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APEC Beijing: China is Ready
(Speech by Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Lanting Forum)

2014/10/29

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Dear Friends,

Good afternoon. Welcome to the Lanting Forum. In 12 days, the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting will officially open in Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders and representatives of other APEC members will meet in Beijing to discuss the future of APEC and overall development of the Asia-Pacific region. By then, the attention of the world will once again focus on the Asia-Pacific, on China and on Beijing.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of APEC. Twenty-five years ago, 12 economies in the Asia-Pacific jointly announced the inception of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. The birth of this new body had generated relatively less attention compared with some of the defining events of the year, the collapse of the Berlin Wall or the end of the Cold War, to be more specific. Yet in the years that followed, APEC has grown from strength to strength and taken on increasing influence. Today, APEC has evolved into one of the world's most premium regional dialogue and cooperation mechanisms that has a significant and far-reaching relevance to the economic landscape of the Asia-Pacific and beyond.

APEC has shaped the new global geo-economic architecture. In the 1980s, East Asia, with its surging economy, emerged as another pillar of the world together with North America and Western Europe. The founding of APEC had connected countries along the rim of the Pacific and brought together economies, emerging and developed alike. It has gradually transformed the "Asia-Pacific" from a mere geographic concept to a body of economic cooperation that involves 2.8 billion people and half of global economic aggregate. APEC members add up to account for 40% of the world's population, 57% of total global GDP and 46% of global trade. The Asia-Pacific is now the most dynamic and promising geo-economic region in the world, widely regarded as an engine driving world economic growth.

APEC has opened a new chapter in regional economic cooperation. APEC is a front runner of the various regional economic cooperation mechanisms in the Asia-Pacific. Over the past 25 years, its membership has grown from 12 to 21 and its participation has been elevated from ministers to leaders. It has become the top-level and most representative cooperation mechanism that covers the widest range of areas in the Asia-Pacific, serving as a major platform for discussion on overall regional cooperation. Since the adoption of the Bogor Declaration 20 years ago, the average tariff level in the Asia-Pacific has dropped by 12 percentage points, total regional trade volume increased by 7 times and every year nearly 200 practical cooperation projects are conducted in 30 different areas. All this has played a critical role in advancing regional economic cooperation. In the 25 years since the founding of APEC, quite a number of regional cooperation mechanisms have emerged and flourished, including ASEAN Plus One and ASEAN Plus Three. Together with APEC, they have formed a network sustaining robust regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.

APEC has opened a new chapter in China's relations with the Asia-Pacific. China's accession to APEC in 1991 was a milestone both in the opening-up of China and the development of APEC. Since then, China has begun to integrate with the Asia-Pacific at a faster pace. For instance, in 2013, 60% of China's total foreign trade was with other APEC members, 83% of its utilized foreign investment was from them, and 69% of outbound Chinese investment flowed to them. Meanwhile, the Asia-Pacific is relying more and more on China. According to the IMF, China now contributes over 50% to Asian economic growth, with every one percentage point of China's economic growth driving up the Asian economy by 0.3 percentage point. In fact, China and the Asia-Pacific have become a community of common destiny and shared interests.

Distinguished Guests,

Dear Friends,

The world is undergoing a new round of turmoil and instability. Hotspot issues keep emerging and world economic recovery remains a daunting task. The Asia-Pacific, compared with other regions, has enjoyed overall stability and robust economic growth, serving as an anchor of world stability and a foundation of global prosperity, and China has played its due important role in this process. It is fair to say that the world is full of expectations for the Asia-Pacific and for China in particular.

As an important member of the Asia-Pacific family, China has always taken it its own responsibility to promote Asia-Pacific prosperity and stability and has played a constructive role in regional affairs. The CPC leadership with Comrade Xi Jinping as the General Secretary has, building on the fine traditions as well as the diplomatic guidelines and policies of New China, taken even greater initiatives in creating a favorable external environment for realizing the Chinese dream of the great renewal of the Chinese nation. Greater efforts have been made to ensure that China's development and development of the world are mutually reinforcing, and that China continues to play an even greater role in regional and international affairs as a major responsible country. That represents a main feature of China's diplomacy in the new era and a fundamental direction of its policy toward the Asia-Pacific.

China is committed to building a new Asia-Pacific of peace and stability. China survives and thrives in the Asia-Pacific. It has a strong stake in regional peace and stability. Acting in the interests of peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific, China has proposed the building of a new model of major-country relations with the United States in order to explore a way of engagement between different types of major countries that features not conflict or confrontation but mutual respect and win-win cooperation. China advocates common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security for Asia, and hopes to foster an open and stable security cooperation architecture that suits the need of this region and is generally acceptable. China pursues multilateralism, practices international rule of law and works to facilitate peaceful resolution of hotspot issues. It is firmly committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the maintenance of peace and stability of the peninsula, and it supports the peace and reconstruction process in Afghanistan. China stands ready to properly handle disputes over territory and maritime rights and interests that are left over from history through peaceful consultations on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law and norms governing international relations.

