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NZL | Jul 18, 2021

Xi Jinping | Fighting COVID-19 and leading economic recovery through solidarity and cooperation

/ Our Today

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President of trhe People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping. (Photo: Nikkei Asia)

The following are remarks by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Informal Economic Leaders’ Retreat held in New Zealand on Friday, July 16:

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern,

Dear Colleagues,

It gives me great pleasure to attend this meeting. I thank Prime Minister Ardern and the New Zealand government for their great efforts to make the meeting possible.

As we speak, the COVID-19 pandemic is undergoing many twists and turns, including the constant mutations of the virus. Controlling the pandemic still poses a difficult challenge, while global economic recovery is still on shaky ground. That said, peace and development remains the theme of our times, and the call for upholding multilateralism, strengthening solidarity and cooperation, and meeting challenges together is growing stronger than ever.

The Asia-Pacific is a major engine for global economic growth. For member economies of the Asia-Pacific, defeating COVID-19 and restoring growth at an early date are our top priority for the time being. Since the start of the pandemic, APEC members have united as one and carried out active cooperation against the coronavirus. Being the first to gain the momentum for recovery, the Asia-Pacific economy has made contributions to driving the world economy. 

Last year, we adopted the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 and set ourselves the goal of an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community, charting the course for economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. Under the current circumstances, we must enhance solidarity and cooperation to overcome the impact of the pandemic and boost global economic recovery.

Flag of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). (Photo: CGTN.com)

First, we need to strengthen international cooperation on COVID response

The pandemic proves once again that we live in one global village, where countries stand to rise and fall together. 

We must stick to solidarity and cooperation as we go through this difficult time and jointly work for a healthier and brighter future for humanity. Vaccines are a powerful weapon to prevail over the pandemic and revive the economy. 

China has been calling for closer international cooperation on vaccines to ensure that they are accessible and affordable in developing countries and that they become a global public good. Overcoming the challenges of its own mass vaccination program, China has provided more than 500 million doses of vaccines to other developing countries, and will provide another 3 billion US dollars in international aid over the next three years to support COVID-19 response and economic and social recovery in other developing countries. 

China supports waiving intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines, and will work with other parties to push for an early decision by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international institutions. China will take an active part in cooperation initiatives to keep vaccine supply chains stable and safe and support the movement of essential goods, and take effective measures to ensure healthy, safe and orderly people-to-people exchanges and restore normal business cooperation in our region at an early date. 

China has financed the founding of a Sub-Fund on APEC Cooperation on Combating COVID-19 and Economic Recovery, which will help APEC economies win an early victory over COVID-19 and achieve economic recovery.

Second, we need to deepen regional economic integration

Opening-up and integration is the prevailing trend. 

It is important that we promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment and uphold the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core. We must remove barriers, not erect walls. We must open up, not close off. We must seek integration, not decoupling. 

This is the way to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. We need to step up macroeconomic policy coordination, minimize negative spillovers, and fully implement the APEC Connectivity Blueprint to promote cooperation on digital connectivity. 

We need to advance regional economic integration, with a view to establishing a high-standard Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific at an early date. China is among the first to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement. We look forward to its entry into force this year.

Third, we need to pursue inclusive and sustainable development

Earth is the only home for humanity. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during her presentation as host leader of the APEC Informal Economic Leaders’ Retreat on Friday, July 16. (Photo: Brian College Station Eagle)

We must follow a people-centred approach, foster a sound environment to buttress sustainable economic and social development worldwide, and achieve green growth. China attaches great importance to addressing climate change. We will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. 

China supports APEC in advancing cooperation on sustainable development, improving the List of Environmental Goods, and making energy more efficient, clean and diverse. 

We need to enhance economic and technological cooperation, promote inclusive trade and investment, support the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises, scale-up support for women and other vulnerable groups, share experience on eliminating absolute poverty and strive to deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Fourth, we need to seize opportunities from scientific and technological innovation

The digital economy is an important area for the future growth of the world economy. 

The global digital economy is an open and close-knit entity. Win-win cooperation is the only right way forward, while a closed-door policy, exclusion, confrontation and division would only lead to a dead end. We need to ensure full and balanced implementation of the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap, further develop digital infrastructure, facilitate the dissemination and application of new technologies, and work for a digital business environment that is open, fair and non-discriminatory. 

China has concluded a number of cooperation initiatives, including those on using digital technologies for the prevention and control of COVID-19 and on smart cities. We will host a workshop on digital capacity building and take forward such initiatives as bolstering the recovery of the tourism sector with digital tools, as part of our efforts to contribute more to Asia-Pacific cooperation on digital economy.

Colleagues,

China has embarked on a new journey toward fully building a modern socialist country. As China enters a new development stage, we will follow a new development philosophy and foster a new development paradigm. 

We will build a new system of open economy of higher standards, create a more attractive business environment, and advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. We hope to work with countries in the Asia-Pacific and beyond to achieve higher-standard mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.

FILE PHOTO: A crude oil tanker is seen at Qingdao Port, Shandong province, China, April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

There is a Maori saying in New Zealand that goes, “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.” We have full confidence in humanity’s victory over the pandemic through cooperation. We have full confidence in the prospects of world economic recovery. 

We have full confidence in a shared, bright future of humanity. Let us stand with each other in solidarity, promote anti-COVID cooperation and economic recovery, and work for a bright future of prosperity for all in the Asia-Pacific.

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