|Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador ZHANG Jianmin at a Webninar|
Brighter Prospects, Greater Opportunities
Keynot speech by H.E. Ambassador ZHANG Jianmin
At the Webinar on China's New Development: Vision and Opportunities
Greetings to you all!
Welcome to today's webinar on China's New Development: Vision and Opportunities. Let me start by thanking you for your longtime interest in China's development and support to China-Czech cooperation. I hope that through our exchanges of views, we could have better understanding of China's development and China-Czech cooperation and thus be able to make more contribution to that end.
Yesterday, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a special address at the World Economic Forum Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda. He noted that, to properly address the major tasks facing people of our times, the way out is through upholding multilateralism and building a community with a shared future for mankind. He also emphasized that, history is moving forward and the world will not go back to what it was in the past. Every choice and move we make today will shape the world of the future. The above-mentioned remarks of President Xi Jinping are of great significance.
When we look back on the year 2020, we would probably all agree that it will go down in history as one of the most extraordinary. The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has upended the world in almost every aspect. The world economy is mired in deep recession. Human development is confronted with unprecedented challenges. We find ourselves in an increasingly fluid and changing world, a world that is in urgent need of the spirit of solidarity, long-term planning, and commitment to development.
Against this backdrop, China has captured world attention with its 14th five-year plan for economic and social development and the long-range goals for 2035. The blueprints for China's next 5 to 15 years are mainly about the following: to meet the needs of a new development phase, to apply a new development philosophy, and to foster a new development pattern for high-quality development. I've noted that many people in the Czech Republic and other countries are deeply interested in China's development. Here I wish to share with you some of my perspectives on China's vision and opportunities.
First, China will be a well-governed country with brighter prospects.
China's economy is steadily picking up. This can be attributed to its two-pronged approach to ensure both effective COVID-19 response and successful economic and social development. China has become the only major economy with positive growth in 2020, and the full-year GDP exceeded RMB 100 trillion, or CZK 330 trillion. From 2016 to 2020, all the goals laid out in China's 13th Five-Year Plan have been achieved, with remarkable progress made in its economic, technological and overall national strengths, and in people's living standards. The per capita GDP has topped USD 10,000 and the middle-income population has exceeded 400 million. We are proud to announce that as extreme poverty has been eradicated as scheduled, China is on course to complete building a moderately prosperous society, a dream that has been pursued by generations of Chinese, and a dream that will soon come true.
Entering the new development phase, we will continue to stride forward along the right path. We will bring to bear our strengths to pursue greater economic and social progress, and expedite modernizing China's governance system and capacity. We have the confidence, courage and capabilities to achieve high-quality economic development and long-term social stability to better meet Chinese people's ever-growing aspirations for a better life.
Second, China will keep pace with the times and be a country more committed to reform and innovation.
China sees reform and innovation as the fundamental force driving its progress. It was the ever-deepening reform that unleashed China's economic vitality, enabled China to have completed in just a few decades an industrialization process that took developed countries several hundred years, and turned it into the second largest economy in the world.
Entering the new development phase, China faces new realities, hence new tasks of reform. We will never allow reform to be stalled or stopped. Instead, we will closely and effectively connect reform with development. We will take more steps and remove with greater resolve the deep-seated systemic and institutional barriers to ensure high-quality development for the country and better lives for the people. We will seek more concrete results in our efforts to promote market-based allocation of production factors, improve mechanisms for fair competition, deepen the integration of the innovation and industrial chains, energize market entities, stabilize and ensure employment, improve the income distribution system, and promote greener economic and social development in all respects. These efforts will help China further unleash and boost productivity and create stronger impetus and vitality for growth.
China now regards innovation as the primary driver of development. In 2019, China spent RMB 2.2 trillion, or about CZK 7.3 trillion, on R&D. In the same year, with 1.4 million patent applications filed, China maintained its top rank in this field for nine years in a row, and became the top filer of international patents for the first time.
Entering the new development phase, China will give central priority to innovation in its modernization endeavor. Under China's innovation-driven development strategy, we will foster an innovation system in which science and technology, education, enterprises and financial institutions are closely connected; we will redouble efforts to turn research outcomes into real productivity; and we will upgrade the industrial chains to sustain China's long-term economic development.
Third, China will be a more open country engaged in win-win cooperation with the rest of the world.
Opening-up is China's fundamental national strategy. As President Xi Jinping has reiterated on many occasions, China will only open its door still wider to the world. In 2020, despite the impact of COVID-19, we managed to take many steps in pursuit of opening-up that include the following: We hosted the China International Fair of Trade in Services (CIFTIS), the Canton Fair, the China International Import Expo (CIIE) and the China-ASEAN Expo. We rolled out a number of opening-up policies and measures. We promoted the signing of the Agreement of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and reached a comprehensive, balanced and high-standard investment treaty with the European Union. We will favorably consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The above-mentioned steps speak volumes about China's resolve and confidence in pursuing higher-standard opening-up. According to the latest statistics of The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, China was the world's largest FDI recipient in 2020, with flows rising by 4% to USD163 billion.
Entering the new development phase, China will fully unlock its market potential. Total import into China is estimated to top USD 22 trillion, or CZK 470 trillion, in the coming decade, which means a huge demand for high-quality and diverse products, technologies and services from all over the world. The Chinese market will be a market for the world, a market shared by all, and a market accessible to all.
Under the new development pattern with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other, we will carry out all-round opening-up in more fields, with broader range and greater depth; we will connect domestic and foreign markets and share factors of production and resources; we will continue to foster a market-oriented and world-class business environment governed by a sound legal framework; and we will further promote trade liberalization and investment facilitation. With all these efforts, the world can expect more cooperation opportunities and development dividends from China.
Fourth, China will be a country sharing a common future with the world.
COVID-19 is a stark reminder for us: all countries are closely connected and they will rise and fall together; it is imperative to uphold solidarity, cooperation, and mutual support and build a community of shared future for mankind. China sees solidarity and cooperation as the most powerful weapon for the international community to defeat COVID-19. They are also the only way humanity can achieve peaceful coexistence and common progress.
Entering the new development phase, China will continue to advance its major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics and pursue the overarching goals of fostering a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation and building a community with shared future for mankind. China will strive to peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, making greater contribution to the international cooperation on climate change. As a major troop and funding contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, China will remain firmly committed to peace and will continue to support UN peacekeeping. China will always be a builder of global peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of international order. We will continue to firmly uphold the international system with the UN as the core and the international order underpinned by international law, and work to make the global governance system more equitable and reasonable.
China and the Czech Republic share a long-standing friendship as the Czech Republic was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with New China. As China enters the new development phase, we will see a new starting point for China-Czech cooperation, promising tremendous potential. Czech exports to China will have more market opportunities and Czech companies will enjoy a better investment environment in China. Moreover, the China-EU investment treaty, the joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative and the 17+1 cooperation will also present favorable conditions for China-Czech cooperation.
To translate potential into real results, it takes more concerted efforts from both China and the Czech Republic. It is important for both sides to abide by international law and basic norms governing international relations, respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, stick to the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affairs, and respect each other's core interests and major concerns. The spirit of solidarity and cooperation should be upheld and applied in more areas to promote stable and healthy development of China-Czech strategic partnership for the greater benefits of both peoples.
China is an opportunity, not a threat; China and the Czech Republic are partners, not rivals. What is ahead of us is an ever-evolving China that shares a common future with the world and that offers brighter prospects and greater opportunities for win-win cooperation. China is ready to join hands with the Czech Republic and other countries to shoulder responsibilities of our times, safeguard world peace, promote global growth and build a better future for all.