Remarks at G8 Outreach Session
Prime Minister Fukuda,
I am glad to come to the beautiful Toyako to exchange views with you on global issues of common interest. I wish to thank you, Prime Minister Fukuda, and the Japanese Government for the thoughtful arrangements you have made for the meeting.
I would like to begin by expressing, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, our heartfelt thanks to the governments and people that you represent for the sympathy and sincere help you have offered to China in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Wenchuan. The focus of our relief efforts has now shifted to the resettlement of the affected population and post-quake recovery and reconstruction. With the care and support of the international community, the Chinese Government and people have the resolve and confidence to overcome this disaster caused by this massive earthquake and help people in the affected areas rebuild their beautiful homeland at an early date.
At present, with the further progress of economic globalization, countries are increasingly interdependent, and pursuit of peace, development and cooperation has become an irresistible trend of the times, presenting the world with rare opportunities for development. At the same time, uncertainties and destabilizing factors in world economic growth have increased recently, as evidenced by continued turbulence in the financial market, rising prices for energy and resources, acute problem of food security, and growing pressure of global inflation. There remain numerous grim challenges in the effort to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.
The combined population of G8 plus China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, ROK, Indonesia and Australia accounts for 60% of the world total, and their economic aggregates 3/4 that of the world. We are duty-bound to work together to address these challenges and promote steady growth of the world economy. We should be forward looking and adopt a global and strategic perspective. We should start with fundamental issues such as systems and institutions in order to promote balanced, coordinated and sustainable development of the world economy. To this end, I would like to make the following proposals:
First, build a sustainable world economic system. Countries should commit themselves to sustainable development, strengthen coordination of macro-economic policies and make concerted efforts to maintain the growth of world economy. The G8 should pay more attention to the voice and views from outside. The developed and the developing countries should build a global development partnership between them featuring equality, mutual benefit and win-win progress, and work together to advance economic globalization in the direction of balanced development, shared benefits and win-win progress.
Second, build an inclusive and orderly international financial system. Countries should work together to give the developing countries greater say and representation in international financial institutions, thus enhancing the effectiveness of the international financial system. The World Bank should make greater efforts to help the developing countries to adapt to economic globalization and achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The International Monetary Fund should step up its monitoring and early-warning of the international financial market, particularly the short-term capital flows and risks of financial innovation, and play a greater role in upholding international financial stability.
Third, build a fair and equitable international trade regime. Countries should jointly oppose trade protectionism, support efforts to strengthen the multilateral trading regime, and work for an early, comprehensive and balanced outcome of the Doha Round negotiations so as to achieve the goal of the development round. Countries should support the World Trade Organization in its "Aid for Trade" initiative.
Fourth, build a fair and effective global development system. The developed countries should take credible measures to honor their commitments by increasing assistance, opening markets and transferring more technologies to the developing countries, and relieving their debts. The developing countries, on their part, should enhance capacity building. The United Nations should continue to provide guidance and coordination and urge the international community to increase input in development, ensure resources for development and strengthen development institutions. The Monterrey Consensus should be implemented in real earnest and the MDGs should be achieved on schedule. It is of particular importance to provide Africa with more development resources and help Africa enhance its self-development capabilities.
The rising food prices have recently captured the attention of the entire international community. As an old Chinese saying goes, "Food is the No.1 necessity of the people". It not only concerns the economy and people's well-being of each country but also bears on the development and security of the whole world. There are now more than 800 million people living under the threat of starvation. The surging food prices will swell the figure. This is not conducive to building a world of enduring peace and common prosperity.
The rising food prices are the result of many factors at play. To blame the development of developing countries or a certain policy of a certain country for the increase in world food demand does not tally with the fact, nor is it a constructive attitude to solve the problem. In today's world where agricultural productivity has never been higher, we don't lack the means to solve the food problem. The key is to embrace the spirit of common development, actively and effectively coordinate policies and actions and make concerted efforts to safeguard world food security.
The pressing task now is to scale up assistance, support the United Nations in playing its coordinating role, work to stabilize food prices and help the developing countries to tide over the difficulties as quickly as possible. At the same time, the international community should give priority to developing agriculture, approach the food issue from a broader and longer-term perspective, and formulate a long-term international food cooperation strategy. To that end, I wish to make the following four points:
First, attach importance to food production. All countries should recognize the fundamental importance of grain production from a strategic perspective, raise grain production through science and technology and increase grain reserves. In this regard, major grain producing countries should make more efforts. The developing countries should keep improving their production capacities and the developed countries should provide financial and technical support as necessary.
