Zhang Chunxian's remarks at Silk Road seminar

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Remarks by Zhang Chunxian,
member of the Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee
and Party Secretary of CPC Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Committee
at the Opening Ceremony of the Silk Road Economic Belt International Seminar
(Urumqi, 26 June 2014)

Distinguished guests, experts and scholars, ladies and gentlemen,

Today, we are convening here in Urumqi, the Eurasian geographical center, to participate in the Silk Road Economic Belt Seminar. With this opportunity, I, on behalf of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Xinjiang people of all ethnic groups, would like to extend to you my warm welcome for your presence at the event.

Last September, President Xi Jinping, on his visit to the four countries in Central Asia, for the very first time proposed the strategic concept of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt. This very concept is not only in line with the spirit of the ancient Silk Road-featuring unity and mutual-trust, equality and mutual-benefit, inclusiveness and mutual-learning, and cooperation and win-win, but also conforms to the trend of the times which promotes peace, development, cooperation, and all-win. The Silk Road Economic Belt cuts across 18 countries in Asia and Europe, with its reach covering 40 countries and a population about 3 billion, posing great significance in the world's economy and politics. The Seminar, themed "Silk Road Economic Belt – An Opportunity to Work, Share, Prosper and Succeed Together" surely will play an important role in promoting communication, cooperation and exchange among countries and regions along the Belt.

Xinjiang-a bridgehead of China's opening up to the west- is crucially positioned to have important roles to play on the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Xinjiang is the heartland of Eurasia. Situated in the middle of the Eurasia, Xinjiang connects two giant markets – domestic and international, with each of a population of 1.3 billion. Xinjiang spans a land size of 1.66 million square kilometers, accounting for one sixth of China's total, and borders eight countries, with boundaries extending 5700 kilometers, making it one which has the largest land size, longest borderlines, and the greatest number of neighboring countries. Boasting 17 (state A class) land ports, Xinjiang has roughly established all-dimensional opening-up patterns to both domestic and international markets, along border areas, the Eurasian Continental bridge, and transport trunk lines.

 Xinjiang is the place where four civilizations meet and mingle. Xinjiang is a place where multi-cultures of oriental and occidental convene and interact-ancient Chinese civilization, Indian civilization, Persian civilization, and Greek civilization converging here, making it a museum that preserves and displays cultural diversity. Xinjiang has been home to multi-ethnicities: 47 ethnic groups coexist in Xinjiang, 13 of which are native ones. The ethnic minorities constitute 60% of the total 22 million people in Xinjiang. Xinjiang and the neighboring countries have much in common or similar in terms of language and customs, long history of traditional friendship, and enjoy broad cultural recognition and approval.

Xinjiang has rich endowment of resources. It boosts a relatively complete spectrum of mineral resources with sizable reserves, with oil and natural gas respectively accounting for 30% and 34% of China' s total onshore reserves, and coal making up 40% of the national reserves. Xinjiang is ranked top in terms of usable solar and wind power, and is a very important energy base in China. Xinjiang, a key passage on ancient Silk Road, is a place of beauty and grandeur, and the tourist resources in Xinjiang are unique and diverse, with every piece of its land beaming with miraculousness, naturalness, or rich culture and history. Thank to its quality land and water and abundant sunshine, Xinjiang has been enjoying prestige across China as a place producing premium fruits and melons. Xinjiang is also the biggest cotton-producing base and an important base of natural pastures in China.

