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Xi Jinping Attends and Addresses the Plenary Session of the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF)


On June 7, 2019 local time, the plenary session of the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) was held in St. Petersburg. President Xi Jinping, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Rumen Radev of Bulgaria, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini of Slovakia, Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) António Guterres and others attended the session.

Xi Jinping delivered a speech titled upholding sustainable development and creating a prosperous and beautiful world. Xi Jinping stressed that facing the world's profound changes unseen in a century, the Chinese side stands ready to make joint efforts with the international community to create an open and pluralistic world economy, a happy society that is inclusive and benefits all, and a beautiful homeland with harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature, and explore a new path of sustainable development.

Noting that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping stressed that China, as the world's largest developing country and a responsible major country, has always unswervingly fulfilled its commitment to sustainable development and attached great importance to enhancing global cooperation on sustainable development. I put forward the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 to realize win-win cooperation and common development among countries. The Belt and Road Initiative, highly compatible with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in terms of goals, principles and implementation approaches, has received positive response and support from the international community. At the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which was successfully held in April in Beijing, all participating sides agreed to forge ahead with high-quality joint building of the Belt and Road along a green, low-carbon and sustainable development path.

Calling Russia China's priority cooperation partner in all areas, Xi Jinping pointed out that jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative shares a similar philosophy with the Greater Eurasian Partnership proposed by President Vladimir Putin, adding that the two initiatives can support each other, facilitate each other and advance together to forcefully promote regional economic integration and realize common sustainable development.

Xi Jinping emphasized that sustainable development answers to the common calls of most countries in the world. The Chinese side is willing to, together with the international community, explore a new path of sustainable development.

Firstly, we should stick to the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and work together to create an open and pluralistic world economy. China will continue to expand opening-up, relax market entry rules and nurture a market environment featuring fair competition. China will unequivocally push ahead the process of economic globalization, uphold the multilateral trade system, endeavor to solve the imbalance and inequality in global economic development, and create more opportunities for developing countries. China is willing to share with the rest of the world its latest research and development results including the 5G technology so as to jointly cultivate new core competitiveness.

Secondly, we should stick to the practice of putting people first, and strive to build a happy society that is inclusive and benefits all. China will continue to push ahead its targeted poverty alleviation efforts, increase employment, support vocational education and healthy development of volunteer services and charity work, and protect the legitimate rights of disadvantaged groups. China is willing to boost communication and cooperation with other countries in such areas as poverty reduction and social security, in order to bring a greater sense of achievement, happiness and security to all peoples.

Thirdly, we should stick to the pursuit of green development, and try to build a beautiful homeland with harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature. China will uphold the concept that clear waters and green mountains are as valuable as mountains of gold and silver, strive to win the battles against air, water and soil pollution, encourage the development of green industries and renewable energy, and promote economical use and recycling of resources. China will join hands with other parties to address urgent issues like climate change and biodiversity protection, and implement global consensuses such as the Paris Agreement.

Stressing that peace and development remain the theme of today's world, where the destinies of different peoples are unprecedentedly interwoven and the interests of different countries are unprecedentedly integrated, Xi Jinping noted that the world is facing increasing new issues and challenges. As the world is standing at a crossroad of history again, pooling wisdom and efforts of everyone to cooperate and achieve win-win outcomes is the right choice to address changes in the world. Xi Jinping highlighted sustainable development as the "golden key" to solving global problems. Xi Jinping said that China stands ready to make concerted efforts with all other parties to uphold the concept of sustainable development, shoulder the responsibility of building a community with a shared future for mankind, advocate multilateralism, and improve global governance, so as to promote long-lasting peace in the global village and create a more prosperous and beautiful world.

Vladimir Putin said that there have been worrying developments in the world. Since the international financial crisis in 2008, the structural problems of the world economy have not been fundamentally resolved, and the effectiveness of international trade as an inherent driving force for world economic growth has declined, giving rise to protectionism. Vladimir Putin expressed that in face of the rapid development of emerging markets and their growing influence in world economy, some Western countries have resorted to unfair means to suppress them, including provoking trade wars, exercising financial hegemony, imposing unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction, and blocking normal educational and academic exchanges, citing certain Western countries' suppression of Chinese company Huawei as an example. Vladimir Putin stressed that there is no development model that works universally and each country is entitled to choose its own development path. He added that no country has the right to impose its own will on others and an unequal international order is neither stable nor sustainable. He called for efforts to seek a new international order on the basis of international consensus, with real respect for the UN's core role in international affairs, and full consideration of the development rights and interests of developing countries. Russia is willing to work with the international community to cope with the common challenges.

