|Speech by Ambassador Song Aiguo at the "Strategic Projection 2023" sponsored by the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies|
H.E. Mr. Song Aiguo, Chinese Ambassador in Turkey made a speech titled "China's Development Strategy and its Peaceful Development Road" at the "Strategic Projection 2023" sponsored by the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies(ASAM) at the invitation of Mr. Faruk Loğoğlu, Chairman of ASAM on 10th October, for marking the 125th year of Atatürk's Birth. The full text is as follows: China's Development Strategy and its Peaceful Development Road Respected Ambassador LOĞOĞLU, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, On the 125th anniversary of the Turkish great leader Atatürk's birthday, I am very much honored to attend "Strategic Projection 2023" workshop organized by ASAM to mark this important occasion. First of all, please allow me to pay my deepest respects to Atatürk, who founded the Republic of Turkey and whose thoughts are still important in our seeking for world peace and prosperity. Also, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Ambassador LOĞOĞLU and his colleagues for bringing us together to exchange views on global and regional trends. Today, I would like to talk about China's development strategies and its peaceful development road. China is an ancient country with a history of thousands of years and has made great contributions to the development of civilizations. In modern times, China has worked hard to catch up with economic and social development of the rest of the world. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China 57 years ago, the Chinese people have been accelerating the pace of their national revitalization. In 1978, China started to implement the unprecedented policy of reform and opening-up and entered into a new era of drastic changes. In the early 1980s, the Chinese government formulated a long-term three-step development strategy for China's social and economic progress for the years up to the middle of 21st century. The original blueprint was: Step one-to double the 1980 GNP and to ensure that the Chinese people have enough food and clothing in 10 years. The target was attained by the end of 1980s. Step two-to quadruple 1980 GNP by the end of 1990s and to ensure that the Chinese people have a better-off life. This was fulfilled in 1995. Step three-to raise per-capita GNP to the level of medium-developed countries by the mid-21st century and modernization will be basically realized. Since we successfully completed the Step one and two well ahead of schedule, the first 20 years of the 21st century are an important period of strategic opportunity for China's development. At present, the Chinese people are working hard to build a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way. Hopefully, we will quadruple the GDP of the year 2000 by 2020, reaching US$ 4 trillion with a per capita GDP of US$ 3,000. By then, our economy will be more developed, democracy more adequate, science and education more advanced, culture more thriving, society more harmonious, and the quality of life further upgraded. By 2050, China will basically realize its modernization. In the past 28 years from 1978 to 2005, the Chinese government and people, taking the policy of reform and opening-up as their guidance, have focused on economic development, worked steadily to improve market-oriented reforms, and opened China to the outside world in an all-round way. As a result, China has made remarkable achievements in economic and social development. Its GDP increased from 216 billion US dollars to 2.23 trillion US dollars and became the world's fourth largest economy. The economic size grew more than 10 times, which was translated into an average annual growth rate of 9.8%. The size of per capita GDP increased nearly 7 times to 1707 US dollars from 226 US dollars. The volume of annual foreign trade amounted to 1.42 trillion US dollars from 20.6 billion US dollars with an increase of 67 times and became the world third largest country in foreign trade. The foreign exchange reserves jumped to 1 trillion US dollars from 167 million US dollars. Parallel with economic achievements, there has been a significant improvement in the living standard of Chinese people and rural poor population decreased to 23.65 million from 250 million. The World Bank estimates that the decreased number of poor population in China equaled to 75% of the total decrease in the developing countries. In present, the framework of all-round opening-up has been basically formed, the reform of political system has gradually deepened, democracy and legal building have been increasingly strengthened, science, technology, education, culture and public health have been developing in an all-round way, and the overall standard of life for the people has realized the stride over to a better-off level from having enough food and clothing. We are clearly aware that many problems and difficulties have been accumulating in the Chinese economy and society in the process of unprecedented development, which mainly are: an imbalance of industrial structure, low technological level, mounting pressure on resources and environment, imbalance between economic development and social progress, a widening gap between rural and urban areas and among different regions and rising income disparity. To address these challenges and achieve the Step Three strategic objective, Chinese Government introduced a new philosophy for social and economic development and proposed the scientific