Towards Common Development and a Harmonious Asia —Speech by President Hu Jintao at the Opening Ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2011

First of all, I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, warm congratulations on the opening of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2011 and express a sincere welcome to all guests.

The BFA was launched 10 years ago through the concerted efforts of organizations and individuals from across Asia. It was an important symbol of the growing solidarity and desire for cooperation in Asia in the new situation. In the time since, the BFA has played an important role in building consensus in Asia, making Asia's voice heard and promoting Asian cooperation. It has become one of the highly influential economic forums in the world. The BFA owes its growth to the fast development of Asia; it is, at the same time, a witness and driver of this historical process.

In the past 10 years, Asia's economy has been in high gear and there was robust growth in regional cooperation. Asia's influence in the world has been rising steadily. The Asian economy was the first to recover from the international financial crisis and has become an important engine for world economic recovery and growth. Asia's development is not only changing the destiny of the Asian people, but also exerting a growing impact on the development of the world.

Reviewing the remarkable journey Asia has traveled, we can see there are strong reasons behind Asia's profound transformation and outstanding achievements amid a complicated and fluid international situation. Asia's development has benefited from a generally stable international and regional environment, the deepening economic globalization and regional cooperation and the good neighborly relations in the region. More importantly, it has benefited from the commitment of the Asian people to carry forward the fine tradition developed in their time-honored history while drawing upon the good experience of other regions.

The peoples of Asia have an unyielding spirit of seeking self-improvement. In their long history, they have created a colorful and brilliant civilization that remains the envy of the world. But, in the modern era, because of various internal and external factors, Asia experienced twists and turns in development. To change their destiny, the people of Asia have been forging ahead with an unyielding spirit and with hard work. Asia's development achievements today are the result of the persistent efforts of the industrious and talented Asian people.

The people of Asia have an innovative spirit of breaking new ground. It has been proven by both history and reality that economic and social development is not possible without a development path suited to realities on the ground. The people of Asia know full well there is no ready model or fixed path of development that applies to all countries in the world. The people of Asia never shy away from reform and innovation. They are committed to exploring and finding development paths in keeping with the trend of the times and their own conditions, and have opened up bright prospects for economic and social development.

The people of Asia have an open and inclusive spirit of learning from others. On a continent of rich diversity, the Asian civilization has progressed thanks to the interaction of different cultures. This provides an important cultural foundation for mutual learning and advancement of all Asians. By promoting their own fine cultural traditions and at the same time drawing extensively on the fine cultural achievements of other nations, the people of Asia have contributed to the common development of Asia and the world.

The people of Asia have a spirit of solidarity and of helping each other in difficult times. Asians belong to one family. In the past, the peoples of Asia stood shoulder-to- shoulder in the struggle to gain control of their own destinies. In recent years, they have worked hand-in-hand to cope with various challenges--from the Asian financial crisis to the international financial crisis, and from the Indian Ocean tsunami to the massive Wenchuan earthquake in China. As regional integration gathers momentum, the people of Asia have seen their destinies woven together closer than ever.

On March 11, Japan was struck by a massive earthquake and tsunami, and suffered enormous casualties and damage. The Chinese people and people across Asia share the pain of the Japanese people and have extended a helping hand to Japan. We have once again demonstrated to the world the Asian people's spirit of showing solidarity in difficult times. We are confident the Japanese people will overcome this disaster and rebuild their homeland.

In sum, these fine traditions are important reflections of the Asian spirit. They are the invaluable assets of the Asian people and should be cherished and carried forward. It is my firm belief that in building on these fine traditions, the people of Asia will score new achievements as they march forward and make new, bigger contributions to the noble cause of peace and development of mankind.

As the second decade of the 21st century dawns upon us, Asia is at a new starting point in its development. Today, Asia has a more prosperous economy, greater social progress, more confident people and broader prospects for development. But Asia also faces prominent structural problems in its economy, serious imbalances in development, intermittent regional hotspot issues and a multitude of traditional and non-traditional security challenges. As the trends toward multi-polarity and economic globalization deepen, the people of Asia have the major task of maintaining both development and stability. That is why the theme of this year's BFA annual conference--Inclusive Development: Common Agenda & New Challenges--is so relevant. The people of Asia have shared missions to promote common development and build a harmonious Asia. To this end, I would like to make these proposals:

First, we need to respect diversity of civilizations and promote good-neighborly relations. We should continue to respect each other's choices of development paths and efforts to promote economic and social development and improve people's lives. We need to translate the diversity of our region into a driving force for more dynamic exchanges and cooperation, increase mutual understanding and trust and take our cooperation to higher levels.

Second, we need to transform the development pattern and promote all-round development. We should transform the economic development pattern in keeping with global trends, restructure our economies, build capacity for scientific and technological innovation, and develop the green economy. We need to work for balanced development of the real economy and the financial sector, and of domestic and external demand. We need to focus on the speed and quality of development, and ensure both efficiency and equity. We need to integrate our effort to develop the economy with that to improve people's well-being, and achieve coordinated economic and social development.

Third, we need to share development opportunities and meet challenges together. We should intensify macroeconomic policy coordination, expand shared interests and work for the common development of all members of our region. Large countries should support small ones, rich countries should help poor ones and all countries should help each other so as to seize opportunities and tackle challenges together. In this way, all members of the region will reap development benefits and all Asians will lead better lives.

