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Opening Remarks by Foreign Minister Wang Yi At the 26th APEC Ministerial Meeting
2014/11/07

7 November 2014

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to Beijing to attend the 26th APEC Ministerial Meeting. It gives me great pleasure to co-chair this meeting with my colleague, Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng.

Attending today's meeting are ministers or ministers' representatives from APEC economies, executive director of the APEC Secretariat, president of the APEC Business Advisory Council and observers. We wish to extend a warm welcome to all of you.

Today is a special day. Twenty-five years ago today, APEC held its first ministerial meeting in Canberra, Australia and adopted the first joint statement. That was perhaps a small step taken by APEC, but it was a big one for Asia-Pacific cooperation, as it started a great journey of Asia-Pacific economies working together to pursue development, progress and prosperity.

Twenty-five years on, our world has seen great changes and the Asia-Pacific has come a long way in development. The Asia-Pacific has gone through transformation amidst globalization, maintained growth momentum despite two financial crises, and strived for openness and growth in the multilateral trading system. It has become an engine driving global growth, a pioneer of free trade and a standard-bearer of open economy.

Twenty-five years on, APEC has, responding to the call of our times, made important contribution to the economic growth and better life of the people in our region. APEC membership has grown from 12 to 21, its total population increased from 800 million to 2.8 billion, and its economic aggregate grown from US$10 trillion to US$50 trillion. Its average tariff level has dropped from 17% to 5%.

Twenty-five years on, historic changes have taken place in the relationship between the Asia-Pacific and the world. The Asia-Pacific takes the lead in promoting exchanges and cooperation with other regions in the world. Today, more than ever, the world needs a harmonious, progressing and prosperous Asia-Pacific. Our mission is both to promote our own development and lead global growth, and we face both unprecedented opportunities and challenges.

In the face of new conditions, APEC must fulfill the mission of our times and demonstrate strategic vision. It should unleash development momentum and play a leadership role in creating an even better future for the Asia-Pacific.

We should build a dynamic Asia-Pacific economy. We should deliver benefits through reform, generate momentum through innovation and tap potential through growth and thus create a powerful engine to fuel the Asia-Pacific economy. We should get on the express train of urbanization and application of information technologies and give greater support to new economic models such as the Internet economy, green economy and blue economy. We should leap over the middle income trap, overcome other difficulties and remain in the driver's seat as the global industrial division of labor undergoes significant adjustments and changes.

We should build closer partnerships. APEC members are neighbors that cannot be moved away. We should become partners who coordinate our policies, act in good faith, live in harmony, and treat each other with sincerity. We should be partners who share the same goals and strive to make the pie of the Asia-Pacific cooperation bigger. We should be partners who are open and inclusive, respect diversity and accommodate each other's comfort level. We should exchange views in an amicable way. When problems emerge, we should seek ways to address them through consultation.

We should enhance cooperation that creates mutual benefit. The Asia-Pacific is an integral whole, and we need to create a vision for its development that meets the interests of us all. We should bring benefit to all and achieve common development. APEC should fully play its leadership and coordinating role to promote the establishment of an open, inclusive, balanced and win-win new architecture for Asia-Pacific economic cooperation.

We should foster a sound and favorable development environment. We need to strengthen unity and mutual trust to ensure Asia-Pacific cooperation and enhance coordination on macro-economic policies to create greater and positive amplifying effects. We should jointly tackle global challenges to make the Asia-Pacific economies more resilient to risks, and we should increase input in economic and technical cooperation developing members achieve common development.

Based on these considerations, China has proposed taking "Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership" as the theme for this year's APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting and that three priorities, namely, "Advancing Regional Economic Integration", "Promoting Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth" and "Strengthening Comprehensive Connectivity and Infrastructure Development", be considered by the meeting. Our initiative has received extensive support from all APEC members. Over the past year, through in-depth discussions in the committees, working groups and friends of the chair groups, the members have made steady progress by putting forward about 100 cooperation initiatives, thus laving a solid foundation for making the leaders' meeting a success.

In two days, the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting will be opened at Yanqi Lake. This will be an important meeting for APEC as it enters a new stage of development. The central task of the ministerial meeting is to make political preparations for the leaders' meeting. Thanks to the joint efforts of all member economies, fruitful progress has been made in various fields of APEC cooperation. We need to intensify efforts in the run-up to the leaders' meeting to further expand consensus and adopt the joint statement of the ministerial meeting to be submitted to our leaders. On this basis, we should step up consultations on the outcome documents for the leaders' meeting and work for early agreement on them. At present, basic agreement has been reached on the outcome documents of the leaders' meeting. What we need to do is to maintain confidence in achieving our goal, lock up the agreement already reached and work rapidly to reach agreement on outstanding matters through consultations. At the same time, we should remain committed to the spirit of Asia-Pacific partnership and jointly uphold APEC as an economic and trade forum and, taking a constructive approach, focus our efforts on discussing economic cooperation to create a good atmosphere for the leaders' meeting.

Dear Colleagues,

As it is pointed out in the Chair's Summary of the first ministerial meeting, "by sustaining the spirit of goodwill and flexibility which has been shown at this meeting, we can develop Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation to benefit not only the region, but to enhance worldwide economic prospects." Bearing in mind the commitment of the ministers, let us shoulder the historical responsibility, build on the current achievements and forge ahead, and I am sure that we can help make the leaders' meeting a fruitful one with far-reaching significance.

Thank you.

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