Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the opening ceremony of the plenary session of the Far Eastern Economic Forum via video link on Friday.
The forum is an important stage for regional leaders to discuss the development of Russian Asia and its integration into neighboring economies, such as China, Mongolia, Japan, and South Korea.
The following is the translated text of Xi’s speech, which didn’t contain anything specifically new, but did underline the continuing and intended cooperation between China, the Belt & Road Initiative, and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
The EAEU is a free trade bloc that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia and stretches from West China to the borders of the European Union. China signed a free trade agreement with the EAEU in 2018; however, discussions on tariff reductions are still ongoing. When these are finalized, the trade and development implications for North-East China, and the Provinces of Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang will be significant.
Xi’s speech followed that of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose address contained much more on the intentions to develop the Russian Far East, with the introduction of business and personal tax and investment incentives. These will also have a knock-on effect on the development of China-Russia bilateral trade. Putin’s speech can be read over on our Russia Briefing portal here.
China-Russia bilateral trade is growing and is currently at about US$120 billion per annum with both countries setting goals to reach US$200 billion by 2024.
Far East Russia also takes on greater significance in these contexts when considering that the North-East Asian economies of Japan and South Korea, together with China, are members of the upcoming RCEP free trade agreement and all have strong ties with Far East Russia.
Xi’s speech is as follows:
Join Hands to Overcome Current Difficulties, Plan for Future Development and Write a New Chapter for Far East Cooperation
Your Excellency President Vladimir Putin,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to thank President Putin for his gracious invitation. It is a great pleasure to address the Eastern Economic Forum again after three years.
Today marks the 76th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. On 25 August, I spoke with President Putin on the phone. We both agreed that the international community must defend firmly the victorious outcomes of World War II, safeguard the truth of history, and stay committed to taking history as a mirror to open up a brighter future.
Earlier in June, President Putin and I had a successful video meeting. Together, we announced the extension of the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation and reached new common understandings on major issues such as strengthening China-Russia strategic coordination and advancing bilateral practical cooperation across the board. The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era boasts strong momentum and broad prospects.
As we speak, the international landscape is going through profound transformation. The COVID-19 pandemic keeps raging with frequent flare-ups, and the world economy faces a daunting recovery. This presents regional cooperation in Northeast Asia with both stern challenges and important opportunities. It is only right that all parties ground themselves in regional realities while adopting a global perspective, join hands to tide over the difficult time and plan for common development.
We need to offer each other help to overcome the pandemic challenge. We need to intensify cooperation in vaccine research, development, and production, provide more public goods to the international community, firmly reject any politicization of COVID vaccines and origins-tracing, and strive to build a global community of health for all.
We need to redouble our efforts to advance mutually-beneficial cooperation. We need to deepen the collaboration between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, support the innovative development of the digital economy, jointly tackle global climate change, and promote social and economic development in the region.
We need to form synergy to safeguard regional peace and stability. We need to narrow differences and build consensus through dialogue and exchanges, embrace the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security, and work for a harmonious and tranquil homeland for us all.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, and China has started a new journey toward fully building a modern socialist country. We are ready to work with all parties to uphold true multilateralism, advocate trust and harmony, promote win-win cooperation, and march with firm steps toward the goal of building a community with a shared future for mankind.
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