By Wang Yu, Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan
From 17 to 22 November, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended and addressed six meetings of the BRICS, APEC and G20, putting forward 23 major initiatives and propositions. In keeping with the theme of peace and development of the present times, he has pointed out the historical direction for the three institutions amidst changes unseen in a century. He proposes to achieve win-win through unity and cooperation, safeguard world peace and stability through multilateralism and jointly foster a harmonious environment for development so as to benefit all people in the world.
With the active engagement of China and the joint efforts of all parties, those meetings issued important documents such as leaders’ declarations, the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025 and the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040, which fully embodies Chinese position and propositions and demonstrates Chinese wisdom and philosophy. They have won high appraisal in the international community.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries around the world should join hands and help one another.
President Xi described the COVID-19 pandemic as a major challenge, in response to which the shortcomings of global governance have been highlighted. At present, countries are struggling in the second and third waves of the pandemic and public health systems around the world face a severe test. Countries must take the fight against COVID-19 as the most imperative task, uphold the concept of a community of shared future, abandon unilateralism, protectionism and bullying behaviours and comprehensively deepen international cooperation in pandemic response, thus making their due contributions to the safety, life and health of all mankind.
Countries must first build a global firewall against the pandemic. Do a good job in epidemic prevention and control first. On this basis, they should strengthen exchanges and cooperation and extend a helping hand to others. As many countries make progress in vaccine development and production, the World Health Organization must be supported in mobilizing resources and allocating vaccines in an equitable and effective manner. China has actively supported and participated in international vaccine cooperation and joined COVAX. It stands ready to fulfill the commitment to provide assistance and support for Afghanistan and other developing countries and make vaccines an accessible and affordable public product for people in all countries.
Countries must also follow a people-centered philosophy and meet in solidarity global challenges. All must put people and their lives first and do everything to protect their people’s safety and health. It is important to avoid politicization, stigmatization, scapegoating or shirking responsibility, which have disrupted global pandemic response cooperation. While getting united against the pandemic, countries should also strengthen poverty reduction measures and develop a more equitable and balanced global development partnership for more developing countries to access and benefit from resources.
Countries must furthermore pursue more inclusive development. They should continue helping developing countries and vulnerable groups to overcome the difficulties caused by the pandemic. China has fully implemented the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative by putting off the repayment of over USD 1.3 billion. China will continue to step up debt relief for countries truly experiencing difficulties. Countries should pay attention to the special needs of women and implement the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. China has proposed to hold another global women’s summit in 2025 to gather inputs for and stimulate post-pandemic development of women’s undertakings.
With a new development paradigm, China strives to be the ballast stone of the world economy.
Not long ago, the CPC Central Committee announced its proposal for the formulation of the 14th five-year plan. The major strategic choices contained therein are based on China’s own stage of and conditions for development with full account given to the economic globalization process and changes in the external environment. It is proposed that a new development paradigm should be actively constructed with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations complementing and reinforcing each other. Such a dual circulation will underpin the long-term development of the Chinese economy and lay a solid foundation for steady global economic growth.
In the new paradigm, the Chinese economy will enjoy a good momentum. China used to rely on purchasing raw materials and selling products abroad. This model has quietly changed, with markedly decreased dependence on foreign trade and increasing dependence on domestic consumption to drive growth. As a result, the level of economic autonomy and the quality of development have been significantly enhanced. Building a new development paradigm conforms to the inherent needs of China to restructure its economy and promote quality development. At present, imports of goods have basically recovered from impacts of the pandemic to the same level of last year. The fundamentals of the Chinese economy remain robust and poised for long-term growth.
In the new paradigm, China will create more market demands for other countries. With a per capita GDP of over USD 10,000 and more than 400 million middle-income people, the Chinese retail market is forecasted by many international agencies to reach 6 trillion dollars this year. At present, the volume of import has basically recovered to the level of the same period last year. The Chinese people’s pursuit of a better life will create more demands for more diversified and high-quality products, technologies and services from all over the world, which will mean greater market opportunities for all countries.
