China remains an anchor for an uncertain world: Premier
Published: Mar 30, 2023 10:18 PM

Chinese Premier Li Qiang delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2023 in South China's Hainan Province on March 30, 2023. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese Premier Li Qiang delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2023 in South China's Hainan Province on March 30, 2023. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese Premier Li Qiang on Thursday morning delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia's (BFA) annual meeting in South China's Hainan Province, saying that the certainty China offers has been and will remain an anchor for global peace and development amid the uncertainties across the world. 

In his first speech at the BFA meeting as the Chinese premier, Li highlighted a slew of Chinese initiatives for promoting peace and development, including the building of a global community of shared future. He also called for regional and global cooperation and projected confidence in China's economic development and its greater contributions to the world economy.  

Li's remarks constantly drew applauses both inside and outside of the conference hall where the opening ceremony was held. Foreign government officials and top experts said they were encouraged by Li's words and they expect and support China to take a leadership role in promoting regional and global cooperation at such a critical juncture for the world. 

Source of certainty 

In his speech that lasted roughly 25 minutes, the Chinese premier repeatedly warned against uncertainty the world is experiencing.   

"In a world of turmoil and transformation, humanity is faced with unprecedented challenges. Instability, uncertainty and unexpected developments have become the norm. Amid the momentous shift where uncertainty abounds, people yearn for more and stronger forces of certainty to drive the world to a brighter future," Li said.

He said that President Xi Jinping's vision for building a global community of shared future put forward one decade ago has achieved a series of major outcomes, and has become a banner that guides the trend of the times and human progress and the source of certainty for lasting peace and shared prosperity.

"In this uncertain world, the certainty that China offers is an anchor for global peace and development. This has been the case in the past and will remain so in the future," Li said, drawing a loud and long round of applauses from the audience that included several heads of state.

Li's emphasis on the certainty China offers resonated at the BFA's annual meeting where about 2,000 delegates from over 50 countries and regions around the world are gathering. The BFA, in the theme of this year's annual meeting, also highlighted "an uncertain world." And at meetings and panel discussions that started since Tuesday, many participants also spoke of the uncertainties in the world and pinning their hopes on China's economic recovery to boost global growth.   

On the Chinese economy, Li said that in the near term, the dynamism and momentum of China's growth are strong. "We do have the confidence and ability to sail the giant ship of the Chinese economy steadily ahead against all winds and waves, and make even greater contributions to the global economy," Li said, noting that China's pursuit of Chinese modernization will offer powerful impetus for economic growth in Asia and beyond, which prompted another round of applause. 

Li said that China will continue to roll out new measures to increase market access and improve the business climate for both state-owned and private Chinese firms and foreign businesses. "I believe that a China that is stable and dedicated to development, a China that is down-to-earth and pressing ahead with fortitude, and a China that is confident, open and sharing will surely be a strong force for global prosperity and stability." 

"Today is the first time that the Premier Li took the center stage and sent a message out to the world. People have a high interest to his speech. I highly value his speech, because it was a strong message that is forward-looking in addressing future goals," Yasuo Fukuda, Japan's former prime minister, told the Global Times on Thursday on the sidelines of the BFA meeting.  

Fukuda, chairman of BFA's Council of Advisors, also said that he "can feel the representatives of the opening ceremony have high expectation for China which takes a leading role in Asia, and they look forward to a bigger role for China."

Regional, global leadership

Many were also encouraging and expecting China's leadership role in guiding the region and the world out of the current economic predicaments.

"We are still in the phase where we need to recover our economies from the effects of the three-year-long pandemic, so the whole purpose of this forum is to bring global focus on developing partnership, collaboration and mutual cooperation in order to overcome the global challenges that the world is facing," Nepali Ambassador to China Bishnu Pukar Shrestha told the Global Times on the sidelines of the BFA meeting.

"This is why we all must support, and also encourage China to take up the leadership role to help develop both regional and global cooperation for economic development," said the Nepali envoy.

Li also devoted much of his speech to calling for regional cooperation to safeguard peace and development, while warning against conflict. "To achieve greater success, chaos and conflicts must not happen in Asia. Otherwise, the future of Asia will be lost," he said.

Li also opposed the abuses of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction, taking sides, bloc confrontation and "a new cold war," saying that China stays committed to resolving differences and disputes between countries through peaceful means and jointly safeguarding world peace and stability. "We have been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of international order." 

The Chinese premier's speech offered very positive signals about China's own development and its vision for Asian and global development, said Alessandro Golombiewski Teixeira, a former Brazilian minister of tourism and former special economic advisor to the president of Brazil. 

"China needs to be part of the world and share this vision with the world because China has a role in the world and believes in multilateral systems.," Teixeira told the Global Times at the BFA.

The BFA annual meeting's emphasis on cooperation also resonated with attendees from Europe. 

"We have talked about problems for so long - the war, pandemic, geopolitical tensions, 'decoupling.' These forums are important, because finally now we can talk about cooperation again," Michele Geraci, former undersecretary of state at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, told the Global Times on the sidelines of the BFA meeting. 

On Thursday afternoon, Li met with BFA Board of Directors Chairman Ban Ki-moon and other board members. He also met representatives of Chinese and foreign businesses attending the BFA annual meeting, according to CCTV.

Li encouraged entrepreneurs to play a leading role in lifting confidence and improving expectations, and he said while there are difficulties, both the historical trend of globalization and China's sound economic fundamentals won't change.