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Remarks at the 3rd Annual Conference on Israel's China Policy By Amb.Zhan Yongxin
2018/11/25

Remarks at the 3rd Annual Conference on Israel's China Policy

by H.E. Zhan Yongxin

Ambassador of the P. R. China to the State of Israel

(IDC Herzliya, 22 November, 2018)

 

Mr. Dan Meridor, President of Israel Council on Foreign Relations,

His Excellency, Ambassador Zha Peixin,

Ms. Carice Witte, Founder of SIGNAL,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

   Shalom!

   It is my great pleasure to join you at the Third Conference on Israel's China Policy. This conference has been successfully held for two consecutive years, and has played a conducive role in promoting mutual understanding between China and Israel. I want to pay tribute to SIGNAL and IDC. This conference would not be possible without their efforts and hard work.

   We are living in a time of rapid changes. The interests of all the countries are increasingly interconnected. On the other hand, the world economy is going through profound adjustment. Protectionism and unilateralism are resurging. Economic globalization faces headwinds, and multilateralism and the system of free trade are under threat.

   In resonse to the current situation, China's policy is clear and consistent. President Xi Jinping has emphasized that China will unswervingly follow a win-win stategy of opening-up, and further advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. China's door will never be closed. It will only open even wider.

   This policy derives from our experiences of the reform and opening-up which was launched 40 years ago.

   In the past 40 years, China has grown from the eleventh to the second largest economy in the world. 40 years ago, China's GDP was only 175 billion US dollars. Today, it is more than 12 trillion US dollars, increasing by 70 times. 740 million people have been lifted out of poverty, accounting for more than 70% of world poverty reduction in the same period.

   In the past 40 years, China has been an active participant of the economic globalization and a contributor to the common development of the world. China has become the largest trading partner of more than 100 countries and regions. It has contributed more than 30% of world economic growth for many years. It has been a stabilizer and powerhouse for world economic recovery.

   In the past 40 years, Chinese people's lives have undergone tremendous changes. The per capita disposable income increased by 150 times. The Engel's coefficient fell from over 60% to about 30%. The life expectancy of people increased about 9 years to 76.7 years.

   People of my generation are best qualified to tell how the past 40 years have changed the life of ordinary Chinese people. Here are two examples from my own experiences.

   40 years ago, China was in severe shortage of supply. When people wanted to buy food, clothes or other household appliances, they must have the ration coupons issued by the government. It was only in 1992 that the ration system was formally abandoned. Nowadays, the problem for people to buy something is how to choose from so many varieties. Shopping becomes so convenient that almost all payments can be done by a smart phone, and goods are quickly delivered to your address by couriers. During the Double Eleven Shopping Carnival on November 11, the turnover within 24 hours surpassed 30 billion US dollars at TMALL alone, a popular E-shopping platform under Alibaba. That means 21 million US dollars per minute.

   Another example, when I was a teenager, it took me almost 24 hours to travel from Shanghai to Beijing by train. Now it only takes four and half hours by the high-speed rail. In the past decade, China has built the world's largest high-speed rail network with 25,000 kilometers of track, accounting for two-thirds of the world's high-speed rail tracks.

Besides the economic and social achievements, China has made significant progress in achieving national reunification, enhancing foreign relations and safeguarding peace of the world. Under the principle of "one country, two systems", China resumed exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997 and Macao in 1999. This has created an example of peaceful settlement of historic issues among countries.

   In the past 40 years, China has established diplomatic relations with over 60 countries, making the total number 178. Since 1990, China has dispatched over 37,000 military personnel to take part in 24 UN peacekeeping missions. China has become the biggest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

   China's achievements could only be attributed to Chinese people's hard work and enormous sacrifices, not the charity of any other country. The peaceful development of China poses no threat to other countries, but only brings more opportunities.

