Amid a rising tide of worries over protectionism and anti-globalization sentiment, Chinese President Xi Jinping's substantial backing for free trade and economic globalization, demonstrated during a five-day trip to Peru, has injected much-needed confidence into the world. [Special coverage]
Xi attended the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting on Saturday and Sunday in Peru's capital Lima, and later paid his first state visit to the Latin American country since 2013.
"REAL STAR" AT APEC ON OPEN ECONOMY
Speaking at the 24th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting on Sunday, Xi highlighted the APEC's role as a pioneer, leader and trailblazer of economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and the world at large, and called on APEC members to leverage the Asia-Pacific's role as a growth engine and work for an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy.
At the high-level gathering of APEC economic leaders, Xi urged the APEC economies to stay committed to pushing economic globalization forward, increasing openness in the Asia-Pacific economy, breaking bottlenecks in regional connectivity and blazing new trails in reform and innovation.
Citing the blueprint for strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive world economic growth produced by the G20 Hangzhou Summit in September, the Chinese president said it embodies the spirit of partnership to jointly rise to challenges as well as the commitment to common development.
"Instead of coming to a stop because of the temporary difficulties, we need to continue our involvement in economic globalization. What is important is to combine it with our respective development practices, strive to ensure equity and justice, and steer it towards a more inclusive and mutually beneficial direction," he said.
On the building of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which was launched at the 2014 APEC meeting in Beijing, Xi hailed the smooth completion of the collective strategic study this year, saying it marked a new phase in FTAAP development.
"We need to stick to our agenda and take more effective actions to realize the FTAAP at an early date, thus bringing about an Asia-Pacific economy with greater openness," said the Chinese president.
Calling on APEC members to take more collective and individual actions to implement the Connectivity Blueprint for 2015-2025 adopted in Beijing and promote connectivity in infrastructure, institutions and personnel flows, Xi underlined the need for a multi-dimensional connectivity network and a well-connected Asia-Pacific community.
China is making progress with the Belt and Road Initiative. Featuring extensive consultation, joint participation and shared benefits among partners in the region, Xi said the initiative will contribute to enhancing connectivity in the Asia-Pacific, and pledged to seek synergy in development strategies and cooperation initiatives with relevant parties.
The APEC economic leaders agreed to build an open economy in the region, oppose protectionism, advance the FTAAP process and boost connectivity, thus injecting new impetus into the Asia-Pacific and global growth.
Xi's resolution was warmly received by observers. Financial Times described the Chinese president as "the real star at this year's Lima summit."
Mario Mongilardi, president of the Lima Chamber of Commerce, believed Xi sent an encouraging message to the business communities of the APEC members.
In a keynote speech at the APEC CEO Summit on Saturday, Xi reassured global business leaders on China's economic growth and opening-up strategy, saying that the country will carry out supply-side structural reform, accelerate the shifting of growth model, promote innovation-driven development, and replace old growth drivers with new ones.
China will also boost high-standard, two-way opening-up to deliver win-win outcomes, and push for shared and green development to make life better for its people, he said.
The president cited that in the next five years China will import 8 trillion U.S. dollars of goods, introduce 600 billion dollars of foreign investment and invest 750 billion dollars overseas, and Chinese tourists will make over 700 million outbound visits.
"All this means a bigger market, more capital, a greater variety of products and more valuable cooperation opportunities for countries around the world," Xi said.