China to quadruple GDP by 2020 to $4 trillion
Boao, Hainan Province: President Hu Jintao said China hopes to quadruple its gross domestic product by 2020 and urged other nations to seize development opportunities the goal presents.
Meanwhile, he warned that the road to a fully well-off society still requires a long, uphill battle.
"We will quadruple the 2020 GDP to US$4 trillion with a per capita GDP of US$3,000, and further develop the economy, improve democracy, advance science and education, enrich culture, foster greater social harmony and upgrade the texture of life for the people," Hu said in his Saturday speech at the Boao Forum for Asia, the only non-government international organization in Asia that fosters economic co-operation in the Asia-Pacific region.
China, the second largest economy in Asia, has maintained a sustainable average annual economic growth rate of 9.4 per cent over the past 25 years. Although this has helped China's per capita GDP reach a high of US$1,000 last year, it still ranks behind 100th in the world.
Many acute problems still exist, Hu acknowledged, noting the nation's on-going issues with overpopulation and underdeveloped productivity.
Hu said China, now the largest importer in Asia, will generate important opportunities for Asia. "China's development cannot be achieved in isolation, and Asia's prosperity also needs China.
"China's economy will integrate still more closely with the Asian economy, giving rise to a new type of partnership characterized by mutual benefits and mutual assistance."
Hu's remarks were echoed by his audience.
"China is really trying her utmost to cultivate relations with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) despite the setback ASEAN has experienced since the financial crisis in 1997," said Jusuf Wanandi, co-founder of Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
"ASEAN is thankful about the support from China," Wanandi said.
Commenting on the economic competition, Wanandi said it is not a "zero-sum" game. "China is willing to assist others as she has shown to ASEAN," Wanandi noted, "by importing their goods, creating networks, in developing partnerships and in the proposal for a free trade pact to be completed in 10 years."
As an observer, former US President Gorge Bush also agreed that China's peaceful rise is "very reassuring and very, very important to the Asian horizon and Asia's landscape."
Bush made the remarks in his 20-minute speech at the forum on Saturday. He said the country has become wealthier, more confident, and full of colour and vitality.
Bush, who has visited China many times in the past decades, attributed the change mainly to the reforms and opening-up drive initiated by the Chinese Government.
The concept of China's "peaceful rise" was raised by Zheng Bijian, chairman of China Reform Forum at the last annual conference in facing growing worries from the world over China's rapid economic growth.
The topic was again included in this year's conference, which is regarded as a sign of heated interest in China's development among nations in the region.
Pakistan Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who is also a guest of the forum, told China Daily in an interview the forum is in step with growing economic and trade activity in the region and has good potential to serve as an instrument of economic integration in various areas of Asia.
The two-day third annual conference which closed yesterday offers a stage for "heavyweight" figures to discuss closer collaboration among Asian countries and the rest of the world.
It attracted more than 1,000 high-profile political leaders, scholars and entrepreneurs from Asia and across the globe.