Apec summit 2014

After 'Chinese dream', Xi Jinping outlines vision for 'Asia-Pacific dream' at Apec meet

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 November, 2014, 3:20pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 November, 2014, 1:12pm

Chinese President Xi Jinping offered the world a vision of a Chinese-driven “Asia-Pacific dream” on Sunday, echoing his oft-quoted but never clearly defined “Chinese dream”.

“We have the responsibility to create and realise an Asia-Pacific dream for the people of the region,” the Chinese Communist chief told the opening in Beijing of the APEC CEO Summit, a gathering of business and political leaders that precedes the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ gathering.

Such a dream, he said, was “based on a shared destiny of all of the Asia-Pacific” and incorporated peace, development and mutual benefits.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation area includes 40 per cent of the world’s population, almost half its trade, and more than half its GDP.

China would focus on “managing its own affairs well” while looking to “bring more benefits to the Asia-Pacific and the world with its own development”, Xi said.

As “China’s overall national strength grows”, he told his audience, it would be able and willing to offer “new initiatives and visions for enhancing regional cooperation”.

“China wants to live in harmony with all its neighbours,” he added.

But Beijing is embroiled in enduring territorial disputes with Japan over islands in the East China Sea, and several of the countries around the strategically vital South China Sea.

Under Xi it has been asserting its claims more firmly in both areas.

Since taking office nearly two years ago Xi has regularly spoken of the “Chinese dream”, an unspecified but much-discussed term with connotations of resurgence, and he has spoken of “the revitalisation of the Chinese nation”.

Beijing -- a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council -- has been looking to leverage the decades-long boom that has made it the world’s second-largest economy to increase its regional and global heft.

But at the same time it is reluctant to become embroiled in conflicts elsewhere and consistently stresses a policy of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs -- a stance that has enabled it to do business with leaders seen as pariahs in West.

China was expected to invest more than $1.25 trillion abroad over the next decade, while outbound Chinese tourists would exceed 500 million over the next five years, Xi said.

“For the Asia-Pacific and the world at large, China’s development will generate huge opportunities and benefits and hold lasting and infinite promise,” he said.

‘No need to fear China’s slowing growth’

China’s economy has downshifted but it is nothing to worry about, Xi also stressed on Sunday in seeking to assuage concerns about slowing growth.

“The economy has shifted gear from the previous high speed to a medium-to-high speed growth,” he said in the address to the business leaders. 

China’s economy grew 7.4 per cent in the third quarter of this year, its slowest expansion in five years and just under the projected rate of 7.5 per cent.

Although the numbers are still healthy, they show China’s days of turbo-charged growth are in the rear-view mirror, Xi said, noting the country has entered “a new normal.”

The new situation, however, is nothing to be concerned about, he said.

“Some worry whether the Chinese economy will see further decline in growth rate and fail to overcome difficulties. Indeed, there are risks, but they are not that formidable,” Xi said, adding, “China’s economy has registered considerable increment despite the slowdown.”

“Even a growth rate of around 7 per cent,” he went on to say in a comment that may hint to lower growth in the coming year, “would place the Chinese economy among the top in the world in both speed and increment.”