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Wang Yi: It Would Be "Irreciprocal" in Effect to Ask for Reciprocity Between Developing Countries and Developed Countries
2019-12-17

On the evening of December 16, 2019 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered a speech at the "Sixty-Minute Briefing" Event of the European Policy Center.

Wang Yi said, in recent years, due to the rapid growth of the Chinese economy, some friends in Europe tend to see China as already joining the ranks of developed countries and they started to judge China by the corresponding standards. Some even go so far as to demand reciprocity at every turn. Let me draw an analogy with a 100-meter race. An early starter, who is already 50 meters ahead, asks to have a fair race with his fellow contestant, who is still standing at the starting line. Apparently, such a demand does not make any sense. Naturally, if it's in a much longer marathon, then the late-comer may stand a chance of catching up by running really fast.

Let me draw your attention to some facts. China indeed remains a developing country. Although China is now the second largest economy in the world, our per capita GDP is only one sixth that of the US, and one fourth that of the EU. China ranks below the 80th place in the Human Development Index, and lags far behind developed countries in science, technology and education. Unbalanced and inadequate development remains a prominent challenge for China, and industrialization is yet to be completed. Therefore, it would be "irreciprocal" in effect to ask for reciprocity between a country that has been developing for only several decades and countries that have developed for centuries.

Wang Yi expressed, in this connection, allow me to quote from an ancient Chinese poem, "It's a mountain range viewed in face and peaks viewed from one side, assuming different shapes viewed from far and wide." This poetical line essentially means that things observed from different angles will lead to different conclusions. When an objective perspective of developing countries is applied, what we will see is an impressive picture of China's achievements. China has not only achieved tremendous progress in its own development, but also made far bigger contributions to the world than many other countries. Take the economy as an example, China has contributed more than 30 per cent to global growth for over ten consecutive years, serving as the leading engine of the world economy. In terms of opening up, China has more than fulfilled its WTO commitments, and reduced the average tariff rate to 7.5 per cent, exceeding all other major developing countries and approaching the level of developed countries. On the ease of doing business, China's position in the World Bank rankings has jumped to the 31st place, up by 47 spots in the past two years, making it the best-performing economy in the improvement of its business environment. On emission reduction and environmental protection, China has contributed over 25 per cent to the increase in the world's afforested area in the past 20 years. In 2018, China reduced its carbon intensity by 45.8 per cent over the 2005 level, meeting its international commitments ahead of schedule. On international cooperation, China is now the second largest contributor to the UN's regular budget and peacekeeping assessment and the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the Security Council. Why shouldn't such a major developing country, one that is growing with strong momentum and making increasingly greater contributions to human progress, be welcomed and appreciated by Europe and the international community?

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