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Huge Opportunity and Wide Prospects for Cooperation Arising from China's Development Miracle
2021/03/25

It is my great pleasure to attend today's online seminar hosted by Ninety-One. Ninety-One is an internationally renowned asset management company with a strong reputation in the financial and investment sectors. I would like to thank Ninety-One for the kind invitation and I am glad to have the opportunity to meet with friends from the business community.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

To achieve the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the Communist Party of China has set two centenary goals :

The first is to build a moderately prosperous society by 2021, one hundred years after the founding of the Party.

The second is to build a strong, democratic, culturally-advanced, harmonious and beautiful modern socialist country by 2049, one hundred years after the founding of New China.

On that basis, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has proposed two stages for the second century goal:

In the first stage from 2020 to 2035, we will build on the foundation created by the moderately prosperous society with a further 15 years of hard work to see that socialist modernization is basically realized.

In the second stage from 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, we will, building on having basically achieved modernization, work hard for a further 15 years and develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.

Today’s China is at a historical stage where the timeframes of its two centenary goals converge.

China’s just-concluded Two Sessions, namely the National People's Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference agreed resolutions on the 14th Five-Year Plan and China’s Long-Range Goals Through 2035. These documents have drawn a comprehensive blueprint for the new journey of China's development. They have provided an action plan for China to start a new journey of fully building a modern socialist country and march toward realizing the second centenary goal. China is fully confident and capable of writing a new miracle of development and realizing the blueprint for future development.

China's economic development, poverty alleviation and green development have been closely followed by many. Under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, China has delivered a holistic performance in COVID-19 response and socioeconomic development.

Not long ago, President Xi Jinping attended a gathering on the accomplishments of poverty alleviation and delivered an important speech. Premier Li Keqiang delivered the report on the work of the government at the two sessions.

Both remarks elaborated on these issues. Today I would like to focus on the following information:

First, China has now become a leading force among global economies with a larger share and better quality, as well as the most important contributor to world economic growth. In 2020, under the impact of a once-in-a-century pandemic, China was the only country among major economies to secure positive growth, achieving a growth rate of 2.3 percent and a historic breakthrough beyond 100-trillion yuan, or around 15 trillion US dollars. China's share in the world economy rose to around 17 percent. We have been contributing more than 30 percent to global growth over the years. We continue to be a main engine driving world economic growth and bring unprecedented opportunities for world development.

Second, China has now entered a new stage of development. We work to implement a new development philosophy and foster a new development paradigm. We have embarked on a new journey to fully build a modern socialist country.

China’s Two Sessions held not long ago adopted a Draft Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan and the Long-Range Objectives through the year 2035. These two documents have thus become China’s national strategy. China has entered a new stage of development to pursue innovative, coordinated, green and open development for all, to foster a new development paradigm of domestic and international dual circulations for mutual benefit and further development and to promote high-quality development. This is as well a new journey for China to open up to the world at a higher level and further participate in global governance. Through the interaction between the international and domestic circulations, the scale and capacity of China's market will continue to expand, creating broader space for the world to enter the Chinese market and share in China’s opportunities.

Third, China will continue to promote its own development as well as reform and opening up, which will make a positive contribution to world recovery and growth.

The Chinese government has aimed to achieve more than 6 percent of GDP growth for China’s economy in 2021. And a number of research institutions have given higher forecasts. Objectively speaking, a target of over 6 percent of growth for China is still a high growth rate. It also speaks volumes to the Chinese government's commitment to improving economic structures and transforming development models, instead of focusing purely on growth. China is fully committed to reform and opening up. We pursue development with our doors wide open, and we continue to promote win-win cooperation and shared development with other countries. China has proposed the Belt and Road Initiative for International Cooperation. We have held the China International Import Expo for three years in a row. South African companies have also been signing record amounts of contracts at the Expos.

Fourth, China has achieved a complete victory in the people's war against poverty. We made a huge contribution to the global cause of poverty reduction. In the past 40 years, China has lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty through targeted efforts and measures in industries, science and technology, education, culture, health, mass consumption and education. In 2020, despite the impact of the pandemic and huge floods, China still completed the target task of poverty alleviation as scheduled, and nearly 100 million rural residents have been lifted out of poverty in the past eight years. We have achieved the poverty reduction targets of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule and delivered a miracle in mankind’s history of poverty reduction.

China’s success in poverty alleviation is not by accident, there are solid policies and measures as support:

First, we have always adhered to a people-centered development philosophy and firmly committed to common prosperity.

