MANILA — On Nov 21, President Xi Jinping concluded a seven-day Asia-Pacific trip with reaffirmed Chinese commitment to open and inclusive cooperation, common development as well as a friendly neighborhood.
From Nov 15 to 21, Xi attended the 26th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting, paid state visits to Papua New Guinea (PNG), Brunei and the Philippines and met with leaders of the Pacific island countries that have diplomatic ties with China during his stay in PNG.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during the trip, Xi discussed approaches to regional economic integration with APEC members, planned strategic cooperation with Southeast Asian neighbors, and envisioned sustainable development with Pacific island countries.
Xi’s trip highlighted the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind, and helped deepen partnerships, boost the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) construction, enhance confidence in multilateralism and broaden the consensus on common development, Wang said.
PROMOTING OPEN, INCLUSIVE ASIA-PACIFIC COOPERATION
While attending the APEC meeting, Xi offered China’s wisdom and approaches to achieving economic development and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large, amid increasing economic instability and uncertainty and other global challenges, Wang said.
Noting the world is at a critical juncture, Xi proposed focusing on openness, development, inclusiveness, innovation and a rules-based approach.
Wang noticed an extensive support for Xi’s appeal for efforts from the APEC economies to further integration and the construction of a regional free trade area, safeguard the multilateral trade system and boost freer flows of trade and investment, with consensus reached on enhanced connectivity, digitization, inclusive development and post-2020 cooperation, among other things, which deepens the Asia-Pacific cooperation.
Xi envisioned a common growth prospect featuring partnerships, a key role of innovation, digitization and exchanges, as well as a need to maximum connectivity in the Asia-Pacific, Wang said.
Xi’s proposals, Wang said, can help expand the common ground of interests and increase growth points, promote the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as lead the economic globalization in the right direction.
On the sidelines of the APEC meeting, Xi met bilaterally with leaders of different countries. While talking with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Xi said the two countries should reinforce mutual trust, properly handle the sensitive issues and coordinate efforts to secure progresses in denuclearizing and building a lasting peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
Xi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo hailed in their meeting the latest advancements in bilateral ties, including signing the memorandum of understanding on boosting joint construction of the China-proposed Belt and Road and the Indonesia-proposed Global Maritime Axis, as well as extending currency swap. They also agreed on strengthening coordination and consultation within the multilateral framework.
In his talks with Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera, Xi urged efforts from both sides to secure more early results in BRI cooperation and push bilateral cooperation to a higher level.
ENHANCING RELATIONS WITH BRUNEI, THE PHILIPPINES
Wang said Xi’s visits to Brunei and the Philippines provided important opportunities for developing bilateral ties with them. The visits both featured top-level design and the lift to higher-level relationship, namely a strategic cooperative partnership with Brunei, and the relationship of comprehensive strategic cooperation with the Philippines.
Wang said that it was stressed that China, with each of the two countries, shares extensive interests in the South China Sea, adding that the two countries agreed to resolve differences with China through friendly consultations, further maritime cooperation and push talks on a code of conduct in the South China Sea.
The two members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) also agreed to work together with China toward greater progress in China-ASEAN cooperation.
Wang said Xi discussed with leaders of the two countries overall plans for aligning the BRI with their development strategies and deepening win-win cooperation, and witnessed the signing of related agreements.
Xi also reached consensus with leaders of the two countries on closer people-to-people exchanges, and agreed to expand cooperation in sectors such as education, culture, sports, public health and tourism.
Wang said the fruitful results of Xi’s visits to the two countries showed once again that friendship and cooperation dominate the relations between China and its neighbors while serving the interests of regional countries and their peoples. Friendship, common development and proper management of differences will help make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation, contributing to regional stability, growth and prosperity.
STRENGTHENING TIES WITH PACIFIC ISLAND COUNTRIES
Xi and the leaders of the eight Pacific island countries that have diplomatic ties with China agreed to elevate their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development, providing strong political guidance to the development of China’s ties with the island countries, Wang said.
China and the island countries have been good friends, partners and brothers regardless the change of international situations, Xi said.
The President stressed that China supports the rights of the peoples in these countries to choose their own development paths, and the countries’ efforts in united self-improvement and equal participation in international and regional affairs, Wang said.
According to Wang, cooperation documents in jointly building the Belt and Road were signed with the island countries that have diplomatic ties with China, which marks that the BRI speeds up taking root in the region.
The outcome of Xi’s visit, including about 60 cooperation agreements signed between China and the island countries, has once again proved that the foundation of bilateral cooperation is expanding, Wang said.
Xi’s visit sends out a clear signal that it is China’s long-term and unchanging strategic choice to strengthen the unity and cooperation with developing countries, including the Pacific island countries, Wang said.
The cooperation between the two sides is open and transparent without any political conditions, not targeting any third party, not seeking any private interest or so-called “sphere of influence,” so that it can stand the test of time and history as well as the assessment of international community, Wang said.
Wang said the cooperation, featuring mutual support and assistance between developing countries and friends, has vitality and a promising future.
At the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, Xi recalled China’s achievements over the past 40 years since its reform and opening-up, emphasized the country’s resolve to deepen its reform and promote investment and business environment, and again demonstrated China’s firm willingness to create developing opportunities and share prosperity with other countries, Wang said.
Xi’s visit made it clear that peace, development and win-win cooperation are the irresistible trend of history and also the common hope of all peoples in the world, Wang said.