The ICAS Lectures

No. 99-0507-YaH

 Road to Economic Prosperity and 
 Peacemaker in the Next Century 

  The Hon. Yafei He

ICAS Spring Symposium
Asia's Challenges Ahead
University of Pennsylvania
May 7, 1999

Institute for Corean-American Studies, Inc.

965 Clover Court, Blue Bell, PA 19422

Tel : (610) 277-9989; (610) 277-0149
Fax: (610) 277-3992




Road to Economic Prosperity and Peacemaker in the Next Century

The Hon. Yafei He
Embassy of People's Republic of China
Washington, D. C.

1. Thank you, Madam Chair. It is a great honor to have this opportunity to speak to such a distinguished group.

2. China has been engaged in reform and opening-up for over 20 years with remarkable results. This is our national policy reflecting the experience and lessons China has learned over many hundred of years. China is on her way to build a market economy based on China's reality. This will not change!

3. For China to develop her economy and provide the Chinese people with a better life, it requires the continued efforts of many generations. Therefore her foreign policy objective is to maintain a peaceful and favorable international environment and develop friendly relations with each and every country in the world. Of these, China's relations with the U.S. is the most important.

4. What is the overview of China's economy? The last two decades has witnessed an average annual GDP growth rate of 9.8%. This has changed both the country and the lives of hundreds of millions of people throughout China. In just 20 years, 200 million people have been lifted out of poverty, although there are still around 50-60 million people remaining under poverty line.

5. The present status? In 1998, despite severe natural disaster of prolonged floods that affected over 200 Million people, China's economy still registered a 7.8% growth rate. For the first quarter of 1999, China's GDP grew 8.3% as compared with the same period last year. We are confident that China will achieve 7% growth this year. And according to ADB forecast, China will maintain fast growth for the next two years. At present, our foreign exchange reserve has reached more than 146B$. As of March 1999, there have been 328,228 foreign-funded ventures in China with a total contractual investment of 581.1245 B$ and actual investment of 274.793B$. Of which, U.S. funded ventures reached more than 26,000. Most are making impressive returns.

6. China will stay on this track unswervingly no matter what because this is our national policy arrived at painstakingly and supported by the whole Chinese people. One of the most immediate challenge today facing China on her road to economic prosperity in the 21st century, is her accession to WTO that is also of great interest to the U.S. and the international community as a whole.

7. Being the 10th largest trading country in the world, China is still barred from the WTO. This is unfair. Moreover, without China's participation, the WTO is incomplete. China's position on WTO accession has never changed. China's membership in the WTO will be beneficial both to China and the WTO as well as the development of world trade. But China will never sacrifice its fundamental interests to gain membership. The principle of balance of the right and obligation must be observed.

8. The question of Taiwan has always been the single most important and most sensitive issue at the heart of China-U.S. relations. The history has proved that whenever the question of Taiwan was properly handled in light of the three Sina-U.S. joint communiques, the bilateral relations saw smooth going, otherwise, relation would be stagnant or even suffered setbacks. The attempt of incorporating Taiwan into the TMD system, and the sales of weapons to Taiwan, will inevitably amount to an encroachment on China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and an obstruction to the peaceful reunification of China. Unlike Hong Kong and Macao, Taiwan is an issue left over from the struggle between the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang. Its resolution is entirely an internal affair of China and should be worked out by the Chinese people on both sides of the straits. The basic policy of the Chinese Government for the settlement of the Taiwan question is "peaceful reunification" based on "one country, two systems". China has already made a solemn appeal to the other side of the Strait that the two sides hold negotiations and conclude an agreement on officially ending the state of hostility in accordance with the principle that there is only one China. On that basis, the two sides can undertake jointly to maintain China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and formulate plans for future development of cross-straits relations.

9. China has contributed to the Asia prosperity and also to the stabilization of Asian economy during the on-going financial crisis. China has not only kept her word by holding her currency stable, but also actively participated in the international rescue efforts by providing more than US$4.5 billion to the affected countries in the region. We also shouldered our share through IMF rescue efforts.

10. With the increasing interdependence of our economies and globalization, peace and security is more and more based economic development to which we are all committed. A developed and prosperous China will be a force of peace and stability and will be in the interests of both the Chinese people and the world as a whole. Now I am ready to take questions.


This page last updated 5/31/99 jdb


ICAS Fellow