In the new paradigm, China will share development opportunities with other countries. Opening up to the outside world is China’s basic state policy and will not be wavered at any time. The country has not stopped opening-up but rather introduced a series of policies and measures to widen it, including the full implementation of the Foreign Investment Law and its implementation regulations, the further cuts in the negative list for foreign investment access and the steady progress in financial market access. It will also continue upgrading its open economy and developing a market-based international business environment friendly to the business community under the rule of law.
Countries should uphold multilateralism and safeguard world peace and stability.
Taking stock of history, President Xi believes that wars and conflicts can be avoided when countries practice multilateralism and pursue equity and justice while contention and confrontation will run rampant when they exercise unilateralism and power politics. Countries should hold high the banner of openness and cooperation, adhere to the principles of multilateralism, consultation, joint actions and shared benefits, and promote stable development as and after they bring the pandemic under control.
First, countries must unwaveringly support the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, promote free and open trade and investment, and steer economic globalization towards a more open, inclusive, generally preferential, balanced and win-win direction.
Second, they must also firmly safeguard international equity and justice, hold high the banner of multilateralism, defend the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, uphold the international system centering on the US and maintain the international law-based order. Differences should be resolved through consultation and negotiation and interference in internal affairs, unilateral sanctions and ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ must be opposed with a view to fostering together a peaceful and stable environment for development.
Third, countries should pursue international and regional connectivity. Connectivity is an important basis for regional economic integration and a necessary condition for linkage to global development. Its importance is even more prominent in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. China is ready to work with all parties to seek high-quality development through the BRI framework, build a wider platform for regional connectivity and inject a stronger impetus into the world economy.
Countries must protect their common homeland and promote a harmonious coexistence between man and nature.
As Xi Jinping sees it, global warming will not hold its step for the pandemic and man must not slacken for even a moment in dealing with climate change. With a firm belief in a community of shared future for mankind, China stands ready to work with other countries to tackle challenges in the field of climate and environment, build a clean and beautiful world and protect our shared Blue Planet.
Countries must first strengthen their response to climate change by fully implementing the Paris Climate Agreement, observing the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and providing more help for developing countries. Not long ago, President Xi announced the Chinese intention to increase its nationally determined contributions and strive to peak its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and realize carbon neutrality by 2060. China means it and will unswervingly achieve it.
Countries should also deepen the transition towards clean energy. China has built the world’s largest clean energy system and ranked number one in new energy vehicle production and sales in the world for five years in a row. According to the CPC Central Committee’s Proposal for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035, China will promote clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient use of energy, accelerate the development of new energy, green and environment-friendly industries, and promote a comprehensive green transformation of its economic and social development.
Furthermore, the ecosystem must be protected with a respect for Nature. China calls for a total ban on illegal trade in wild animals and strengthened exchanges and cooperation in wildlife protection. The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity will be held in the Chinese city of Kunming in May next year. It is hoped that the meeting will set objectives and promote actions to ensure the protection of global biodiversity in the years ahead.
China is the largest developing country. Both China and Afghanistan are important participants in and direct beneficiaries of international multilateral mechanisms. President Xi has always paid attention to and accommodated the interests of developing countries in the international multilateral arena. This has been obvious also in his recent speeches. He proposed to provide developing countries with assistance and support in pandemic response, help them overcome post-pandemic difficulties, safeguard their development rights and interests as well as space for development, and increase their presence and voice.
With a strong push from China, the Moscow Declaration adopted at the 12th BRICS summit calls for long-term peace in Afghanistan, reiterates a firm support for the Afghan people to build a stable, inclusive, peaceful, independent and prosperous sovereign state, welcomes the start of intra-Afghan negotiations and vows to support the ‘Afghan-led, Afghan-owned’ peace process. President Xi Jinping’s propositions and initiatives will directly benefit the Afghan people.
The Afghan peace process has been difficult and tortuous. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the country in its effort to protect people’s livelihood and economic development. In the face of great changes unseen in a century and a pandemic afflicting all mankind, China and Afghanistan will join hands and help each other, strengthen practical cooperation in all fields, jointly pursue multilateralism and advance the great cause of social progress towards peaceful development of all mankind.