Towards building a more prosperous Asia-Pacific community
The first in-person meeting of the leaders of 21 Asia-Pacific economies since 2018 came at a critical moment as the world is in desperate need of economic recovery from the impact of an ongoing pandemic, rising inflation and geopolitical tensions.
Asia-Pacific economies, thanks to their remarkable resilience and overall stability, have expanded cooperation and enhanced regional integration over the past decades, making the region the world's most dynamic and promising area. Thus its ability to lead economic recovery and promote global development gives the world cause for hope.
Home to 2.9 billion people, the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies account for about half of global trade and over 60 percent of the world's total gross domestic product. The region's stability and growth are crucial for global development.
The Asia-Pacific region has experienced havoc caused by war and financial chaos but created an "Asia-Pacific miracle" in recent decades. People in the region should understand that a path of peaceful development in the Asia-Pacific featuring solidarity and win-win cooperation is in the interests of all.
Though attempts to distort international norms, disrupt economic ties, inflate conflicts in regions and impede development cooperation have posed great challenges to a path of peaceful development, such headwinds highlight the need for Asian-Pacific economies to stay together as one big family.
The region cannot afford to lose peace and stability to bloc-confrontation and decoupling. From the Putrajaya Vision 2040 to the Aotearoa Plan of Action, a sense of an Asia-Pacific community has been forged in pursuit of balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth.
By working together, the region has a better chance of achieving its goals and common prosperity. Peace and cooperation should be the foundation of the Asia-Pacific region's development toward prosperity.
China, as a major economy in the region, has always advocated for efforts to overcome estrangement between civilizations with exchanges, prevent their clash with mutual learning, and overcome a false sense of superiority with coexistence. It is supporting peaceful development with concrete actions.
Peaceful development in the Asia-Pacific should be inclusive as well; China has been a driving force to that end.
From hosting the China International Import Expo in Shanghai to the China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, from actively participating in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to continued efforts toward joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, China walks its talk in promoting opening-up and regional integration as ways to share its development dividends with regional economies.
Official data showed that China's trade with other RCEP members in the first eight months of this year has reached around 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars, accounting for 30.5 percent of China's total foreign trade.
In Asia, the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has ushered in a "high-speed era" in Cambodia; the China-Laos Railway has realized a Lao dream of becoming a land-linked country; the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway and the East Coast Rail Link, once in operation, will enhance the overall competitiveness of Indonesia and Malaysia.
To make the advancement sustainable, green and balanced development should also be followed in the region, where China has shared its growing experience in the development of clean energy.
The hydro-floating solar hybrid project at the Sirindhorn Dam in Thailand and Chinese-made electric trucks boosting green logistics in Mexico are testament to the fact that with win-win cooperation, low-carbon development is feasible in a growing number of Asia-Pacific economies.
Through cooperation, a sense of Asia-Pacific community has laid a solid foundation for steady progress in the region. At the APEC meetings this year, the leaders continue to work on the long-term blueprint of an "open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040" outlined in the Putrajaya Vision 2040.
The vision is highly compatible with China's proposal of building an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future of openness and inclusiveness, innovation-driven growth, greater connectivity, and mutually beneficial cooperation.
During the recently-concluded 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, a call was made to pursue Chinese modernization on all fronts with an aim to achieve common prosperity for all.
To that end, China needs to marshal the strength of its over 1.4 billion people, which also means to make the pie bigger and share it fairly. Such a call sends a clear signal to the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world that a China marching toward modernization will bring more opportunities to the world, inject stronger momentum for international cooperation, and make greater contribution to human progress.
China believes that its friendly relations and cooperation with neighbors are key to its own stability, growth, and prosperity. Its willingness to work with regional economies to safeguard peace and stimulate shared development has resonated with the aspiration of the regional economies.
"China's initiatives such as building an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future have drawn huge and positive reactions from countries in the region. At present, the Asia-Pacific region is increasingly talking about integrating China's initiatives with the region's own development plans," said Oleg Timofeev, associate professor with the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia.
Striving to safeguard world peace and development along the path of Chinese modernization, China will stay committed to peace, development, cooperation, and delivering mutual benefits. With more Asia-Pacific economies working together toward a common goal, people here can better contribute to boosting the development and prosperity of both the Asia-Pacific and the wider world.