Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the plenary session of the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) held in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 7, 2019. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)
Chinese President Xi Jinping here on Friday called for joint efforts in forging ahead with sustainable development and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Xi made the remarks in his address to the plenary session of the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), which was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Facing the world's profound changes unseen in a century, said Xi, China stands ready to make joint efforts with the international community to create an open and pluralistic world economy, a happy society that is inclusive and benefits all, and a beautiful homeland with harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature, and explore a new path of sustainable development.
Noting that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, Xi said China, as the world's largest developing country and a responsible major country, has been unswervingly fulfilling its commitment to sustainable development and attached great importance to enhancing global cooperation on sustainable development.
The Chinese president recalled that he put forward the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 to realize win-win cooperation and common development among countries, adding that the initiative, highly compatible with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in terms of goals, principles and implementation approaches, has received positive response and support from the international community.
At the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which was successfully held in April in Beijing, all participating sides agreed to forge ahead with high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road along a green, low-carbon and sustainable development path.
Calling Russia China's priority cooperation partner in all areas, Xi said jointly building the Belt and Road shares a similar philosophy with the Greater Eurasian Partnership proposed by Putin, adding that the two initiatives can support each other, facilitate each other and advance together to forcefully promote regional economic integration and realize common sustainable development.
Sustainable development answers to the common calls of most countries in the world, Xi said, laying out three areas where China and the rest of the world can work together in exploring a new path of sustainable development.
Firstly, we should stick to the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and work together to create an open and pluralistic world economy, said Xi.
China will continue to expand opening-up, relax market entry rules and nurture a market environment featuring fair competition, he said.
China will push ahead the process of economic globalization, uphold the multilateral trade system, endeavor to solve the imbalance and inequality in global economic development, and create more opportunities for developing countries, he said.
China, he added, is willing to share with the rest of the world its latest research and development results including the 5G technology so as to jointly cultivate new core competitiveness.
Secondly, we should stick to the practice of putting people first, and strive to build a happy society that is inclusive and benefits all, said the Chinese president.
China will continue to push ahead its targeted poverty alleviation efforts, increase employment, support vocational education and healthy development of volunteer services and charity work, and protect the legitimate rights of disadvantaged groups, Xi said.
China, he added, is willing to boost communication and cooperation with other countries in such areas as poverty reduction and social security, in order to bring a greater sense of achievement, happiness and security to all peoples.
Thirdly, we should stick to the pursuit of green development, and try to build a beautiful homeland with harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature, Xi said.
China will uphold the concept that clear waters and green mountains are as valuable as mountains of gold and silver, strive to win the battles against air, water and soil pollution, encourage the development of green industries and renewable energy, and promote economical use and recycling of resources, Xi said.
China, he added, will join hands with other parties to address urgent issues like climate change and biodiversity protection, and implement global consensuses such as the Paris Agreement.
Stressing that peace and development remain the theme of today's world, where the destinies of different peoples are unprecedentedly interwoven and the interests of different countries are unprecedentedly integrated, Xi noted that meanwhile the world is facing increasing new issues and challenges.
Unprecedented inadaptation and asymmetry are emerging between the global governance system and the changes of the international situation, as emerging-market economies and developing countries are rising at an unprecedentedly high speed, and the new round of technological and industrial revolution is leading to unprecedentedly fierce competition, said the Chinese president.
As the world is standing at a crossroads of history again, pooling wisdom and efforts of everyone to cooperate and achieve win-win outcomes is the right choice to address changes in the world, Xi said, highlighting sustainable development as the "golden key" to solving global problems.
Xi said China stands ready to make concerted efforts with all other parties to uphold the concept of sustainable development, shoulder the responsibility of building a community with a shared future for mankind, advocate multilateralism, and improve global governance, so as to promote long-lasting peace in the global village and create a more prosperous and beautiful world.
Xi arrived in St. Petersburg on Thursday to attend the SPIEF for the first time. The Chinese president held talks with Putin in Moscow on Wednesday.
Addressing the forum, Putin said that there have been worrying developments in the world. Since the international financial crisis in 2008, he noted, the structural problems of the world economy have not been fundamentally resolved, and the effectiveness of international trade as an endogenous driving force for world economic growth has declined, giving rise to protectionism.
