Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
Good afternoon! Asalamu alaykum.
On this sunny afternoon, it is my great pleasure to welcome friends from the media to the Chinese Consulate General. We get together here today, first, to review the developments of the past year and celebrate the New Year, wishing everyone a warm and prosperous 2024; second, to express our appreciation to all of you for your active efforts in promoting the development of China-Pakistan relations and fostering people-to-people connectivity throughout 2023.
Let’s go over the economic development in China firstly.
Over the past year, China’s economy has successfully withstood all the risks and challenges and the downward pressure, and continued to rebound and show positive trends, with the solid advancement of high-quality development. The latest statistics show that the China’s GDP growth in the year of 2023 is 5.2%, a little bit higher than expected at the beginning of last year.
According to customs statistics, in 2023, the total value of China’s goods trade, including imports and exports, reached 41.76 trillion yuan, representing a year-on-year growth of 0.2%, still higher than expected. The exports of “the new three” products-electric passenger vehicles, lithium batteries, and solar cells-reached 1.06 trillion yuan, reflecting a year-on-year growth of 29.9%. This indicates a sustained optimization and upgrade of China’s export product structure, reflecting a new trend in high-quality development of the Chinese economy. It also signifies a positive contribution to global green and low-carbon transformation.
Foreign capital and foreign enterprises continue to show confidence in China’s innovation resources and business environment, and their investments in China are keeping on increasing. In the first 11 months of 2023, the actual utilization of foreign investment in China exceeded 1 trillion yuan, maintaining a historical high. The Chinese market has become an important stage for testing and honing the competitiveness of enterprises.
Consumer demand continues to recover, and Chinese people show increasing interest in tourism, fitness, entertainment, and health care. During the 3-day New Year’s holiday in 2024, domestic tourism saw 135 million trips, marking a remarkable year-on-year growth of 155.3%, and ushering in a strong start for consumption.
The high-tech industries develop rapidly. In the first 11 months of 2023, investment in China’s high-tech industries grew by 10.5% year-on-year, surpassing the overall investment growth rate by 7.6%. High-tech industries, such as intelligent voice, AI, network security, quantum information, and aerospace information, will see more disruptive and cutting-edge technologies, driving the robust growth of new industries, new models, and new drivers.
Renewable energy has become a new force in ensuring China’s power supply, with an installed capacity reaching 1.45 billion kilowatts, accounting for over 50% of China’s total power generation capacity and surpassing the thermal power installations.
The manufacture industries keep on recovering and developing. On November 4th, the first large cruise ship “Adora Magic City” made by China was delivered, marking that China has its own capability to simultaneously build aircraft carriers, large LNG ships, and large cruise ships. The three large ships are known as the “three pearls” of shipbuilding industry.
Last year we also witnessed another bumper harvest in grain production, with rapid development in green and technology-driven agriculture. The agricultural chains and supply chains have continuously improved. With only 9% of the world’s arable land and 6% of freshwater resources, China sustains nearly 1/5 of the global population. We Chinese people always have control over our own food supply.
Looking ahead to 2024, the world economy and trade face challenges of increasing protectionism and escalating geopolitical conflicts. However, China’s economy demonstrates strong resilience, substantial potential, and vitality. It benefits from the institutional advantages of a socialist market economy, the demand advantages of an enormous market, the supply advantages of a comprehensive industrial system, and the talent advantages of a large number of high-quality workers and entrepreneurs.
The fundamentals of China’s long-term economic growth will not change. It continues to serve as a crucial engine for the recovery and development of the world economy, presenting significant opportunities for global development.
Secondly, Chinese Modernization
Building China into a socialist modernized country has always been the concerted goal of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese government, and the Chinese people. Currently, the Chinese people are working diligently to promote the building of strong country and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation through Chinese modernization.
To build China into a great modern socialist country in all respects, we have a two-step strategic plan: first is to basically realize socialist modernization from 2020 through 2035?second is to build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful from 2035 through the middle of this century.
Chinese modernization is socialist modernization pursued under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. It contains elements that are common to the modernization processes of all countries, but more importantly, it has more unique Chinese features.
Chinese modernization will ensure the modernization for more than 1.4 billion people, a number larger than the combined population of all the developed countries in the world today.
Chinese modernization will maintain and promote social fairness and justice, bring prosperity to all, and prevent polarization.
Chinese modernization will promote material and cultural-ethical advancement. we will strive to strengthen the material conditions for the people’s well-being while vigorously promoting advanced socialist culture and inheriting Chinese civilization.
Chinese modernization will ensure harmony between humanity and nature. Humanity and nature make up a community of life. China is committed to sustainable development and to the principles of prioritizing resource conservation and environmental protection and letting nature restore itself. We will protect nature and the environment, just like protecting our eyes. We will continue to pursue a model of sound development featuring improved production, higher living standards, and healthy ecosystems.
Chinese modernization is the modernization of peaceful development. In pursuing modernization, China will not tread the old path of war, colonization, and plunder taken by some countries. We will stand firmly on the right side of history and on the side of human progress. Dedicated to peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, we will strive to safeguard world peace and development as we pursue our own development, and we will make greater contributions to world peace and development through our own development.
Thirdly, major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics
Over the past year, Chinese diplomacy has upheld fundamental principles while breaking new ground and forged ahead in China’s external work. We have created a favorable environment for building a great modern socialist country and advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. We have made new contribution to maintaining world peace and promoting common development. Chinese diplomacy demonstrates distinct Chinese characteristics, style, and ethos, and witnesses China’s enhanced international influence, stronger capacity to steer new endeavors, and greater moral appeal in the new era.?
