Asia

China can’t develop isolated from the world, Xi's No. 2 says at forum in Singapore

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) – China and the world must work together to boost global economic growth, Vice-President Wang Qishan said, vowing that Beijing will continue opening up more to foreign investment at a time when more countries are raising barriers over national security concerns.

“China cannot develop in isolation from the world and nor can the world develop without China,” Mr Wang said on Wednesday (Nov 17) at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore. “China will not waver in its resolve to deepen reform and expand opening up.”

He added: “Going forward, China will keep its arms wide open, provide more market investment and growth opportunities to the world. And to contribute its part to the building of a noble world economy and a community with a shared future for mankind.”

Mr Wang was introduced by former US treasury secretary Hank Paulson, who said he hopes that China will continue to embrace reform and be open to competition.

Mr Wang, technically second-in-charge to President Xi Jinping, spoke a day after the Chinese leader held a virtual summit with United States President Joe Biden.

The outcome of the video call between the two leaders was generally positive, with both sides agreeing to continue talking on a range of topics even as they continue to spar over issues such as Taiwan.

Mr Wang said the US-China relationship impacts the future of the world, and said both sides should “act on the important common understandings reached between the two presidents, keep their focus on cooperation and manage and control differences”.

In his speech, Mr Wang also said that the world needs to promote “fair and equitable distribution of vaccines worldwide” and that countries should keep supply chains stable and smooth. He also said that leaders need to share the fruits of development and pursue a “low-carbon transition of the economy in a holistic way”.

Mr Wang used an appearance at the forum last year to call for a shift away from protectionism, telling the audience that countries “must rise above exclusive blocs and reject the zero-sum mentality”, without mentioning the US directly.

The New Economy Forum – a three-day event – is organised by Bloomberg Media Group, a division of Bloomberg, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

Mr Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg – parent company of Bloomberg News – opened the forum by saying that the Glasgow summit was encouraging, especially because of a US-China commitment to work together, but that action is needed more than words.

Mr Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York City, has committed US$500 million (S$679 million) to Beyond Carbon, a campaign aimed at closing the remaining coal-fired power plants in the US by 2030 and halting the development of new natural gas-fired plants. He also started a campaign to close a quarter of the world’s remaining coal plants and cancel all proposed coal plants by 2025.

Other business and finance leaders speaking in Wednesday’s sessions include Google parent Alphabet’s chief executive Sundar Pichai, Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO David Solomon, and UBS Group CEO Axel Weber.

They will be joined by political leaders and thinkers including US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

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