By Yang Xin
Chargé d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy
At the 17th China-ASEAN Expo and the China-Asean Business and Investment Summit held recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping briefed friends from Southeast Asia, including Thailand, that China will embark on a new journey of building a modern socialist country in an all-round way next year, and that China will have broader cooperation with Asean.
China is about to embark on a new journey of development, the core meaning of which is mainly reflected as three “new developments”, namely, the new development stage, new development philosophy and new development paradigm.
“The new stage of development” means that, having achieved the first Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way, China will continue to forge ahead towards the second Centenary Goal of building a modern socialist country in an all-round way, which marks a milestone in China’s development.
Faced with complicated domestic and international situations, especially the outbreak of the Covid-19, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has been responding to and addressing difficulties in a calm manner. Currently, the achievement of a moderately prosperous society is in sight. China’s per capita GDP has exceeded US$10,000. The average number of people alleviated from poverty has exceeded 11 million annually in the past five years and extreme poverty will be eradicated by the end of this year. China has managed to build the largest social security system in the world, covering more than 1.3 billion people with basic health insurance and nearly 1 billion people with basic pension schemes. China has signed "Belt and Road" cooperation documents with nearly 140 countries and 30 international organisations, with direct investment in relevant countries reaching more than US$110 billion. Standing at a new historical starting point, China has set out a new long-range development goal: by 2035, China’s GDP per capita will reach the level of moderately developed countries, its middle-income group will expand significantly, and the common prosperity of all its people will register more significant and substantive progress. The Chinese nation will embark on the new journey of marching towards the second Centenary Goal of building a modern socialist country in an all-round way.
“The new development philosophy” is the vision of innovative, coordinative, green and open development that is for everyone. Adhering to the new development philosophy is one of the principles that must be followed in China’s economic and social development during the 14th Five-Year Plan period.
Development is the basis of and key to solving all problems. Entering a new stage of development, China will adhere to the core role of innovation in the overall picture of modernization, and regard science and technology independence as the strategic support for national development. Emphasis will be given to enhanced comprehensive and coordinative development. We will adhere to the concept that lucid waters and green mountains are as good as mountains of gold and silver, promote green and low-carbon development, improve the environmental quality continuously, enhance the quality and stability of the ecosystem, and comprehensively improve the efficiency of resource utilization. China will continue to open up to the outside world on a wider scope, in a broader range and at a deeper level, and rely on its big market advantages to promote international cooperation for mutual benefit and win-win results. China will remain committed to honouring the people as masters of the country, make progress towards common prosperity, ensure that development is for the people and relies on the people and that its fruits are shared by the people, promote social equity, improve people’s well-being, and constantly realise people’s aspirations for a better life. The new development philosophy takes innovation as the primary driving force, coordination as the endogenous characteristics, green as the universal form, opening-up as the only way, and sharing as the fundamental purpose, so as to promote China’s economy from high-speed to high-quality growth.
“The new development paradigm” means domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. This strategic choice is conducive to enhancing the resilience of China’s economic development and promoting world economic growth.
China will uphold expanding domestic demand as a strategic priority and ensure the smooth economic circulations. China’s dependence on foreign trade has dropped from 67 per cent in 2006 to nearly 32 per cent in 2019, and the ratio of current account surplus to GDP has dropped from 9.9 per cent in 2007 to less than 1 per cent now. Since the international financial crisis in 2008, China’s domestic demand has contributed more than 100 per cent to the economic growth in seven years, and domestic consumption has become the main driving force of the economic growth. In the process of promoting dual circulations of the economy, China’s economic independence and development quality have significantly improved. Building a new development paradigm conforms to the internal needs of China’s economic restructuring and high-quality development promotion. China will continue to deepen the supply-side structural reform, make greater efforts to expand domestic demand, render production, distribution, circulation and consumption more dependent on the domestic market, enhance the adaptability of the supply system to domestic demand, and form a higher level of dynamic balance featuring the demand driving the supply and the supply generating the demand.
