Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang delivered a keynote speech at the opening plenary of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2012 Monday in Boao in south China's Hainan Province.
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (L) gives a keynote speech during the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2012 in Boao, south China's Hainan Province, April 2, 2012. [Xinhua]
Asia: Coming together for Sound and Sustainable Development
Speech by H.E. Li Keqiang
Vice Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China
At the Opening Plenary of the Boao Forum for Asia
Annual Conference 2012
Boao, China, 2 April 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to join friends from the world at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2012. More than a decade ago, Boao was still a small fishing village little known to the outside world. Today, it has become a major platform for people to compare notes on issues important to Asia's development. Boao has grown through the opening-up and development of Asia and China, its opening-up and changes have reflected how deeply connected China and Asia, Asia and the world have become. This gathering gives all of us a good opportunity to look at our world and learn from each other. The Boao Forum is an open and inclusive platform, based in Asia yet with a global perspective. This year's theme "Asia in the Changing World: Moving Toward Sound and Sustainable Development" is a highly relevant one. On behalf of the Chinese government, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations on the opening of the conference and our sincere welcome to all the participants coming from afar.
As the world sets its eyes on Asia, Asia is also looking at the world. Right now, profound and complex adjustment and changes are taking place around the globe. Although the world economy has shown signs of recovery and growth outlook in some countries gives reasons for optimism, the underlying impacts of the international financial crisis are still with us. The sovereign debt crisis in Europe persists. Achieving a full global recovery will remain a long and arduous process. At the same time, a new round of technological progress and industrial innovation is in the offing, as worldwide economic restructuring is picking up speed, economic globalization and regional integration moving forward despite twists and turns, adjustment in international political and economic order going into greater depth and the emerging economies playing even greater roles.
This Forum came into being in the wake of the Asian financial crisis. In the past decade and more, Asian countries have acquired greater resilience in dealing with risks and endeavored to promote sound economic development through adjustment and reform. In the current international financial crisis, Asian economy has been the first to recover and displayed solid fundamentals. Asia now accounts for over 30 percent of global GDP. Asia's contribution to global growth also surpasses 30 percent. This region hosts more emerging economies than any other part of the world, and its late-development advantages and development potential have become more evident.
Admittedly though, the overall level of development in many Asian countries is still quite low. There are significant development gaps between different Asian countries. Resource and environmental constraints are worsening. Regional security and stability face challenges. The road towards development will not be all smooth and there will be plenty of growing pains. Meanwhile, some countries and regions must still come to grips with such problems as economic slowdown, rising prices and mounting employment pressure. These issues all call for serious attention.
We know that in Asia's development, opportunities and challenges and hopes and difficulties exist side by side. We also know that opportunities and hopes outweigh challenges and difficulties. History recalls that Asia was the cradle of several proud civilizations and the region where splendor was created profusely. In modern times, Asia has gone through trials and tribulations and worked relentlessly for development. Today, Asia is at a new starting point. The resilient and enterprising people in Asia are working together to embrace a new rise, thus bringing themselves to the world, to a better future and to modernity. In this changing world, China is ready to work with other Asian countries to jointly cope with challenges and overcome difficulties, so to push forward Asia's sound and sustainable development.
First, we should promote internal drivers of growth. Here lies Asia's unique advantage in achieving sound and sustainable development. It is also the new trend in the open economic development in Asia. Asia is home to around 45 percent of the world's population. Most Asian countries are developing countries. Development is uneven both inside individual countries and among them, which gives a huge potential in their markets of domestic demand. Asia also has the world's largest labor force and the largest pool of engineers and scientific researchers, enjoying a remarkable edge in human resources. While continuing to unleash its comparative advantages in global competition, it is important for Asia to explore and expand markets of domestic demand, and while maintaining measured investment growth and increased factors input, Asia should fully tap the potential of consumer spending, technological upgrading and improvement of labor skills. In so doing, Asia's economy will be able to achieve robust, sustainable and balanced growth.
Second, we should stay open and inclusive. Here lies the inevitable requirement for Asia's sound and sustainable development. The fast growth Asia has achieved in the past is due to its openness. Asia should stay open, both to the world and among its members. Open regionalism with mutual learning is crucial to the sustained development of Asia. Countries in Asia should enhance their mutual trust, draw on each other's strength, advocate inclusive growth, maintain communication and coordination on major international and regional issues, and get actively involved in addressing climate change, food, energy and resources security and other global challenges as well as adjustment and reform of the global governance structure and international financial system. At the same time, we welcome involvement of countries outside the region in Asia's development and a constructive role they play in this process, for this serves to promote Asia's prosperity, enhance deepened cooperation between emerging economies and developed ones and is conducive to the peace, stability and development of the world. One third of the guests to this year's forum come from European and American countries, which has reflected a more open Asia.
Third, we should go after mutual benefit and win-win result. Here lies the effective way for Asia's sound and sustainable development. In recent years, Asian countries have deepened their practical cooperation of various types through fruitful cooperation programs in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Northeast Asia and South Asia. Intra-Asian trade has accounted for over half of Asian countries' total foreign trade, allowing them to reap handsome dividends for development. Under the new circumstances, Asian countries need to further enhance their consultation and cooperation, promote trade liberalization and investment facilitation, oppose all forms of protectionism, upgrade the connectivity and networks of transport, communication and energy infrastructure, deepen regional and sub-regional cooperation, and work to promote common development between Asia and the rest of the world. Openness and cooperation benefits all and leads to win-win progress.
Fourth, we should advocate solidarity and harmony. Here lies the strong guarantee for Asia's sound and sustainable development. Given the Asian countries' differences in social system and development model and diversity in ethnic structure and cultural heritage, solidarity and mutual assistance in Asia is of particular importance. A peaceful, united and harmonious Asia requires that we continue working together like passengers traveling in the same boat and make concerted efforts to respond to the impact of financial and economic crises, mitigate major natural disasters and address development bottlenecks. We are also required to place greater importance on social equity and justice while pursuing economic development, give greater help to underdeveloped areas and distressed groups and ensure that people of all countries can share the fruits of development.
Fifth, we should stay committed to peaceful development. Here lies the vital cornerstone for Asia's sound and sustainable development. Asia's success in development is largely attributable to the overall peace and stability the region has enjoyed over the years. With ongoing economic globalization and the changing international system, Asia and the countries in the region should and must achieve their growth and prosperity through peace and cooperation. Countries will have their fundamental and long-term interests served if they view their relations with each other from a strategic perspective, seek common ground while reserving differences and seek the maximum convergence of interests. As long as the parties concerned proceed from the larger picture of friendly relations among Asian countries and the development of Asia as a whole, respect history, and abide by the basic norms governing international relations, we will be able to solve our problems through dialogue, consultation and peaceful negotiation, be it issues left over from history or differences and disputes of the day. It will be a blessing for both Asia and the world.