On January 17, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended and addressed the 2022 World Economic Forum (WEF) virtual session. This is the third time that President Xi Jinping has addressed the WEF as head of state. The 2017 speech focused on how China views and promotes globalization, the trend of the times. The 2021 remarks were mainly about what kind of multilateralism China advocates and practices.
The theme for his address this year is how to create a better post-Covid world from the historical and philosophical perspectives. The WEF founder Professor Klaus Schwab highly praised President Xi’s speech as an important milestone in promoting global cooperation, and pointed the way forward for a better future of China and the world at large.
Mobilising global anti-epidemic efforts to build a global community of health for all.
The Covid-19 pandemic is proving to be a protracted one, resurging with more variants and spreading faster than before, posing a serious threat to people’s safety and health.
As President Xi pointed out: “Amidst the raging torrents of a global crisis, countries are not riding separately in some 190 small boats, but are rather all in a giant ship on which our shared destiny hinges. Strong confidence and cooperation represent the only right way to defeat the pandemic. Holding each other back or shifting blame would only cause needless delay in response and distract us from the overall objective.”
President Xi called on all countries to strengthen international cooperation against Covid-19, carry out active cooperation on research and development of medicines, jointly build multiple lines of defense against the coronavirus, and speed up efforts to build a global community of health for all.
Of particular importance is to fully leverage vaccines as a powerful weapon, ensure their equitable distribution, quicken vaccination and close the global immunization gap, so as to truly safeguard people’s lives, health and livelihoods. China has always been a committed frontrunner in the promotion of international vaccine cooperation, and has acted as a steadfast advocate for equitable vaccine distribution, fulfilling President Xi’s commitment to make vaccines a global public good.
China has already sent over two billion doses of vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organisations. Still, China will provide another one billion doses to African countries, including 600 million doses as a donation. We are carrying out joint production in 20 countries. We have raced against time and taken multi-pronged actions to see that vaccines are delivered to those in need no matter where they are.
Strengthening macro-policy coordination to promote the steady recovery of the world economy.
Openness and cooperation are key to post-epidemic economic recovery, which is not only the inherent requirement for human development, but also the priority task of all countries.
With a keen appreciation of the laws of economic development, President Xi emphasized that economic globalization is the trend of the times. Despite the counter-currents and dangerous shoals along the way, economic globalisation has never and will not veer off course.
In view of the fact that many countries have begun to adjust their economic and financial policies, President Xi pointed out that “to turn the world economy from crisis to recovery, it is imperative to strengthen macro-policy coordination. Major economies should see the world as one community, think in a more systematic way, increase policy transparency and information sharing, and coordinate the objectives, intensity and pace of fiscal and monetary policies. Major developed countries should adopt responsible economic policies, manage policy spillovers, and avoid severe impacts on developing countries”.
In 2020, China was the only major economy to register positive growth. In 2021, China’s GDP grew by around eight percent, achieving the dual target of fairly high growth and relatively low inflation. The fundamentals of the Chinese economy, characterised by strong resilience, enormous potential and long-term sustainability, remain unchanged, and will continue to make great contributions to world economic growth.
Building greater synergy among existing mechanisms of development cooperation to jointly promote the Global Development Initiative.
The pandemic has wiped off the achievements in global poverty reduction of the past ten years. And the population suffering from hunger has amounted to around 800 million. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is confronted with new challenges.
President Xi called for efforts to adhere to a people-centred philosophy of development, place development and livelihoods front and centre in global macro-policies, realise the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and build greater synergy among existing mechanisms of development cooperation to promote balanced development worldwide.
The Global Development Initiative put forward by President Xi aims to address the special needs of developing countries, calls for stronger global development partnership, and is committed to bridging the north-south gap and eradicate inequality within countries. At the Eighth FOCAC Ministerial Conference last year, all participants spoke highly of the Global Development Initiative, as it conformed to the common aspirations of developing countries.
At this year’s WEF virtual session, President Xi once again stressed that China stands ready to work with all partners to jointly translate the Initiative into concrete actions and make sure that no country is left behind in this process.
Consolidating moral high ground to jointly safeguard world peace and justice.
Against the background that anachronistic practices of unilateralism and protectionism have been on the increase, driven by resurgent Cold-War mentality, President Xi points out that “History has proved time and again that confrontation does not solve problems; it only invites catastrophic consequences. Protectionism and unilateralism can protect no one; they ultimately hurt the interests of others as well as one’s own. Even worse are the practices of hegemony and bullying, which run counter to the tide of history. The right way forward for humanity is peaceful development and win-win cooperation. Different countries and civilizations may prosper together on the basis of respect for each other, and seek common ground and win-win outcomes by setting aside differences”.
A world of peace and development should embrace civilisations of various forms, and must accommodate diverse paths to modernisation. The world is big enough to accommodate common development and the progress of all countries.
The Chinese people have always celebrated and striven to pursue the vision of peace, amity and harmony. China is always a builder of world peace. The Cold-War mentality is outdated and must be discarded. We need to pursue dialogue and inclusiveness over confrontation and exclusion, and do the best we can to expand the convergence of our interests and achieve the biggest synergy possible.
In the past year, the Chinese people held grand celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), attained the goal of fully building a moderately prosperous society within the set time frame, secured a historic success in eradicating absolute poverty, and proudly embarked on a new journey toward the second centenary goal.
China, deeply integrated into the world, will unswervingly pursue high-quality development, promote all-round human development, enhance reform and opening up, and advance development of an ecological civilization.
China will firmly fulfil its solemn commitment to the international community by facilitate the upgrading of the world economic engine with its own high-quality development, create new driving force for global economic recovery, and provide new opportunities for the world, especially developing countries including African countries.
Today marks the 10-day count-down to the Beijing Winter Olympics. As President Xi emphasised, we are confident that China will present a streamlined, safe and splendid Games to the world, which will surely become another landmark event that embodies the spirit of unity of all mankind and write a whole new chapter in human history. A better and brighter future awaits.
* Chen Xiaodong is the Ambassador of the Republic of China to South Africa.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL and Independent Media.