Building a Stronger ACD for an Asian Community of Shared Future
– Address at the Second Summit of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue
H.E. Li Yuanchao, Vice President of China
Bangkok, October 10, 2016
It gives me great pleasure to attend this second Summit of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD). On behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to extend warm congratulations on the opening of the summit and heartfelt thanks to our host, the Royal Government of Thailand, for their thoughtful preparations and arrangements for the summit.
Fourteen years since its establishment, the ACD has grown in strength with increasing members and expanding areas of cooperation, contributing to solidarity, cooperation, development and prosperity of Asia. The summit theme “One Asia, Diverse Strength” is both timely and relevant.
At the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Meeting 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed that Asia move towards a community of shared future and embrace a new future for our continent. I wish to share with you some of my thoughts in this regard.
First, an Asian community of shared future is about facilitating common development. Most of Asian countries are developing ones and there are still over 300 million people living in poverty in this part of the world. Development is of paramount importance to Asia. China’s Belt and Road initiative, which aims to share development opportunities with countries along the routes, including those from Asia and beyond, for common prosperity, has won popular support and attracted strong participation from Asia. Steady progress is being made in major projects including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China-Laos Railway, China-Thailand Railway, the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway in Indonesia, the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline system and the China-Saudi Arabia YASREF Refinery. And the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank with over $100 billion in capitalization and the $40 billion Silk Road Fund are both up and running. Ours is a continent of about 4.2 billion people and one third of the global economy. Its development is attracting worldwide attention. We must actively explore development paths suited to our respective national conditions, better synergize development strategies, learn from each other and engage in mutually beneficial cooperation to build a community of common development.
Second, an Asian community of shared future is about promoting common interests. In recent years, Asian countries have stepped up mutually beneficial cooperation with their interests increasingly intertwined. In 2015, trade within Asia exceeded $3 trillion, accounting for 52% of Asia’s total foreign trade. Nearly 150 FTA agreements have been inked and implemented by Asian countries, among which 40% are regional ones. China’s economic engagements with the rest of Asia have reached an unprecedented scale. In 2015, 74% of China’s outbound investment and 53% of China’s foreign trade went to Asia, while between China and ASEAN, trade exceeded $470 billion and accumulative two-way investment surpassed $160 billion. This is a continent full of economic dynamism and great potential for regional integration. We need to expand the converging interests, make the pie of Asian development bigger for the benefits of the people, with a view to building an Asian community of common interests.
Third, an Asian community of shared future is about enhancing common security. Asian countries, connected by mountains and waters, have a stake in each other’s security. Peace and security are the common aspirations of people in the region. Since CICA was launched 24 years ago, it has been building consensus, enhancing coordination and striving for a security model with Asian features, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, founded 15 years ago, has been working to deepen political mutual trust and has effectively upheld regional security and stability. The ASEAN Regional Forum and other frameworks have also played a constructive role. Mutual understanding and accommodation helps promote lasting stability, while friendly consultation contributes to enduring security. We should make good use of the various mechanisms for security cooperation and dialogue to build an Asian community of common security in accordance with the Asian way of “respecting each other, consensus building and accommodating each other’s comfort levels”.
Fourth, an Asian community of shared future is about taking on common responsibilities. Asian neighbors need to help and support each other in the face of major risks and challenges such as climate change, abject poverty and natural disasters. This requires all countries to jointly shoulder responsibilities and work together as one. Asian countries have stood by each other in times of difficulties. Since the 1990s, we had jointly tackled several earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters and worked together twice to counter the impact of financial crises, demonstrating a sense of common responsibility for a shared future. Not long ago, the G20 Hangzhou Summit reached important consensus on enhancing global and regional governance through innovative means. Asian countries should also work together to pursue innovation in regional governance mechanisms, turn challenges into opportunities and build an Asian community of common responsibilities.
Asia is now at a new starting point. It is time for us to vigorously build an Asian community of shared future driven by the two wheels of cooperation and dialogue. First, unity and coordination should be enhanced to maintain stability in Asia. We must be committed to addressing differences through dialogue and consultation and work for common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in Asia. Second, connectivity should be strengthened to deepen Asian integration. China supports a multi-tiered Pan-Asian connectivity network to facilitate comprehensive integration of infrastructure in Asia. Third, mutually beneficial cooperation should be advanced to promote Asia’s development. It is important to advance structural reform, innovate growth models, deepen exchanges and cooperation and realize strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.
The ACD is an important platform for building an Asian community of shared future. China firmly supports the ACD in deepening practical cooperation. We are willing to serve as the Prime Mover in “Interrelation of Food, Water, and Energy Security”. We will step up two-way cooperation on food by means of exchanges, training and demonstration and promotion programs, advance energy cooperation according to the principles of “diversified, targeted and mutually-beneficial cooperation”, scale up cooperation in water resources management, flood prevention and disaster relief, water conservancy and irrigation to enhance the overall ability of Asia in addressing the interrelation of food, water and energy security. Next year, we will host the symposium on “Asia Cooperation Dialogue and the Building of an Asian Community of Shared Future” in China. China supports the establishment of a permanent Secretariat of the ACD and will donate another $100,000 to the Secretariat.
As a saying goes, “One chopstick breaks easily, while ten chopsticks bundled together are strong as iron.” Guided by the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, China stands ready to work with all Asian countries towards a new vision for Asian cooperation and an Asian community of shared future. Let’s together usher in a new future for Asia.