Good morning. I am honored tohave the opportunity to speak here.
The ACD is an important mechanismfor inter-governmental dialogue and cooperation in Asia. Its members accountfor 31% of the world’s total land mass, 59% of the world’s population and 35%of the world’s economy. Since its inception 12 years ago, the ACD has beengrowing in strength, becoming an important platform for forging Asianconsensus, promoting Asian spirit and advancing Asian cooperation.
The global economic gravity todayis shifting eastward. Asia has become not only one of the three pillars of theworld economy together with North America and Europe, but also an importantengine of the world economy, contributing over 50% to its growth. Unlike therise of other regions and countries in history, Asia’s rejuvenation anddevelopment is not about the rise of a single country but the collectivedevelopment of a number of countries, the emerging economies in particular.
Asia’s development is rooted inits traditional cultures and builds on Asian people’s tradition of achievingstrength through unity. Over 2,000 years ago, our ancestors overcame manyhardships and difficulties and traveled across mountains and rivers to open theworld-renowned Silk Road. The Silk Road had facilitated trade and technologicalexchanges among countries, dialogue and integration between civilizations andcultures, as well as economic, cultural and social progress in the region,leaving behind a splendid chapter in human history. It had been a road ofpeace, cooperation and friendship, and more importantly, a cultural bond thatbrought Asian countries together. And today, to carry forward the Silk Roadspirit is important for promoting common development and striving for newachievements in Asia.
In September and October lastyear, President Xi Jinping put forward, respectively, the two major initiativesof building an Economic Belt along the Silk Road and a 21st Century MaritimeSilk Road (“one Belt and one Road”). These two initiatives riveted theattention of the world and has since been welcomed and supported by manycountries in the region. The main purpose of the initiatives is to carryforward the spirit embodied by the ancient Silk Road featuring peace,friendship, openness, inclusiveness, mutual benefit and win-win progress,further promote mutual understanding and trust between Asian countries, advanceAsia’s economic integration, and contribute to peace, stability and commondevelopment in Asia.
The “one Belt and one Road”initiatives are necessitated by both China’s own development needs and regionalcooperation in Asia.
China has made great achievementsthrough reform and opening-up, but its development is uneven, in particularbetween the eastern and western parts of the country. To tackle this challenge,we need to encourage resources flow and industrial relocation between the eastand the west to achieve mutual complementarity. More importantly, we need totap the potential of exchanges and cooperation with neighboring countries andalign our development strategy with theirs so as to benefit and gain momentumfrom their common development.
In recent years, regionalcooperation in Asia has made big strides. On the other hand, Asian countriesface the daunting task of economic restructuring and upgrading; the developmentgap is wide among countries in the region; links between sub-regions are notclose enough; and regional development and cooperation faces numerouschallenges. By linking Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, West Asia andother sub-regions, the “one Belt and one Road” initiatives will facilitatecooperation between countries along the routes, improve regional trade andinvestment environment, and promote orderly flow and optimal allocation offactors of production within the region, thus boosting Asia’s sustainabledevelopment.
The “one Belt and one Road”initiatives represent an open approach to cooperation and development. They arenot meant to “reinvent the wheel” by setting up a new multilateral mechanism.And they are open to regions and countries beyond those along the traditionalSilk Road. The cooperation will focus on five areas, namely, policycommunication, road connectivity, unimpeded trade, monetary circulation andunderstanding between the people. The initiatives will be developed andenriched over time. We welcome the active participation of other countries andtheir constructive ideas and suggestions so that the initiatives will beperfected over time, and developed in practice.
Building the “one Belt and oneRoad” is a common cause of Asian countries and requires participation ofregional countries. As an important platform for pan-Asia cooperation, the ACDcovers most of the countries along the land and maritime Silk Roads and canplay an active role in advancing the initiatives.
First, we need to increaseunderstanding and trust to uphold harmony and stability of Asia. Withoutstability, development of the region would be impossible. At present, Asia hasgenerally maintained the momentum of stability and development, but there isstill a trust deficit among countries. To increase understanding and trustbetween countries and build up consensus in the region is our long-term task.In his opening address at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2014,Premier Li Keqiang proposed the building of a community of shared interests,common destiny and shared responsibilities in Asia. We should make full use ofthe ACD and other regional platforms, enhance high-level exchanges anddialogue, consolidate the political foundation of pan-Asia cooperation, andbuild consensus and lay the groundwork for the “one Belt and one Road”.
Second, we need to facilitateregional economic and trade cooperation to achieve Asia’s prosperity anddevelopment. The ancient Silk Road was a road of commerce. Economic and tradecooperation is also a priority of the “one Belt and one Road”. We need tofollow the trend of regional economic integration, build an upgraded version ofChina-ASEAN FTA, promote RCEP negotiation, work towards an Asia FTA system, andadvance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. ACD members havetheir respective strengths in market, resources and technology. We shouldcapitalize on our geographical proximity, build and improve the supply,industrial and value chains in Asia, and enhance the internal momentum andresilience of the regional economy, so as to lay a solid foundation for Asia’ssustainable development.
Third, we need to promote connectivityin Asia to deepen the integration of interests in the region. Connectivity isthe basis of Asian cooperation. Asia has a huge demand for infrastructuredevelopment, but financing is the biggest bottleneck. To promote regionalinfrastructure and connectivity, China has proposed the establishment of anAsian infrastructure investment bank. Right now, relevant preparations aremaking good progress. Other ACD members are welcome to actively participate inrelevant consultations and become founding members of the bank. Our goal is tonot only facilitate infrastructure linkages and connectivity among countriesand build comprehensive infrastructure, transport and telecommunicationnetworks across the Eurasian continent, but also actively promote informationsharing, policy coordination and technological exchanges, so as to achieveall-dimensional connectivity and integration of interests between countries inthe region.
Fourth, we need to enhancecooperation in energy and environmental protection to promote economicrestructuring and upgrading in Asia. Asia is a major energy producer andconsumer of the world. Asian countries have strong complementarity in energyproduction structure, demand and technology. We should further strengthendialogue between energy consuming and producing countries to jointly maintainthe safety of energy transportation routes in the region, explore thepossibility of building regional energy reserves, and improve tradingmechanisms and platforms, so as to ensure sustainable energy supply in Asia. Atthe same time, we should enhance cooperation in environmental protection,vigorously promote clean energy cooperation and jointly advance green,sustainable development in order to build a green Silk Road.
Fifth, we need to push forwardpeople-to-people and cultural exchanges to promote greater understandingbetween the people of Asia. Relatives become closer as they visit each othermore often. So do neighbors. We should use the ACD platform to enhanceexchanges at the local level and between think tanks, media organizations andthe young people to increase understanding about each other’s culture andcivilization. Asian civilizations and cultures are imbued with traditionalwisdom. We should fully tap into the historical and cultural heritage of theSilk Road and advance exchanges and cooperation in such areas as tourism,culture, art, archaeology, sport, and health so as to consolidate the culturaland social foundation for regional integration.
Gansu sits on a vital passage ofthe ancient Silk Road and is a priority area in China’s Western DevelopmentStrategy. It is therefore most befitting to hold this Forum in Lanzhou. With atheme of Silk Road cooperation and an aim to promote cooperation inconnectivity, energy, environmental protection and people-to-people andcultural exchange, the Forum reflects the spirit of the time and needs of allparties. I hope you will share your thoughts and contribute your views on thebuilding of the “one Belt and one Road” and the long-term development of theACD.