Xinjiang is in its prime period for development. Thanks to the great support of central authorities, Xinjiang, in recent years, has established a big batch of infrastructure and projects of fundamental industries that concern the overall situation and long-term development, and entered a period of fastest ever economic and social development. For 2013, Xinjiang's GDP increased 11.1% (per capita $ 6,174 US), public fiscal revenues up 24.2%, and the overall fixed asset investment up 30.2% on-year. The disposable income for urban residents grew 10.9%, net income for rural people 14.1% on-year. The electricity output rose 38.2%, the outstanding loan and tourism revenue respectively registered 24.3% and 16.9% increase on-year. By the end of this year on-year, the 2nd Lanzhou-Xinjiang railway, in parallel to the existing one, will open to traffic, and, with high-speed train making its way into Xinjiang, the travel time by train will be reduced manifold, and cargo transport capabilities are expected to be doubled, posing emerging opportunities for the economic development in Xinjiang.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In last late May, the Central CPC Committee held a 2nd conference on Xinjiang, and explicitly proposed to, by centering on the general objective of ensuring social stability and lasting peace, build Xinjiang into a civilized and progressive society of unity and harmony, and prosperity and affluence, where people enjoy a well-off, contented and stable life, through law-based governance, and unfailing hard work to stabilizing and developing Xinjiang. A week ago, Xinjiang came up with a comprehensive arrangement for putting in effect the spirit of the 2nd central work conference on Xinjiang. To accelerate Xinjiang's opening up and build Xinjiang into a core zone on Silk Road Economic Belt, stressed central authorities stressed, anticipate historic development opportunities for Xinjiang. We will make full use of the geographical and cultural advantages of Xinjiang to strengthen the intensity of Xinjiang's all-dimensional opening up, playing our leading and major role in the construction of Silk Road Economic Belt.

First, to build Xinjiang into a regional transport hub. We will actively improve the connectivity with neighboring countries and regions, through the improvement of three major corridors- transport links with Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia (north lines), with Kazakhstan (middle line), and with Pakistan and Tajikistan (the south line), and development of a transport system that connects China with central, western and southern Asia, as well as Europe and Africa.

Second, to build Xinjiang into a regional center of commerce, trade and logistics. We will speed up infrastructure construction concerning commerce, trade and logistics, and information connectivity. We will construct and develop modern networks of commerce, trade and logistics linking up domestic and international markets, through unleashing of our communication and transport edge.

Third, to build Xinjiang into a regional financial center. We will keep improving the financial service system, and push forward financial innovation. We are to put in place multi-tied financial market and all-dimensional, diverse financial service system, to better serve the facilitation of trade and investment.

Fourth, to build Xinjiang into a regional cultural and education center. We will give full play to the cultural diversity in Xinjiang, and deepen across-the-board cooperation and exchange between Xinjiang and the countries along the Belt, with science and technology, education, culture, and tourism as key areas to tap into.

Fifth, to build Xinjiang into a regional health and medical center. We will make good use of Xinjiang's geographical and its competitive medical and health resources to strengthen and broaden our medical cooperation and exchange with neighboring countries. We are to establish cooperative mechanisms and expand service scope, and actively develop health and wellness service industry, and medical tourism.

Sixth, the construction of three bases and one corridor. Based on the energy and resources advantages we have, we will quicken the building of national base for large-scale oil and gas production and storage, the base for coal production, thermal power generation and coal chemical industry, and wind power generation base, and national energy and resources corridor in Xinjiang. We will play an active role in taking over industries to be transferred, and constructing exporting manufacturing base for neighboring markets and beyond.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have a saying from Uygur ethnic group in Xinjiang which goes "merchants and camel caravans are in each other's company, and scholars and wisdom are side by side." You are all well-established experts or scholars from various countries, and expected to conduct depth discussions, based on the objectives of policy communication, road connectivity, trade flow, currency circulation, and people-to-people exchange, on how to strengthen bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation in economy and trade, science and technology, and culture, and the feasibility of establishing cooperative mechanisms and platforms, thus contributing your wisdom to the building of the Silk Road Economic Belt-an opportunity we can work, share, prosper and succeed together.

The thousands-year old Silk Road carries our memories of unfailing friendship, and the energizing Silk Road Economic Belt holds our common pursuit and dream. I believe, through the joint effort of governments and peoples of all counties, the road ahead of us leads to broad horizons, as we march forward hand in hand.

To conclude, wish the seminar a full success. And thank you all!

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