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Jakarta Post

Greater development, closer community

Jakarta   /   Mon, September 23, 2019   /   09:02 am
Greater development, closer community China's President Xi Jinping attends the APEC CEO Summit 2018 in Port Moresby on November 17, 2018, a part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. (AFP/Fazry Ismail)

The People’s Republic of China is set to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding on Oct. 1. China has witnessed remarkable progress on all fronts, called a “China miracle” by many ASEAN friends. As to how this “China miracle” has been achieved, I believe there is something worth sharing.

First, China has chosen a development path suited to its own realities. China started from scratch when it was founded in 1949. Today it is the world’s second-largest economy, the largest industrial powerhouse and the biggest trader in goods. Over 700 million Chinese people have been lifted out of extreme poverty, an extraordinary journey and the key to success is socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Second, China has followed a development approach in keeping abreast of the times. With continued growth for seven decades, the principle task facing China today has shifted from meeting people’s basic needs for material and cultural pursuits to people’s ever-growing demands for a better-off life. The fine-tuning of major tasks signifies the change of focus with the change of time and a major shift in the development approach, a shift from speed to quality, from “is it fast enough?” to “is it good enough?”

More emphasis has been put on a balanced approach and coordinated development across the economic, political, cultural, social and environmental spheres, or what we call the “five-sphere integrated plan”. It stresses innovative, coordinated, green and open development for all.

Third, China has adopted the national policy of reform and opening up. China has made the historic decision of reform and opening-up in the late 1970s, which is unprecedented and which allowed the Chinese people “to cross the river by feeling for the stones”. Adventurous reforms were carried out with indomitable will. Difficulties of all kinds were overcome one after another. China’s development kept scaling new heights through ever-deepening reforms.

Fourth, China has followed the development philosophy of win-win cooperation. China remains committed to the path of peaceful development and the strategy of opening up for win-win outcomes. It engages in building world peace, contributes to global development and upholds international order and multilateralism.

President Xi Jinping proposed to build a new type of international relations, a community with a shared future for mankind and the Belt and Road Initiative, contributing Chinese wisdom to how international relations could be handled and how international cooperation for win-win result could be achieved.

China’s development has global implications, as it benefits not only the people of China but also the rest of the world. It also has special significance for ASEAN, as ASEAN and China are interconnected and share weal and woe.

We are close neighbors that respect each other and enjoy harmonious coexistence. ASEAN and China respect each other’s development path, respect and support each other on issues of core interests and major concerns, and handle differences through dialogue and consultation. China remains committed in supporting ASEAN centrality and ASEAN’s bigger role in regional and international affairs.

As partners for common development, ASEAN and China are witnesses of each other’s growth story and supporters of each other’s development. Over the years, China remains a strong and firm supporter of ASEAN community building and ASEAN integration. And our two sides have grown to be closer partners of strategic cooperation. We support each other in times of difficulty. We came to each other’s help in fighting the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome epidemic and in carrying out disaster-relief when a tsunami hit Indian Ocean countries. We stood side by side to tide over the Asian financial crisis and the international financial crisis. These hard moments have made us brothers and partners.

We are champions for shared values and responsibilities. ASEAN and China jointly uphold the rules-based multilateral trading system and reject unilateralism and protectionism. We work together to formulate rules at sea to safeguard regional peace and stability. We champion the spirit of regional cooperation with East Asia characteristics, such as equality, seeking common ground while reserving differences, openness, inclusiveness and mutual learning, aiming to uphold multilateralism and our Asian values.

Connected by mountains and seas, ASEAN and China enjoy a long history of amity and cooperation and are already a close-knit community of shared prosperity. President Xi proposed to build a closer ASEAN-China community with a shared future. With his guidance, the “ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030” was formulated last year.

Against the increasing uncertainties in the region and beyond and intensifying unilateralism and multilateralism, ASEAN and China are strengthening cooperation and meeting challenges head on.

Our strategic partnership is full of vitality and vibrancy. History has proven and will continue to prove that China’s greater development will contribute to a closer ASEAN-China community for an even brighter future.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.