It should be emphasized that China’s building of a new development paradigm is not a closed single loop behind closed doors, but open and mutually reinforcing domestic and international dual circulations. Recently, President Xi Jinping stressed multiple times during the 12th BRICS Summit, the 27th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the 15th G20 Leaders’ Summit, the 17th China-ASEAN Expo and other multilateral meetings that the current world economic globalisation is irreversible, and no country can develop behind closed doors. China has also long been deeply integrated with the world economy and the international system. Under the new development paradigm, China’s market potential will be fully unleashed to create more demands for all countries in the world. China will further open its door to the outside world and share development opportunities with other countries, and its cooperation with other countries will continue to deepen and achieve mutual benefit and win-win results. In 2020, China’s Special Administrative Measures (Negative List) for foreign investment access downsized from 40 to 33, the number of pilot free trade zones increased from 18 to 21, the third China International Import Expo was successfully held in Shanghai, and China actively signed and acceded to the regional comprehensive economic partnership agreement (RCEP), all of which are most powerful proof of its adherence to opening-up.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Thailand. Over the past 45 years, China and Thailand have always respected and treated each other equally, strengthened political mutual trust, deepened mutually beneficial cooperation and benefited the two peoples. In July, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had an in-depth exchange of views on our bilateral relations and mutually beneficial cooperation by phone, reaching a new consensus, injecting new impetus and guiding new directions for further promoting the development of the China-Thailand comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. At present, both countries are facing the same task of consolidating the anti-pandemic gains and accelerating the economic recovery. Entering the new stage of development, China will implement the new development philosophy, foster the new development paradigm, unswervingly expand opening-up, enhance the coupling effect of domestic and international economies, and contribute to the common recovery of the world with its own recovery, which will provide new important opportunities for China-Thailand cooperation.
China’s super large market size will first benefit Thailand and other neighboring countries. In the first 10 months of this year, the bilateral trade between China and Thailand increased by 9.6 per cent despite the downward pressure. It is estimated that in the next 10 years, China’s cumulative imports of goods are expected to exceed US$22 trillion, which will provide Thailand and other neighbouring countries with a broader export market. In the face of the growing instabilities and uncertainties of the world economy, China is actively forging a new development paradigm, further opening up to the outside world, accelerating the expansion of new markets, creating new business opportunities and injecting new impetus. We welcome Thailand to share the dividends of China's reform and opening-up and promote the in-depth development of the China-Thailand comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
Speeding up high-quality Belt and Road cooperation will help cope with post Covid-19 pandemic challenges. The China-Thailand railway and other major cooperation projects jointly built by the two countries have made steady progress in overcoming the impact of the pandemic and shown strong resilience. Promoting high-quality Belt and Road cooperation is an important part of China’s opening up to the outside world at a higher level and achieving greater win-win cooperation. China is looking forward to working with Thailand to deepen cooperation in infrastructure developmentregional connectivity promotion and the in-depth docking of the EEC of Thailand with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao (GBA), create new highlights of Belt and Road cooperation, and accelerate the connectivity of Lancang-Mekong cooperation (LMC) and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, so as to enhance the mutual promotion and complementary advantages of the LMC and the Tri-River Economic Cooperation Strategy.
China and Thailand’s cooperation in expanding the digital economy and other new economic and business forms is promising. The Covid-19 pandemic is both a crisis and an opportunity. Digital economy has played an important role in ensuring the economic and social development during the pandemic. Based on the new situations and new requirements of the pandemic prevention and control under the new normal, China is willing to further strengthen cooperation with Thailand in such high-tech fields as 5G, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and make good use of the important development opportunities of China’s speeding up in the development of the new generation of information technology, biotechnology, new energy, new materials, high-end equipment, new energy vehicles, green and environmental protection, aerospace, marine equipment and other industries during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, and constantly cultivate new growth points and new driving forces for China-Thailand cooperation.
“Wind with good force will bring us to greater heights of success.” Standing at the new starting point of development, let’s continue to work hand in hand to grasp the new opportunities under the new situation, open a new journey of China-Thailand cooperation, and jointly enter a new era of prosperity and development!