Chinese President Xi calls for relaunch of Asia-Pacific cooperation

2023-November-18 11:49 By: Xinhua

* "We should stay committed to APEC's founding mission, never forget our mission bestowed by history, and move to relaunch Asia-Pacific cooperation," Xi said.

* The achievements of APEC cooperation have not been made through forcing uniformity, but by seeking common ground while shelving differences.

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- About thirty years ago, following the trend toward peace and development, Asia-Pacific leaders decided to rise above the outdated mentality of bloc confrontation and zero-sum games, strengthen economic cooperation and integration in the region, and build a dynamic, harmonious and prosperous Asia-Pacific community.

The Asia-Pacific has since embarked on a fast track of development, becoming a powerhouse for world economic growth, an anchor of stability for global development, and a pacesetter for international cooperation.

"The story of Asia-Pacific prosperity and development shows that development is only possible with cooperation, absence of cooperation is the biggest risk, and that decoupling and supply-chain disruption are not in anyone's interests," said Chinese President Xi Jinping in a written speech delivered Thursday at the APEC CEO Summit.

"We should stay committed to APEC's founding mission, never forget our mission bestowed by history, and move to relaunch Asia-Pacific cooperation," Xi said.

This aerial photo taken on Sept. 30, 2023 shows a high-speed electrical multiple unit (EMU) train of the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway running in Purwakarta, Indonesia. (Xinhua/Xu Qin)


"There is so much we can draw from this remarkable journey of Asia-Pacific cooperation," Xi said in the written speech, noting that "openness and inclusiveness are the defining feature of Asia-Pacific cooperation," "development for all is the overarching goal of Asia-Pacific cooperation" and "seeking common ground while shelving differences is the best practice of Asia-Pacific cooperation."

Over the past three decades, the Asia-Pacific has cut its average tariff rate from 17 percent to 5 percent, and contributed 70 percent of global economic growth.

The region has developed "the APEC Approach" based on the principles of voluntarism, consensus-building and incremental progress, and the right to development of all members is respected.

Over the past thirty years, per capita income in the Asia-Pacific has more than quadrupled, and one billion people have been lifted out of poverty, an important contribution to human progress and global sustainable development.

Kiyoyuki Seguchi, research director at Japan's Canon Institute for Global Studies, believed that the Asia-Pacific, as an important engine driving world economic growth, will continue to lead world economic development.

The achievements of APEC cooperation have not been made through forcing uniformity, but by seeking common ground while shelving differences.

As Xi has pointed out, "Our success was possible because we have followed the underlying trend, kept the larger picture in mind, and capitalized on the spirit of partnership featuring harmony without uniformity, and solidarity and mutual assistance."

"This has enabled us to turn diversity in membership into momentum for cooperation and make collective progress through tapping into complementarity," he said.

Staff members label durians to be exported to China at a durian processing plant in Dak Lak province, Vietnam, Sept. 15, 2023. (Xinhua/Hu Jiali)


The world has entered a new period of turbulence and change and the momentum of world economic growth is sluggish. Where Asia-Pacific cooperation should be headed has become the newest question facing the region.

"We should remain committed to open regionalism, and steadfastly advance the building of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. We should respect laws governing economic development, bring out the best in each and every one of us, make our economies more interconnected, strengthen synergy between relevant regional trade agreements and development strategies, and build an open Asia-Pacific economy featuring win-win cooperation," Xi said.

As the world is facing a new scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, the Chinese president urged looking beyond the horizon, seizing the opportunities, and moving along with the trend to promote transition to digital, smart and green development.

Asia's development requires the concerted efforts of all parties, Seguchi said, hoping that APEC will become a platform that promotes close cooperation and smooth exchanges among various economies.

Many countries in the region are trying to push back against the decoupling and de-risking, said Peter Drysdale, head of the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research and the East Asia Forum at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University.

"So I think we need to press forward in Asia with an agenda that is truly multilateral in its purpose. It's a matter of actually doing things and acting in the multilateral spirit and addressing the issue that we confront in the fragmentation of the world economy," said Drysdale.

Peruvian craftsman Oswaldo Mamani makes alpaca-fur stuffed toys at the booth of Warmpaca during the 6th China International Import Expo in east China's Shanghai, Nov. 7, 2023. (Xinhua/Gao Wei)


China, an important economy in the region, has been actively participating in the APEC agenda and sharing its development opportunities with all in the Asia-Pacific.

This year, China's economy has been steadily recovering. Its growth rate is among the highest among major economies. China's gross domestic product grew 5.2 percent year on year in the first three quarters of 2023, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

Leaders and business communities in the region have deemed China as an excellent investment destination, expressing their belief that "the next China" is still China.

China is a key anchor for stability in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond and an important driver of global economic recovery, said Koh King Kee, president of the Center for New Inclusive Asia, a Malaysian think tank.

"You can't live without China's market these days for any multinational or any company that claims itself to be a global player," said the expert.

Inviting friends from business communities across the world to invest and deepen their footprint in China, Xi reaffirmed China's commitment to pursuing development with its doors open.

"We will unswervingly advance high-standard opening up and further expand market access," Xi said.

"No matter how the international situation evolves, China's resolve to foster a market-oriented, law-based and world-class business environment will not change," he added.

It was indeed encouraging to hear Xi reiterating China's determination to continue improving the business environment, said Sourabh Gupta, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Institute for China-America Studies.

Meanwhile, China has contributed its wisdom to solving pressing problems facing humanity, which has been widely recognized by APEC members.

Ten years ago, Xi called for building a community with a shared future for mankind. In recent years, in response to the pressing needs around the world, Xi has proposed the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative.

China will work with all in the Asia-Pacific to advance and implement these initiatives, and build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security and shared prosperity, said Xi.

Teuku Rezasyah, associate professor of International Relations at Padjadjaran University, Indonesia, said the mutually beneficial projects China has promoted in the Asia-Pacific region are a potent testimony to China's pursuit of common prosperity.

(Video reporters: Wang Feng, Liu Chunhui, Mu Xuyao, Yin Jiajie, Mei Yuanlong, Ruan Shuai, Wang Huan, Sun Lei, Gu Lu, Wa Yang; video editors: Zhang Yueyuan, Hui Peipei, Wu Yao, Zhang Yucheng)■

Editor: JYZ
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