Remarks by Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jieyi At the 64th Session of ESCAP
Bangkok, 28 April 2008
It is a pleasure for me to join you here at the 64th Session of ESCAP in Bangkok. At the outset, I wish to express my sincere thanks to the government of Thailand and the ESCAP Secretariat for their thoughtful and careful arrangements for this meeting.
Today, the Asia-Pacific region enjoys overall stability, sustained economic growth and steady social progress. Various regional and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms have grown in depth, and regional integration has gathered momentum. Peace, cooperation and development are the common aspirations of the people. All this presents rare opportunities and broad prospects for development in this region.
On the other hand, our region faces multiple uncertainties. For example, aggravated imbalances in and a slowdown of the global economy are coupled with increasing risks on the international financial market. International energy, resources and grain prices run high, exerting upward pressure on inflation. Trade protectionism intensifies and trade frictions increase. International development assistance drops, and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are no easy targets. Furthermore, non-traditional security issues like terrorism, climate change, natural disasters, environmental pollution and communicable diseases remain salient. These interplaying and intertwining challenges have adversely affected the development in the Asia-Pacific.
Against this backdrop, we need to give serious thought to how to seize opportunities, meet challenges and work together to achieve sustained and steady growth in the Asia-Pacific. I wish to share with you some observations about Asia-Pacific cooperation.
First, we need to promote a cooperative mindset of harmonious coexistence and win-win progress. As deep-going cooperation in the Asia-Pacific brings about closer contacts and exchanges among the countries, frictions and problems are also on the increase. While we seek to uphold our own national interests and promote our own development, we should also give full consideration to the legitimate and reasonable concerns of other countries for win-win results. This holds the key to smooth state-to-state relations, effective cooperation and common development and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Second, we need to follow the principles of mutual respect and consultation on an equal footing in our cooperation. Given the vastness of our region, the large number of countries and the remarkable difference they have in social system, cultural tradition and level of development, we should respect the development paths and models suited to their national conditions independently chosen by the countries, not interfere in others' internal affairs, treat countries as equals regardless of their size, and resolve problems and differences through dialogue and consultation so as to maintain the political foundation of Asia-Pacific cooperation.
Third, we need to take development and poverty reduction as priority areas of cooperation. For the Asia-Pacific, a region mostly made up of developing countries with two thirds of the world's poor population, faster development is the primary and urgent task. We should face up to the realities of the region, focus our cooperation on promoting economic growth and prioritize efforts to address deep-rooted constraints on economic development, so as to provide meaningful help to the large number of developing countries for them to get rid of poverty and attain the MDGs sooner.
Fourth, we need gradual, flexible and pragmatic cooperation. The remarkable diversity in our region finds expression in the differing expectations and views of different areas and countries on the process, pace and scope of Asia-Pacific cooperation. We should be open to different views and suggestions, promote incremental, flexible and pragmatic cooperation, accommodate as much as possible the concerns and needs of stakeholders and uphold the interests of all to the maximum extent so as to ensure steady progress of Asia-Pacific cooperation.
As the only comprehensive inter-governmental economic and social organization of the UN system in the Asia-Pacific region, ESCAP has in the past more than six decades played a significant role in promoting regional cooperation, advancing regional economic integration and tackling emerging economic and social issues. Under the new circumstances, ESCAP should seize opportunities to raise efficiency and expand influence through reform and innovation and make greater contribution to promoting exchanges and cooperation among Asia-Pacific countries and achieving common development and prosperity. Ms. Heyzer, the Executive Secretary, is committed to enhancing the role and dynamism of ESCAP through institutional reform. China appreciates her efforts and hopes that the measures adopted can be responsive to the developments in our region and accommodate the needs of all parties. We also hope these measures will enable ESCAP to bring its unique advantages into full play and assume a leading role in promoting economic and social development of our region.
This year is a momentous one for China. In the first quarter, China maintained social stability and fast economic growth despite domestic and international complexity. Its GDP increased by 10.6% year-on-year, investment in fixed assets up by 24.6%, total imports and exports 24.6%, paid-in FDI 61.3% and people's income more than 12%. In the second half of this year, China will host the 29th Olympic Games and the 7th ASEM Summit in Beijing. We have full confidence and competence in ensuring the success of these two major events, which will contribute to sports exchanges across the world and mutually beneficial cooperation between Asia and Europe.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of China's reform and opening up, a policy that has brought historic changes in China's relations with the rest of the world. In 2007, China's share in global GDP rose to over 5% and its total imports and exports made up about 8% of the world's total. The Chinese economy has become a significant part of the global economy. China is the third largest import market in the world and the largest in Asia, and contributes more than 10% to world economic growth and more than 12% to the growth of international trade. China's development has greatly boosted the growth of the world economy and trade. As a member of more than 100 inter-governmental international organizations and party to over 300 international conventions, China takes an active part in international and regional affairs, faithfully fulfills its due international responsibilities and stands as an important member of the international system.
Thirty years of reform and opening up show that China's development and progress could not have been achieved in isolation of the world and world prosperity and stability would be impossible without China. China's future and destiny are more and more closely interconnected with that of the world.
China will continue to pursue a win-win strategy of opening up. China promotes sustained and steady growth of the global economy, supports the international community's efforts to help strengthen developing countries' capacity of self-development and improving the livelihood of their people and endorses collective efforts to guard against financial risks and safeguard energy security. China stands for proper management of economic and trade frictions through consultation and calls on countries to share development opportunities and jointly respond to challenges.
China observes the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and strictly abides by international law and universally recognized norms governing international relations. We advocate democracy, harmony and win-win cooperation in international relations, actively participate in international cooperation in the fight against terrorism, non-proliferation, climate change, environmental protection and the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases and work for a more just and equitable international order.
China values its cooperation with ESCAP and has done what it can to promote Asia-Pacific cooperation. Facing sweeping and profound changes in the region and the world, we will continue to deepen cooperation with ESCAP, strengthen exchanges with other ESCAP members and work tirelessly for a brighter future of the Asia-Pacific region.