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Enhancing Solidarity and Cooperation To Overcome Risks and Challenges And Jointly Build a Better World
Address by H.E. Xi Jinping President of the People’s Republic of China At the Closing Ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum 2023 Johannesburg, August 22, 2023
Your Excellency President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa,
Members of the Business Community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to extend my warm congratulations on the success of the BRICS Business Forum in South Africa!
Ten years ago here in South Africa, we BRICS leaders witnessed the birth of the BRICS Business Council. Since then, the Council has stayed true to its founding mission. It has seized opportunities to deepen cooperation, contributing to economic and social development of BRICS countries and helping sustain global economic growth.
Right now, changes in the world, in our times and in history are unfolding in ways like never before, bringing human society to a critical juncture. Should we pursue cooperation and integration, or just succumb to division and confrontation? Should we work together to maintain peace and stability, or just sleepwalk into the abyss of a new Cold War? Should we embrace prosperity, openness and inclusiveness, or allow hegemonic and bullying acts to throw us into depression? Should we deepen mutual trust through exchanges and mutual learning, or allow hubris and prejudice to blind conscience? The course of history will be shaped by the choices we make.
An ancient Chinese thinker observed that “following the underlying trend will lead one to success, while going against it can only cause one to fail.” We humankind have achieved notable economic development and social progress over the past decades, and that is because we have drawn lessons from the two world wars and the Cold War, followed the historical trend of economic globalization, and embarked on the right path of openness and development for win-win cooperation. Our world today has become a community with a shared future in which we all share a huge stake of survival. What people in various countries long for is definitely not a new Cold War or a small exclusive bloc; what they want is an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys enduring peace, universal security and common prosperity. Such is the logic of historical advance and the trend of our times.
Ten years ago, I made a proposition of building a community with a shared future for mankind, calling on all countries to build this planet we all call home into a harmonious family. In the face of high winds, choppy waters and even treacherous storms, we in all countries need to uphold the correct views of the world, of history and of our overall interests, and act to translate the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind into reality.
—We need to promote development and prosperity for all. Many emerging markets and developing countries (EMDCs) have come to what they are today after shaking off the yoke of colonialism. With perseverance, hard work and huge sacrifices, we succeeded in gaining independence and have been exploring development paths suited to our national conditions. Everything we do is to deliver better lives to our people. But some country, obsessed with maintaining its hegemony, has gone out of its way to cripple the EMDCs. Whoever is developing fast becomes its target of containment; whoever is catching up becomes its target of obstruction. But this is futile, as I have said more than once that blowing out others’ lamp will not bring light to oneself.
Every country has the right to development, and the people in every country have the freedom to pursue a happy life. With that in mind, I have proposed the Global Development Initiative, with the goal of promoting development for all by the international community and boosting the U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With the support of many countries, solid gains have been made in pursuing this initiative, with cooperation flourishing in various fields. China will work with all other countries to speed up cooperation under the Global Development Initiative, strengthen drivers of global development, promote the reform of the World Trade Organization in a comprehensive and in-depth manner, meet common challenges together and make life better for people across the world.
—We need to achieve universal security. Recent years have seen a turbulent world; many countries and regions are plagued by wars and conflicts and many people are displaced. Members of the international community share the pressing hope to eradicate the root cause of conflicts and wars, and find a fundamental way to realize enduring peace and security globally. Facts have shown that any attempt to keep enlarging a military alliance, expand one’s own sphere of influence or squeeze other countries’ buffer of security can only create security predicament and insecurity for all countries. Only a commitment to a new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security can lead to universal security.
Last year, I put forward the Global Security Initiative, and it has gained support from over 100 countries and international organizations. China stands ready to jointly pursue this initiative with all others. We should have dialogue and oppose confrontation, forge partnership but not alliance, and pursue win-win outcome and oppose zero-sum game, and work together to build a community of security.