Second, improve the trading environment. It is necessary to create a favorable international trading environment and establish a fair and equitable international trade order for agricultural products. All countries, the developed countries in particular, should display greater sincerity in the Doha agricultural negotiations, remove trade barriers, demonstrate flexibility over such issues as the reduction of agricultural subsidies, give full consideration to the special concerns of the developing members, and deliver duty-free and quota-free market access for the least developed countries.
Third, enhance macro coordination. Governments of all countries should strengthen oversight of their agricultural product markets, facilitate policy coordination, contain excessive speculation and work to stabilize food prices. It is important to set up a UN-led international cooperation mechanism and work to establish a global food security safeguard system that integrates early warning, monitoring and supervision, macro regulation and emergency relief.
Fourth, create favorable conditions. All countries should recognize the cross-sectoral nature of the food issue, and adopt a multi-pronged approach to address the issue by taking measures in finance, trade, assistance, the environment, intellectual property rights, technology transfer and other areas, thus creating a favorable environment for safeguarding food security. It is necessary to take into full account the issue of food security in tackling the challenges in energy, climate change and other fields. It is ill-advised to do one thing at the expense of the other.
China attaches great importance to agriculture and especially the food issue. It pursues a food security policy of relying on domestic supply, ensuring basic self-sufficiency and striking a balance through appropriate import and export. China feeds about 20% of the world's population with around 9% of the world's arable land, which is a major contribution to global food security. For nearly ten years, China has met over 95% of its food demand on its own and exported a net amount of 8 million tons of staple grains annually such as wheat, rice and corn. China's current average agricultural tariff is only a quarter of the world's average.
China takes an active part in international cooperation in the field of food and agriculture and provides foreign assistance according to its ability. Since 2003, China has provided nearly 300,000 tons of food assistance, built 14 integrated agricultural projects and established more than 20 demonstration centers of agricultural technologies overseas. We have trained over 4,000 agriculture-related managerial and technical staff for other developing countries. We are ready to share more experience of agricultural development with other developing countries within the framework of South-South cooperation and provide various kinds of assistance to the extent possible.
This year is the year for mid-term review of the MDGs. Progress has been made globally towards attaining the MDGs. However, the degree of progress varies in different fields and different regions. African countries, in particular, still face severe challenges in many fields. The present situation in the world economy has made the attainment of the MDGs even more complex. The international community should take the mid-term review as a good opportunity to further demonstrate political will and mobilize resources of all kinds, make the half-way point a turning point and promote comprehensive and balanced progress in the global efforts to achieve the MDGs. It is important to do the following:
First, establish a true partnership for development. The developing countries bear primary responsibilities for their own development, but the developed countries should also provide necessary assistance. The international community should create an enabling external environment for the developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve development.
Second, develop a fair framework of progress review. It is necessary to take a comprehensive look at the progress made as well as challenges faced by various countries in achieving the MDGs and make a serious review of the delivery of the committed international development assistance.
Third, provide strong financial and technical support. The developed countries should honor their commitments in official development assistance, rise above short-term business interests and reduce monopoly of technologies. Meanwhile, the developing countries should intensify research and development of technologies to enhance their own economic competitiveness.
Fourth, increase international assistance to Africa. In view of Africa's special needs, the international community should provide Africa with more financial and technological support, and at the same time respect the rights of African countries to make their own decisions, with assistance focused on enhancing their self-development capabilities.
China has, in light of its own national conditions, set the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, adhered to a Scientific Outlook on Development which puts people first and aims to achieve comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development, and firmly embarked on a path of sustainable development that features expanded production, better livelihood and sound ecological and environmental conditions. This is consistent with the MDGs. China has met the MDG poverty target ahead of schedule. Within the framework of South-South cooperation, China has provided free assistance, interest-free loans and concessional loans to nearly 160 developing countries to help them achieve the MDGs.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of China's reform and opening-up program. Over the past three decades, China's economy has become an important part of the world economy, making positive contribution to world economic growth. We have learned from practice that a country's development efforts must comply with the development trend of the world and the interests of its people. We must bear in mind our national conditions and focus on economic development with firm commitment to reform and opening-up. We must dedicate ourselves to construction and development and work hard to achieve progress in economic, political, cultural and social fields. We must properly handle the relationship among reform, development and stability and make sure that our development is for the people and by the people and the fruits of development are shared by the people. China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, uphold the opening-up strategy of mutual benefit and win-win outcome and continue to work with the rest of the world to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.
Before I conclude, I wish to welcome athletes from all countries to participate in the Beijing Olympic Games and friends across the world to come to Beijing to watch the Games.