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Full Text: Speech by Ambassador Li Junhua at the IV Edition of the Belt and Road Initiative
2021-12-03 22:59

On December 3rd, Ambassador Li Junhua was invited to attend the 4th edition of the Class Editori and Xinhua virtual forum on the Belt and Road Initiative and delivered a speech. The following is the full text of the speech by Ambassador Li:

Distinguished Guests,

Dear friends,

It is my great pleasure to attend the 4th edition of the Class Editori and Xinhua virtual forum on the Belt and Road Initiative.

Not long ago, at a high-level symposium on the Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing, President Xi Jinping said that facing new circumstances, the Belt and Road Initiative should aim for high-standard, sustainable and people-centered projects so that it will achieve new and greater high-quality development. This year’s forum is dedicated to the theme of Digital Silk Road (DSR), I would like to share some of my thoughts on this topic.

With the pandemic still looming in almost all parts of the world, all countries are rethinking and exploring effective ways to reboot the economy and return to normal. Advanced information technology opens up new opportunities for high-quality development, and the Belt and Road Initiative presents a highly valuable platform to foster cooperation and partnership. The world is experiencing an outburst of new e-commerce businesses, and more things are going digital now. It is estimated that, by 2025, the international flow of data will add US$ 11 trillion to the global economy. This creates more windows of opportunities for countries and regions along the Belt and Road, and therefore it is very pertinent to discuss how to harness the digital potential and share the digital dividends together.

We need to strengthen rules and norms for digital governance. Currently, rules for global digital governance are still being formulated and cross-border flow of data is facing various obstacles. Thus, we should have more dialogues in this field and put in place full-fledged institutions governing data flow, market access, and intellectual property protection. The sooner we establish impartial, transparent, wide-ranging and highly-efficient rules and norms, the sooner digital trade barriers be smashed, data be given a real free run, and the potential of the digital economy be fully unleashed.

We need to ensure an open and cooperative cyberspace. Connectivity, openness and cooperation are the trademarks of the digital economy. They should be enhanced by better utilizing digital technology. We look forward to seeing more countries’ participation in the Digital Silk Road to jointly promote digital infrastructure building, coordination of rules and standards, IT application to traditional infrastructure facilities, and ensure an open and cooperative cyberspace for global data flow.

We need to firmly safeguard data security. We all share serious concerns for data security threats, like cyber hacking and personal data leaking and abusing. But at the same time, we are also worried that cyber security has been cited abusively as a cover-up for trade protectionism or other purposes. Last year, China launched the Global Data Security Initiative at the United Nations, suggesting that States reject zero-sum game and put equal emphasis on security and development in digital governance. We call on all States and global ICT companies to support this initiative, and to jointly shoulder responsibility in the digital age.

We need to share the digital dividends. China is a beneficiary of the digital technology, and is also taking concrete actions to help expand space for digital development and share its development opportunities. Under our opening-up policy, China is committed to bringing overseas businesses wider access to the enormous Chinese consumers through cross-border e-commerce.  In 2020, China’s retail imports by cross-border e-commerce exceeded 100 billion RMB. The digital BRI infrastructure projects have helped many emerging economies along the Belt and Road to realize the transformation from having no basic network facilities to owning commercial 4G networks.

Distinguished guests,

Dear friends,

Last month, the Sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China adopted an  important resolution on the major achievements and historical experience of the Party over the past century. The Resolution explicitly states that China will adhere to openness, win-win cooperation and justice, and reject isolation, zero-sum game and hegemony. It also stresses that innovation is an inexhaustible source of momentum for development of a country and a nation.  The greater the cause, the more fraught it is with difficulties and obstacles, and the more important it is to work hard and break new ground.

Unprecedented global changes and unprecedented pandemic have made it more urgent for us to join hands and meet challenges through innovative development. Italy, an important partner in the Belt and Road Initiative, boasts strong capacity for innovation. We hope that China and Italy will tap into each other’s unique strengths and closely collaborate in technology, capitals, markets, and business models, thus opening up new prospects for Digital Silk Road cooperation, delivering more benefits to the people of the two countries and injecting more vitality to the global economic recovery.

Last but not least, I wish this year’s forum a great success.

Thank you all!

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