Chinese President Xi Jinping offered the world a vision of a Chinese-driven “Asia-Pacific dream” on Sunday, echoing his oft-quoted but never clearly defined “Chinese dream”.
“We have the responsibility to create and realise an Asia-Pacific dream for the people of the region,” the Chinese Communist chief told the opening in Beijing of the APEC CEO Summit, a gathering of business and political leaders that precedes the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ gathering.
Such a dream, he said, was “based on a shared destiny of all of the Asia-Pacific” and incorporated peace, development and mutual benefits.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation area includes 40 percent of the world’s population, almost half its trade, and more than half its GDP.
China would focus on “managing its own affairs well” while looking to “bring more benefits to the Asia-Pacific and the world with its own development”, Xi said.
As “China’s overall national strength grows”, he told his audience, it would be able and willing to offer “new initiatives and visions for enhancing regional cooperation”.
“China wants to live in harmony with all its neighbours,” he added.
But Beijing is embroiled in enduring territorial disputes with Japan over islands in the East China Sea, and several of the countries around the strategically vital South China Sea.
Under Xi it has been asserting its claims more firmly in both areas.
Since taking office nearly two years ago Xi has regularly spoken of the “Chinese dream”, an unspecified but much-discussed term with connotations of resurgence, and he has spoken of “the revitalisation of the Chinese nation”.
Beijing — a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council — has been looking to leverage the decades-long boom that has made it the world’s second-largest economy to increase its regional and global heft.
But at the same time it is reluctant to become embroiled in conflicts elsewhere and consistently stresses a policy of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs — a stance that has enabled it to do business with leaders seen as pariahs in West.
China was expected to invest more than $1.25 trillion abroad over the next decade, while outbound Chinese tourists would exceed 500 million over the next five years, Xi said.
“For the Asia-Pacific and the world at large, China’s development will generate huge opportunities and benefits and hold lasting and infinite promise,” he said.