At the recent Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs held in China, President Xi Jinping delivered an important address, in which he presented a systematic review of the historic achievements and valuable experience of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era, gave a profound exposition on the international environment and historical mission of China’s external work on the new journey, and made comprehensive plans for China’s external work for the present and coming periods.
At the conference, we made it clear that building a community with a shared future for mankind is the noble goal pursued by China in conducting major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for the new era.
By building a community with a shared future for mankind, the goal is to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security and shared prosperity, the pathway is promoting global governance that features extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared benefit, the guiding principle is to apply the common values of humanity, that is peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, the basic underpinning lies in building a new type of international relations, the strategic guidance comes from the implementation of the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, and the platform for action is high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
On this basis, we seek to bring countries together to meet challenges and achieve prosperity for all, and usher in a bright future of peace, security, prosperity and progress for our world.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. China’s diplomacy will always commit to self-confidence and self-reliance, and shoulder our due responsibility as a responsible major country, will always commit to openness and inclusiveness, and consolidate and expand our global network of partnerships, will always commit to fairness and justice, and promote an equal and orderly multi-polar world, will always commit to win-win cooperation, and actively advance a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization.
Under the leadership of the CPC, China’s diplomacy will continue to pursue China’s development in the broader context of world development, and advance the interests of the Chinese people while bearing in mind the interests of other people. Acting with vision and greater enterprise, we will work together with all countries to shoulder the responsibilities of our times, jointly rise to the challenges, and usher in an even better and brighter future for our world.
Fourthly, on safeguarding China’s sovereignty, security and development interests
At present, the world has entered a new period of turbulence and changes, yet the overall direction of human development and progress will not change, the overall dynamics of world history moving forward amid twists and turns will not change, and the overall trend toward a shared future for the international community will not change.
Those countries are doomed to fail if they act against the tide of history, hold on to their cold war mentality and their obsession with hegemony, and promote unilateralism, provoke block confrontation, and contain and suppress specific countries. Those that go against the wishes of the international community, pursue their own national priorities and winner-takes-all, implement protectionism, build “small yards with high walls”, and apply sanctions and pressure at every turn will have no future.
The Chinese people will unswervingly defend our core interests involving China’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. The Charter of the United Nations and the basic norms of international relations are applicable to all countries, and we advocate the equality of all countries, rich or poor, strong or weak, big or small, not only in terms of rights and interests, but also in terms of international rules.
Fifthly, on China-Pakistan relations
Over the past year, China-Pakistan relations have maintained a high-level operation, radiating vitality and dynamism. The two countries have maintained close high-level exchanges, with President Xi Jinping meeting Prime Minister Kakar, reaching important consensus on deepening the all-weather strategic cooperation between China and Pakistan, advancing the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and accelerating the establishment of a closer China-Pakistan community of shared future in the new era.
2023 marks the tenth anniversary of the initiation of CPEC. As a pioneering project of the Belt and Road Initiative, CPEC has made significant contributions to Pakistan’s economic development and improvement of people’s livelihoods over the past decade.
The comprehensive development of the Growth Corridor, Livelihood Corridor, Innovation Corridor, Green Corridor, and Open Corridor is underway. Railway and road reconstruction projects are progressing rapidly, and specific plans for agricultural cooperation between Xinjiang and Pakistan have been formulated. The first batch of chili exports from Pakistan to China has been smoothly transported, and the Khunjerab Port is preparing to open throughout the year. The first phase of the Rashakai Special Economic Zone has been completed, marking a new stage of high-quality development for the CPEC, injecting new impetus into the construction of a closer China-Pakistan community of shared future.
Substantial progress has been made in the construction of Gwadar Port, with cargo throughput in the first half of 2023 reaching 1.6 times that of the entire year of 2022. The Free Zone has attracted 35 registered companies with a planned investment of 3 billion RMB. Business centers, storage centers, tropical plant laboratories, and metal processing plants are already in operation. Chinese-aided schools, the Bo’ai Medical Emergency Center, vocational technical institute, desalination plants, and Friendship Hospital are in operation.
China is willing to work together with all sectors in Pakistan to construct and efficiently operate the Gwadar new international airport, maintain the port’s operation, and further develop the Free Zone, turning Gwadar into a regional trade center, an interconnection hub, and a prosperous and beautiful city.
In 2024, China is willing to continue working with Pakistan to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries. Building on the significant milestone achievements in the construction of the CPEC, both sides will further expand and deepen cooperation in industries, agriculture, mining, information technology, and enhance communication and exchanges in localities, youth, and other areas. Together, we will elevate the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership to new heights.
Sixth, On China-Pakistan Media Cooperation
Media cooperation is an integral part of China-Pakistan collaboration, playing a crucial role in advancing mutual cultural exchanges, fostering people-to-people connectivity, and enriching the bilateral relationship. Over the past year, media friends have extensively covered high-level interactions between China and Pakistan, the construction of the CPEC, practical cooperation in fields such as economy, trade, technology, education, and military, making significant contributions to enhancing friendship between the two countries and promoting the development of China-Pakistan relations. Today’s award ceremony is held to express our appreciation for everyone’s hard work and strong support.
In 2024, we hope that friends present here will: First, continue to actively report on China’s economic and social development, China-Pakistan relations and cooperation, and the construction of the CPEC. This will contribute positively to mutual understanding between the two peoples and the deepening of bilateral relations. Second, strengthen communication and exchange with Chinese media, promote practical cooperation, and Chinese Consulate General is ready to serve as a bridge, actively providing assistance; Third, go to China and personally experience China’s development and progress, and cover the stories, Chinese Consulate General will facilitate your visit to China.
I believe that, with everyone’s joint efforts, the people of China and Pakistan will further enhance mutual understanding and walk hand in hand on the respective development paths.
Thank you, everyone.