Ambassador Zheng Zeguang Delivers Keynote Address at Asia House Online Roundtable

Ambassador Zheng Zeguang attended an online roundtable at with Asia House on 17 November 2021 and delivered a keynote address entitled Share in the Opportunities of China and Work together for a Better Future. He also exchanged views with the participants on issues relating to China-UK relations, economic cooperation and trade ties, and climate actions. Lord Green, Chairman of Asia House made welcoming remarks. The roundtable was presided over by Michael Laurence, CEO of Asia House and brought together over 70 British and global business and academic leaders.

The full text of the address by Ambassador Zheng is as follows:

Share in the Opportunities of China and 

Work together for a Better Future

Keynote Speech by Ambassador Zheng Zeguang

at the Online Roundtable with Asia House

17 November 2021

Lord Green,

Mr Lawrence,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

Thank you, Lord Green, for your kind invitation. It is a real delight to join you at this roundtable discussion.

Today’s discussion is very timely. Last week, the Communist Party of China held the sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee. This plenum was held at a critical juncture: The Communist Party of China marks its centenary this year; China has realized the first centenary goal, namely, completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects; and the country is embarking on a new journey towards the second centenary goal, namely, building a strong, modern socialist country in a comprehensive way.

The plenum achieved important outcomes. It summed up, in a systematic way, the major achievements and historical experience of the CPC over the past century, and reviewed and adopted the Resolution on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century. The plenum stresses that the CPC has established General Secretary Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and defined the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. This reflects the common will of the Party, the armed forces, and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, and it is of decisive significance for advancing the cause of the Party and the country in the new era and for driving forward the historic process of national rejuvenation. It was also decided at the plenum that the CPC will hold its 20th National Congress in Beijing in the second half of next year.

The plenum has far-reaching significance. It shows, once again, that under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with General Secretary Xi Jinping at its core, China will maintain a high level of stability and consistency in its major policies and plans, the Chinese people will achieve even greater success on the new journey, China will continue to maintain rapid economic growth and sustained social stability, and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has become an irreversible historical process. China will always stand on the right side of history and on the side of human progress. It will always be a defender of world peace, a contributor to global development and an upholder of international order. All these are good news to the world and conducive to the cooperation between China and other countries, including the UK.

The English version of the Resolution has been published. A thorough reading will be rewarding.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

Since arriving in London, I have been asked by many British friends: How shall we view China’s development? My answer is that we can begin by understanding the following five aspects.

First, China puts the people front and centre and pursues high-quality development. In the CPC’s philosophy for development, people are always at the centre. Bettering the interests of the people is the starting point and ultimate objective of all the work of the CPC. In the face of the recurring outbreaks of Covid-19, China has always regarded the safety of lives as the top priority. We have adopted firm and effective measures to prevent the rebound and import of Covid cases. We have consolidated the hard-won achievements of prevention and control. At the same time, we are fully implementing the new development concept, namely, innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. This will enable the country to foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. Our goal is high-quality development. In the first three quarters of this year, China’s economy grew by 9.8% year-on-year and our total import and export of goods increased by 22.7%. We have full confidence that the annual target for economic and social development will be reached. The sustained and steady recovery of China’s economy contributes to the stability and reliability of the global industrial and supply chains, and injects strong impetus into global economic recovery. 

Second, China is sharing its opportunities and promoting open development. This year marks the 20th anniversary of China’s accession to the WTO. China’s economy is already highly integrated with the world. Opening-up is China’s basic national policy. At the Opening Ceremony of the fourth China International Import Expo (CIIE), President Xi Jinping emphasized: We will not change our resolve to open wider at a high standard; we will not change our determination to share development opportunities with the rest of the world; and we will not change our commitment to an economic globalization that is more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. Here are some facts: The Foreign Investment Law and its implementing regulations have already come into force; a system of “pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list” has been fully established. The manufacturing sector is now fully open; the service sector is being opened in an orderly manner. The number of items in the nationwide negative list has been constantly reduced; the implementation of anti-monopoly policies has been stepped up; and improvement has been made in fostering a market-based, law-based and open business environment. I can also give you some statistics: In the first nine months of this year, paid-in foreign investment in China increased by 19.6% year-on-year. The fourth CIIE brought together more than 2,900 businesses, including 93 from the UK, and saw intended deals worth a total of 70.72 billion dollars signed. These are the fruits of China’s opening up and they give full testimony to the confidence of foreign businesses in China’s market and development prospect.

