Speech by H.E.Li Keqiang
Premier of the State Council ofthe People”s Republic of China
At the24thASEAN Plus China, Japan, ROK Summit
Beijing, 27 October 2021
Your Majesty Sultan Hassanal,
It is my great pleasure to attend the 24th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit via video link and discuss with you plans for East Asian development. I would like to thank His Majesty the Sultan and the Bruneian government for the thoughtful arrangements made for the summit.
The APT countries enjoy geographical proximity and our futures are closely interconnected. Over the past 20-plus years, we have kept to the overall direction of cooperation, continuously advanced regional economic integration and jointly responded to challenges on the public health, energy, food and financial fronts. These efforts have bolstered our development at home and prosperity and stability in East Asia. When COVID-19 was at its height last year, we held the Special APT Summit against the odds. The APT countries have helped and supported each other, waged a joint fight against the coronavirus and kept the regional industrial and supply chains stable. We have taken the joint decision to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) and strive for its early entry into force, to enhance the resilience and vitality of the regional economy and instill confidence and impetus into the economic recovery in our region.
As we meet, the world is still seeing further spread of the coronavirus. Regional countries face multiple challenges on financial stability and energy security as they pursue a sustainable recovery. President Xi Jinping has put forward the important initiative of building a community with a shared future with neighbors. We need to make the most of the mature mechanisms of cooperation and rich experience in crisis response, to navigate this trying time and meet challenges together. We need to promote coordinated progress in epidemic control and economic and social development, boost an all-round and balanced recovery of East Asia and safeguard long-standing prosperity and stability in the region.
Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of APT cooperation. Taking it as a new starting point, we need to enhance planning, spur innovation and jointly build a more open and inclusive East Asia that enjoys sustainable development. Here, I wish to make the following proposals:
First, we need to improve public health governance.One pressing task at the moment is to keep up the production capacity of vaccines, ensure their fair distribution in developing countries and accelerate the vaccination process. We need to expedite the building of the APT Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies, and China is ready to provide 20 million RMB yuan of support for the Reserve. China is building an information system platform for global COVID-19 data integration and risk analysis and a system of APT tabletop exercise for public health emergencies to help bolster regional capacity for epidemic response. China supports adopting the APT Leaders’ Statement on Cooperation on Mental Health Among Adolescents and Young Children at this summit to promote the healthy and well-rounded development of our younger generation.
Second, we need to deepen regional economicintegration.East Asian countries are closely interconnected economically and enjoy strong impetus for cooperation. We need to coordinate more closely on macro economic policies, and adopt more open trade and investment policies to support global economic recovery. As a signature outcome of East Asian cooperation, the RCEP will soon reach the threshold of entry into force. We need to hasten work for the agreement to take effect as early as possible, and continue to advance free trade and pursue higher-level integration. China will host capacity building programs such as personnel training and experience sharing on RCEP implementation for interested governments, business chambers or associations and companies of ASEAN countries. China will also organize a symposium for high-standard implementation of the RCEP next year and welcomes your active participation. China proposes that the Plus-Three countries jointly deepen third-party investment cooperation in ASEAN, continue to work toward setting up a China-Japan-ROK co-investment fund and discuss the building of a China-Japan-ROK Investment Cooperation Partnership in ASEAN, to facilitate regional economic recovery and development. China has officially applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). We will continue to expand opening-up and work for an open multilateral trade and investment system in the region.
Third, we need to enhance industrial cooperation in East Asia.Easy cross-border flow of personnel and goods is the cornerstone for keeping industrial and supply chains smooth. China supports extending the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework to all APT countries and better harnessing the existing “fast tracks” and “green lanes”, to facilitate regional economic circulations. We need to implement well the Connecting the Connectivities Initiative, and promote the orderly flow and efficient allocation of such factors as goods, technologies, services and capital across the region. China will host an APT forum for cooperation on industrial and supply chains, support businesses of APT countries in building communication platforms in key fields, and carry out exchanges and cooperation regarding collaboration between upstream and downstream firms and stronger resilience of industrial and supply chains against risks. Taking a long-term view, China is ready to conduct joint research with regional countries to explore ways for greater policy coordination and standard harmonization and coordinated and balanced development of industrial and supply chains, to enhance and elevate the overall competitiveness of the East Asian region.
Fourth, we need to promote the digital economy in East Asia.Digital transformation is becoming a source of impetus for economic development and industrial upgrading. We need to seize this opportunity, tap into the scale of markets, advance cooperation on digital infrastructure building in information communication, cloud computing and data centers, and expand cooperation on digital trade and other new areas. China is ready to help businesses with digital capacity building through the APT SME Service Alliance, and will host the APT Young Scientists Forum and other activities to help regional countries bridge the digital divide. China’s Data Security Lawand Personal Information Protection Lawhave officially entered into force. In line with the principle of extensive consultation and shared governance, China will step up exchanges with all parties on cyberspace governance, digital governance and cyber-security, and work toward open, inclusive, safe and shared governance rules.
Fifth, we need to energize financial cooperation.China welcomes the entry into force of the amended Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) Agreement. We will work with all parties to explore pathways for contributing to the CMIM in local currencies and accelerate the development of innovative tools to meet the needs of member states. China will positively consider making additional financial contributions to the China Technical Assistance Trust Fund under the ASEAN Plus Three Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO). Taking the 10th anniversary of AMRO inception as an opportunity, we may explore expanding the functions of AMRO to further enhance its role in regional economic and financial governance. Meanwhile, we need to intensify AMRO’s coordination with such institutions as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Moreover, we need to accelerate innovation on financial cooperation, promote cooperation in green finance, supply chain finance and infrastructure financing, and identify more areas of cooperation.
Sixth, we need to promote green and sustainable growth.We need to take a science-based and practical approach, promote a green and low-carbon transition in energy consumption and way of life and production without compromising energy security, and steer global development toward a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive growth. China proposes setting up an APT low-carbon cooperation partnership to boost cooperation through policy communication, case study and capacity building. China will continue to host the APT Clean Energy Roundtable Dialogue and strengthen clean energy research cooperation and technology transfer in the region. China is ready to share its poverty reduction experience with relevant countries and work for the effective implementation of projects under the East Asian Cooperation Initiative on Poverty Reduction (phase II). Meanwhile, support and input for the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) need to be increased to better protect regional food security. China will continue to import quality agricultural products from Southeast Asian countries. Moreover, an APT ministerial meeting mechanism on disaster management needs to be established as early as possible and exchanges and dialogue on climate change among coastal cities in the region carried out, to enhance preparedness against disasters.
China is ready to work with all parties to promote regional economic recovery, foster a strong pillar of growth for the world economy and jointly maintain peace and stability in the region and the world at large.
The many different trade and aid policies being pursued by China globally have been heavily criticised but can developing countries become more independent or will China’s policy reform?