Second, we have always followed a strategy of targeted poverty alleviation worked to eradicate the root causes of poverty through development.

Third, we have always emphasized the readiness, initiative and creativity of the people themselves as the self-driven power of poverty eradication.

Fourth, we have always upheld the values of harmony, solidarity and mutual assistance to create a society-wide atmosphere to help people in need.

While achieving its own development, China has boosted the confidence of the developing countries, including African countries, to get rid of absolute poverty

We have also offered more experience and strength to help the international community address the issue of poverty.

Fifth, China has abandoned a development model of expansion extensive development. To promote green development and build a green economy have become the agreement and common goal of the whole society.

The theory of “Green is Gold” proposed by President Xi Jinping has become the consensus of the whole Chinese society.

China was the first developing country to make and implement a national program to address climate change. In June 2007, China declared our National Climate Change Program had since been steadily delivering on it. We took a series of measures to adjust industrial structure, improve energy structure, conserve energy and improve efficiency, actively adapt to climate change, build carbon markets, and increase forest carbon sink. These measures have achieved positive results. In 2020, China adopted an Energy Law and officially established a carbon emission trading market, proposing the a green, low-carbon and innovation-driven energy development strategy and a clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient energy system.

As the world's largest developing country, China is also willing to assume international responsibilities commensurate with our level of development and contribute to global environmental governance. We have effectively fulfilled our obligations under international agreements on climate change, biodiversity and other environment-related issues. We have hit the targets set for 2020 for tackling climate change and establishing protected areas ahead of schedule. To date, China has signed 39 climate change cooperation agreements with 35 developing countries. We arranged around 186 million US dollars to help developing countries improve capacity to address climate change and reduce its impact. Domestically, China will continue to scale up our nationally determined contributions and adopt more vigorous policies and measures. President Xi Jinping announced lately China's goal of peaking carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060. This demonstrates China's firm determination to accelerate green and low-carbon development and achieve high-quality development in line with the new development philosophy. It also represents China’s constructive participation in global climate governance, our readiness to fulfil responsibilities as a major country, and efforts to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The international community is closely following the direction of China's foreign policy. There are also intense debates on this matter. What I would like to share with you is that no matter how the international situation changes, China will always uphold our original aspiration of working for the happiness of the Chinese people and contributing to progress of mankind. We will as always hold high the banner of peace, development, and win-win cooperation, unswervingly pursue peaceful development. We will cooperate with other countries sincerely in a friendly manner, foster a new type of international relations, and continue to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. China has no intention to compete with other countries for hegemony. We never interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. We will never seek to export our systems and models, and still less will we work on any spheres of influence whatsover.

China's diplomacy will always serve the overall needs of national development.

We will contribute to fostering a new development paradigm, to achieving high-quality development, and to creating a favorable external environment for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

China’s diplomacy will always be committed to win-win cooperation.

We are ready to further expand, broaden and deepen efforts to open up, to share the dividends of opportunities with other countries, and work to achieve common development with all countries in the world, developing countries in particular.

China's diplomacy will always be committed to upholding fairness and justice.

As a country that has suffered humiliation in history, we have always upheld that countries big or small, strong or weak, should all be equal members of the international community

The big and strong should not just bully the small and weak. China opposes all forms of hegemony and power politics.

We are committed to fostering a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation.

I have learned that many of you follow China-US relations closely, including the High-Level Strategic Dialogue held last week. I do have a few points to share with you on this matter.

First, the responsibility for the escalation of tensions in China-US relations lies entirely with the US side.

In the past few years, the Trump administration has imposed across-the-board containment and suppression against China, including launching trade wars, tech war. They fabricate and use Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Tibet-related issues, the South China Sea, human rights and other issues to smear and attack China. This is gross interference in China's domestic affairs. However, they cannot but keep crossing the bottom line of the Chinese side again and again. As I said, the main root cause is the U.S. side's misperception and mispositioning of China. They are afraid that the development and rise of a socialist China will impact U.S. global hegemony and the international order centered on the west. The new Biden administration has on the one hand claimed to re-examine US China policy during the Trump era, but on the other hand still listed China as its "most serious competitor. The general tone of its policy of encirclement, containment, infiltration and subversion as well as smears and attacks against China remain unchanged. US policy and strategic goal of maintaining its hegemony has not changed, either.

Second, the United States’ relevant internal and external policies are so horrible that they do not have what it takes to point fingers at others.

