|Speech by President of the People's Republic of China H.E. Hu Jintao at 11th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (2003/10/22)|
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra,
It is a great pleasure for me to come to Bangkokand join you in this APEC meeting. Let me begin by expressing my sincere thanks to Prime Minister Thaksin and the Government of Thailand for the thoughtful arrangements in putting this event together.
The international situation has been undergoing profound changes. Peace and development remain the dominant themes of our times and the popular aspirations of people of all lands. But the world we live in is anything but tranquil. Uncertainties that impede peace and development still exist. Local conflicts continue to pose threats to the security and stability of regions and the world as a whole. Non-traditional security concerns such as terrorism and trans-boundary crimes are quite pronounced. Over the past year, the global economy has rebounded somewhat. But burdened by cyclical and structural factors, the recovery is rather slow-paced. It is gratifying to know that our Asia-Pacific region has maintained a sound momentum of economic growth with a positive prospect of further expansion.
Apart from reviewing the past, we should, more importantly, look to the future and come up with new ideas and new initiatives for jointly promoting economic development in the Asia-Pacific and the whole world and for strengthening cooperation among APEC members. In this connection, I would like to offer three propositions.
First, we should enhance mutual trust and endeavor to make the Asia-Pacific region stable. Stability is a prerequisite for development. The reason why this region has kept the high growth momentum for decades is because it has basically maintained an environment of peace and stability. We should cherish particularly this peaceful and stable situation that has not come by easily. The Asia-Pacific is a region of rich diversity. Countries are different in history, cultural tradition, political system and economic model, which gives the region its very vigor and vitality. We should increase mutual trust on the basis of mutual respect, seek common ground while putting aside differences, and work to resolve whatever problems there might be through dialogue and consultation in a joint effort to maintain peace and stability in the region. For some time, terrorist attacks have gone on unabated in the Asia-Pacific region, undermining the economic and social development of a number of countries. We should respond to that with closer cooperation and stronger measures to address both the symptoms and root causes of the problem, stand rock firm against terrorism and create a more favorable environment for common development and common prosperity.
Second, we should take effective measures to strike a balance between economic and social development. Only with proper coordination can development be long-lasting. Countries in this region should promote regional growth as well as global economic recovery by opting for appropriate macro-economic policies and measures suited to their own conditions. Scientific progress and technological innovation are of vital importance to sustained economic development. To facilitate APEC cooperation in this field, China has proposed the Initiative of Innovative APEC in the hope that certain guiding principles could be formulated for the region's scientific and technological innovation. As a kick-off project, we plan to hold a high-level workshop in February 2004 in Beijing to discuss the issue of science and technology intermediary. All members are welcome to send their representatives when the workshop meets. While pushing for economic growth, we should work hard to promote a coordinated development of the economy and society, and of cities and rural areas, and a harmonious coexistence between man and nature so as to rest development on a more solid basis. We propose that APEC reinforce its operations in the field of social development, and in particular, in promoting APEC exchanges in public health, job creation and social security. To promote such cooperation, China plans to sponsor some functions next year on labor and social security.
Third, we should step up mutual opening of markets and improve the multilateral trading system. The world's multilateral trading system is currently facing new challenges mainly in the form of rising protectionism, new trade barriers and frequent trade frictions. This has worsened the difficulties for countries, the developing countries in particular, in their development and hampers global economic recovery and growth. Given such a situation, APEC members should renew their commitment to the Bogor Goals, and at the same time, work together to reject trade protectionism, remove trade barriers and resolve whatever trade disputes they have through dialogues and consultations. A fair and open multilateral trading system serves steady growth of trade at both regional and international levels, contributes to sound economic expansion around the world and conforms with the interests of all parties The 5thWTO Ministerial Conference last month failed to achieve the anticipated progress. The main reason was that the negotiations were not balanced enough to reflect the interests of all parties, particularly the concerns of the developing countries. I hope all parties will demonstrate their political will, take a flexible and pragmatic approach and move ahead the new round of talks to an early fruition. This, in my view, serves the common interests of all.
As the region's important forum for economic cooperation, APEC has done much work and achieved much success in promoting common development. The annual meetings of economic leaders have provided an important venue for leaders to meet regularly and hold in-depth discussions on important issues bearing on regional and global development. China has all along committed itself to Asia-Pacific economic cooperation and actively participated in APEC activities. The new Chinese government will, as always, support and facilitate the APEC process and keep up its mutually beneficial cooperation with other members.
Along with the changes in the regional and international situation, people are thinking more and more about APEC's own future. I believe the following points need to be taken into account in APEC's future development.
---- The APEC approach, which features respect for differences, equality, mutual benefit, voluntarism and consensus, should be upheld. Facts have proved that such an approach represents an effective vehicle and a right choice for regional cooperation, as it tallies with our region's diversity, accommodates the members' differing needs and helps members to balance their interests.
---- APEC should embrace reform and innovation by willingly adapting itself to changing circumstances. An organization can maintain its vigor and grow from strength to strength only when it can keep pace with the times and innovate continuously. APEC should act proactively to adapt to new situations, take on new challenges, conduct necessary reform and readjustments to itself and strive to make its activities more timely and relevant.
---- APEC should gear its multi-faceted cooperation more to the business communities and the general public. The business circle is the main force of economic development. We need to learn more about what they think and what they want and do our best to help them. The APEC Business Travel Card Scheme, which is well received in the business communities, shows what APEC can accomplish if it really wants to be of help. The Chinese government will formally implement this scheme this coming November. We have also adopted a series of trade facilitation measures in customs clearance, inspection and quarantine designed to cut down cost for businesses. APEC should also reach out to the people in our region and conduct more activities that deliver real benefit to as many of them as possible.
Although the sudden onslaught of SARS this year had a negative impact on China's economy, with hard and persistent efforts, we have moved quickly to get the outbreak under control and sustained the sound growth momentum. We are confident that, on balance, our targets for economic and social development this year will be met. China's development will generate new opportunities for economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region and the whole world. It will offer still broader market for other countries. We will continue to strengthen our friendship and cooperation with other countries and work for peace and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large. China will forever be a force dedicated to world peace and common development.
As a powerful bond that brings the two sides of the Pacific Ocean together, APEC provides its members with an important stage for cooperation. Let us continue to carry forward the community spirit APEC advocates, step up our future-oriented cooperation, and dedicate ourselves to greater economic growth in the Asia-Pacific and the common development and prosperity of all members.