   Ladies and gentlemen,

   While we are encouraged by these achievements, we also noticed that, recently the economic situation of China has encountered some difficulties, such as unbalanced and inadequate development in different regions at home and the impact of protectionism from outside. We are carrying out new round of reform and opening-up with greater determination and courage to solve these problems. This will also bring benefits to the world.

   Firstly, China will remain a stable engine for global growth. Some statistics demonstrate the dynamics of the economy of China. For the first three quarters of this year, China's GDP grew by 6.7%, meeting our targeted goal for growth. For the first ten months of 2018, China's foreign trade totaled 3.6 trillion US dollars, up 11.3% from the same period last year.

   Secondly, China will remain a big market with enormous opportunities. Earlier this month, the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) was held in Shanghai. Representatives from 172 countries, regions and international organizations, more than 3,600 companies and over 400,000 Chinese and foreign buyers attended the event. It is reported that the intended deals reached during the expo were worth over 50 billion US dollars in total. With 1.3 billion people and 400 million middle-income consumers, China's market potential is huge. Additionally, China will take further steps to lower tariffs and reduce import cost. It is estimated that in the next 15 years, China's imports of goods and services will exceed 30 trillion and 10 trillion US dollars respectively.

   Thirdly, China will remain an active supporter of global governance reform. China believes that rules of the WTO should be upheld firmly, its necessary reforms should be supported and the multilateral trading system should be defended. China will work with other countries and organizations to build a fairer and more equitable global economic governance system. China will continue to advance the Belt and Road Initiative in the spirit of consultation and collaboration for shared benefits, to set up for the whole world a platform for open cooperation.

   Ladies and gentlemen,

   China's further reform and opening-up will also bring new opportunities for China-Israel cooperation.

   Israel is a well-known start-up nation, strong in creation and innovation, good at doing things from 0 to 1. China, with strong financing and manufacturing capabilities and a huge market, is good at doing things from 1 to 100. Therefore China-Israel cooperation is highly complementary.

   Last month, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan made a successful visit to Israel. During the visit, Vice President Wang and Prime Minister Netanyahu co-chaired the 4th Meeting of China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation. The two leaders also signed the Plan of Action on Innovation Cooperation for the next three years, a guideline document for bilateral cooperation.

   Nowadays, more and more Israeli start-up companies have obtained investment from China and entered the Chinese market. The bilateral trade volume of our two countries was over 13 billion US dollars in 2017. And according to the latest statistics released by the Customs of China, in the first nine months of 2018, our trade volume grew by 12.7% and China's import from Israel has increased by 25.3%.

   We have seen a great momentum of practical cooperation between the two countries. I sincerely hope that China and Israel will seize the opportunities to create a brighter future together.

Ladies and gentlemen,

   As China becomes the second largest economy in the world, it has become a hot topic that how China is going to use its power and what kind of foreign policy or strategy China will apply.

   I would like to stress that, "a strong country is bound to seek hegemony" is not China's logic, because it is neither in line with China's history nor with Chinese culture. For the past 4000 years, China used to be one of the strongest countries for a long time, but has never established any colony overseas. In the early 15th century, Zheng He, the famous Chinese navigator of the Ming Dynasty, led the biggest fleet in the world to the Pacific and west Indian Oceans on seven expeditions, visiting many countries and reaching as far as Africa. He did not occupy a single inch of land of other countries. As the ancient Chinese philosophy teaches us, "Do not do onto others what you do not want them to do onto you." China cherishes and loves peace. And it is firm in its resolve to maintain peace.

   Last week, many countries commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The lesson we can draw from the history is that, power politics can neither sustained hegemony nor guarantee absolute advantages of one country.

   As a Chinese saying goes, "A single flower does not make spring, while one hundred flowers in full blossom bring spring to the garden." In the historical process ofnational rejuvenation, China will stay on the path of peaceful development, and continue to pursue a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up. China will always stand ready to work closely with all the countries including Israel to build a better world with sustainable peace and common prosperity.

   Thank you all.

 

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