Externally, the United States has long practiced hegemony and power politics. It is accustomed to being a condescending "world police" and preacher. The US has been using military force, economic and financial sanctions and other means at will to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and suppress those who disobey. This has brought disasters and great suffering to many countries and peoples.

On Syria, Libya and Zimbabwe, the armed intervention and international sanctions provoked by the U.S. side have brought the people of these countries nothing but sacrifice, displacement and hardship. On Iraq, the story of washing powder being used as a pretext for armed intervention is still being told everywhere. Internally, the massacres and the westward expansion of the U.S. have led to the death of 95% of the indigenous population. This is a well-known genocide in the world. To day, systemic discrimination against black people, police brutality, systemic incitement of hatred against Asians, gun crime, and school violence are all human rights issues that the United States must reflect upon in earnest. We in China believe that it is important to be correct before correcting others. If the United States wishes to be a true world leader, it should first of all look at itself and solve its own problems including on human rights and shoulder the leadership responsibility of a major country, instead of accusing other countries and interfering violently at every turn.

Third, China's policy on China-US relations has been consistent over the long term. That is we will on the one hand firmly safeguard our national sovereignty, security and development interests, and on the other hand ready to deal with China-US relations with principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.

China hopes that the U.S. side will move in the same direction as the Chinese side and move the relationship forward along a healthy and stable track. We hope that the two sides can effectively manage differences through candid communication, prevent strategic miscalculation, and avoid conflict and confrontation.From March 18 to 19, China and the U.S. held a high-level strategic dialogue. Although the two sides still have important differences, the dialogue was frank, constructive, timely and useful, and has helped the two sides deepen knowledge about the other side.

China and the U.S. have wide-ranging of common interests and there are many important areas for cooperation. The essence of this relationship is mutual benefit and win-win rather than a zero-sum game. Despite multiple impacts last year, China-US trade still exceeded 580 billion US dollars, up 8.8 percent year-over-year.China imported more than 130 billion US dollars from the US, up nearly 10 percent year-over-year. The US-China Business Council reported that 91 percent of U.S. companies surveyed said they remained profitable in the Chinese market last year. 87 percent said they would not leave China. On the three most urgent tasks of the international community, namely COVID-19 response, climate change, and world economic recovery, China and the United States need to and can cooperate for the greater benefit of our two peoples and the people of the world.

Both China and the United States are important partners of Africa. A China-US relationship that is back on track is in the common interest of African countries including South Africa.We hope that the US side will work with the Chinese side to support Africa in achieving lasting peace and independent sustainable development.

Ladies and Gentlemen

China and Africa have always been in community with a shared future. To strengthen friendship and cooperation is a long-term and firm strategic choice for both sides. I would like to share with you a few observations regarding China-Africa relations.

First, China and Africa have built a special and long-term friendship of jointly addressing difficulties across generations. China and African countries have all faced difficulties in our respective struggles for national independence and liberation. The similar historical grievances and common mission of anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism have tied the Chinese and African peoples together. In pursuing national development, the two sides cooperated with each other in solidarity and become good partners in win-win situation. Over the past decades, no matter how the international situation changes, China-Africa friendship has always been moving from strength to strength. Also in the 21st century, China-Africa relations have completed a triple jump from New Partnerships to New Strategic Partnerships and to Comprehensive Strategic Partnerships.

Second, China and Africa have all along deepened practical and win-win cooperation, which promoted and facilitated our common development.

China is the largest developing country and the African continent is home to the largest group of developing countries.The two sides are complementary to each other in resources, industries and complementary advantages. We have the same development philosophy and strong readiness to cooperate. There is great potential and space for cooperation. China is ready to grasp the opportunity of fostering a new development paradigm and the launch of AfcFTA to expand the import of high-quality African products and strengthen the supply chain and industrial chains linkages between both sides. We are also ready to promote the mutual facilitation of the Chinese and African circulation and jointly cultivate a large market of 2.7 billion people in China and Africa, so as to bring more tangible results for the Chinese and African peoples.

Third, China-Africa cooperation has become a leader in international cooperation with Africa.

