|China in the New Transition|
(Amman, 1st April, 2012)
The Honorable H.E. Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh
Excellencies and Distinguished Guests,
Colleagues and Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
May I thank you heartily, Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, for kindly inviting me to address at this wonderful platform in TAG Graduate School of Business. I would with great pleasure and honor take this opportunity to share with you my views regarding China's reform and its modernization drive over the past decades. From every perspective, it is China in the new transition or transformation indeed. In the same token, I may also speak briefly about growth of Sino-Jordanian and Sino-Arab friendly relationship.
China's modernization process can be traced back as early as more than 100 years ago when 1911 Revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen broke out. The Revolution succeeded in overthrowing the Qing Dynasty and opened door for national and social progress in the middle of dramatic changes in the world when old power politics was still prevailing. Disturbances, chaos and even civil wars followed, foreign colonial and imperialist invasions and aggression spread. But the courageous struggles had been waged by one generation after another for the dream of a unified, strong and prosperous China.
History took another gigantic leap when in 1949, a New China, the Peoples' Republic of China, was founded. Reconstruction and transformation of the country unfolded far and wide across the land. It is particularly so since 34 years ago with the introduction of reform and opening-up in 1978 led by Mr. Deng Xiaoping. The Chinese government and people made a strategic shift in our national policy to put all efforts on the economic and social development. The leadership of China emphasized since then that all national strategies and policies should be based on actual situation in China, and stick to economic development and social progress through reform and opening China to the rest of the world. It has also been strongly advocated in this process to free minds for how to proceed with national development and if doubts occur seek truth from facts instead of dogmatic textbooks. That shift and policy adjustment unprecedentedly emancipated way of thinking for Chinese people, who enjoyed greater freedom never seen before. The economy gushed out huge vitality ever since.
Our reform has proceeded in a gradual and involving way, focusing on mobilizing to the utmost zeal and vigor of our people in their innovation and creation to improve lives, do business, lift the poor out of poverty and make the nation stronger. In such a big country like China just a bit bigger in size than that of the US but with a population 5 times as large, number one in the world, our reform is a Hercules task and has to be carefully managed with best possible central strategy. We began for example first in the rural areas on agricultural sector. It then spread to urban regions and other social groups and economic sectors. Still later, the whole society involving those in legal, executive, local governess, financial, cultural, educational, health-care and other fields has been joining, both operationally and institutionally. Pilot schemes were set up with the establishment of special economic zones such as those in Shenzhen or Zhuhai city. And later different development regional strategies are implemented as those in the Zhujiang Delta and Yangtze Delta, along Bohai bay or the northeast, west and central China, encouraging trade and investment for growth and jobs creation as well as going ahead of high-tech, environment-friendly and energy-saving industries.
The highlight and significant turning-point is in 2001 when China entered the World Trade Organization, eventually integrating itself with the world trade system. China has in fact transformed from a highly centralized commanding economy into a vibrant socialist market economy, from a closed or semi-closed society into an unprecedentedly open one to the outside world.
All those changes would not have been possible without continuous national restructuring as well as international exchanges and cooperation. It is a wide and deep transition for Chinese society, greatly stimulating our economy and social progress. Reform is always a social transformation, not a social replacement. We would always find ourselves building on something old, not from scratch. We would make sure that our own people can always participate and have been attaching great importance to keeping balance between reform, stability and development, between meeting people's daily needs and constructing with vision for future. We keep open-minded and learn hard from better experiences of countries of the world, yet we decided by ourselves.
The achievements are obvious and our people feel happy and proud with them. The size of China's economy in 2010 for instance was 16 times that of 1978. The share of China's economy in the world's total increased from 1.8% to 9.3% over the same period. China had emerged as the world's second largest economy by 2010. In 2011, China's GDP had reached RMB47.2 trillion, or $7 trillion, up by 9.2% annually. From 2001 when China joined the WTO to 2010, China imported an average of $750 billion worth of goods per year, creating a great many jobs and investment opportunities for its trading partners. During the same period, foreign-invested companies in China sent out $261.7 billion in profits, with an average annual growth of 30%. Meanwhile, China's direct outbound investment grew by over 40% every year, reaching $68.8 billion and ranking fifth in the world in 2010. In 2011, China's export grew by 20.3% and import by 24.9%. It utilized $116 billion of foreign direct investment.
We do as planned-out, adapted to changes of both internal and external situations, but we never let go our national goals with vision, leadership and unity of people. Our development strategic targets have well been reached and on its way forward. China set up and implemented a three-step strategy for our modernization from early 1980s. The first step was to double the GDP of 1980 and ensure people's basic living needs. The second step was to redouble the output of 1980 and achieve initial prosperity by the end of the 20th century. The goals of these two steps have already over-passed. The third step has in fact two phases. The first one is by 2020 to enhance our achievements and raise the quality of our development with more social progress, further raising people's livelihood. The second phase aims to have the per capita GDP reaching medium-developed countries as we see and build China into a more prosperous, stronger and more harmonious modern nation by 2050, at the time of the 100th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
The mission is great and lofty. Opportunities are there and challenges are daunting as well. We would always start on a reform effort with keen awareness of both China's real conditions and the advancement of globalization. For example, one of outstanding real conditions in China is that this is still a developing country and will remain so for a long time to come. With a population of 1.3 billion, China's per capita GDP amounted to only $4400 in 2010, ranking as low as around the 100th place in the world. There are as many as 150 million Chinese peoples living under the extreme poverty line according to the UN living standard of $1.25 per person per day. Unbalance in our development is still acute between the urban and rural areas and among different regions. Sustainable economic growth is increasingly constrained by resources shortage and environmental restraints. Private sector is to be further encouraged and medium-small enterprise calls for more support. The edge and strength of our science and technology need to be enhanced. The social security system must be improved. After 2008 financial crisis, the world economy growth has been sluggish. Global governess and economic restructuring face many challenges. In short, China stands in a critical time and in a new transition too.
