Y.B. Datuk Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia and Chairman of the Meeting,
Since our last PMC, international situation has undergone somne new changes, the salient feature of which is tile continued movement towards multipolarity. Whether globally or regionally, whether politically or economically, multipolarization has become an irresistible trend, which is of great significance to the promotion of world peace and development.
At Present, world economic is growing steadily with rapid advancement of Science and technology, unprecedented expansion of international trade and investment, enormous improvement of social productivity and rising interdependence among states. Economic globalization has stood out as the primary attribute of world economy. It is gratifying to note that amidst the wave of globalization, certain developing countries have accelerated growth and become stronger economically, injecting fresh vitality to world economic growth.
In recent years, the development in the Asia-Pacific region has continued to attract world attention. In spite of brief fluctuations, East Asia as a whole has maintained its growth momentum and retains the position as the fastest-growing region in the world. The prospect of its future development continues to look good. The following is particularly noteworthy:
–The developing countries in Southeast Asia, Indochina and South Asia have achieved good result in their economic reform, characterized by gradually deepened restructuring, steadily improved competitiveness and emergence of a number of economic growth points.
–Economic cooperation, both intra- and Inter-regional, has become increasingly vigorous; Sub-regional cooperation such as AFTA, SAARC and Mekong Basin Development Cooperation has quickened their pace while APEC and ASEM are translating their consensus reached in trade, investment and technical cooperation into real actions.
–Mutually-beneficial cooperation in the economic realm is being promoted in a complementary manner with the dialogue and cooperation in the political and security field, which serves stability and development in the region.
Admittedly, the Asia-Pacific region is also faced with challenges to its development, challenges that one cannot overlook. They include uneven development within the region, wide gap between the developing and developed countries iii economic, scientific and technological levels, and continued constrains from the unjust and unreasonable external factors on such issues as market access, terms of trade and transfer of technology.
In our view, a sustained and sustainable economic growth calls not only for continued reform and opening-up by all the Asia-Pacific countries and their full utilization of potentials, but also for increased dialogue and cooperation on the basis mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit and complementarity of advantages and expanded intra- and inter-regional economic relations and trade. Today when countries are inextricably linked economically, only coordination and cooperation can turn their separate development opportunities into real benefits of common development. Therefore, we hope that the developed countries will adopt a wise and constructive attitude, properly treat and handle the frictions that occur in bilateral or multilateral economic cooperation and create a more favorable external environment for the growth of the developing countries. Rapid economic growth of the developing countries in Asia has offered great opportunities to the developed countries and injected vitally into the world economy. As has been proven by facts, enhanced cooperation benefits both sides and accords with the global tide of peace and development.
China’s development and that of Asia and the world at large are inter- Related. As the world’s largest developing country, China is dedicated to its economic development and improvement of its people’s life. In the meantime, it is also committed to peace and prosperity in the region. For nearly two decades, China has persisted in reform, opening-up and modernization drive, and maintained a momentum of rapid economic growth.
China’s economic situation since the beginning of the year has been quite good. Summer harvest has been a record high. The annual GNP growth rate is expected to exceed 9%. Hong Kong has continued to enjoy economic prosperity and stability following its return to the motherland.
China’s economic and trade links with the other Asia-Pacific countries and across the world have become even closer, and its cooperation with them will come to a new high. China’s stability and development has already become part and parcel of global stability and development, And a stronger China will contribute positively to durable peace and development in the Asia-Pacific and throughout the world,
Since the beginning of reform and opening-up, China has adopted practical measures to integrate its economy with that of the world and actively participated in international division of labor and cooperation in a broad range of areas. China commits itself to a stronger global multilateral trading regime. Its attitude towards regional trade and investment liberalization has been both positive and realistic. It is serious and responsible when it comes to fulfilling its international commitments. Regrettably, till this very day, China has still been excluded from the World Trade Organization. An early solution to China’s WTO membership not only serve China’s reform and opening-up, but also helps strengthen the global multilateral trading regime and advance economic and trade cooperation in this region.
With the turn of the century quickly approaching, our world is making constant progress. We have before all of us shared mission, namely, to seize the opportunity, meet the challenge and bring a stable and prosperous Asia into the 21st century. We stand ready to join others in making unremitting efforts to this end.