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Chinese President Jiang Zemin delivered a keynote speech at the dinner for the opening of the Fortune Global Forum 2001 in Hong Kong

2001/05/08

On May 8th, 2001, Chinese President Jiang Zemin delivered a keynote speech at the dinner for the opening of the Fortune Global Forum 2001 in Hong Kong. Following is the full text of the speech:

Mr. Gerald M. Levin,Mr. Tung Chee-hwa,Distinguished Guests,Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to be with you here in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China on this beautiful evening. I wish to express, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, warm welcome to all of you who have come here for the Fortune Global Forum 2001 sponsored by AOL Time Warner.

The theme of this Forum, "Next Generation Asia", is of great significance, for the development of Asia bears on the development and prosperity of all countries and regions not only in this continent but also worldwide.

In the course of the 2Oth century, we Asian people waged an unyielding struggle to win national independence and liberation, get rid of poverty and backwardness, and bring about development and prosperity, and scored remarkable achievements. All this has contributed significantly to peace and development in Asia and the world at large. The tremendous change and rise of Asia are a great miracle that the Asian people have created and an important landmark in the world development and progress of the 2Oth century.

Currently, the world is moving deep into multipolarity, economic globalization is developing further and science and technology are advancing rapidly. This has presented both new opportunities and challenges to the development of Asia.

There are 49 countries and regions in Asia, and most of them are developing economies. Economic globalization will benefit them in the following manner: It will facilitate their access to more capital, especially direct investment from multinationals, which will enable them to speed up their economic development and restructuring. It will encourage them to acquire and exploit new markets and develop foreign trade and economic cooperation with other countries by giving full play to their advantages. Furthermore, it will enable them to acquire advanced technologies and management expertise more quickly so that they will be able to make better use of their advantages as late starters and attain technological progress by leaps and bounds.

At the same time, it must be noted that economic globalization is a double-edge sword. As the unfair and unreasonable international political and economic order has not been fundamentally changed yet, economic globalization has exacerbated the uneven development among countries and regions and widened, in particular, the gap between the North and the South and between the rich and the poor. It has also made developing countries more vulnerable to the impact of external economic turmoil and financial crises, as evidenced by the grave impact of the Asian financial crisis of the late 199Os on some Asian countries and regions.

It is true that there exist in Asia's economic development some problems that merit our attention. They include irrationality in the economic structure of some countries and regions, their low level in science and technology, inadequacy in the financial system to ward off risks, and heavy dependence on external economies. The outbreak of the Asian financial crisis has made Asian countries, particularly those hard-hit countries and regions, more keenly aware of the urgency to address those problems. They are now working hard to promote economic growth.

Asia is the largest continent on earth, with nearly 30 percent of the world land area and about 60 percent of the world population. It boasts a huge potential in market demand and a sound foundation for development. It is also rich in both natural resources and human resources. It has a time-honored history and culture. The valleys of the Yellow River, the Indian River, the Euphrates and the Tigris are known as cradles of human civilization. This diversified culture in Asia has invigorated and stimulated its development.

More importantly, the Asian peoples have a strong sense of self- esteem, self-confidence, self-reliance and self-improvement. This is an important driving force for transformation and innovation.

The Asian peoples know full well the importance for all countries to treat each other as equals, conduct mutually beneficial cooperation and live with each other in peace and harmony. They strongly believe that peaceful co-existence among countries with different traditions, cultures and social systems is an important political condition for closer friendly relations and cooperation.

At present, Asian countries and regions are vigorously restructuring their economies, enhancing their respective development capacities, improving their environment for investment and trade, and preparing themselves against possible financial risks. Meanwhile, they are deepening regional economic and technical cooperation, with emphasis on scientific and technological exchanges, human resources development and infrastructure construction. They are working for a sound development of a multilateral trade regime so that they may complement one another.

Economically, Asia is still the most dynamic region in the world. Asia will surely make a greater contribution to world peace and development in the new century as long as it gives full play to its advantages.

Opening-up to the outside world is a major decision China has made to advance its modernization drive and also its long-term basic state policy.

Over the past twenty years and more, an all-directional opening- up pattern has, by and large, taken shape in China and its open economy has gown rapidly. China is now the 7th largest trading nation in the world. For eight years in a row, it has attracted more foreign capital than any other developing country. It has engaged in extensive economic and technological exchanges and cooperation with other countries and regions. This has not only given a strong boost to China's economic and social development, but also created favorable conditions for businesses of other countries and regions to seek business opportunities and conduct cooperation in China.

In today's world, a country can hardly develop in isolation. The Chinese Government will unswervingly implement the opening-up policy. It will more vigorously promote all-directional, multi- tiered and wide-range opening-up and take part in international economic cooperation and competition at a greater width and depth.

