The Bo'ao Forum for the Asia Annual Conference 2018 was held from April 8-11 in the People's Republic of China's beautiful coastal town Bo'ao.
Attended by more than 2,000 representatives from politics, business, media and academics, the conference enabled its participants to exchange opinions about consolidating cooperation and speeding joint development under the theme: "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
Our Turkish friends were as interested in the Bo'ao Forum for Asia as the representatives of the other countries were. I would like to approach the subject from the Turkish side.
People's Republic of China's President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony of the Bo'ao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018 and made a speech titled "International expansion will bring common prosperity, innovation will shape the future."
In his speech, Xi informed the audience about the strides that were made during the reform and international expansion era of the last 40 years. Expressing China's determination in deepening the reform and international expansion policies along with making strides in innovation-based development, Xi underscored that China was undertaking a great responsibility in the creation of humankind's common fate community as he was talking about his desire to achieve common prosperity with other countries.
'The road to reform is definitely open'
Reform and international expansion has substantially changed China's appearance. In the last 40 years, China transformed from a weak and poor country to the second-largest economy in the world; the largest country in terms of trade in goods and the country with the largest foreign exchange reserves. A total of 700 million people were saved from impoverishment. The life standards of 1.3 billion Chinese citizens improved tremendously. The average annual growth rate of China's gross domestic product (GDP) is 9.5 percent, while the average annual growth of its foreign trade volume is 14.5 percent.
'No obstructions mean sustainability'
During last year's Communist Party of China's 19th National Congress, it was announced that the socialism particular to China has entered a new era and a road map was prepared for China's long-term development. According to this road map, China will accomplish the construction of a middle-income society, reach the development goals of the first century, then start a new process to become a modern socialist country and strive to achieve the development goals of the second century.
The reform and international expansion of China also deeply affects the world. Improving ties between countries and speeding coordinated development are required by the common wealth. Considering the current global trends and focused on international expansion and innovation, the Bo'ao Forum for Asia built a wall against the sandstorm that is commercial protectionism and was greatly appreciated by the international community. The Bo'ao Forum for Asia once again relayed the message of international expansion and tolerance to the world. China will continue to maintain international expansion as a national policy, keeping the doors wide open. China will greatly reduce limitations on market entry, create an attractive investment environment, focus on protecting intellectual property rights and increase imports.
This momentum in China's international expansion will also provide new opportunities to improve the relations between China and Turkey. Since 2010, the year the two countries established a strategic partnership, the political trust has been increasing daily and the trade cooperation has been improving. In fact, trade volume between the two countries increased by 12.5 percent in 2017, reaching $21.9 billion. The two countries played leading roles in the negotiations and agreements for numerous projects for the construction of the Belt and Road project.
China is Turkey's second-largest trade partner and the largest import source. The second meeting of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee and the third meeting of the Foreign Ministers Consultation Mechanism will take place in 2018. Meanwhile, the governments of the two countries and their institutions continue to discuss large-scale cooperation projects. Last week, Turkey Tourism Year was officially launched with a magnificent ceremony in Beijing. With the events of the tourism year, the two countries will learn more about each other and more Chinese tourists will visit Turkey for shopping or vacations. In addition, many Chinese companies will invest in Turkey or open offices here.
China's doors are open to the whole world. China's international expansion and development will bring dynamism to the friendly relations and cooperation between China and Turkey. I believe cooperation between the two countries will be more harmonious. The people of China are ready to accumulate more agreements, increase cooperation by focusing on innovation, realize the empowerment of the two noble peoples and work on creating a common fate community for humankind with their Turkish friends.
*China's ambassador to Ankara