In this new transition, our reform and opening-up strategy will not change. Our peaceful foreign policy with growing participation based on equality will not change. Our cooperation based on mutual benefit with the rest of the world will not change. But efforts will be made to alter our mode of national development to a more domestic and innovation driven one. With it I believe China will encourage more international exchanges and cooperation while working more extensively with partners and friends in maintaining world peace and promoting common prosperity.
In this new transition, China will certainly continue with reform while doing more to keep our economy open, steady and growing. This year is a critical year in our full implementation of China's 12th Five-Year Plan. China's economy is to grow in 2012 by around 7.5%, create about nine million new jobs, push further the economic restructuring, stimulate domestic demand, foster innovation capability, improve energy saving and environmental quality and increase input in service and social programs. China will work tirelessly to achieve steady and robust economic growth, tame inflation, accelerate the economic development transformation, and put more resources to improve people's livelihood and enhance social harmony.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me speak briefly about China's foreign policy. The world has been undergoing many changes since the end of cold war and continued to evolve in a big way. Peace and development represent the main trend of the time. As multi-polarization keeps emerging, economic globalization and information industry are gathering momentum. Interdependence among countries is deepening. However, threats for world peace and security remain and sometimes are really getting big and serious calling for wide attention. World economic recovery is beset by rising instability and uncertainty. Regional hotspots keep flaring up. The world community should work together more strongly to actively seize opportunities and overcome challenges.
China cannot and will not develop itself in isolation. The more achievements China obtains in its modernization drive, the more contributions it will be enabled to make in safeguarding world peace and common development. China's standing in the foreign affairs is consistent and firm. We are determined to follow what we call the Path of Peace Development and uphold cooperative spirit in maintaining peace, promoting development or settling disputes. We attaches great importance in promoting friendly relations and expanding cooperation with all other nations on the basis of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference into each other's countries' internal affairs, equality, and mutual benefit as well as peaceful co-existence to meet various challenges through coordination and cooperation.
China will never seek hegemony, nor will it pursue any external military expansion. Power politics is not in our foreign policy dictionary. China has fulfilled all its international obligations and made positive contributions to world peace and stability. China is ready to join with countries across the globe to make village of mankind a better one in building a harmonious world of long-lasting peace and common prosperity. A prosperous, strong and stable China will never be a threat to anyone but will add as a big plus to the world peace, stability and development.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Sino-Jordanian and Sino-Arab relationship is strong and close. Over the past 35 years since the establishment of Sino-Jordan diplomatic relations in 1977, with the wise guidance by leaders of both sides, an ever growing momentum for our relations are maintained. There have been valuable and close dialogues between our top leaders and multi-level exchanges. Communication and coordination in the international and regional arena have been strengthened and the mutual political trust enhanced. With joint efforts, our bilateral trade has increased by seven times during 2001-2010. In 2011, Sino-Jordanian trade reached $2.78 billion in total, with a rise of 35.2% comparing to that of 2010. China has become the second largest trading partner and import source of Jordan. Our friendly bilateral exchanges and cooperation in cultural, educational, military and many other fields have been expanded dynamically.
We highly appreciate leadership and people of Jordan and Arab countries as a whole for unwaveringly supporting us in questions regarding China's core national interests such as that of Taiwan or those regarding our local autonomous regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. At the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Jordan, I am fully confident that by working together, Sino-Jordanian friendship will see further growth, our all-round mutual beneficial cooperation greater expansion.
Friendly relationship between China and Arab states is also fast growing to the benefits of both sides. This friendship goes back thousands of years with legendary Silk Road laid out as early as our Han Dynasty before Roman time. The western Asia and northern Africa region today is undergoing important transformation with deep historic significance, bringing out important challenges and impact as well as new opportunities. In spite of all those changes, over the past ten years, Sino-Arab trade has grown at over 30% per annum. In 2011, bilateral trade reached $195.9 billion, up by 34.7%. The Arab states are now China's seventh largest trading partner. In spite of all that, we have not got our full potential well-tapped. The share of China's trade with the Arab world only occupies 5.4% of our total foreign trade. Mutual investment is even less. Opportunities are there, and we should try hard to seize them. Our political relations have also developed smoothly with close top-level dialogues and expanding exchanges at all levels and in growing fields. China-Arab States Cooperation Forum has been serving as a very good platform for both sides to promote and explore our cooperation for future.
As friend of the Arab people as well as the Syrian people, we admire and respect all regional countries in their relentless efforts for realizing national or regional unity, peace, stability and security, pushing for common development and social progress. Recently the leading official of Chinese foreign ministry made a 6-point statement of China's position for the political solution of the Syrian crisis. The core of the statement lies on urging all parties to enhance cooperation, immediately stop violence, work for political settlement and provide necessary humanitarian assistance while giving full respect for sovereignty and safeguarding the basic norms governing international relations. China's position on Syrian issue is in conformity with our principle in handling with all other international and regional issues. We are happy to see that the UN Security Council showed unity with a Chairman Statement on Syrian situation. We fully support UN-AL Joint Envoy Mr. Kofi Annan's peace endeavors. The Chinese government and people have always been with Arab people, as we did all these years in firmly supporting the just cause of the Palestinian and Arab people as a whole in realizing their national dreams for peace and development. We will continue to be so in this new era of fresh challenges and opportunities, ready to further strengthen our time-honored friendship and cooperation, make contributions to regional stability and prosperity, and actively work together with governments and people here for a common better future.
Thank you. Now questions please.