Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech at the opening plenary of the 2015 annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in Boao, south China’s Hainan Province, March 28, 2015. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)
BOAO, Hainan, March 28 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping described Saturday the need for a community of common destiny and a new future for world prosperity.
The old mindset of a zero-sum game should give way to a new win-win approach, said Xi during his speech to the opening ceremony of the annual Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) held in Boao, a coastal town in south China’s Hainan Province.
Xi recalled changes over the past 70 years, when the interests of Asian countries have become intertwined and a community of common destiny has increasingly taken shape.
“Countries may differ in size, strength or level of development, but they are all equal members of the international community with equal rights to participate in regional and international affairs,” said Xi.
Xi called for countries to respect each other’s social systems and development paths, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns and have objective and rational perception of other countries’s growing strength, policies and visions.
China is ready to sign treaties of good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation with all its neighbors to provide strong support for the development of bilateral relations as well as prosperity and stability in the region, according to Xi.
China has signed such treaties with eight of its neighbors and is holding discussion to sign the same treaty with ASEAN, he said.
“What China needs most is a harmonious and stable domestic environment and a peaceful and tranquil international environment,” said Xi, adding that turbulence or war runs against the fundamental interests of the Chinese people.
The performance and policies of major economies continue to diverge and uncertainties in the economic climate remain prominent, he told an audience including leaders of countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Nepal.
“The interests of others must be accommodated while pursuing one’s own interests and common development must be promoted while seeking one’s own development,” said Xi.
Xi’s remarks were echoed by Yasuo Fukuda, chairman of the BFA and former prime minister of Japan.
“We are bound by geography, history, culture and economic links to be a community of common destiny and we have no better choice than setting aside differences and finding common ground,” he said.
“The future of Asia lies in win-win for all through cooperation rather than zero-sum conflicts,” he said.
Xi’s address explains the relationship between China and Asia, China and the world, said Ruan Zongze, vice president of the China Institute of International Studies.
“Building a community of common destiny not only caters for Asia’s needs but also for China’s needs,” said Ruan.
NEW FUTURE WITH INTEGRATION
As the application deadline draws close, Russia became the latest to ask to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) following countries including Britain, Germany, France and Italy.
Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov announced the news at the forum. The United States and Japan, leaders of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, remain indifferent.
Xi said China will promote a system of regional financial cooperation, explore a platform for exchanges and cooperation among Asian financial institutions and advance complementary and coordinated development between the AIIB and such multilateral financial institutions as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
“The rapid response to China’s call from major western economies reflects China’s increasing influence in Asia and the world,” said Ruan Zongze.
It is irrational to question AIIB transparency and governance structure as the institution is yet to set up any mechanism and the participation of European countries will ensure an institution of the highest standard, transparency and efficiency, said Ruan.
Xi said countries should actively promote reform of global economic governance, uphold an open world economy and jointly respond to risks and challenges in the world economy.
The building of an East Asia economic community for ASEAN, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea will be completed in 2020, said Xi.
China expects better connectivity in East Asia and Asia at large to lead to full integration of infrastructure, policy, institutions and personnel flow, he said.
China also proposed a conference of dialogue among Asian civilizations to boost regional cooperation and development.
NEW NORMAL, NEW OPPORTUNITIES
At the forum, President Xi reassured regional political and business leaders about the Chinese economy, which has shifted from high speed to medium-to-high speed growth.
China’s economy grew by 7.4 percent in 2014, with 7 percent increase in labor productivity and 4.8 percent decrease in energy intensity.
“As the economy continues to grow in size, around 7 percent growth would be quite impressive and the momentum it generates would be larger than the growth at double digits of previous years,” said Xi.
“The economy is highly resilient and has much potential, which gives us enough room to leverage a host of policy tools,” he said.
In a bid to enhance regional connectivity, China unveiled Saturday afternoon the principles, framework, and cooperation priorities and mechanisms in its Belt and Road Initiative.
The vision for the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road was issued by China’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission and ministries of foreign affairs and commerce.
China will give full play to the role of the Silk Road fund and that of sovereign wealth funds of countries along the Belt and Road, and encourage commercial equity investment funds and private funds to participate in key projects, according to the action plan.
“To develop the Belt and the Road is not to replace existing mechanisms or initiatives for regional cooperation,” said Xi.
“Much to the contrary, we will build on the existing basis to help countries align their development strategies and form complementarity,” he said.
The Belt and Road as well as the AIIB is a higher-level of opening-up, which will guarantee the prosperity of Chinese economy for a second time after more than three decades of opening-up and rapid development, said Ruan Zongze.
In the coming five years, China will import more than 10 trillion U.S. dollars of goods, Chinese investment abroad will exceed 500 billion U.S. dollars and more than 500 million outbound visits will be made by Chinese tourists, marking continued opportunities brought to the world, according to Xi.
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