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Ambassador Zheng Zeguang Attended a Financial and Economic Forum and Made a Keynote Speech
2022-11-24 20:31

On 22 November 2022, Chinese Ambassador to the UK H.E. Zheng Zeguang attended a financial and economic forum in London and made a keynote speech.

Ⅰ To grasp China’s future development trends, one must understand the significance of the 20th CPC National Congress

Ambassador Zheng noted that to grasp Chinas future development trends, one must understand the CPC and the significance of its 20th National Congress. The 20th CPC National Congress is indeed an event of epoch-making significance, because it was held at a critical time as China embarks on a new journey to build a modern socialist country in all respects and advances towards the Second Centenary Goal.

The most important achievement of the Congress is the election of a new central leadership with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, which reflects the common will of the entire Party and the people of the whole country. Taking stock of the past and charting the course for the future, General Secretary Xi Jinpings report to the Congress is a political declaration and a programme of action for the Party to rally all the Chinese people and lead them in achieving new success of building socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. The report is the most important source for the outside world to get a good grasp of Chinas development trends.

In his speech, Ambassador Zheng highlighted the following four aspects of the report.

First, Chinese modernisation is the strategic path China will take to advance national rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts. Chinese modernisation is socialist modernisation pursued under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. It contains elements that are common to the modernisation processes of all countries, but it is more characterised by features that are unique to the Chinese context. It is the modernisation of a huge population, of common prosperity for all, of material and cultural-ethical advancement, of harmony between humanity and nature, and of peaceful development. Chinese modernisation will create a new form of human advancement and certainly have a far-reaching positive impact on world peace and development.

Second, high-quality development is the top priority in Chinas endeavour to build a modern socialist country in all respects. We will fully and faithfully apply the new development philosophy on all fronts, continue reforms to develop the socialist market economy, promote high-standard opening up, and accelerate efforts to foster a new pattern of development that is focused on the domestic economy and features positive interplay between domestic and international economic flows.

Third, opening to the outside world is a fundamental national policy China will remain committed to. We will amplify the interplay between domestic and international markets and resources and steadily expand institutional opening-up with regard to rules, regulations, management and standards. We will upgrade trade in goods, develop new mechanisms for trade in services and foster a world-class business environment that is market-oriented, law-based, and internationalised. We will promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. And we will expand the globally-oriented network of high-standard free trade areas, promote the internationalisation of the RMB in an orderly way, and deeply involve ourselves in the global industrial division of labour and cooperation.

Fourth, peaceful development is a strategic choice China will continue to follow unswervingly. China has always been committed to its foreign policy goals of upholding world peace and promoting common development, and it is dedicated to promoting a human community with a shared future. China will remain dedicated to peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, continue to follow an independent foreign policy of peace, uphold basic norms of international relations, and defend international fairness and justice.

Ⅱ China has all along put the people and their lives above all else and committed itself to ensuring progress in both COVID-19 response and economic and social development

Ambassador Zheng noted that in responding to the COVID pandemic, China has all along put the people and their lives above all else. Following the general approach of preventing both imported cases and domestic resurgences and a dynamic zero-COVID policy, we have ensured progress in both COVID response and economic and social development. We have protected peoples health and safety to the greatest extent possible and maintained sustained and stable economic and social development.

In light of recent developments in COVID situation, China has focused on quick response and well-targeted and highly efficient measures. The ninth edition of COVID response protocols and 20 specific measures are in place to contain the spread of the virus as fast as possible. Quarantine for inbound travelers has been cut to five days of quarantine at designated sites plus three days of home quarantine, from the previous seven-day quarantine at designated sites plus three-day health monitoring at home. The circuit breaker mechanism for inbound flights has been canceled, and only one nucleic acid test with a negative result in 48 hours before boarding is required for inbound travelers instead of two. Inbound important business travelers and sports groups will be directly transferred to closed-loop management areas, exempted from quarantine. We are confident that we will be able to achieve the goal of maximising the protection of peoples lives and health and minimising the impact on economic and social activities.