It is fair to say that the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and its cooperation initiatives involving Africa have always been injecting vitality into China-Africa cooperation. Over the past 20 years since the Forum was established, China and Africa have jointly formulated and implemented the ten cooperation plans and eight major initiative. Through these measures, China has helped Africa build more than 6,000 kilometers of railroads, 6,000 kilometers of roads, nearly 20 ports and more than 80 large power facilities. China-Africa trade volume has increased by 20 times. China's direct investment in Africa has increased by 100 times. And the total number of sister cities between the two sides has reached 150 pairs. China-Africa cooperation has never been off-limits or exclusive. China supports Africa in having diversified partners. We are happy to see all parties in the international community including the United States and some western countries strengthen cooperation with Africa and fully deliver their commitments. What is crucial though is to abandon zero-sum game mentalities and take truly concrete actions and make due contributions to peace, stability, prosperity and development in Africa. China is ready to cooperate with other parties on three-party or multi-party cooperation under the principles of Africa-proposed, Africa-agreed and Africa-led and together make greater contributions to peace and development in Africa.

Fourthly, faced with the major test of COVID-19, China-Africa friendship has been taken to the next level.

President Xi Jinping and African leaders successfully held the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit On Solidarity Against COVID-19, further consolidating the traditional friendship between China and Africa. China has provided nearly 120 batches of PPEs for emergency use to Africa. We have sent medical experts to 15 countries to fight the virus. We have supplied and will continue to provide vaccines to 35 African countries and the African Union. The construction of the China-assisted headquarter of Africa CDC has officially kicked off, and 30 pairs of China-Africa hospital cooperation mechanisms are being advanced. China has signed or agreed on debt relief agreements with 16 African countries and waived interest-free loans due to 15 countries. Among G20 members, China has provided the largest debt relief package. China is ready to continue providing PPEs and share response experience with the African side according to its needs. We are also ready to further fulfill our commitment to making COVID-19 vaccines global public goods and are willing to cooperate with African countries in need to improve the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in Africa.

Fifth, China-Africa cooperation has great potential and promising prospects.

With the official launch of the AfcFTA, Africa has taken an important step in industrialization, modernization and diversified development. This year, a new round of FOCAC meeting will be held in Senegal. China is ready to take this meeting as an opportunity to further expand the areas of China-Africa cooperation. We are ready to add more shine to FOCAC, and work jointly to realize Healthy Africa, Made in Africa, and Connected Africa, Harvest Africa, Digital Africa, Green Africa Safe Africa and Talent Africa. We are ready to deepen practical cooperation with the African side in investment, trade, infrastructure for the manufacturing sector, among others. We are also ready to expand cooperation on "new engines" such as the digital economy, smart cities, clean energy and 5G so as to help Africa seize the opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

During the past six months since my arrival, South Africa has left a very good and deep impression on me.

South Africa is a large country and an important economy in the African region. It is also the only African member of G20 and BRICS with international influence. South Africa also has rich potential in development. It has superior geographical location and natural environment, well-developed infrastructure, mature financial and legal environment, rich mineral resources and a good climate. It has become an important destination and headquarter location for many foreign enterprises investing in Africa. However, in recent years, due to various internal and external factors especially COVID-19, South Africa has also faced difficulties and challenges in political, economic and social development.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China-South Africa relations have made a historic leap to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Since COVID-19 started, China and South Africa have been looking out for and helping each other, injecting strong positive energy into China-Africa and even global cooperation in fighting the virus. China has been South Africa's largest trading partner for 12 years in a row, and South Africa has been China's largest trading partner in Africa for 11 years in a row. Bilateral trade between China and South Africa now accounts for nearly one-fifth of the total trade between China and Africa. With COVID-19, the total trade volume between the two countries stood at 35.84 billion US dollars in 2020. This number has declined a bit, but China-South Africa trade volume’s share in South Africa’s total foreign trade grew against the trend, which highlights the resilience of the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. South Africa is the largest investment destination for Chinese enterprises in Africa and a center for Chinese enterprises headquarters in Africa. Chinese enterprises, including Hisense, Huawei, FAW, BAIC, Longyuan Power, ICBC and others, have invested and financed a total of more than 25 billion US dollars in South Africa, creating 400,000 local jobs. Since the first South African Investment Conference in 2018, Chinese companies have invested another nearly 18 billion rand.

China Longyuan Power South Africa invested 2 billion rand to build a wind power project with a capacity of 244,500 kilowatts in Northern Cape. This is China's first wind power project in Africa that integrates investment, construction and operation. Since the project went up and running in 2017, it has been supplying about 760 million kilowatts of clean electricity annually to the community. This is equivalent to saving 215,800 tons of standard coal and reducing 619,900 tons of CO2 emissions, which has fully met the electricity demand of 300,000 local families. The power project has effective optimized the local energy mix and promoted clean and low-carbon development.

