From November 17 to 22, 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended three major multilateral events successively: the 12th BRICS Summit, the 27th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting, and the 15th G20 Leaders’ Summit, and delivered a series of important speeches. After the events, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi accepted the interview of the state media to introduce President Xi Jinping’s attendance of the meetings and explained a series of Xi’s major ideas and propositions as well as their important significance and influence.
Wang Yi said, after attending the high-level meetings to commemorate UN’s 75th anniversary, President Xi Jinping made another strong call for the times on the global multilateral stage and put forward China’s solutions to global challenges.
These three multilateral events were held as the world is coping with a pandemic of a century, a serious global economic recession and a series of turbulences and changes. Not long before, the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was held successfully and depicted a great blueprint for China’s development in the next stage. The international community is highly concerned about and full of expectations for President Xi’s attendance at the meetings.
Wang Yi said, President Xi, considering the changes of the world, the times and the history with broad international vision, confidence and deliberation, pointed out the historical positions of BRICS countries, the APEC and the G20 at a time of once-in-a-century changes, propelled the international community to coordinate COVID-19 control and prevention with economic and social development, cooperate to shape the post-pandemic international order, and strengthen global economic governance to establish a community with a shared future for mankind, and put forth 23 important initiatives, proposals and measures. President Xi also elaborated on the implications of China’s new development paradigm and sent a clear signal that China will pursue high-quality development while continuing to further open up to the outside world, injecting strong confidence and impetus into the international community.
Under the active involvement of China and joint efforts of all participants, the three meetings issued the Leaders’ Declaration, the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025 and APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 and other important documents, which have substantially embodied China’s stances and propositions, and have demonstrated Chinese wisdom and visions. The international community spoke highly of the achievements of the three meetings and generally believed that President Xi Jinping’s speeches and initiatives are committed to building consensus, boosting confidence and jointly promoting development, providing a solution for the world to shake off the current crisis and charting the course for reshaping the post-pandemic world.
1. Promoting solidarity and cooperation in fighting COVID-19
Wang Yi said, now, COVID-19 is still raging around the world and has infected more than 57 million people, which is posing a grave threat to the life safety and health of the people around the world. China took the lead in controlling the pandemic and attracted worldwide attention. President Xi Jinping held high the banner of building a global community of health for all and made a comprehensive and systematic explanation on China’s ideas and proposals for the global COVID-19 fight. First, President Xi called on all parties to uphold the concept of people-centered development and put people and life first. Second, President Xi stressed that solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons in fighting COVID-19. All countries should replace differences with solidarity, eliminate prejudice with rationality, and work together as soon as possible. Third, President Xi called on all parties to support the key leading role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the fight, strengthen joint prevention and control and telemedicine, share the experience of digital technology in fighting COVID-19 and recovering the economy, establish an international recognition mechanism for health codes, and jointly build a global firewall against the pandemic.
As for the vaccines highly concerned by the international community, President Xi reaffirmed that China will continue to actively support and participate in international cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines, materialize the COVAX facility backed by the WHO, share China’s vaccines with world countries, particularly developing countries, and work to make vaccines a global public good accessible and affordable to people around the world. President Xi also stated that China has set up a BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Center to advance collective vaccine research and trials, set up plants, authorize production and recognize each other’s standards among the five BRICS countries. He proposed to convene a BRICS symposium on traditional medicine to explore its role in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
President Xi’s above proposals and initiatives injected momentums in international cooperation on the COVID-19 fight, and boosted humanity’s confidence of triumphing over the pandemic, which is an obvious contrast to the acts of politicization and stigmatization. This once again fully demonstrated President Xi’s broad bosom for pursuing human health and world stability, fully embodied China’s determination to work with other countries to overcome the difficulty of the times and the pandemic, which was highly appreciated and applauded by all parties. The concept of building a global community of health for all proposed by China was widely welcomed by the international community.
2. Offering China’s solutions to facilitate the global economic recovery
Wang Yi said, affected by the pandemic, the world economy is at the brink of recession. The international trade and investment has shrunk considerably. The flow of goods and personnel has been impeded. The global industrial chain and supply chain were impacted too. The contradictions between fairness and efficiency, growth and distribution, technology and employment accumulated in the process of globalization are more prominent. The incidence of global extreme poverty this year will increase for the first time in 20 years. It’s a common issue for all countries about how to coordinate pandemic prevention and control with economic development, how to balance the three major tasks of fighting the pandemic, stabilizing the economy and ensuring people’s livelihood, and how to advance the global poverty alleviation. President Xi, referring to China’s successful efforts in coordinating pandemic prevention and control with economic and social development, and taking the lead in resuming work and production and reviving economic growth, put forward a package of solutions to facilitate the global economic recovery with four key words: openness, innovation, inclusiveness and green.