approach to development. This scientific approach to development contains three key elements. The first, of course, is development. Development is of paramount importance for China. We have decided to change approach not because we want to slow down, reverse or even abandon development, but to pursue development in a better, faster and more cost-effective manner. The second is the people-first concept, which more than anything else highlights the difference between the new approach and the conventional one. It is the people, their prosperity, their empowerment and their happiness that justify development in the final analysis. The third element is the concept of harmony and balance, which aims to promote a comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development. To implement the concept in the immediate future, we adopted the Eleventh Five Year Plan for the period from 2006-2010. This period is highly critical for China's efforts of successfully building a moderately prosperous society in all its aspects. This is the period in which China's per capita GDP will go up from 1000 to 3000 US Dollars, a period that many experts call the golden age of development. But it is also a period in which social unrest is most likely to occur. Thus we make sure that our effort to build a moderately prosperous society in China be guided by the six principles. Namely, there must be steady and fairly rapid economic development; there must be a change in the mode of growth; there must be stronger independent innovation; there must be balanced development between urban and rural areas; there must be harmony in society; and there must be deepening of reform and opening up. While the five-year plan lays down quite a few targets for economic development, two macro-economic figures are important to illustrate our new development strategy. One is the 7.5 % annual growth, and the other is the required 20% decrease in energy consumption per unit of GDP. The plan also identifies seven tasks. Namely, building a new socialist rural region, promoting optimization in industrial structure, achieving a better coordinated regional development, building an environmental friendly society based on resource conservation, pressing ahead with reform and opening up, building a stronger nation through science and education, and bringing about a harmonious society. Ladies and Gentlemen, China's development in the past 28 years has attracted world-wide attention. Many people want to know where China is heading in the future. The most important thing in understanding the direction of China's development is to know what kind of development path China has chosen. I can tell you explicitly that the path China has chosen and adhered to is one of peaceful development, and that China's development is characterized by peace, openness and cooperation. The Chinese government and people are keenly aware that only development achieved through peaceful means can be sustained and solid, benefiting themselves as well as people across the world. To stay on the path of peaceful development means to develop the country in a peaceful international environment and, in turn, promote world peace through our own development and always be a staunch force for world peace and common development. China's path of peaceful development not only responds to its practical needs but also draws upon its historical experience. China's path of peaceful development is an inevitable choice based on its national conditions. Despite its great economic achievements, China remains the largest developing country in the world. Currently, in aggregate terms, China's GDP ranks high in the world. But in per capita terms, it still ranks behind 100 other countries. The living standards of the Chinese people are still not high, about 23.65 million people in China's rural areas are still living in poverty and 21 million urban residents are living on minimum subsistence allowances. Every year, about 24 million people need jobs. It will be a long and uphill journey before China attains the average economic level of developed countries. This basic national condition determines that promoting economic and social development and constantly raising the people's living standards will always be our central task. The Chinese people need and value a peaceful international environment most. The path of peaceful development is the only way for China to attain national prosperity and well-being. China's path of peaceful development is an inevitable choice based on its historical and cultural traditions. The Chinese nation has always pursued mutual trust and harmony with others and advocated peace. Chinese people are peace-loving people and the Chinese culture has always stressed that peace is to be valued most. Our ancestors have left us with famous teachings such as "never do to others what you would not like them to do to you", "peace and harmony should be cherished most" and "maintaining harmony while allowing for difference". In the long history of more than 5,000 years, the Chinese people have pursued amicable and good-neighbourly relations with other countries, and worked to foster harmonious relations. Six hundred years ago, Zheng He, the famous navigator in China's Ming Dynasty, commanded the most powerful fleet in the world at that time, and made seven voyages to the Western Seas, reaching to more than 30 countries and regions in Asia and Africa. However, his expeditions were not for conquering others or looting wealth, but for making friends and spreading peace. In its modern history, China