China will continue to develop its foreign trade vigorously. It will more effectively implement the strategy of diversifying market and expanding trade on the strength of quality and through science and technology, so as to increase import and export of both goods and services. It will stick to the policy of making active, rational and effective use of foreign capital. It will continue to improve its investment climate and attract more foreign capital. It will explore various ways to put foreign capital to better use, such as acquisition, merging, investment fund and equity investment. It will open wider to the outside world, both sectorwise and geographically. It will phase-in the liberalization of such service sectors as banking, insurance, telecom and trade and promote the opening-up in its mid-west. It will work hard on e-commerce, accelerate the process of informatization, and support enterprises in applying modern information network technology to international cooperation and exchanges. It will take an active part in the multilateral trading system as well as regional and international economic cooperation. It will develop its bilateral and multilateral trading ties in an all-round manner.

The next five to ten years will be a crucial period for China's economic and social development. China will keep a sustained, rapid and sound economic growth. The blueprint has already been drawn for the development in the next five years. According to the program, continued efforts will be made to promote economic growth and social progress, with development as the main theme, restructuring the key link, reform, opening-up and technological advancement the driving force, and higher living standards the ultimate goal. At present, China is making strategic readjustment to its economic structure and speeding up the readjustment of its industrial setup, regional structure, urban and rural structure and ownership composition. China has given prominence to the development of science, technology and education, accelerated the informatization of national economic and social progress, strengthened environmental protection, expedited township development and improved public service system. It is expected that China's GDP will have reached 12.5 trillion yuan by 2005. China's development will present huge business opportunities to business communities of other countries. According to a preliminary estimate, from 2OO1 to 2005, China will import 1.4 trillion US dollars worth of equipment, technologies and products. We welcome more overseas investment, new investment projects in China and long-term stable cooperation with us by business communities around the world.

Negotiations on China's accession to the WTO have been going on for 15 years. China's stance remains the same. Following its entry into the organization, China will steadily expand its opening-up program in terms of commodity and services trade, create a level playing field for a fair and transparent competition between Chinese and overseas enterprises, establish and improve a foreign trade regime that is consistent with international practice and that suits China's own national conditions, and provide the overseas enterprises with more and stable accesses to the Chinese market so as to facilitate economic cooperation and trade between China and other countries. China's entry into the WTO will instill new vitality into the economic growth of China as well as other countries and regions in Asia and beyond. The Chinese people will benefit from it, and so will the people of other countries in Asia and the world.

"One country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong", a high degree of autonomy and maintenance of the long- term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong are the established principles and policies of the Chinese Government.

This Fortune Global Forum 2001 in Hong Kong will give you an opportunity to see for yourselves a new look of Hong Kong under the principle of "one country, two systems", a new Hong Kong that is dynamic and thriving.

Since its return, Hong Kong has been comprehensively implementing the principles of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong", and a high degree of autonomy, and its Basic Law. The Central Government has faithfully observed the Basic Law, firmly supported its Chief Executive and the government of the SAR in their work, and has never intervened in the affairs that are under the autonomy of the HKSAR. Facts have proved that the HKSAR government with Mr. Tung Chee-hwa as its Chief Executive has the wisdom and capabilities to cope with complicated situations and that Hong Kong people can manage Hong Kong well.

Since Hong Kong's return to China, its previous capitalist system and way of life have remained unchanged. Hong Kong residents have enjoyed full freedom and more democratic rights than ever before. Much to our joy, people from all walks of life in Hong Kong have more and more identified themselves with the State and the nation. They have assumed the role of a master of Hong Kong and are taking an active part in all social undertakings.

Since its return, Hong Kong has successfully overcome the impact of the Asian financial crisis and has not taken long to obtain a growth, though of a recovery nature. This shows that it has a fairly good economic foundation and a relatively sound banking regime, market mechanism and legal system. The mainland has been and will always be the strong backing behind a stable and prosperous Hong Kong. I believe that the mainland will continue to enjoy a sustained, rapid and sound economic development, and that Hong Kong will continue to improve its economic system, and maintain and strengthen its important role as a bridge between the mainland and the world market. The Hong Kong economy is bound to have an even broader prospect for development.

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that it is the long-term basic state policy of the Chinese Government to implement the principles of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong", and a high degree of autonomy. The Chinese Government will never waver in or change this policy come what may.

Peace and development are the themes of the times. People across the world should join hands in advancing the lofty cause of peace and development of mankind.

A peaceful environment is indispensable for national, regional and even global development. Without peace or political stability, there would be no economic progress to speak of. This has been fully proved by both the past and the present.

In today's world, the international situation is, on the whole, moving towards relaxation. However, conflicts and even local wars triggered by various factors have kept cropping up, and tension still remains in some areas. All this has impeded the economic development of the countries and regions concerned, and has also adversely affected the world economy. All responsible statesmen and governments must abide by the purposes of the UN Charter and the universally acknowledged norms governing international relations, and work for a universal, lasting and comprehensive peace. Nobody should be allowed to cause tension or armed conflicts against the interests of the people.

There are still in this world a few interest groups which always want to seek gains by creating tension here and there. This is against the will of the majority of the people and against the trend of the times. An enormous market demand can be created and economic prosperity promoted only when continued efforts are made to advance the cause of peace and development to ensure that people around the world live and work in peace and contentment and focus on economic development and on scientific and technological innovation.

I hope that all of us here today will join hands with all other peace-loving people and work for a lasting world peace and common development and prosperity of all nations and regions.

Thank you.

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