First, pursue open development. President Xi Jinping pointed out that the practice of using the pandemic to pursue “de-globalization” will only end up hurting one’s own interests and the common interests of all. The international community should stand firm for building an open world economy, uphold the multilateral trading system with the WTO as its core, and reject the abuse of the “national security” concept for protectionist purpose. We should adhere to the principle of “special and differential treatment” for developing countries, promote poverty alleviation and development through trade, and help developing countries better integrate into the global market. We should strengthen coordination on macroeconomic policy, unblock the development of the world economy, jointly implement the initiative on facilitating cross-border flow of people and goods, ensure the safety and smoothness of industrial and supply chains, promote the liberalization of trade in important medical supplies, reduce tariffs and barriers, and facilitate the economic recovery of each country as soon as possible.
Second, pursue innovative development. President Xi analyzed the historical trend of changes and development of science and technology in global production mode, and pointed out that innovation is the wing for economic soaring while digital economy is the direction of the future development. He called on all parties to actively grasp the opportunity to expedite new development momentum based on scientific and technological innovation and the digitalization and finally realize higher-quality and more resilient development. We should leverage digitalization to facilitate poverty alleviation, provide more digital channels to help vulnerable groups get out of poverty, and eliminate digital gap among different areas. President Xi stressed that, all parties should leverage the new business forms and models triggered by the pandemic, increase investment in the development of digital infrastructure, strengthen cooperation in scientific and technological innovation, and unleash the potential of the digital economy. As the consensus of the G20, this proposal was written into the Leaders’ Declaration for the first time, and was fully reflected in the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040.
Third, pursue inclusive development. President Xi Jinping emphasized, the international community should place the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the heart of international development cooperation and make poverty eradication a primary goal, so that more resources will be channeled to poverty reduction, education, health and infrastructure development, and the fruits of development will be shared by more developing countries. Comprehensive and balanced policy moves should be adopted to implement the G20 Emergency Response Packages to Facilitate the Recovery of Developing Countries from COVID-19, provide developing countries with necessary financing support and promote infrastructure and connectivity construction. President Xi Jinping also systematically introduced the actions taken by China to promote the world’s inclusive development and fully implement the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and the relevant outcomes, stressing that China will help developing countries pull through the difficulties with practical steps by further leveraging its own strengths, so that the development will benefit a wider group of people.
Fourth, pursue green development. President Xi Jinping said, global warming will not stop due to COVID-19. To tackle climate change, we must never relax our efforts. All parties need to implement the Paris Agreement in good faith, stick to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”, and provide more help to developing countries, particularly the small island developing states. COP26 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, both to be held next year, may serve as opportunities for building a clean and beautiful world where man and nature coexist in harmony. President Xi Jinping introduced the initiatives to be taken by China in further curtailing the production and use of non-essential, disposable plastic goods, banning illegal trade in wildlife and holding an international conference on food loss and waste, among others, and explicitly reiterated that China will keep its promise on scaling up its nationally determined contributions.
Wang Yi said, the above-mentioned China’s solutions offered by President Xi Jinping include not only initiatives calling for strengthened cooperation among nations but also concrete moves taken by China on its own. They are not only suffice to reflect China’s new requirements on high-quality development but also totally go with the advancement tide of the times, conform to the development direction of world economy and serve the interests of people in all countries, fully demonstrating that China, as a major power, shoulders its responsibilities of tapping the driving force of world economy, opening up space for international economic cooperation and creating welfare for people in all countries.
3. Spearheading the reform of global economic governance system
Wang Yi said, the sudden outbreak and spread of COVID-19 all over the globe has once again exposed the weaknesses and deficiencies of the global economic governance system. As a major forum for international economic cooperation, the G20 has achieved a success in tackling the 2008 international financial crisis and played an irreplaceable important role in global economic governance. For the moment, a key task for the G20 is how to step up coordination and forge a bigger synergy in light of global anti-pandemic needs to promote the strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth of the world economy. In this regard, President Xi Jinping expounded on China’s principled propositions on global economic governance at the G20 summit.
First, further define the guiding ideas. Based on the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits for guiding global governance, President Xi Jinping further proposed to uphold multilateralism, pursue openness and inclusiveness, promote mutually beneficial cooperation and keep pace with the times. He called on the international community to firmly support the UN’s authority and standing, follow the purposes and principles of its Charter, uphold the international order underpinned by international law, and support the UN in more effectively building global consensus, mobilizing global resources and coordinating global actions.
Second, continuously improve rules and mechanisms. President Xi Jinping clearly pointed out that we should firmly safeguard the rules-based multilateral trading system that is transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive, enhance the effectiveness and authority of the WTO, promote free trade, uphold fair competition, and protect the development rights, interests and space of developing countries. We should also continue the reform of the international financial system, conclude the IMF’s 16th General Review of Quotas on schedule, expand the role of the Special Drawing Rights, buttress the global financial safety net, and raise the representation and voice of developing countries.
