|Speech by Ambassador Wang Guangya at Luncheon Hosted by the Business Council for the UN|
|(New York, 10 December 2004)|
Mr. Jerry Mattes,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to be invited to this luncheon hosted by the Business Council for the United Nations. I am glad to have this opportunity to exchange views with you on some of the major international issues.
In the world of globalization, businesses and private sector have not only become a significant force in promoting economic growth, but also played an important role in many global affairs. In establishing the global partnership initiated by the United Nations, private sector is one of the principal components. The businesses and private sector have also offered valuable support to the United Nations in many areas, such as Millennium Development Goals, financing for development, sustainable development, and AIDS prevention and treatment. The Business Council has built a wonderful bridge linking the United Nations and the industrial and commercial circles, and provided a valuable platform for business leaders and diplomats to talk frankly with each other. The Permanent Mission of China wishes to further expand its contacts with you.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China is a peace-loving country, and we dearly cherish our hard-won peaceful environment and development opportunities. We have all along pursued an independent foreign policy of peace, and followed the road of peaceful development. Our foreign policy is aimed at maintaining world peace and promoting common development. China will strive to create a peaceful and stable international environment to facilitate its development, and promote world peace and progress through its own development.
The world today is a big family. In the age of globalization and information, no country is safe by only relying on its own strength. World affairs should be handled through consultations among all members of this big family. Enhanced multilateralism and reinforced collective security cooperation are the effective response to common challenges faced by mankind. The United Nations is at the core of international multilateral mechanism and is therefore the best place to practice multilateralism. At present, while old threats remain unsolved, new challenges have cropped up one after another. And they are becoming more and more complex, multi-faceted and transnational. Thus the role of the United Nations can only be strengthened and not weakened. The United Nations is now planning a new round of reforms. Ten days ago, the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons submitted a comprehensive report to Secretary-General Kofi Annan. This is an important report full of new concepts and recommendations. There will be wide-ranging and in-depth studies and discussions on the report. It is hoped that the report will vigorously enhance the role of the United Nations and the collective security mechanism and promote multilateralism.
At the request of my hosts, I will talk briefly about Iraq, counter-terrorism and HIV/AIDS.
The international community has witnessed grave differences on the war in Iraq. It is gratifying to see that the parties concerned have now adopted a forward-looking attitude. Not long ago, the international conference on Iraq was held in Egypt. I attended the conference as the special envoy of the Chinese Government. The meeting has achieved important results and sent positive signals for pushing forward the political process in Iraq.
To solve the Iraqi issue, we maintain that
Firstly, the future of Iraq can only be decided by the Iraqi people. Iraq's independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity must be safeguarded, and the fundamental human rights of the Iraqi people must be respected.
Secondly, to improve the security situation in Iraq, military means alone cannot serve the purpose; it should be conducted along with the political process and the concerted efforts of all parties.
Thirdly, national reconciliation is the fundamental way out for Iraq. Whether they are the Sunnis, Shiites or Kurds, they are all entitled to equal, comprehensive and full participation in the political process, and they should all put national interests first and work jointly for reconciliation and reconstruction.
Fourthly, the United Nations should play an important role in Iraq's reconstruction, and especially in preparing the general elections, drafting constitution and promoting national reconciliation.
Fifthly, it is necessary to listen to the voice of the neighboring countries of Iraq and the Arab world, respect and give consideration to their reasonable concerns and give full play to their active role.
Terrorism is the common enemy of mankind. World counter-terrorism endeavor will be a long-term task. Since the beginning of this year, terrorist attacks all over the world have become more rampant. According to the statistics, there have been 1,700 attacks this year, which is 58% of the last three years' total. At the same time, terrorist activities have acquired new features, such as marked globalized trend, transfer to the developing countries, target change from "hard target" to "soft target", more ruthless means, stronger politicization, and greater conceal and deception.
China's position on terrorism has been consistent and clear.
First of all, we oppose all forms of terrorism. Terrorist activities happened anytime, anywhere, organized by anybody and in whatever form, should be combated jointly and resolutely. There should be no double standard.
Second, the scope of counter-terrorism should not be expanded or pinpointed against certain ethnic groups or religions. Counter-terrorism efforts should be based on firm evidence with clear targets, and should try not to harm the innocent people. Counter-terrorism should not be used as an excuse to seek political interests.
Third, it is necessary to look into the root causes and acts of terrorism. Only by paying attention to and uprooting the cause of terrorism, can we solve the issue once and for all.
Fourth, it is essential to strengthen international cooperation. No single country can independently shoulder the heavy task of fighting against terrorism globally. The important role of the United Nations and the Security Council should be brought into full play.
HIV/AIDS has posed a challenge to the entire mankind, producing serious threats to people's health and life and even national and regional stability. In recent years, though there has been certain progress in global fight against HIV/AIDS, situation remains grave. The number of this year's 39 million HIV/AIDS infections has set a new record with an increased number of 4.9 million.
HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment is an arduous and complex task for the Chinese Government. According to incomplete statistics, there are more than 840,000 HIV/AIDS infections and 80,000 HIV/AIDS patients in China. HIV/AIDS is spreading faster with more prominent and damaging effects. Chinese President Hu Jintao has stated clearly, "HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment is a major issue pertinent to the quality and prosperity of the Chinese nation. We should focus on prevention and act resolutely to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS." The Chinese Government has reinforced its efforts in the following areas:
1. To better fulfill government responsibilities, State Council Working Committee on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment has been established, and the government has invested $8 billion for local prevention and control mechanisms.
2. The government is committed to free treatment and medicines for low-income HIV/AIDS patients in urban and rural areas. The government has spent $100 million this year, doubling the amount of last year.
3. We have improved laws and regulations, and intensified intervention on dangerous behaviors. Public awareness campaigns have been carried out to educate the general public. To better protect the legitimate rights and interests of HIV/AIDS patients, we have launched diversified care and assistance projects, and made determined efforts to remove misunderstanding and discrimination.
4. China has also taken an active part in global fight against HIV/AIDS. The Chinese Government has pledged $10 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS to support HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts in the developing countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Many friends are interested in the current macro economic situation in China. Now let me talk briefly on this subject.
You may have noticed that a week ago, a very important economic meeting was held in Beijing. It gave a comprehensive analysis of this year's economic situation and set out next year's priorities. The general economic situation in China is good. Since last August, the Chinese Government has pinpointed problems occurred and adopted prompt and decisive measures of macro-economic control. There have been marked results, especially in balancing urban and rural development and curbing the excessive investment in fixed assets. China's economy has kept its high-speed and steady growth. The expected growth of GDP this year will be 9.4% or even a little bit higher. Thanks to better grain production, farmers have more income. The excessive investment in some industries has been curbed. The economic returns continue to grow; financial revenue and enterprise profits have all registered a huge increase. China's reform and opening up is expanding both in depth and width, and people's living standard has been improved further.
In spite of the above achievements, China's economy still has fairly outstanding problems, including adjusting economic growth mode, optimizing economic structure, promoted coordinated development and improving related systems and mechanisms. The Chinese Government has therefore set out six priorities for next year's economic development. 1. To continue reinforcing and improving macro economic control to ensure stable and fairly rapid growth rate. 2. To increase agricultural input. 3. To accelerate structural adjustment and development mode transformation. 4. To enhance structural reform and establish comprehensive supporting system. 5. To coordinate development and open further to the outside world, so as to raise international competitiveness. 6. To adhere to the principle of putting people's interests first and build a harmonious society. Combining various factors, China's economy next year will continue to develop in a stable and fairly rapid manner with an estimated growth rate of 8%.
Another rather hot issue is whether there will be an increase in RMB's value. This topic is at the center of attention of both Chinese and American political, commercial, academic circles and the media. I am not a financial specialist, so I will not talk about the technical side of this issue. Still, I wish to emphasize the following three points:
1. The Chinese side attaches great importance to RMB exchange rate mechanism. Among the essential corresponding conditions for the adjustment of RMB exchange rate, the key lies in a stable macro control environment, a comprehensive market mechanism and healthy monetary structure. It is also necessary to consider the post adjustment impacts on China's economy and society as well as on the economy of Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole.
2. China will not increase the value of RMB under the outside pressure. This is a major economic decision that should be made at the appropriate moment. International speculation will not contribute to the smooth handling of this issue.
3. China has the wisdom and confidence to properly handle this issue. To form a flexible and market-based exchange rate mechanism is an organic part of China's overall economic reform. We have taken full note of the opinions and suggestions from different parties, and we will continue our constructive exchange of views with all sides.
Foreign trade is a major attraction in China's economic operation, and I believe it is also a subject of common interest here. According to the statistics, China's foreign trade volume hit $1038.38 billion in the first 11 month of this year, an increase of 36.5% than the corresponding period of last year. The export was $529.6 billion, a 35.7% increase, and the import was $508.8 billion, a 37.3% increase. E.U., the United States and Japan continue to be the first three major trade partners of China. China-U.S. trade reached $152.8 billion, a 34.3% increase. China's annual trade volume in 2004 has, for the first time, broken the ceiling of $1,000 billion, and will reach an estimated $1,100 billion. It is hopeful that China will be upgraded and rank third in world trade. China has formed a huge import market with an annual volume of $500 billion. Since China's entry into the WTO three years ago, the relevant commitments and agreements have been implemented smoothly. In a word, China's economic restructuring will go further, market will be open wider, and multilateral economic cooperation will be more extensive. China's economy will maintain a sustained, steady and rapid growth. This will surely stimulate world economic development and contribute to common prosperity of all countries.
Thank you, and now I would like to take up your questions.