Huawei is South Africa's major telecom infrastructure partner. It maintains close cooperation with all major operators in South Africa. Huawei is very much committed to localization. Local employees in Huawei South Africa account for close to 60 percent of all its employees. The company has been recognized as a top employer in South Africa for many years. Looking ahead, Huawei plans to recruit 500 new local employees in the next five years and train more than 10,000 ICT talents in South Africa. In early November last year, the Huawei-RAIN-Wits University 5G Lab was officially launched, which will help promote 5G roll-out, 5G application and the integration of industry, academia and research on 5G in South Africa.

This year marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China as well as the first year of China's new journey of fully building a modern socialist country. It is also the opening year of South Africa’s Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan. Looking ahead, it would be useful for the two sides strengthen cooperation in the following five areas:

First, deepen cooperation on COVID-19 and vaccines.

China will continue to provide PPEs to the South African side and share response experience. Vaccines are the most crucial resources in fighting against COVID-19. China attaches great importance to South Africa’s demand and is willing to fulfill the commitment to make COVID-19 vaccines global public goods. We will giving priority to supplying Chinese vaccines to the South African side. The cooperation between the two sides has made positive progress. We are ready to provide vaccines to the South African side as long as there is a need and an approval by the regulatory authorities here, so as to benefit the South African people at an early date.

Second, strengthen cooperation in poverty alleviation and reduction.

China is ready to continue to strengthen the exchange of experience in poverty eradication and poverty reduction with the South African side. In particular, we are ready to help formulate targeted poverty alleviation strategies and ensure that resources are effectively used for poverty alleviation individuals and areas. China is also willing to take stronger actions to support South Africa in overcoming COVID-19 and other difficulties, so as to better deliver post-COVID economic recovery and sustainable development. These efforts at sharing not only resources but self-sufficient means to get rid of poverty for the poor will help lay a solid foundation for poverty eradication.

Third, strengthen green development and green economy cooperation.

With the implementation of the Paris Agreement, China-South Africa has broad prospects for cooperation in renewable energy. Looking ahead, China and South Africa can strengthen cooperation in clean and renewable energy, high standard green quality projects, training on building climate change response capacity, and low-carbon demonstration zones. We will encourage more Chinese enterprises to join hands with South Africa to achieve green and sustainable development, actively participate in global climate change governance and jointly build a green development community.

Fourth, we will take the new FOCAC meeting as an opportunity to further expand areas of China-South Africa cooperation.

China is ready to encourage competent and technologically advanced Chinese enterprises to actively participate in South Africa's infrastructure development and explore cooperation in industrial parks, special economic zones and regional development models. We are ready to help South Africa achieve renewal and upgrading in the infrastructure sector and actively help South Africa turn its resource advantages into development advantages as soon as possible. China is also ready to explore cooperation between the two sides in manufacturing, finance, digital economy, human resources training and other fields to help boost South Africa's economic and social development.

Fifth, strengthen trade and investment cooperation.

China supports South Africa in further expanding exports to China including quality agro-products. China International Import Expo is the world's only national expo focused on imports only. As one of the important initiatives of China to open its market to the world, the Expo has become an important platform for global producers and exporters to explore the Chinese market. The Expo has been playing an increasingly prominent role in promoting international procurement and investment in China. Since the first Import Expo was held in 2018, the total intended turnover of the three fairs has exceeded 200 billion US dollars. Last year at the third CIIE, South African enterprises actively participated and vigorously promoted South African beef, wine, Rooibos tea and other high-quality agro-products, with an intended turnover of 210 million US dollars. We welcome South African enterprises’ active participation in the 4th China International Import Expo including yourselves. China is also ready to encourage more competent Chinese enterprises to participate in the fourth South African Investment Conference and make practical moves to support the South African government in expanding investment and creating jobs.

As an old Chinese proverb says, only those who make efforts would achieve, and only those who are on the move will be where they want to be. My friends, many of you that are with us today are elites in the business community. You are the promoters on the ground for China-South Africa friendship and cooperation. I hope the South African business community will look to the future, seize the opportunities, forge ahead with new ideas, seek win-win cooperation and make greater contribution to further cooperation between China and South Africa. The Chinese Embassy in South Africa is also ready to serve as a bridge for the exchanges between business communities on both sides. Last but not least, I thank Ninety-One once again for this invitation.

I Thank you all!

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