Third, place a higher premium upon the digital economy. Digital governance is new to global economic governance, and there are many gaps to fill up. President Xi Jinping underscored, to address countries’ concerns on data security, digital divide, personal privacy and ethics, we should adopt people-centered and facts-based policies to encourage innovation and build trust, support the UN’s leadership role in this field, and work together to foster an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for building the digital economy. Moreover, President Xi Jinping made it clear that China may, on the basis of the Global Initiative on Data Security, join other parties in discussing and formulating rules on global digital governance, and China will support increased dialogue on AI and discuss developing the standards and principles for central bank digital currencies with an open and accommodating attitude.
Wang Yi said, the pandemic leads global economic governance into a key transitional period. President Xi Jinping’s current important statement on global economic governance has been the most comprehensive one over the recent years. It takes on and carries forward the concept on global economic governance proposed at the 2016 G20 Hangzhou Summit and the philosophy of a community with a shared future for mankind expounded at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting and the United Nations Office at Geneva in 2017 in line with the latest development of international situation, and will play an important role in guiding changes to the global economic governance for now and the future.
4. Deepening solidarity and cooperation between emerging markets and developing countries
Wang Yi said, the BRICS is a globally influential cooperation mechanism for emerging markets and developing countries with global influence and plays a positive and constructive role in international affairs. The BRICS cooperation embodies the call of developing countries to build a more just and reasonable international order. Currently, the pandemic may throw emerging markets and developing countries as a whole into an economic recession possibly unseen in many years. China is the world’s largest developing country. All parties look to China, a major economy that is expected to achieve positive growth this year, for working with emerging market and developing countries to strengthen solidarity and cooperation, overcome the challenges of the pandemic and restore economic growth.
To this end, President Xi Jinping made it clear at the BRICS Summit that BRICS countries must hold high the banner of multilateralism, safeguard the UN-centered international system, and oppose unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction. It is important that countries rise above ideology and respect each other’s choices of social system, economic model and development path consistent with their national conditions. We should foster global development partnerships that are more equal and balanced, and prioritize people’s livelihood. These proposals fully reflect the common aspirations of developing countries to pursue international justice and sustainable development, and fully demonstrate China’s commitment to upholding justice for developing countries and protecting their common interests.
China is engaging actively in international cooperation on vaccine research and development, and striving to help emerging markets and developing countries put the pandemic under control as soon as possible. President Xi Jinping noted, Chinese companies are working with their Russian and Brazilian partners on phase-III clinical trials of vaccines, and we are prepared to have cooperation with South Africa and India as well. China will actively consider providing vaccines to BRICS countries where there is a need. These actions vividly illustrate once again China’s spirit of partnership with developing countries in the face of major crises by sharing a common destiny with them and joining hands to cope with various risks and challenges.
In order to overcome the impact of COVID-19 on global economy, BRICS countries actively promoted the cooperation architecture with its three main drivers, namely, economic cooperation, political and security cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges, and maintained a positive momentum of practical cooperation, which reflected the progressive spirit of developing countries to forge ahead amid adversity. President Xi Jinping gave a high recognition to these efforts and proposed a series of practical cooperation initiatives. He pointed out that we need to deepen practical economic and trade cooperation, push ahead the BRICS partnership on the new industrial revolution, implement the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025, and accelerate the negotiations of the New Development Bank’s membership expansion. We need to enhance political and security cooperation, and maintain communication on major international issues within the UN and other frameworks, and improve strategic cooperation among BRICS countries. We also need to expand people-to-people exchanges and cooperation and take them to greater breath, depth and warmth. President Xi Jinping announced that a BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution innovation center will be opened in Xiamen, Fujian Province, and the BRICS Seminar on Governance and the BRICS Civil Forum will be held via video link. He also proposed the convening of the BRICS Women Innovation Competition under the framework of the BRICS Women Business Alliance (WBA). His remarks boosted the confidence of emerging markets and developing countries to cope with risks and challenges all together, expanded the development space of these countries, and injected more stability and positive energy into the world full of uncertainty.
5. Building an Asian-Pacific community with a shared future
Wang Yi said that when the economic globalization has run up against headwinds and protectionism and unilateralism are on the rise, the Asia-Pacific region, the world’s most dynamic and promising economy, has increasingly become the hope for global recovery and development. Meanwhile, this year is of special significance to Asia-Pacific cooperation. As the APEC’s Bogor Goals are expected to expire soon, we are facing the historical task of launching the post-2020 vision which is vital to the region’s future development. As an important advocate, participant and contributor of Asia-Pacific cooperation, China’s stance and attitude are in the limelight.