In face of the rapid development of emerging markets and their growing influence in world economy, some Western countries have resorted to unfair means to suppress them, including provoking trade wars, exercising financial hegemony, imposing unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction, and blocking normal educational and academic exchanges, he said, citing certain Western countries' suppression of Chinese company Huawei as an example.
Putin stressed that there is no development model that works universally and each country is entitled to choose its own development path. He added that no country has right to impose its own will on others and an unequal international order is neither stable nor sustainable.
He called for efforts to seek a new international order on the basis of international consensus, with real respect for the United Nations' core role in international affairs, and full consideration of the development rights and interests of developing countries. He pledged Russia's willingness to work with the international community to cope with the common challenges.
Other leaders attending the forum agreed that globalization is an irreversible trend of the times and countries need to work together to address various problems and challenges facing humanity.
They said that China has become an important force in safeguarding multilateralism, international rules and free trade, and that nations must resolutely oppose unilateralism, and safeguard multilateralism, the multipolarization process and the United Nations' authority and role.
The leaders also agreed that all countries should have more dialogues, improve global governance, deepen pragmatic cooperation, and strengthen the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and their respective development strategies and such regional cooperation mechanisms as the Eurasian Economic Union.
They called for concerted efforts to fully implement the United Nations' 2030 sustainable development agenda, actively explore a green, low-carbon, and sustainable development path, eliminate the digital divide, and promote the economic globalization towards more balanced, inclusive, fair and sustainable development, so as to preserve international security and world harmony.
In an interactive session, Xi also answered questions concerning anti-globalization, jointly building the Belt and Road, and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Globalization is a historical trend, and China is one of the most determined champions and defenders of globalization, Xi said, noting that the few anti-globalization movements that have emerged in the world cannot stop the tide of globalization.
We should not fear problems in globalization, Xi said, adding that in face of these problems, countries should not resort to protectionism and unilateralism, nor should they adopt a selfish beggar-thy-neighbour approach.
Pointing out that the problems arising in globalization reflect the sluggishness of global governance, he suggested that to solve these problems, we must stick to opening up and firmly uphold the multilateral trading system, and that instead of starting something entirely new, we should improve the existing international system.
On the basis of fairness and equality, we should enhance the representation and voice of emerging-market countries and developing countries in multilateral institutions to make the governance structure and benefit distribution more balanced and reasonable, Xi said.
He urged countries to show mutual respect to each other, respect other countries' social systems and development paths, strengthen communication and coordination, and properly solve disputes.
China is committed to being a builder of the international community, not a destroyer, and being a bridge-builder rather than a trench-digger, Xi stressed.
Meanwhile, China is committed to expanding the circle of friends, Xi said, adding that China and Russia are comprehensive strategic partners of coordination and that China has also become a partner with Asian, European Union, African, Latin American and South Pacific countries.
There are frequent exchanges between China and the United States, and the interests of the two countries are intertwined, he said, adding that the so-called decoupling is hard to imagine and it is also not something all communities in the United States want to see.
In the past nearly six years, the initiative of jointly building the Belt and Road has won positive response and support from across the world, and the scope of the participants has far exceeded that of the Belt and Road countries in history, fully demonstrating that this initiative has strong cohesiveness and is not China's wishful thinking, Xi said.
The Belt and Road Initiative stresses the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits and is by no means a contemporary Marshall Plan as some people have claimed, he said.
Neither is the initiative a so-called Chinese colonial plan, Xi said, pointing out that China has no history of colonizing other countries.
On the Korean Peninsula issue, Xi urged the international community to continue encouraging the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the United States to build mutual trust through dialogue, address each other's concerns, and jointly seek an appropriate settlement. China, he added, will continue to work actively to promote peace talks and safeguard the peace and stability on the peninsula.
In the interactive session, Putin praised again the friendship and close coordination and cooperation between Russia and China.
He said that as strategic partners, the two countries are committed to advancing bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect and equality, and enjoy broad prospects for their mutually beneficial cooperation, as well as productive coordination in international affairs.
The Belt and Road Initiative, which was proposed by Xi, brings opportunities to all countries, and China has never tried to impose it on others when promoting it, Putin said.
Other leaders present also expressed willingness to actively participate in Belt and Road cooperation, saying that some countries' worries about the initiative are unnecessary.