The Boao Forum for Asia was established on China’s initiative in 2001 and is a major platform for discussing economic cooperation and integration in the Asia-Pacific region, and strengthening relations between governments and business and scientific communities. The forum’s annual conference took place this year under the theme: Inclusive Development: Common Agenda and New Challenges.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: President Hu Jintao, heads of state and government, Chairman of the Boao Forum Board of Directors Mr Fukuda, ladies and gentlemen,
I want to start by thanking the forum’s organisers for this chance to exchange views on the biggest global development issues today, and discuss our common plans, including our plans for the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr President, you said just now that today’s world is distinguished by unprecedented interdependence between countries. This is very clear. The impact of the global financial crisis, the destabilisation we see at the moment in the Middle East and North Africa, and the natural disaster and subsequent technological crisis it provoked in Japan all remind us that we need to work together to find solutions to the greatest challenges of our times. The theme of inclusive development chosen for this year’s annual conference is thus particularly relevant. I would like to say a few words about its key elements as I see them.
First, successful inclusive development is possible only when we have democratic and fair international relations, not just political relations, but economic ties too. One of the biggest steps towards creating these relations is reforming the global financial system, which we have been working on over the last two years. Progress in this direction was achieved through unprecedented and very active efforts by a number of countries, by the G20 countries, with some help from other countries too. The BRICS summit that just took place in Sanya on Hainan showed that this group’s members support the formation of a new multipolar system of international relations that reflects the increasing spread of global development potential and the emergence of new, fast-growing centres of economic and political influence.
“Successful inclusive development is possible only when we have democratic and fair international relations, not just political relations, but economic ties too.”
Second, inclusive development as a principle of state economic policy is of crucial importance not just at international but also national level. Economies built on knowledge, investment, and use of the latest scientific and technological advances lay the road to the main goal – better living standards for our peoples. It is essential that access to these new opportunities and development benefits not be restricted to particular groups or sections of society only, or to particular countries only, as we have seen so often in world history. No one must be left out. No one must be left on the sidelines of global progress. This requires us to ensure opportunities for everyone to realise their potential and take part in global economic cooperation. In this context, increasing access to high quality education, supporting talent, and carrying out active employment policies are particularly important. One of Russia’s top priorities is to fulfil all of its social obligations to its people. We are doing this through a policy of modernisation and a model based on innovation, investment, infrastructure development and building modern institutions. Of course all round development of our country’s intellectual potential is an important part of this work too.
Like other countries, we also face many problems and challenges, and we are working steadily and consistently to solve them. We are open for the broadest possible partnership in our modernisation efforts, and we will make this a key theme during Russia’s chairmanship of the APEC forum next year. APEC is the most influential and representative regional body today, and as such can play a part in creating good conditions for developing modern, comfortable cities, promoting free movement of goods, capital, services, and labour, exchanging the latest experience and technology, and encouraging innovation development, thus putting into practice the principles of inclusive development.
Third, stable and balanced development is impossible without an effective environmental policy and common action to prevent the negative effects of climate change. Not only would the environment itself benefit, but these efforts would serve as a powerful catalyst for social development, industrial modernisation, increasing energy efficiency, and encouraging the spread of new and environmentally friendly technology. These principles are reflected in the Russian Federation’s climate doctrine.
“Economies built on knowledge, investment, and use of the latest scientific and technological advances lay the road to the main goal – better living standards for our peoples. These new opportunities and development benefits must not be restricted to particular groups or sections of society only, or to particular countries only. No one must be left out. No one must be left on the sidelines of global progress.”
Fourth, there is a clear regional dimension to the theme we have been discussing today, as President of China Hu Jintao very neatly pointed out just before. This regional dimension is particularly clear in the Asia-Pacific region, where integration is progressing very rapidly. I believe that this development should be of a comprehensive nature and extend to all countries, not creating new dividing lines, but helping us to bring our economic development levels closer into line with each other, because there are still big economic differences between countries in this region too.
Russia’s future and our efforts to modernise Siberia and the Far East are intricately linked to the Asia-Pacific region for the simple reason that Russia is part of this region too and has an interest in its rapid development. High-technology sectors, modern energy, transport and logistics systems – these are the sectors in which we hope to build added value into our regional cooperation.
Another area is cooperation in disaster prevention and relief. We expressed our sincere condolences to our Japanese neighbours, and we hope they will successfully overcome the consequences of the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and technological disaster that have hit their country. The events in Japan show us once again the need for permanent channels for exchanging information, expert support systems, and mobile rapid reaction forces too. We put forward proposals on these matters at the last G20 summits, and we think that the time has come to examine them in detail. We will also soon present to our partners proposals on the lessons the world’s nuclear energy industry can learn from the Japanese tragedy.
Mr Fukuda said just before that, despite the disaster, nuclear energy should continue its development. I fully agree with this. Disasters should not stop human progress, but we do need to learn the necessary lessons from them. This is the most important thing. For Russia, there is only one possible choice, and that is to strengthen and develop our partnership with the countries in the region and take active part in the regional multilateral groups. We will continue this course.
Finally, it is clear to us that robust social and economic development in the Asia-Pacific region is possible only if we create an open, transparent and equal security and cooperation architecture based on the principles of international law and taking into account the interests of all countries, rather than simply those of particular groups of countries. This was the logic we followed when, together with the President of China, we proposed a joint initiative on strengthening security and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region in Beijing last September. Its basic principle of equal and indivisible security could become a real uniting idea for the entire Asia-Pacific region.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I want to say in conclusion that this annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia is taking place at a very high level in terms of its delegates, and this reflects its growing influence. Russia wants to continue taking productive part in its work. Our dialogue should continue, and indeed, the discussions begun today here in Boao can continue in June at the St Petersburg Economic Forum. I invite all of you to come and take part.