President Xi Jinping held high the banner of multilateralism and elaborated the concept and profound meaning of building an Asian-Pacific community with a shared future. He emphasized that Asia-Pacific cooperation has never been a zero-sum game in which one gains at the expense of the other. Rather, our cooperation has provided us with a development platform to ensure what we each do can be mutually reinforcing and beneficial to all. Only when we follow the approach of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, properly manage differences and disagreements based on dialogue and consultation, advance practical cooperation on the basis of mutual benefits, deepen the Asia-Pacific partnership featuring mutual trust, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation, and raise the level and scope of regional cooperation, can we keep Asia-Pacific cooperation in the right direction to ensure APEC’s sound development in the long run.
President Xi Jinping further pointed out the Asia-Pacific should, based on the new starting point of the post-2020 vision, remain the bellwether in upholding multilateralism, maintaining regional peace and stability and advancing regional economic integration, in order to build a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) at an early date. We need to implement the APEC Connectivity Blueprint to facilitate the smooth, safe and orderly flow of people, goods, capital and data and achieve a seamlessly connected Asia-Pacific, and build an Asian-Pacific community with a shared future featuring openness and inclusiveness, innovation-driven growth, greater connectivity, and mutually beneficial cooperation.
President Xi Jinping emphasized that China welcomes the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and will favorably consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This announcement once again demonstrated China’s determination of expanding its opening up, and attracted the attention and applause of the international community.
Wang Yi said under the active support and facilitation of China, the APEC meetings this year successfully adopted a strategic and highly ambitious post-2020 vision (APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040), which established the grand objective of building an Asian-Pacific community with a shared future by 2040 and provided the important guidance for ushering in a new journey of Asia-Pacific cooperation, and building and sharing a brighter future of peace and prosperity for the region. President Xi Jinping highlighted that China will continue to support the APEC’s development, and with our root struck deep in the Asia-Pacific, we will continue to serve its development and prosperity.
6. Elaborating the contribution of China’s new development paradigm to the world
Wang Yi said the recently concluded Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee adopted recommendations for formulating China’s 14th five-year plan and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035, which called for accelerating the building of a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. The international community paid great emphasis on it. During the three meetings, President Xi Jinping elaborated on the important issues of the reason of fostering a new development paradigm, the characteristics of the paradigm and its implications to the world, sharing with the world China’s ambitious plan of embarking on a new journey toward fully building a modern socialist country.
President Xi Jinping clearly stated that the new development paradigm is a strategic decision we have made based on the current stage and conditions of development in China and with full consideration given to economic globalization and changes in the external environment. The main purpose is to make efforts in expanding domestic demand as a strategic priority, largely promoting scientific and technological innovation, and continuously deepening reform, work on both the supply and demand sides, to ensure smooth flow of production, distribution, circulation and consumption, and provide a more lasting driving force for China’s long-term economic development and a stable world economic recovery.
President Xi Jinping introduced the policy steps to open the country wider in his speech and emphasized that China is already deeply integrated into the global economy and the international system. China will not reverse course or run against historical trend by “decoupling” or forming a small circle to keep others out. By fostering a new development paradigm, we are not pursuing a closed-door circulation, but better connectivity between domestic and international markets, a new system of open economy of higher standards, and wider, broader and deeper opening up.
President Xi Jinping clearly stated that China is willing to share new development opportunities with other countries, and to seek peaceful coexistence and common development on the basis of mutual respect, equality and shared benefits. The new development paradigm will enable China to fully unlock its market potential and create greater demand for other countries, enable China to open up wider and share more opportunities for common development with other countries, and enable China to continue to deepen international cooperation for shared benefits. China will continue to pursue high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with its partners and make the Belt and Road a model of cooperation, health, recovery and growth and deepen international cooperation.
Wang Yi said the viewpoints, proposals and initiatives put forward by President Xi Jinping during the three meetings keep abreast of the trend of the times, represent the Chinese characteristics, and safeguard international justice, showcasing a country which effectively coordinates the pandemic prevention and control with economic and social development, and enjoys improving capabilities of national governance, and a promising prospect; a country which embarks on a new journey of development, implements new development concepts and builds a new development paradigm; a country which follows the path of peaceful development and forges ahead with other countries; a country which pursues an independent foreign policy and follows a win-win strategy of opening up; and a country which advocates a community with a share future for mankind and stands together with people from all over the world.
Wang Yi said when standing high and looking at the broad horizon from afar, one is poised to navigate his way ahead. No matter how the international situation is changing, under the firm leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is unstoppable. In face of all difficulties and setbacks, we will, under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and on Diplomacy, uphold multilateralism and win-win cooperation, resolutely build a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind, in order to work tirelessly for China’s national rejuvenation and make greater contribution to the world peace and development.