Third, China upholds fairness, justice and common prosperity. Fairness and justice are the common values of mankind, and common prosperity is a goal that the Chinese nation has been pursuing for thousands of years. In China, Party leadership, the people as the masters of the country and law-based governance form an integrated whole, and the whole-process people’s democracy is constantly improved. Common prosperity is the inherent requirement of socialism and an important feature of Chinese-style modernization. During the 40 plus years of reform and opening up, China has lifted 770 million rural residents out of poverty under the current standard. This accounts for over 70% of the world’s total poverty reduction and has led to the emergence of a 400 million strong middle-income group. Going forward, we will gradually close the gaps between regions, between the urban and rural areas, and between different income groups. And we will expand the middle-income group and promote common prosperity. Common prosperity will not happen overnight. It requires long-tem arduous efforts. But we will work persistently and take solid steps towards this goal.

Fourth, China will remain committed to ecological conservation and promote green development. Just recently, China hosted the first part of COP15 which was successful. And we took an active part in COP26. China is firmly committed to achieving carbon peak before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060. We have unveiled the guideline and top-level design and we are accelerating the formulation of a series of action plans in the key areas and sectors. We are ready to make strenuous efforts to attain the goals on time. When these goals come true, we will have realized the biggest reduction of carbon emissions intensity and the fastest leap from carbon peak to carbon neutrality in world history. This will not only promote sustainable development at home but also contribute to global ecological conservation. COP26 was concluded last week. Now the world needs real actions. We hope that all the relevant parties will honour their pledges with concrete actions, enhance cooperation, and step up support for developing countries, so as to protect the common home of mankind.

Fifth, China upholds the ideal of a community with a shared future for mankind and promotes peaceful development. We are firmly committed to peaceful development and hope that all countries in the world do the same. We stand ready to join hands with other countries to champion the universal values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. China upholds the international system with the United Nations at the core and the international order with international law as the basis. We oppose hegemony and power politics, and reject Cold-War mentality, coteries and other moves that would lead to division or confrontation. China will always be a defender of world peace, contributor to global development, and upholder of international order. Recently President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative, calling on the international community to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, work to realize more robust, green and healthy global development, and build a community with a shared future for global development. Every country is welcomed to join this Initiative and work together to create a better future for international cooperation on development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

At present, the worst pandemic in 100 years is precipitating the profound global changes unseen in a century. The world is faced with uncertainties, risks and challenges. China and the UK are both at a critical stage of development. As permanent members of the UN Security Council and major economies in the world, our two countries should maintain sound communication, step up dialogue and cooperation, and contribute to an early victory against the virus, better global governance, and greater development and prosperity in the world.

In their telephone conversation last month, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Boris Johnson had an in-depth exchange of views and reached a series of important understanding on the bilateral relationship as well as international and regional issues that are of interest to both sides. Our two sides should work closely together now in the direction given by our leaders, and take actions to bring our relationship to the right track of healthy and steady development.

— We should step up contact and communication, and have a right understanding of each other’s development. The UK needs to view China from an objective perspective, rectify misperceptions and appreciate the fact that China’s development will only bring opportunities for cooperation with all countries.

— We should adhere to the principle of mutual respect, handle properly the issues in our bilateral relations, focus on cooperation, manage our differences, expand consensus and build up mutual trust.

— We should expand practical cooperation in areas of trade and investment, medical care, public health, green development, digital economy, financial services and creative industries. The Beijing Winter Olympics is coming up. It will provide an opportunity for us to deepen cooperation on sports, culture and education, and enhance people-to-people exchanges. Together we will better meet global challenges such as climate change and Covid-19.

— Last but not least, we should leverage our respective strengths to help developing countries better meet the challenges of Covid-19, poverty and environmental deterioration. China and the UK should make greater contribution to world peace and common development through our cooperation.

So, to open today’s discussion, I have shared my views on three topics: the sixth plenum of the 19th CPC Central Committee, China’s development trend and the China-UK relationship. Now I am ready to take your questions and look forward to a very productive exchange of views with you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: