Youth in a less flat world - a speech by Chargé d'Affaires Xu Xueyuan
CGTN America Digital
Youth in a less flat world - a speech by Chargé d'Affaires Xu Xueyuan

Chargé d'Affaires Xu Xueyuan delivered a speech on "Youth in a less flat world" at the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit on March 29, 2023. 

Read the complete speech text here: 

I am delighted to join you at the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit. The theme of this year is "Unwrapping Uncertainties: US-China Relations in a Less Flat World." I guess those of you who have designed the theme must have read the book The World is Flat. In 2005, the world embraced and hailed globalization for its tremendous opportunities for growth. Today, globalization is no longer such a buzzword.Instead, it is encountering stronger headwinds, while the relationship between China and the United States has changed so much. For today, I want to talk about how China can provide stability in a world of uncertainty against the backdrop of globalization.

China firmly believes that economic globalization is essential for the development of a society’s productive forces.Globalization is a natural result of technological progress, not something created by certain groups of people or countries. To blame economic globalization for the problems facing the world is neither practical nor conducive to resolving them. For all the questioning about and setbacks of economic globalization, the world will never return to a closed and fragmented one.Openness and cooperation is still the historical trend. Mutual benefit and win-win outcomes are what people want.

China is not only a beneficiary but also a contributor of economic globalization. Since the beginning of its reform and opening-up, China has actively embraced the tide of globalization, and made continuous efforts along the way.We have gradually become an important member of the global economic and trading system.

Following its accession to the WTO in 2001, China has achieved its economic take-off on the tailwind of globalization, presenting vast development opportunities to the rest of the world. Over the years, China has contributed up to 30% global growth every year. Now, with globalization in distress, China remains as an "anchor of stability" in this turbulent world.

—China's sustained and rapid growth has contributed a strong impetus to global recovery.Over the past decade, China's economy has grown at an average annual rate of 6.2 percent; during the past three years, despite the COVID and many factors beyond expectation, China has achieved an average annual growth rate of 4.5 percent. All this reflects the resilience of the Chinese economy and its fundamentals for long-term, positive growth.

As 2023 begins, China's economy is picking up speed and the rebound is stronger than expected. The Chinese government has set this year's growth target at around 5 percent, and several international institutions have revised upward their forecast for China's growth to 5-to-6 percent. China will continue to be an important engine for global growth.

—China is building up a new development pattern at a faster pace, and forging new momentum for globalization with its high level opening-up. China has a huge market of 1.4 billion people. In 2022, China's total retail sales of consumer goods stabilized at 44 trillion RMB (equivalent to 6.5 trillion USD), keeping its position as the world's second largest consumer market and the biggest online retail market.

In the next 15 years, China's middle-income group will reach 800 million. China stands ready to share development opportunities with the world — China International Fair for Trade in Services, the Canton Fair, China International Consumer Products Expo and China International Import Expo—all these trade events have been welcomed and fruitful.

—China is steadily expanding institutional openness and working to up hold the institutional basis for globalization. Over the past 10 years, China has launched a large number of opening-up initiatives, setting up 21 pilot free trade zones and one free trade port.We have signed 19 free trade agreements with 26 countries and regions, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is currently the world's largest economic and trade agreement.

Going forward, China will step up to promote institutional reforms in rules, regulations, management and standards, pursue accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) and other high-standard free trade arrangements.We will also be more active in maintaining and improving international economic and trade rules and promoting multilateralism.

—China is promoting the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), hoping to bring the benefits of globalization to more countries. Ten years after it was proposed, the BRI has the participation of more than 3/4of the world's countries and 32 international organizations. It has generated over 3,000 cooperation projects, creating 420 thousand jobs for countries along the routes and lifting nearly 40 million people out of poverty.

In Asia,the China-Laos Railway has transformed Laos from a land-locked into a land-linked country. InAfrica, the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway has boosted local economy by 2 plus percentage points of growth. In Europe, more than 65,000 China-Europe Railway Express have been operated, forming a long steel bond linking Asia and Europe. I can give you many more success stories like these.

Dear Students,

The United States was once a champion of globalization. Needless to say, it has benefited a lot from it. China was a latecomer, but we have made big progress by hard work. Teachers should be happy about students' success, but the U.S. seems to be quite upset and resented, to the extent of regretting having led China into globalization and being determined to hold back its further development.

This is a fundamental reason why the China-U.S. relationship is in a difficult patch. This is a sad situation.It is not in the fundamental interests of the two peoples, nor does it meet the expectation of the international community. We hope that the U.S. side will return to a rational and pragmatic policy toward China. We hope it will work with us to develop bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.