repeatedly suffered from foreign invasion and enslavement, and the Chinese people understand profoundly how valuable peace is. Since the founding of the People's Republic, we have been committed to an independent foreign policy of peace, developing friendship and cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and living in peace and harmony with all countries. As early as in 1974, when China resumed its membership in the United Nations, Mr. Deng Xiaoping, the great architect of China's reform and opening-up policy, proclaimed to the world that China would never seek hegemony. China is a staunch force for safeguarding world peace and promoting common development. China's path of peaceful development is an inevitable choice based on the current development trend in today's world. Pursuit of peace, development and cooperation represents a common aspiration of people around the world and an irreversible tide of history. To achieve their individual goals of development, countries must move along with the general trend of the world. The goal of China's peaceful development road aims at building a harmonious world of sustained peace and common development. China holds that the harmonious world should be democratic, harmonious, just and tolerant. It hopes to increase mutual respect and understanding with other countries and live in harmony with them. China respects the right of a country to pursue its own way of development. It supports equal participation by different countries in international affairs and democracy in international relations. It works to enhance mutual benefits, win-win outcomes and global prosperity through sharing the benefit of economic globalization and technological progress. China endeavors to promote a diversified world and advance human civilization by increasing dialogue, understanding and mutual enrichment between different cultures. At the same time, China's growth means more opportunities and a bigger market for the rest of the world. Since China's accession to the WTO, we have imported US$ 1.7698 trillion worth of commodities between December 2001 and September 2005. Our annual import will continue to grow in the future, and is expected to exceed US$1 trillion by 2010. Although China's growth has been accompanied by somewhat greater energy demand, it will definitely not bring a shock to the world energy market. It is true that we are a major energy consumer. However, more importantly, we are also a big energy producer. For a long time, we have relied on ourselves to meet over 90% of our energy needs. China will continue to hold high the banner of peace, development and cooperation, unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, and work together with the rest of the world to push forward the lofty cause of peace and development of mankind. In the international economic field, China stands for having active international cooperation, promoting liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, removing trade barriers, further opening up markets, lifting restrictions on technology export, and establishing a multilateral trading regime that is open, fair, reasonable, transparent and non-discriminatory. In light of its own needs of reform and development, and taking into serious consideration the economic and financial impacts of its exchange rate reform on neighbouring countries, regions and the world at large, China will continue to push forward the reform of its exchange rate regime, to have a market-based, managed floating exchange rate regime in reference to a basket of currencies, and to ensure that the RMB exchange rate is kept basically stable at an adaptive and equilibrium level. We will also strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, improve the relevant legal framework, intensify law enforcement and severely punish violations, so as to create better conditions for international economic cooperation. Now China is deepening its opening up policy by carrying out the strategy of "going out". We encourage Chinese enterprises to invest abroad and take a more active part in the international economic exchanges and cooperation. This would be another opportunities for other countries to share Chinese dynamic economy and achieve more win-win cooperation. Ladies and Gentlemen, China and Turkey are two countries located in the east and west part of Asia continent. For thousands of years, the Silk Road has linked our two countries, brought commercial benefits to our two peoples and nourished the splendid cultures of our two nations. In modern history, China and Turkey encountered similar historical experiences and achieved our brilliant victories in our arduous struggles for safeguarding national independence and striving for liberation. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the Sino-Turkish relations and hopes to further develop this relationship. In the context of present international situation of globalization, our two countries are both working hard to develop ourselves in the peaceful environment. When we are celebrating the 125th anniversary of the great Turkish national hero Atatürk's birthday, we have a deeper understanding of the significance of his famous teaching of "Peace at home, Peace in the world". I am confident that with greater achievements in the course of development when we march into the year of 2023, China and Turkey will have more cooperation on the basis of mutual trust and win-win policy, bring about prosperity to our two peoples and make greater contributions to the global and regional peace. Thank you very much.