Fourth, we need to seek common ground while shelving differences and enhance common security. We should reject the Cold War mentality and zero-sum approach, and advocate a new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination. We need to accommodate each other's security concerns, demonstrate the utmost goodwill, wisdom and patience in settling differences through dialogue and consultation, and promote regional security cooperation so as to uphold peace and stability in our region.

Fifth, we need to promote mutual benefit and deepen regional cooperation. In strengthening regional cooperation mechanisms, we should follow the principles of consensus and incremental progress, respect the common wishes of all parties and encourage the coexistence of different mechanisms while harnessing their respective strengths. We should adhere to open regionalism and respect the presence and interests of countries outside the region in Asia. We welcome the active participation of all countries, including BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), in the cooperation process in Asia so that, together, we will make Asia more peaceful, stable and prosperous.

In the past 10 years, China's economy has enjoyed rapid and sustained growth. China's economic strength, comprehensive national strength and living standards have all reached new highs. China has undergone historic changes and made important contributions to economic growth in Asia and beyond. In these 10 years, China has deepened good-neighborly relations with Asian countries and participated extensively in regional cooperation. China has established various types of partnerships with almost all Asian countries and become the largest trading partner and export market of many Asian nations. In 2010, China's trade volume with Asian countries reached $931.6 billion. Benefiting 1.9 billion people, the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA) has become a model for FTA arrangements among developing countries. China's ties with Asia and the world have reached an unprecedented level in both breadth and depth, and China has played an important and constructive role in international and regional affairs. What has happened shows China cannot achieve development and prosperity without Asia and Asia needs China for development and prosperity.

China has made remarkable achievements in development, but it remains the largest developing country in the world. Population, resources and the environment have put great pressure on our economic and social development, and there is lack of adequate balance, coordination or sustainability in our development. China has a long way to go before it can achieve modernization and common prosperity for its entire people. Not long ago, China formulated and announced the outline of its 12th Five-Year Plan for economic and social development, which lists the main tasks for the next five years. We will adapt to changing situations at home and abroad, and meet the new expectations of our people of all ethnic groups for a better life. We will follow the path of scientific development and focus on speeding up the transformation of the economic development pattern. We will place greater emphasis on putting people first, promoting all-round, balanced and sustainable development, taking a holistic approach, and ensuring and improving people's well-being. By doing so, we hope to promote sustained, steady and fast economic growth as well as social harmony and stability, and lay a crucial foundation for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

The full implementation of the 12th Five-Year Plan is of great importance to China's endeavor of opening wider to the world and deepening mutually beneficial cooperation with countries in Asia and beyond.

In the next five years, China will make great efforts to implement the strategy of boosting domestic demand, especially consumer demand, and put in place an effective mechanism to unleash consumption potential. We will ensure consumption, investment and exports contribute to economic growth in a coordinated way. We will follow a more proactive opening-up strategy, explore new fields and scope for opening up, and broaden and deepen our shared interests with other parties. We will bring into play the vital role of imports in achieving macroeconomic balance and economic restructuring, and promote basic balance of our trade. This will provide important opportunities for countries in Asia and the rest of the world to increase exports to China.

In the next five years, China will make great efforts to pursue its strategy of "going global." We will encourage enterprises of different ownership structures to invest overseas in an orderly manner and carry out cooperation on projects that will improve local infrastructure and people's livelihoods. We will invest more in Asia and the emerging markets, and at the same time give greater economic assistance to developing countries in Asia.

In the next five years, China will make great efforts to participate in global economic governance and regional cooperation. We will push for the reform of the global economic and financial systems and the building of a balanced multilateral trade regime that benefits all. We oppose all forms of protectionism and will work for a more just and reasonable global economic order. We will take an active part in ASEAN plus China; ASEAN plus China, Japan and South Korea; the East Asia Summit and cooperation between China, Japan and the South Korea, and promote the steady development of the China-ASEAN FTA. We will step up cooperation with neighboring countries in infrastructural development, including transport, energy pipelines, information and communication technologies and power grids, so as to achieve better connectivity in the region. We will advance exchanges and cooperation with other Asian countries in tourism, culture and education and between the young people to deepen our mutual understanding and friendship.

In the next five years, China will make great efforts to build a resource-conserving and environmentally friendly society. We will further implement the basic state policy of resource conservation and environment protection, raise energy efficiency, cut the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions, develop a circular economy, promote wider application of low-carbon technologies, and actively respond to climate change. By doing so, we hope to balance economic and social development with population, resources and the environment, and embark on a path of sustainable development.

The Chinese people, who emerged from great vicissitudes in modern times, are keenly aware of the value of peace and the importance of development. China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development and the win-win strategy of opening up. We will always place Asia on top of our diplomatic agenda, stick to the policy of building good-neighborly relationships and partnerships with our neighbors, and take vigorous steps to advance our good-neighborliness and mutually beneficial cooperation with Asian countries and deepen mutual understanding and trust. We will remain committed to seeking peaceful solutions to disputes with neighbors over territory and maritime rights and interests through friendly negotiation. We will play a constructive role in resolving regional hotspot issues and take an active part in various forms of regional security dialogue and cooperation in order to preserve an environment conducive to peace and development in Asia. China will always be a good neighbor, good friend and good partner of other Asian countries.

To conclude, we have full confidence in the even brighter future of Asia. Let's work together to make it a reality.

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