Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,
The aspiration for peace and development runs deep in the genes of the Chinese nation. To strive for the great renewal of the nation is the greatest dream of the Chinese people since modern times. Now, the Chinese economy is in the middle of a new transformation marked by a new normal of moderated growth speed, improved structure, and the rise of new drivers of growth. Only 40 years ago, China was still an agrarian country with large swathes of rural areas. Per capita GDP was less than US$200, and urbanization rate below 18%. Now, China is the world's second largest economy, with per capita GDP close to US$8,000 and 56% of the permanent residents living in cities. We have lifted over 600 million people out of poverty and contributed 70% to the global poverty-reduction endeavor. Within only decades, we have brought about enormous changes in national development and people's lives and reached a new historical starting point. That said, there are also growing pains and challenges in the process of transformation. The problems that developed countries had dealt with for centuries during their industrialization have cropped up in China in only 40 years. We are confronted with serious problems of an extensive growth model and unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development. We still have 55 million people living in poverty and 222 million Chinese are above the age of 60. As a society that has yet to achieve moderate prosperity, we face huge pressure in old-age care and social security. There remains a long way to go before we can realize modernization for the 1.3 billion Chinese people. The next five years will be decisive for China's efforts to build itself into a society of initial prosperity in all respects. We have laid out a new development plan and established the concept of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. We will make development the top priority and innovation the primary driving force and work hard to double the 2010 GDP and incomes of urban and rural residents by 2020 to deliver a better life for all Chinese people.
China is a member of the international family and we need a peaceful and stable international environment to make the Chinese dream come true. At the same time, China's development will bring opportunities and benefits to countries around the world. Having suffered a great deal from the scourge of war, the Chinese people know full well the value of peace. An ancient Chinese saying tells us that you should not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you. China will stay committed to peaceful development and deepen strategic mutual trust, business cooperation and people-to-people and cultural exchanges with other countries to work for a community of shared future and interests for mankind.
China is committed to the independent foreign policy of peace and steadfastly fulfills its international obligations. China advocates and works towards the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, plays a constructive role in the political settlement of global hotspot issues, engages in international cooperation in counter-terrorism, cyber security, climate change and other non-traditional security fields and actively participates in various international disaster rescue and relief efforts and humanitarian assistance. China has been conducting escort operations in the Gulf of Aden and waters off the coast of Somalia to safeguard important international shipping lanes. China is the biggest contributor of peacekeepers among the permanent members of the UN Security Council, having sent more than 30,000 peacekeepers on 29 peacekeeping operations. On 31 May, Shen Liangliang, a 29-year-old Chinese peacekeeper in Mali died in a terrorist attack on the UN camp. According to his parents, he had planned to come home for his betrothal at the end of his one-year stint. A young life was thus tragically lost so far away from home before he could tie the knot with the love of his life. He laid down his life for the cause of peace in Mali and Africa. Just six days ago, when intense armed conflicts erupted in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, Li Lei and Yang Shupeng, two young Chinese peacekeepers were killed in action, and another five Chinese soldiers were wounded. These touching stories are a testimony to the sacrifices and solemn commitment made by the Chinese people to uphold world peace.
China follows a win-win strategy of opening-up and is doing all it can to contribute to world development. In 2015, China ranked No.1 in trade in goods. Its outbound investment totaled US$118 billion and the number of outbound tourists reached 120 million. The Chinese economy contributed as much as 25% to world economic growth, serving as an anchor and stabilizer for world economic recovery. China will continue to work with various countries on the "Belt and Road" initiative, building a silk road that is green, healthy, hi-tech and peaceful, and promoting common development on the Eurasian continent. This September, China will host the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, aiming to make new contribution to world economic recovery and global economic governance.
China stands for no confrontation, no conflict, friendly consultation and peaceful resolution in addressing tensions and disagreements. Since the 1960s, China has, through negotiation and consultation, delimited 20,000 kilometers of land boundary with 12 out of its 14 neighbors on land. This fully demonstrates China's sincerity for good-neighborliness and commitment to mutual benefit and marked a concrete contribution to stability in Asia and beyond. Recently, the arbitral tribunal on the South China Sea arbitration case brought by the Philippines issued its so-called final award, trying to negate China's territorial sovereignty and maritime entitlements in the South China Sea. The arbitral tribunal established at the unilateral request of the Aquino III government lacks legitimacy. Its conduct has been unlawful from the very beginning as it willfully expanded, overstepped and abused its mandate. Its so-called award is thus null and void. The Chinese government did not accept or participate in the arbitration case, still less would we recognize or enforce the so-called award. China will continue to observe the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations enshrined therein, and stay committed to peacefully settling relevant disputes in the South China Sea through negotiation and consultation with countries directly concerned on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law. China will continue to work with ASEAN countries to make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.
China is actively advancing people-to-people exchanges with other countries to promote mutual learning and harmonious co-existence among civilizations. China has long been committed to promoting friendly exchanges with all countries and has established high-level[tu1] people-to-people exchange mechanisms with countries and international and regional organizations including the US, Russia, the UK, France, the EU and Indonesia. As a participant and facilitator of these exchanges, I feel keenly that exchanges among civilizations and the sharing of thoughts and ideas have a subtle but powerful influence that can provide strong momentum for the growth of international relations and pursuit of common security. When the Ebola outbreak hit Africa in 2014, we responded swiftly and carried out the largest ever overseas health assistance since the founding of New China. Altogether, we provided RMB750 million in funds and materials and sent more than 1,000 health workers to Africa. In the face of difficulties, we extended a helping hand to the people in West Africa and worked closely with other countries. This success story in global health cooperation also showcased the great power of people-to-people exchanges. All in all, China will always be a contributor to world peace, facilitator of global development and proponent of a just and reasonable international order. We stand ready to make unremitting efforts and greater contribution to lasting peace and prosperity of the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,
The World Peace Forum has become an important Asian, even global forum for international security. I hope the Forum will build on its successful experience to cultivate a sound high-level platform and play an important role in advancing friendship, deepening mutual trust, building consensus and promoting cooperation. I hope that during the Forum, you will have in-depth dialogue and communication, contribute ideas and suggestions and share with each other your insights for common security and development.
The famous Chinese writer Ba Jin once said, hope is like a star which will shine through any cloud. The aspiration for peace is like the star of hope for mankind. It will cut through the dark clouds of turbulence and conflict and shine upon our beautiful world with full splendor. Let us stay true to the conviction of safeguarding world peace and promoting common development, uphold the spirit of cooperation, inclusiveness and opening-up and work together for a better future of lasting peace and common prosperity.
In conclusion, I wish the Fifth World Peace Forum a full success. Thank you.