By H.E. CAO Xiaolin, Chinese Ambassador to Tonga
The 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee held its fifth plenary session in Beijing from 26th to 29th October 2020. The session examined and approved the Proposals of the CPC Central Committee for Formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035. It will be a guide of action for China's economic and social development in the next five years and beyond. As the second largest economy, the social and economic development of China is of great significance to other countries including Tonga. I would like to take this opportunity to give a brief introduction of China’s future development plan to my dear Tongan friends.
Since 1953, the CPC and the Chinese government have led the Chinese people formulated and implemented 13 Five-Year Plans. And through these plans, China miraculously accomplished the development achievements that cost some developed countries centuries in just few decades. Particularly in the past 5 years, the economic, scientific and comprehensive strengths of China have been greatly improved, with its economy operating steadily and economic structure continuously optimized. It is estimated that China’s over all GDP in 2020 will exceed 10 trillion RMB (equals TOP 3.3 trillion). The poverty relief campaign impressed the whole world, with almost 30,000 people pulled out of poverty everyday. Opening up actions have been scaled up, and the Belt and Road cooperation yielded many tangible results. The Chinese people’s living standard has been improved greatly, and the world’s largest social security system with a coverage of 1.4 billion people has been successfully established. Facing the abrupt COVID-19, China not only controlled the pandemic and achieved positive economic growth, but also took an active part in international cooperation and made its contributions to the global response to COVID-19.
The reason why China can make new achievements through those Five-Year Plans is that the Chinese people always support and advocate the leadership of CPC, and stick to the development path of socialism with Chinese characteristics which best conforms to China’s national conditions. Some authoritative international polling agencies revealed recently that the support rate of CPC and Chinese government is 95%, which ranks top in the world.
Facing the complicated international environment and arduous tasks of domestic reform and development, the CPC and the Chinese government take both the domestic and international situations into consideration, comprehensively formulated the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 and the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development. The objectives and the plan cover economic growth, social management, cultural development, ecology and environment, opening up, military building and people’s well-being.
For the first time, more notable and substantial progress toward the common prosperity of all Chinese people is set as a long-range goal. People are the creator of history and the fundamental drive of development. The CPC is of the people, by the people and for the people. Always maintaining close relationship with people is the secret weapon for CPC to lead the Chinese people to achieve consecutive victories in the socialist modernization process.
The Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 fully demonstrates the fundamental idea of the CPC which is always put the people first. In order to make the above-mentioned goals come true, China will focus on the following three aspects:
First, to deepen reform. Reform is a strong power driving development. Through reform, China will build a high-level socialist market economy that will fully unleash the vitality of the 1.4 billion Chinese people, enabling them to create more social wealth, pursue better lives, ultimately achieve common prosperity for everyone and the long-range objectives.
Second, to open wider. Opening-up is the right choice to promote development. Through high-level opening-up, China will provide a larger market with more opportunities to the world, which will not only improve the development of China, but also create a fairer and more equitable global economic governance system to push forward the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Third, to promote self-innovation. Innovation is the primary driving force for development. We will undertake self-reliance in scientific and technological development to strategically support the country's overall development, step up efforts to build a strong country in science and technology, and create new strengths for China's development in all respects to provide strong support mechanisms for the high-quality development of the economy and people's living standards.
The 14th Five-Year Plan emphasizes that China will foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. Some people worry that by taking the domestic circulation as the mainstay, China will slow down its step in opening-up. Actually, it won’t. At present, the traditional international economic circulation and global economic recovery have been obviously weakened due to the anti-globalization trend, unilateralism, protectionism as well as COVID-19. Against this backdrop, China promotes to foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay, means it will further unleash the potential of its domestic market, boost domestic demand in order to stimulate economic growth and strengthen economic resilience.
In the meantime, by stressing that the domestic and international circulations should reinforcing each other, China means to open its domestic market wider to the outside, create a more marketized, legalized and internationlized business environment, keep expanding inbound and outbound trade and investment, so as to ensure the domestic circulation interact positively with the international circulation, and to achieve win-win cooperation and common prosperity and development with all other countries. Just as President Xi said at the Boao Forum for Asia in 2018, China will not shut its door to the outside world, but open it even wider!
China Tonga trade
According to statistics, the total trade between China and Tonga for 2019 is US$29.57 million, with a growth rate of 18% over the previous year. However, there are still great potentials to be tapped in the bilateral trade, especially in Tonga’s export to China. The two countries should explore new areas for cooperation, such as science and technology, to improve Tonga’s manufacturing and processing capacity so as to increase the added value of Tongan agricultural products and make them fit into the need for green and high-quality agricultural products of the Chinese market. In this way, our joint efforts will help Tonga transform the advantages in natural conditions and human resources into development opportunities to achieve a better economic growth.
I believe that the establishment of new development paradigm of China will also bring new opportunities for Tonga to expand its export to China and deepen bilateral economic and technical cooperation, and add new impetus to the economic and social development of Tonga as well as our comprehensive strategic partnership of mutual respect and common development.
With the formulation of the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 and the 14th Five-Year Plan, China is now embarking on the new journey of development. Looking ahead, China will continue upholding peace, development, and win-win cooperation, actively building a favorable external environment, opening up even wider to the world and steering forward the Belt and Road cooperation in the spirit of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. China will let the other countries including Tonga benefit from its own development, and try its best to build a new type of international relations and a community of shared future for mankind.