In the first half of this year, facing economic downward pressure, China launched a package of polices to stabilise the economy and put forward 33 measures on six fronts including in the financial sector. These policy measures have put Chinas economy back on the normal course. Not long ago, to help the real estate sector tide over difficulties and challenges, we rolled out a series of new measures. We have reduced the mortgage rate and down payment ratio. Support will be provided for high-quality real estate companies to implement plans to improve their balance sheets and for real estate-related companies to carry out mergers and acquisitions and access financing. Intensified efforts will be made to improve tax refund services for micro and small businesses and self-employed households, to see that all eligible VAT credits are refunded whenever and wherever possible, and that businesses will benefit as early as possible, in a bid to support market entities, ensure job creation and meet people's essential needs. Going forward, greater efforts will be made to implement the policy package for stabilising the economy and the follow-up measures. Efforts will be made to keep employment and prices stable. And policies such as tax refunds and deferrals, fee cuts, and pro-job subsidies will be thoroughly executed.

At a time when many economies are facing the risk of recession, Chinas GDP rose by 3.9 per cent in the third quarter of this year and the growth in the first three quarters of this year was 3 per cent. In the first eight months of this year, China attracted over 20 per cent more investment compared with last year, and its imports and exports grew by 10.1 per cent year on year. We will work to secure better economic performance in the fourth quarter over the third and keep major economic indicators within a proper range.

Ⅲ Anti-China clamours run counter to the trend of history, and the principles of mutual respect and mutual benefit must be observed in advancing China-UK relations

Ambassador Zheng noted that China and the UK are both permanent members of the UN Security Council and major economies of the world. The two sides should uphold dialogue and cooperation and develop healthy and stable relations, as this is in the fundamental interests of the people of both countries and is conducive to peace, stability and development of the world.

Currently, there are both challenges and opportunities in China-UK relations. It is important that the UK views China as it is and earnestly respect Chinas core interests. For quite some time now, some in the UK have been using issues related to Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong to spread lies and meddle in Chinas internal affairs. China firmly opposes it. What must be pointed out here is that on issues concerning Chinas core interests, we will never compromise. Our red line must never be crossed. Any words or deeds that undermine our interests will be met with forceful responses.

Some in the UK are bent on touting the China threat and clamour for cutting back China-UK economic and trade ties. They are chasing shadows and calling white black, and attempting to turn back the wheel of history. People with insight must see the damage they are doing and never let them get their way.

Ambassador Zheng emphasised that China follows a path of peaceful development, and is dedicated to world peace and common development and the building of a human community with a shared future. Chinas defensive policy is defensive in nature. We pose no military threat to the UK. Of the many economic difficulties facing the UK including high inflation, the cost of living crisis and energy shortage, China did not cause anyone of them. On the contrary, Chinese products, which are good for value, are helping British families deal with high inflation and maintain their living standard. In what way does China pose a threat?

With regard to the blocking of some Chinese investment by the UK government, Ambassador Zheng pointed out that of course every country needs to defend its national security, but this should not be done by overstretching the concept of national security. Market rules should not be violated. Discriminatory practices must be avoided. China is seriously concerned over the UK governments political intervention in some business cooperation projects. Such practice of the UK damages the interests of those companies involved and also deals a heavy blow to its own credibility among Chinese and international investors. China-UK economic and trade cooperation is mutually beneficial in nature. Joint efforts of both are needed for our business ties to maintain healthy development.

Ambassador Zheng briefed the audience on the recent progress of China-Europe relations and noted that the UK led western countries relations with China 50 years ago and should not lag behind now. Fifty years of ambassadorial relations have brought enormous gains for people in both countries, yet great potential remains to be tapped in our cooperation. For China-UK relations to move forward, principles such as mutual respect and mutual benefit must be observed. The UK side should keep up with the times and work with China in the same direction. It is hoped that people with vision in the UK will continue to play their role and make unrelenting efforts to promote China-UK dialogue and cooperation.

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