—We need to stay committed to exchanges among civilizations and mutual learning. One flower alone cannot make a beautiful spring; only blossoming of a rich variety of flowers can bring spring to the global garden. Human civilization is colorful by nature. It is precisely because of their differences in history, culture and system that all countries need to interact with one another, learn from each other, and advance together. Deliberately creating division with the assertion of “democracy versus authoritarianism” and “liberalism versus autocracy” can only split the world and lead to clash of civilizations.
I have put forward the Global Civilization Initiative, calling for promoting diversity of global civilizations, the common values of humanity, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation. China welcomes all other countries to get involved in cooperation under this initiative. We should encourage different civilizations to bring out their best and flourish together; we should break barriers to exchanges, and renew human civilization.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As an ancient Chinese philosopher observes, “Change is the nature of the universe.” The collective rise of EMDCs represented by BRICS is fundamentally changing the global landscape. EMDCs have contributed as high as 80 percent of global growth in the past 20 years, and their share in the global GDP has increased from 24 percent 40 years ago to more than 40 percent. Just as a line in a Chinese poem reads, “No mountains can stop the surging flow of a mighty river.” Whatever resistance there may be, BRICS, a positive and stable force for good, will continue to grow. We will forge stronger BRICS strategic partnership, expand the “BRICS Plus” model, actively advance membership expansion, deepen solidarity and cooperation with other EMDCs, promote global multipolarity and greater democracy in international relations, and help make the international order more just and equitable. The gathering between BRICS countries and more than 50 other countries in South Africa today is not an exercise of asking countries to take sides, nor an exercise of creating bloc confrontation. Rather, it is an endeavor to expand the architecture of peace and development. I am glad to note that over 20 countries are knocking on the door of BRICS. China hopes to see more joining the BRICS cooperation mechanism.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China stays committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. As a developing country and a member of the Global South, China breathes the same breath with other developing countries and pursues a shared future with them. China has resolutely upheld the common interests of developing countries and worked to increase the representation and voice of EMDCs in global affairs. Hegemonism is not in China’s DNA; nor does China have any motivation to engage in major-power competition. China stands firmly on the right side of history, and believes that a just cause should be pursued for the common good.
At present, we Chinese, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, are advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts by pursuing Chinese modernization. Chinese modernization aims to achieve common prosperity, material and cultural-ethical advancement, harmony between humanity and nature, and peaceful development for a huge population. Chinese modernization has created a new form of human advancement and presented a new future of modernization. We hope that other developing countries can draw on the outstanding achievements of human civilization and find their own paths to modernization in keeping with their national conditions.
Achieving high-quality development is a top priority in China’s goal of fully building itself into a modernized country. We are committed to applying a new development philosophy and creating a new development paradigm. In the past decade, China has contributed more than 30 percent of annual global growth. This year, the Chinese economy has maintained the momentum of recovery and growth. China enjoys several distinct advantages: a socialist market economy in systemic terms, a supersize market in terms of demand, a full-fledged industrial system in terms of supply, and abundant, high-caliber labor force and entrepreneurs in terms of human resources. The Chinese economy has strong resilience, tremendous potential and great vitality. The fundamentals sustaining China’s long-term growth will remain unchanged. The giant ship of the Chinese economy will continue to cleave waves and sail ahead.
China will remain an important opportunity for the world’s development. Our door is wide open to anyone who wants to engage in cooperation with us. As a supersize economy, China will remain firm in advancing high-standard opening-up. We will continue to expand market access, cut the negative list for foreign investment, and further open the modern services sector. We will steadily improve the business environment, provide national treatment to foreign-invested enterprises, foster a world-class, market-oriented business environment governed by a sound legal framework, and build a globally-oriented network of high-standard free trade areas. We will continue to advance ecological conservation, accelerate the building of a Beautiful China, actively and prudently move toward carbon peak and carbon neutrality, and pursue all-round green transition in economic and social development. Going forward, as it endeavors to achieve modernization for its more than 1.4 billion people, China will surely contribute even more to the global economy and provide even more opportunities for the global business community.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A formidable mission is a magnificent and glorious mission. As long as we work in unity and strengthen cooperation, we will not be intimidated by any risk or challenge on the way ahead, and we will surely steer the giant ship of human development to a brighter future!