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Deepen Mutually Beneficial Cooperation for a Better Future Address by President Hu Jintao at Luncheon Hosted by Four ROK Economic Associations

(Seoul, 26 August 2008)


Honorable Chairman Lee Hee-Beom,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

It is a great pleasure to meet friends, both old and new, from the ROK business community. I thank you for the kind invitation and gracious hospitality. I also wish to take this opportunity to send my warm greetings to the business communities of both countries for your contribution to China-ROK friendship and cooperation over the years!

The main purpose of my visit here is to consolidate common ground, enhance friendship, promote cooperation and create a new situation in China-ROK relations through candid and in-depth exchange of views with the ROK side. During this visit, ROK leaders and I reached a number of new and important common understanding. Both sides agreed to move China-ROK relations forward by strengthening political mutual trust, deepening mutually beneficial cooperation, encouraging people-to-people and cultural exchanges, safeguarding regional peace and stability and jointly responding to regional and global issues. The visit has achieved results in diverse fields. I am confident that with the concerted efforts of both sides, China-ROK relations will have an even better future.

As an important dimension of China-ROK relations, business cooperation has played an important role in boosting bilateral ties. Two-way trade reached almost US$160 billion in 2007, up 32 times from the level at the beginning of our diplomatic relations. To date, total mutual investment has exceeded US$41 billion, almost a 90-fold increase from the first year of diplomatic relations. All these are attributable to the concerted efforts of both sides and the active contribution you have made. I wish to take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to all of you!

China and the ROK, blessed with geographical proximity and affinity, have mutually complementary economies. The growth of business cooperation enjoys favorable natural and cultural conditions. In recent years, mechanisms of economic cooperation between the two countries have been improving, two-way trade and investment are becoming more dynamic, and bilateral cooperation has grown in both breadth and depth. The establishment of China-ROK strategic and cooperative partnership opens up new opportunities and broader prospects for deepening bilateral business cooperation.

At the same time, we must not lose sight of the many challenges facing China-ROK business cooperation in the complex and ever-changing global economic environment. I note in particular the recent surge of uncertainties and factors of instability in the world economy, as evidenced by lingering volatility in the financial market, high oil and food prices, rising prices of raw materials, greater inflationary pressure on all economies and slowdown in world economic growth. They affect the economic development of China and the ROK and our business cooperation. This makes it imperative for China and the ROK to step up coordination and cooperation, make full use of the opportunities and properly address challenges. We may focus our efforts in the following areas:

First, promote cooperation in key areas. Strong economic complementarity is our biggest asset in conducting business cooperation. China is a vast market and a fast growing economy. The ROK has rich experience in the industrial application of technologies and corporate management. We need to bring our respective strengths into full play, expand exchanges and cooperation in key areas such as communications, financial services, energy, logistics and environmental protection, identify new areas of bilateral cooperation, and upgrade both the quality and level of cooperation.

Second, facilitate mutual investment. We need to actively adapt to the changing investment environment, invest in new areas and improve investment pattern. We welcome more ROK companies to take an active part in infrastructural and environmental projects in central and western China and old industrial bases in northeast China, and increase investment in China in the key areas. The Chinese Government will continue to support and facilitate ROK investment in China. We will also continue to encourage well-established Chinese companies to invest and do business in the ROK and provide support to them. We hope that the ROK will also provide an enabling environment for Chinese companies investing here.

Third, expand cooperation in international economic affairs. In an increasingly globalized world, China and the ROK are conducting more coordination and cooperation in regional and global economic affairs. Chinese and ROK companies may engage in discussions about further cooperation in setting international standards, exploring international market and participating in the regional integration process.

Entrepreneurs and companies are a dynamic force in China-ROK business cooperation. The Chinese Government values and supports mutually beneficial cooperation between companies of both countries. We are ready to work with the ROK Government to deliver more benefits to the business communities by improving cooperation mechanisms, creating favorable environment and providing better services. I am confident that the continuous growth of China-ROK strategic and cooperative partnership will provide a larger stage on which the entrepreneurs of both countries can bring out their talent and pursue mutual benefit in win-win cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

With the support and help of the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Family, the Beijing Olympic Games, which captured the world's attention, drew to a successful close two days ago. The Beijing Olympic Games carried forward the Olympic spirit of solidarity, friendship and peace, fulfilled the promises of "green Olympics, high-tech Olympics and people's Olympics" and promoted exchanges and mutual learning among different cultures in the world. Here, I wish to express my sincere thanks to the ROK and other countries and peoples who have supported the Beijing Olympic Games and extend my warm congratulations to the ROK athletes on their excellent performance at the Games!

This year marks the 30th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. In the last 30 years, the industrious and enterprising Chinese people have suceeded in making the historic transition from a highly-centralized planned economy to a vibrant socialist market economy, and from a closed and semi-closed society to one that is fully open to the outside world. The Chinese economy has experienced steady and fast growth. The Chinese people, who once lacked basic living necessities, now generally lead lives of moderate prosperity. The number of poor rural population has been reduced from over 250 million to a little more than 10 million. Remarkable progress has been made in political, cultural and social development. Having said this, we are keenly aware that China is still the largest developing country in the world. In our development endeavors, we face problems and challenges whose scale and complexity are unparalleled in the world. China still has a long way to go and needs to make arduous efforts before it can build a moderately prosperous society in all respects that can bring greater benefits to a population of over one billion, basically achieve modernization and ensure common prosperity for all. China's development over the past 30 years is attributable to reform and opening-up. China's development in the future will also have to depend on reform and opening-up. The Chinese people will remain committed to reform and opening-up and make continued efforts toward building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and accelerating the socialist modernization drive.

Irreversible multi-polarization, evolving economic globalization and accelerating scientific and technological revolution are major trends of the times. China's destiny is more than ever closely connected with that of the world. Here, I wish to reiterate that China will continue to follow the path of peaceful development, pursue an opening-up strategy of mutual benefit and win-win progress and seek development that is peaceful, open and cooperative. The Chinese people stand ready to work with people around the world to build a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

China-ROK relations have a promising future and there is a lot that we can do. I sincerely hope that our business communities will join hands, seize the opportunities to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas and jointly usher in a better future for China-ROK relations.

Thank you!

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