Yearender: Asia-Pacific leads global recovery amid disruptions in 2023

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 26, 2023
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by Xinhua writer Lin Hao

BANGKOK, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- The year 2023 saw the Asia-Pacific region leading global recovery with strengthening multilateralism and strong momentum despite disruptive factors.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) delivered increasingly prominent dividends and the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation has entered a new phase. As the second-largest economy in the world, China has played its part in its sound development and strong commitment to regional cooperation to usher the Asia-Pacific into another "golden 30 years."


In the past three decades, development in Asia-Pacific has embarked on a fast track of growth, turning the region into a powerhouse for world economic growth, an anchor of stability for global development, and a pacesetter for international cooperation. Per capita income in Asia-Pacific has more than quadrupled, and 1 billion people have been lifted out of poverty. This is an important contribution to human progress and global sustainable development.

The trend continued in the past year as Asia-Pacific supported global recovery with its strong momentum. In its Regional Economic Outlook released in October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the Asia-Pacific region remains a key driver of global growth in 2023, despite headwinds from changing global goods and service demand and tighter monetary policies. The region is expected to grow by 4.6 percent in 2023, up from 3.9 percent in 2022, the IMF said.

Openness, inclusiveness and common development were still the mainstream themes for Asia-Pacific in 2023. The RCEP has been in effect for all its 15 members since June. The world's largest free trade pact will eliminate 90 percent of the tariffs on goods traded among its signatories, providing another boost for economic growth in Asia-Pacific by further liberalizing and facilitating trade and investment. Meanwhile, negotiations for Version 3.0 of the Free Trade Area (FTA) between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) began at the beginning of the year and is expected to facilitate growth in ASEAN and regional economic integration.

One of the key indicators of the economic recovery in the Asia-Pacific region is the speedy resumption of people-to-people exchanges. Chinese local governments and businesses actively ventured abroad to attract investment and conduct business negotiations, while investors and companies in the region returned to China to seek opportunities.

The warm welcome received by Chinese tourists in countries like Thailand left a heartwarming snapshot for the year. The launch of the international passenger service of the China-Laos Railway has further driven economic and trade cooperation as well as cultural exchanges among countries within the region. The resumption of on-site exhibitions at the China International Import Expo and the return of overseas exhibitors at the China-ASEAN Expo have accelerated the regional economic recovery.

"Asia-Pacific is the most dynamic region in the global economy ... the region has carried over two-thirds of global growth this year. And this will continue," Thomas Helbling, deputy director of the IMF's Asia and Pacific Department, told Xinhua in an interview. "We expect China and the region to remain the most dynamic region, to contribute importantly to global growth."


The world has entered a new period of turbulence and change. The momentum of world economic growth is sluggish. Destabilizing, uncertain and unpredictable factors are increasing.

External interference in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea continued to be destabilizing factors for the region, compounded by Japan's discharge of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated wastewater into the sea in disregard of strong opposition from the international community.

Furthermore, the attempts by some countries of "decoupling" and "small yard and high fence" strategy have destabilized the regional value chain and supply chain, bringing negative impact to the recovery of the world economy. The self-serving bloc politics like the Quad and NATO's spreading of its tentacles to the Asia-Pacific region are exceptionally alarming.

Against these backdrops, China and ASEAN have announced the start of the third reading of Single Draft Negotiating Text of the Code of Conduct (COC), and agreed to accelerate negotiations so as to reach at an early date an effective and substantive COC that is consistent with international law and build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

The story of Asia-Pacific prosperity and development has demonstrated time and time again that development is only possible with cooperation. Most countries in the region clearly understand what could be drawn from the remarkable journey of Asia-Pacific cooperation by having made it explicit that they do not wish to take sides or become pawns in great power rivalry.

Speaking at the opening of the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta in September, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said ASEAN is committed to not becoming a proxy for any power and is ready to cooperate with anyone for peace and prosperity.


The Asia-Pacific region has always been the most dynamic, promising and economically resilient region in the world. In the world today, changes on a scale unseen in a century are unfolding at an accelerating pace. The world economy faces multiple risks and challenges. The Asia-Pacific region, which is an engine of global growth, thus has greater responsibility in these times.

China has actively promoted cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and contributes to the region's development through its growth. The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been a cornerstone in fostering cooperation for regional development and common growth.

As 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the BRI, China hosted the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to take the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation into a new phase. Among the fruitful BRI cooperation, the China-Laos Railway has handled 24.2 million passenger trips and transported 29.1 million tons of cargo in two years since the operation started. The official inauguration of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway (HSR) brought the first HSR to Indonesia and Southeast Asia, injecting fresh impetus into regional development.

As the year also marked the 10th anniversary of China's principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness in neighborhood diplomacy, countries in the region have further consolidated consensus for cooperation, bringing more certainty and positive energy for peace, stability, and lasting prosperity to the Asia-Pacific region.

During the 18th East Asia Summit held in Jakarta, Indonesia on Sept. 6-7, China and ASEAN agreed to promote mutually beneficial cooperation between the BRI and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) as well as in areas like agriculture, e-commerce and innovation.

The 26th ASEAN Plus China, Japan, ROK Summit released the ASEAN Plus Three Leaders' Statement on Developing of an Electric Vehicle Ecosystem.

Addressing the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in November, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the APEC members to stick to innovation, openness, green and inclusive development in promoting regional cooperation and for the region to usher in another "golden 30 years."

"An ancient Chinese sage said, 'For a righteous cause, I shall press forward, undaunted by thousands standing in my way.' In the same spirit, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to APEC's founding mission. We must respond to the calls of our times responsibly and meet global challenges together. We must fully deliver on the Putrajaya Vision of building an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community for the prosperity of all our people and future generations," Xi said.

Development is the eternal theme of the Asia-Pacific region, and the year 2024 will be no exception. In the new year, Asia-Pacific needs to stay focused on development, deepen cooperation to make a larger cake of common interests and jointly uphold peace, stability, and prosperity in the region. Enditem

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