URUMQI - Vice-Premier Wang Yang on Sept 1 delivered a speech at the fourth China-Eurasia Expo that opened in Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The following is the full text of the speech.
Work Together for the Silk Road Economic Belt And a Community of Shared Interests
Remarks by H.E. Wang Yang
Vice-premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China At the Opening Ceremony of the 4th China-Eurasia Expo
Urumqi, 1 September 2014
Your Excellency Prime Minister Karim Masimov,
Your Excellency Prime Minister Djoomart Otorbaev,
Your Excellency Deputy Chairman of Parliament Zviad Dzidziguri,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be joined by all of you at the Fourth China-Eurasia Expo and China-Eurasia Economic Development and Cooperation Forum in the beautiful city of Urumqi. Entrusted by Premier Li Keqiang, I want to extend, on behalf of the Chinese government, hearty congratulations on the opening of the Expo and warm welcome to all the distinguished guests coming from afar.
One year ago, President Xi Jinping put forward the strategic vision of building a Silk Road Economic Belt. The initiative has been widely echoed in the international community. To turn this grand blueprint into reality at an early date is the ardent wish of the people of various countries. This year’s Expo and Forum, under the theme of “Opening-up and Cooperation for Building the Silk Road Economic Belt”, has brought together over 1,000 guests to seek their opinions, consensus and good advice. Let me take this opportunity to share with you some of my observations.
First, the argument for building the Silk Road Economic Belt is rooted in history and oriented toward the future. The ancient Silk Road ran on a miraculous land, a land of abundance, diverse ethnic groups and brilliant civilizations. This area was a forerunner in trade interactions and mutual learning among different civilizations, and a pace setter for human development for a long time in history. After the 16th century, due to various reasons, we missed too many historical opportunities for seeking strength through unity and for development and rejuvenation. Since the beginning of the 21st century, countries along the Silk Road have seized the opportunities brought by economic globalization and regional economic integration. A number of emerging countries and regional organizations are rising on the global stage, and various forms of regional and sub-regional cooperation are prospering, exerting a profound impact on the international political and economic landscapes. This area, with over 50 countries and 3.8 billion people, is one of the most promising regions in the world. As long as we take a long-term perspective and work in unison, we will make the pie of regional economic cooperation bigger.
Second, the core concept of building the Silk Road Economic Belt is openness and inclusiveness, joint development based on consultation, and mutual benefit. Openness and inclusiveness means that the economic belt is open in terms of geographic coverage and the countries involved. Any interested country is welcome to participate in the building of the economic belt and benefit from it. Joint development based on consultation means countries should engage in equal consultation to pool wisdom, harness their respective strengths and capabilities, and work together to make this great initiative a success. Mutual benefit means the interests of all sides will be accommodated and their aspirations reflected so that the people of all relevant countries will benefit from the initiative.
Third, the focus of building the Silk Road Economic Belt is connectivity in five areas. As advocated by President Xi Jinping, the priority of the initiative is connectivity of policy, transport, trade, currency and the heart of people. Connectivity of trade is the precursor; connectivity of transport is the foundation; connectivity of policy provides the guarantee; connectivity of currency is an important pillar; and connectivity of the heart of people is the source of driving force. The building of the economic belt will be deemed completed once connectivity is achieved in these five areas.
Fourth, the fundamental way of building the Silk Road Economic Belt is starting from easier areas and pursuing incremental progress. Building the Silk Road Economic Belt is a huge systemic project and a daunting long-term task that cannot be accomplished overnight. As a Chinese saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step and the journey has to be completed step by step. We should make sound top-level design to chart the course and set the goals. We also need to achieve early harvests as soon as possible through joint implementation of a number of major cooperation projects with great impact and leveraging effect in areas where consensus exists and conditions are ripe, so as to deliver real benefits to the people along the economic belt at an early date.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Silk Road is a road of opening-up and cooperation. The world is undergoing major adjustment and transformation. Economic globalization is deepening despite twists and turns, and regional cooperation of various forms is thriving. Meanwhile, world economic recovery is highly uneven, and regional hotspot issues keep emerging. Under the new circumstances, countries along the economic belt face both common development opportunities and common challenges. To jointly build a dynamic and prosperous economic belt through opening-up and cooperation serves the common interests of all countries along the economic belt as well as peace and development of the world. To this end, we need to work in the following areas:
- We need to promote trade liberalization, facilitation and balance. The Silk Road is, first and foremost, a trade route. China will work with other countries to open the market wider and deepen all-round cooperation in customs, quality inspection, e-commerce and transit transport to enhance trade facilitation. China is ready to import more competitive products from other countries along the economic belt, especially non-resource products, so as to promote balanced and sustainable development of trade. China encourages companies from other countries along the economic belt to participate in or hold trade fairs in China and will provide favorable conditions for them to explore the Chinese market. China wants to sign free trade agreements with more countries and regions along the economic belt in a bid to secure greater institutional guarantee for business cooperation.
- We need to foster industrial belts with distinctive features and reasonable division of labor. Industrial cooperation is the backbone of the economic belt. China wants to expand investment cooperation with other countries along the economic belt by encouraging Chinese companies in the fields of light industry, textile, home appliances, construction materials, electronics and equipment manufacturing to make investments and start businesses in those countries so as to enhance the industrialization level of local areas and create more jobs there. China has opened four overseas business cooperation zones in those countries, with a total investment of nearly two billion U.S. dollars. We are ready to work with other countries along the economic belt to open more business cooperation zones and cross-border economic cooperation zones in order to provide an enabling environment for the development of industrial clusters.
- We need to have an extensive, safe and efficient transport network. Backward infrastructure and inadequate connectivity is a serious bottleneck constraining the development of the economic belt. China stands ready to work with other countries along the economic belt to accelerate connectivity of railway, road, aviation, telecommunications, pipeline and other infrastructure. We should focus on key corridors, links and projects by building missing road sections, removing road bottlenecks, and improving the level and conditions of roads on a priority basis. We need to promote the harmonization of transport planning and technical standard systems of different countries, coordinate international customs clearance, cross docking and multimodal transport, and establish unified transport rules to facilitate international logistics. China is leading the efforts to establish development-oriented financial institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, with the aim of providing financing support for infrastructure development in countries along the economic belt.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Located in the heartland of the Eurasian continent, Xinjiang served as a key link of land transport for Eurasia in ancient times and witnessed the heyday of the ancient Silk Road. In order to expand China’s westward opening-up and the opening-up of its border areas, the Chinese government has set up 17 state-level ports and 20 state-level industrial cluster zones in Xinjiang, including the Kashgar and Horgos economic development zones and the China-Kazakhstan Horgos International Border Cooperation Center. In building the Silk Road Economic Belt, Xinjiang enjoys evident geographical, cultural and policy advantages. The Chinese government supports Xinjiang in seizing the historical opportunity to expand domestic and international opening-up, open a major east-west international business corridor, and become a core area of the economic belt.
Today’s Xinjiang is a land of openness and inclusiveness. It is also a hot destination for investment and business. We warmly welcome friends from around the world to come here to experience Xinjiang’s rapid development and seek great opportunities for business cooperation.