Other leaders attending the forum agreed that globalization is an irreversible trend of the times and countries need to work together to address various problems and challenges facing humanity. They said that China has become an important force in safeguarding multilateralism, international rules and free trade, and that all nations must resolutely oppose unilateralism, and safeguard multilateralism, the multi-polarization process and the UN's authority and role. The leaders also agreed that all countries should have more dialogues, improve global governance, deepen practical cooperation, and strengthen the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and their respective development strategies and such regional cooperation mechanisms as the Eurasian Economic Union. They called for concerted efforts to fully implement the UN's 2030 sustainable development agenda, actively explore a green, low-carbon, and sustainable development path, eliminate the digital divide, and promote the economic globalization towards more balanced, inclusive, fair and sustainable development, so as to preserve international security and world harmony.

In an interactive session, Xi Jinping also answered questions concerning anti-globalization, jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative, and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Xi Jinping pointed out that globalization is a historical trend, and China is one of the most determined champions and defenders of globalization, noting that the few anti-globalization movements that have emerged in the world cannot stop the tide of globalization. We should not fear problems in globalization. In face of these problems, countries should not resort to wanton use of protectionism and unilateralism, nor should they adopt a selfish beggar-thy-neighbor approach. Pointing out that the problems arising in globalization reflect the sluggishness of global governance, Xi Jinping suggested that to solve these problems, we must stick to opening up and firmly uphold the multilateral trading system, and that instead of starting something entirely new, we should improve the existing international system. On the basis of fairness and equality, we should enhance the representation and voice of emerging-market countries and developing countries in multilateral institutions to make the governance structure and benefit distribution more balanced and reasonable. Countries should show mutual respect to each other, respect other countries' social systems and development paths, strengthen communication and coordination, and properly solve disputes.

Xi Jinping stressed that China is committed to being a builder of the international community, not a destroyer, and being a bridge-builder rather than a trench-digger. Meanwhile, China is committed to expanding the circle of friends. China and Russia are comprehensive strategic partners of coordination and China has also become a partner with Asian, European Union, African, Latin American and South Pacific countries. There are frequent exchanges between China and the United States (US), and the interests of the two countries are intertwined, and the so-called decoupling is hard to imagine and it is also not something all communities in the US want to see.

Xi Jinping said that in the past nearly six years, the joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative has won positive response and support from across the world, and the scope of the participants has far exceeded that of the Belt and Road countries in history. This fully demonstrated that this initiative has strong cohesiveness and is not China's wishful thinking. The Belt and Road Initiative stresses the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits and is by no means a contemporary Marshall Plan as some people have claimed. Neither is the initiative a so-called Chinese colonial plan, Xi Jinping said, pointing out that China has no history of colonizing other countries. We will firmly do our own thing well, and continue to make efforts to build a community of shared future for mankind through joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative. We believe that this vision will win greater consensus in the international community and will certainly be realized.

On the Korean Peninsula issue, Xi Jinping urged the international community to continue encouraging the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the US to build mutual trust through dialogue, address each other's concerns, and jointly seek an appropriate settlement. The Chinese side will continue to work actively to promote peace talks and safeguard the peace and stability on the Peninsula.

In the interactive session, Vladimir Putin spoke highly again of the friendship and close coordination and cooperation between Russia and China. He said that as strategic partners, the two countries are committed to advancing bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect and equality, and enjoy broad prospects for their mutually beneficial cooperation, as well as productive coordination in international affairs.

Vladimir Putin expressed that the Belt and Road Initiative, which was proposed by President Xi Jinping, brings opportunities to all countries, and the Chinese side has never tried to impose it on others when promoting it. Other leaders present also expressed willingness to actively participate in joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative, saying that some countries' worries about the initiative are unnecessary.

Ding Xuexiang, Yang Jiechi, Wang Yi, He Lifeng and others attended the above activities.

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