve interconnected development. We should be forward-looking, move ahead and reject practices of discrimination and exclusion of others. Attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geopolitical grounds are bound to fail. The Asia-Pacific region cannot and should not relapse into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era.
Third, we need to promote green transition. A sound eco-environment is the most basic public good that benefits all. We in the Asia-Pacific should make its post-pandemic recovery a green one and take the lead in making a science-based response to climate change. We need to follow the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and deliver on what was agreed upon in the Paris Agreement on climate change and at the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Developed economies should act on a sense of being in the same community with other economies, provide developing economies with funding and technological support and help them enhance their capacity to conduct environmental governance. Working together, all of us can embark on a path of green, low-carbon and sustainable development.
Green and low-carbon transition is a systemic project that must be pursued across the board and in a coordinated way. In the Asia-Pacific, over 100 million people still live in abject poverty. Some economies are still plagued by inadequate infrastructure development, education and health care, and they are weak in food security and energy supply. Without development, it will be impossible to pool the economic strength necessary for achieving green transition. Neglecting people’s livelihood means loss of social support for pursuing green transition. We need to gain an accurate understanding of what sustainable development means, put the people first, and strike a balance between economic growth, ensuring people’s well-being, and energy conservation and emissions reduction. This will enable us to catalyze green transition in the course of economic development and achieve greater development through green transition.
Fourth, we need to actively promote innovation. Innovation is an important force driving human progress. I have often stressed that a country or region cannot prosper without innovation or even with slow innovation. The Asia-Pacific has distinctive intellectual resources and a long tradition of innovation. Having created many new technologies, new industries and new mechanisms, this region of ours has always been a global pacesetter of innovation-driven development. Today, a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation is well underway, and information technology, biotechnology and manufacturing technology are developing rapidly. This has positioned us well to promote economic growth and respond to challenges such as major diseases, climate change and natural disasters.
We need to speed up scientific and technological innovation and institutional innovation, promote the commercialization of scientific and technological advances, and foster new drivers of growth so that innovation will boost both economic development and green transition. We need to scale up cooperation between member economies of the Asia-Pacific on scientific and technological innovation, and foster an open, fair, equitable and non-discriminatory environment for the development of science and technology. The business community, standing at the forefront of scientific and technological innovation, should strive to be a major force of increasing input in research and development and applying research outcomes.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over the years, China’s economic development has been an integral part of the Asia-Pacific cooperation process. China has attained the goal of fully building a moderately prosperous society within the set time frame, secured a historic success in eradicating absolute poverty, and embarked on a new journey toward fully building itself into a modern socialist country. This will create greater opportunities for our region.
— China will remain firm in advancing reform and opening-up so as to add impetus to economic development in the Asia-Pacific. China is committed to building a high-standard market system and will work to make new progress in reforming important areas and key links. China will pursue high-standard institutional opening-up, continue to improve its business environment, and promote innovation-driven development of pilot free trade zones. China has ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and it has applied for joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). In the course of RCEP implementation and CPTPP negotiation, China will continue to shorten the negative list on foreign investment, promote all-round opening-up of its agricultural and manufacturing sectors, expand the opening of the service sector, and treat domestic and foreign businesses as equals in accordance with law.
As a Chinese saying goes, “To get things right at the end, one needs to lay a sound foundation; to achieve a good result, one needs to be prudent from the start.” Recently, the competent Chinese government departments are improving and better enforcing anti-monopoly laws and regulations, and strengthening regulation over some sectors. This is called for to promote the sound development of the market economy in China. As a matter of fact, it is also a common practice in other countries. We will unswervingly consolidate and develop the public sector, and unswervingly encourage, support and guide the development of the non-public sector. We treat all types of market entities on an equal basis, and we are working to develop a unified, open, competitive and orderly market system. This will enable us to cement the foundation for long-term development of the Chinese economy and better support businesses from both the Asia-Pacific and the wider world in investing and operating in China.
— China will advance green transition on all fronts and make its due contribution to boosting ecological conservation in the Asia-Pacific and beyond. For many years, I used to live in a small village on the Loess Plateau, at a time when its eco-environment was undermined and its people were poverty-stricken. It had come to me that harms done to nature will eventually harm ourselves. China will actively promote ecological conservation. To us, lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. We will intensify comprehensive efforts to stem soil erosion and win the critical battle of pollution prevention and control. China will fully implement its national strategy on climate change response. Since I announced the goals of carbon peak and carbon neutrality last year, China has formulated an Action Plan for Carbon Dioxide Peaking Before 2030, and moved faster to put in place a “1+N” policy framework. Here, “1” stands for the guiding principle and top-level design for carbon peak and carbon neutrality, and “N” refers to implementation plans for key areas and industries, including the action for green energy transition, the action for peaking carbon dioxide emissions in the industrial sector, the action for promoting green and low-carbon transportation, and the action for promoting circular economy for decarbonization purposes. China will strike a balance between low-carbon transition and ensuring the living needs of its people, and between development and carbon reduction, and will achieve carbon peak and carbon neutrality within the time frame we set.
China’s carbon reduction action is a profound economic and social transformation. However formidable the task may be, we will work tirelessly to make our contribution to promoting global green transition. Our carbon reduction action will also require massive investment, thus creating huge market opportunities and room for cooperation. The business communities across the Asia-Pacific are warmly welcome to join us in this endeavor. Together, we can usher in a future of green development.
— China will stay committed to promoting win-win cooperation and contribute to the economic development of the Asia-Pacific. China has all along been actively involved in regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, and it has endeavored to advance openness and cooperation in the region. China will continue to practice true multilateralism, uphold the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, take an active part in global economic governance and promote the building of an open world economy. China will steadfastly advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, facilitate connectivity in the Asia-Pacific, ensure stable and smooth functioning of industrial and supply chains in the region, and deepen cooperation with all stakeholders in such areas as e-commerce and digital logistics. With these efforts, we can inject impetus into economic recovery and sustainable development in our region.
At this year’s United Nations General Assembly, I proposed a Global Development Initiative, calling for meeting the development needs of developing countries, ensuring their development opportunities and thus achieving a more robust, greener and more balanced global development. China will continue playing its role as a responsible major country. It will promote closer cooperation in areas such as global poverty reduction, food security and development financing, and earnestly implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, thus building a global community of development with a shared future.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over the years, as business leaders, you have witnessed and participated in China’s development. I hope that you will continue to take a keen interest in and support China’s development, and achieve win-win in our cooperation. Working together, let us all be promoters of and contributors to unity and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific family.
Thank you all.