— A China in continued growth is not a threat but presents a major opportunity to the United States. Win-win cooperation has been a true feature of China-U.S. relations since the two countries established diplomatic relationship in 1979. Never before did our two countries share such a wide range of common interests as we do today.

Taking our business ties as an example: China and the U.S. are mutually the most important trading partners.Two-way trade has amounted to nearly $760 billion, and China is an important export market for 47 states, including North Carolina.

More than 70 thousand U.S. companies have invested in China, and the bilateral investment stock has exceeded $240 billion. U.S. exports to China and two-way investment have supported millions of jobs here in the United States.

People-to-people-wise, Chinese students are the largest group of international students in the U.S., totaling 290 thousand last year; a large number of them stay in America after completing studies and become an important force in science research. To the Chinese students attending today's event, let me say this: you have traveled across the ocean to study in the United States, and you are the most natural link between our two countries.

The United States needs to grow its economy, increase jobs, lower inflation and reduce debt deficit. A healthy, stable, and cooperative trade relationship with China would serve the US’ own interests. China's continued opening-up efforts will bring new opportunities to share with American business and people.

Both our peoples aspire to a better life.Expanding people-to-people exchange will help promote U.S. economic development, its scientific and technological vitality and social diversity. I believe that both Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will welcome more Chinese students with open arms.

For two big countries like China and the United States, it is important to find the right way to get along, cooperate on common challenges and chart the course for sound development of globalization. Whether or not our two countries can handle the relationship well affects the future of the world. Being the world’s two leading economies, China and the U.S. are like two elephants. A fight will affect a large area of grass. If China and the U.S. go their own way or even against each other on major issues of humanity’s development, such as globalization, the world will be divided and even fall into chaos.China is ready to work with the U.S. side to make globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and universally beneficial, so that it will provide for the world more common goods of high quality and greater stability.

Dear Students,

In the era of globalization, the future of mankind is all connected. Our planet is facing multiple crises: the gap between the rich and the poor, economic vulnerability, geopolitical tensions, the lack of global governance, and the widening gap between the North and the South. The world’s future concerns the future of every young person, and depends on the efforts of every one of them. You may face more challenges than my generation, and you have to be more adept than we are at dealing with challenges. Where the China-U.S. relationship and our world are headed depends on your thoughts and actions.

— I hope you will assume the role of a bridge and be the voice of youth to promote exchanges and cooperation between China and the United States. China in the new era is prospering and full of hope. It offers a broad stage for young people to tap into their talents. You are welcome to study, work and travel in the various parts of China, try the eight major cuisines of China, visit the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, learn about the different localities and customs, experience the ancient and modern China, and listen to what the Chinese people want for their lives.

When you return, I hope you can tell the true stories about China, so that the American people can have amore objective image of China.By so doing, you will contribute to the friendship between the two peoples and a sound and stable development of bilateral relations. So, to the Chinese students here:I call upon you to bring home your American classmates!

—I hope you will pursue innovation, promote international cooperation and contribute your ingenuity for a better future of humanity. Global technology is evolving rapidly. Technologies in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, 3D printing, bioscience, new materials, large-scale high-speed transportation, space and ocean exploration are flourishing. Science knows no borders, and innovation has no bounds. If these emerging technologies are utilized for good purpose, they will help humanity better meet global challenges and lead a better life.

In China, young people have become the main force of innovation and entrepreneurship.Since 2014, more than 5 million of the newly registered market entities in China are university student entrepreneurs. In artificial intelligence, digital currency, clean energy, and other sectors where innovation and creativity are the key, young people account for more than 50% of the industry. We hope that young people will use their creativity and enterprising spirit to the full: let your youth be lit by innovation and creativity.

—I hope you will be open and broad-minded, make friends all over the world, and fuel global unity and development with the power of youth.Young people are a bridge between today and the future.You could also become envoys for exchanges and mutual appreciation among different countries and civilizations. Young people today must become global citizens, establish friendships based on mutual understanding and pursue cooperation through mutual learning.

I hope you can all develop a global vision, tirelessly pursue truth, accept new things with an open mind, and constantly expand the frontiers of cultural exchange.As such, you will bring vitality to the cause of people-to-people friendship among nations and progress of humanity as a whole.

Started in 2013, the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit has entered its 13th annual meeting.Each year, a most up-to-date theme is chosen, in line with the pulse of the times and the current affairs.The summit has provided a special platform for college students from China, the United States and other countries to learn more about China and contribute to sound development of China-U.S. relations.

I sincerely hope that this year's summit will pool wisdom, and gather ideas to bridge communication and cooperation between China and the U.S., so that the young people in both countries could learn more from each other and grow together, for our two great countries to move a step closer to partnership and friendship.

May the 2023 Summit be a full success!

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