Staying Connected with the World and Abreast with the Times
And Making Big Strides on the Path of Sustainable Development
Keynote Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
At the Opening Ceremony of
The Second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference
14 October 2021
Your Excellency Secretary-General António Guterres,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to attend the second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference and discuss what is important for global transport and development. Let me begin by extending, on behalf of the Chinese government and the Chinese people and also in my own name, warm congratulations on the convening of the Conference and a hearty welcome to our distinguished guests.
Transport is the artery of the economy and a bond between civilizations. A review of history shows that transport, in the forms of camel caravans and sailing boats on the ancient Silk Road, wave-breaking vessels in the Age of Exploration, and criss-cross transport networks in this modern age, has facilitated economic integration and people-to-people exchanges and turned the world into a close-knit global village.
As we speak, major changes unseen in a century, compounded by a once-in-a-century pandemic, are posing serious challenges to the global efforts of growing the economy and bettering people’s lives. It is imperative that we follow the prevailing trend of world development, advance global transport cooperation, and write a new chapter featuring connectivity of infrastructure, unfettered flows of trade and investment, and interactions between civilizations.
First, we need to uphold open interplay and enhance connectivity. A big river is full when its tributaries are filled with water; and tributaries must be dry when there is no water in the big river. Only with openness, inclusiveness and connectivity can countries reinforce each other’s efforts and achieve win-win results. It is important that we pursue an open world economy, reject discriminatory or exclusive rules and systems, and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. We should strengthen both hard connectivity of infrastructure and soft connectivity of institutions and rules, and develop four-dimensional connectivity of land, sea, air and the Internet.
Second, we need to uphold common development and promote fairness and inclusiveness. Only when countries develop together can there be true development; only when countries prosper together can there be true prosperity. The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the wealth gap and widened the North-South divide. Uneven development must be addressed before broader prospects for humanity’s common development could be brought about. We should leverage the enabling role of transport and increase related input in poor regions, so that local economies and people’s lives could improve as a result of better roads. We should enhance North-South and South-South cooperation and scale up support for developing transport infrastructure in the least developed countries and landlocked developing countries, in an effort to achieve common prosperity.
Third, we need to uphold an innovation-driven approach and create more drivers for development. Our world is going through a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation. Digital economy, artificial intelligence and other new technologies and new business forms have become strong technological underpinnings for economic and social development. More should be done to develop smart transport and smart logistics and promote deep integration of new technologies like big data, the Internet, artificial intelligence and blockchain with the transport sector, to ensure easier movement of people and smoother flow of goods.
Fourth, we need to uphold ecological conservation as a priority and pursue green and low-carbon development. The only durable way to achieve sustainable development is to establish an economic system for green and low-carbon development and promote green transition in all respects of economic and social development. More efforts are needed to foster a green and low-carbon way of transport, step up green infrastructural development, promote new energy, smart, digital and light-weight transport equipment, and encourage and advocate green travel, to make transport and travel more environment-friendly and low-carbon.
Fifth, we need to uphold multilateralism and improve global governance. We live in a world where the future and destiny of countries are closely linked and their interests entwined like never before. We need to follow the vision of global governance featuring extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, pool the wisdom and strength of all, and mobilize resources from across the globe to meet global challenges and promote global development. We should uphold the authority and status of the United Nations and, in the context of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, advance cooperation in such areas as poverty reduction, health, transport and logistics, and infrastructural development.
Not long ago, I proposed a Global Development Initiative, which is designed to speed up the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, promote more robust, greener and more balanced global development, and build a global community of development with a shared future. I hope more will join the Initiative.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since the founding of New China, generation after generation of the Chinese people have worked in the spirit of opening roads through mountains and putting bridges over rivers, and turned China into a country with vast transport infrastructure. Today, we are redoubling our efforts to build a country with great transport strength. Convinced that transport should come first, we have built the world’s largest high-speed railway network, expressway network and world-class port clusters. We have opened air and sea routes that reach all parts of the world. We have set up an integrated transport network exceeding six million kilometers. Convinced of the need for innovation, we have achieved major breakthroughs in equipment manufacturing like high-speed trains and large aircraft. We have more than half of the world’s new energy vehicles. Mega transport projects like the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and Beijing Daxing International Airport have been completed and put into operation. Transport has become a frontier in China’s modernization drive. Convinced of the importance of global connectivity, we have become the economy best connected to the global shipping network and with the highest volume of trade in goods. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the China-Europe Railway Express and ocean-going cargo vessels have been running day and night to keep global industrial and supply chains stable, showcasing China’s sense of responsibility in the global community.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China will continue to hold high the banner of true multilateralism, and stay connected with the world and abreast with the times. This way, we will contribute more to global development while pursuing our own development.
I wish to reiterate that China will not change course in its pursuit of a new system of open economy of higher standards, and China will not waver in its resolve to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. China’s door of opening-up will only open wider, and will never be closed.
China will continue to advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, strengthen infrastructure connectivity with other countries, and develop a green Silk Road and a digital Silk Road at a faster pace. Here I announce that China will set up a Global Innovation and Knowledge Center for Sustainable Transport, as a contribution to global transport development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let us stick together on the promising path of connectivity and mutual benefit, jointly build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Let me wish the Conference a full success.
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