China is committed to building a new Asia-Pacific of cooperation and prosperity. China's development benefits from a prosperous and stable Asia-Pacific and China is ready to work with countries in the region so that China's development will bring more benefits to others. To this end, China is deepening mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries in the region to build a more closely-knit network of common interests. China pursues domestic development and opening-up at the same time, and aligns its own interests with the shared interests of Asia-Pacific members. China wants to convert the opportunities of the region into those for China, and vice versa. Over the years, China has acted as the most important participant and active contributor in such regional mechanisms as ASEAN Plus China, ASEAN Plus Three and the East Asia Summit. China has identified the Asia-Pacific as a priority area in its "Go Global" strategy and encourages Chinese companies to increase investments in other Asia-Pacific countries. China has also conducted cooperation on disaster prevention and relief with other countries in the region and worked with them to confront all forms of emergencies such as earthquakes, tsunamis and major outbreak of epidemics.

China is committed to building a new Asia-Pacific of openness and inclusiveness. The Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee called for efforts to build a new open economic system, expand converging interests with other countries and regions, and accelerate the implementation of the FTA strategy with neighboring countries as the basis. We hope that the various regional and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms in the region will complement and reinforce each other. We support ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation and welcome a constructive role of non-regional countries in this region. Since last year, President Xi Jinping has put forth a series of major cooperation initiatives on behalf of China, including the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, as well as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The primary cooperation partners of these initiatives are Asia-Pacific countries, and they are also the ones that will benefit the most. These initiatives are completely open and inclusive. They are meant to complement, not compete with APEC and other existing cooperation mechanisms. They will further improve the regional cooperation network in the Asia-Pacific and inject fresh impetus to enduring prosperity and development of the region.

Distinguished Guests,

Dear Friends,

China hosted the ninth APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in 2001. Now, 13 years later, APEC has come to China once again. This is a mission entrusted by the countries and regions in the Asia-Pacific, which also shows their trust in China. All APEC members look to this year's event for consensus and real breakthroughs in regional integration. They look to the Asia-Pacific region for maintaining prosperity and development and driving world economic recovery and growth. And they look to China, the second largest economy in the world, for leveraging its role as APEC host to make fresh contribution to APEC's development and Asia-Pacific's revitalization.

With expectations comes pressure, and more importantly, impetus. Over the past year, in close communication with other APEC members, China has made meticulous plans for the theme, topics and outcomes of the meetings, and aired its views, initiated its proposals and contributed its wisdom. On the basis of democratic, transparent and thorough consultations, we have identified "Shaping the Future Through Asia-Pacific Partnership" as the theme and "Advancing Regional Economic Integration", "Promoting Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth" and "Strengthening Comprehensive Development in Infrastructure and Connectivity" as the three major topics. Such designs are in line with the trend of economic development in the Asia-Pacific and the wider world. They have met the common demand of all Asia-Pacific economies, and thus gained their welcome and support.

President Xi and the Chinese government attach great importance to the APEC meeting in Beijing. We look forward to having in-depth exchanges and positive interactions with other APEC members during the meeting, thus adding new impetus to the APEC process. With the concerted efforts of all parties, the APEC meeting in Beijing is expected to produce a long list of outcomes and make new breakthroughs in the following three priority areas:

First, APEC members will launch the process of Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and take a new step forward in achieving regional economic integration. The realization of FTAAP is a long-standing consensus and vision of APEC economic leaders. It can help consolidate the various bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms in the region, and minimize the risks caused by overlapping and fragmented free trade arrangements. Through coordination and cooperation with APEC members, an important consensus will be reached on the launch of the FTAAP process during the meeting in Beijing, thus sending out a clear signal of enhancing regional integration and turning this long-standing vision into concrete actions.

Second, APEC members will identify five pillar areas of cooperation and unleash new impetus for Asia-Pacific economic development. Shifting growth model, restructuring the economy, fostering steady growth and promoting reform are the common tasks of APEC members. The APEC meeting in Beijing will feature in-depth discussions on the five pillars of economic reform, new economy, innovative growth, inclusive support and urbanization in order to deepen cooperation in such frontier areas as Internet economy, urbanization and blue economy. The APEC Accord on Promoting Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth, which is expected to be formulated and adopted at the meeting, will have a far-reaching impact on Asia-Pacific's future.

Third, APEC members will focus their efforts on promoting interconnected development and draw up a new blueprint for establishing comprehensive connectivity in the Asia-Pacific. Roads, railways, shipping lanes as well as rules and mechanisms are like the veins and tendons of a human body, while connectivity helps relax the tendons and improve the circulation. With a view to benefiting members across the Pacific, we will work for the formulation of the APEC Blueprint on Connectivity involving hardware, software and people-to-people exchanges in order to provide a strong backing for Asia-Pacific's long-term development.

This year is an important year for APEC's development. Today, 25 years after its founding, APEC is standing at a new historic starting point where it can build on past achievements and make new progress into the future. At this year's APEC meeting, we hope three goals will be achieved. First, to shape the future through Asia-Pacific partnership. Second, to build an open Asia-Pacific economy. And third, to chart the course for APEC development.

Distinguished Guests,

Dear Friends,

The countdown to APEC Beijing has started. Speaking today, I want to let you know that China is ready and Beijing is ready.

China is a country that keeps its words and honors its promises. We always fulfill our responsibilities with all sincerity and do our utmost to live up to the expectations the world places upon us. This was the case for the Olympic Games, the World Expo and the CICA Summit, and so will it be for the APEC meeting.

We will endeavor to host a productive, harmonious and successful APEC meeting in Beijing so that it will leave an indelible imprint in the course of regional cooperation and global economic development. This is a responsibility that China must undertake and a promise that China must keep and deliver on.

To conclude, let us look forward to an incredible opening of APEC Beijing, and wish the event a great success! Thank you.

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