China will open its western region wider for forming globally-oriented networks of trade, investment and financing, production and services, and strengthen international economic cooperation and competition. The western region covers three autonomous regions -- Tibet, Ningxia, Xinjiang -- and six provinces -- Qinghai, Gansu, Shaanxi, Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan -- along with Chongqing Municipality.
BEIJING, Oct 19: In what may be taken as a move to further deepen its trade relations with South and Central Asian countries, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China will pursue the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a priority and open up its western region wider for the expansion of foreign trade in the next five years.
Presenting a 65-page work report at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of People on Wednesday, Chinese President Xi, who is also the general secretary of the party, said that China will open its western region wider for forming globally-oriented networks of trade, investment and financing, production and services, and strengthen international economic cooperation and competition.
The western region covers three autonomous regions namely Tibet, Ningxia, Xinjiang and six provinces -- Qinghai, Gansu, Shaanxi, Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan -- along with Chongqing Municipality. The western region, which shares border mostly with South Asia and Central Asian countries, is considered as comparatively least developed region of China and China seeks to develop the region through increased trade relations with South Asian and Central Asian countries under BRI. The flagship project of BRI 'China Pakistan Economic Corridor' passes through Xinjiang of China to Islamabad and Gwadar. Nepal, which shares border with Tibet, is also advocating for 'Trans-Himalaya Economic Corridor' between China-Nepal-India and can ripe economic benefits from the opening up.
President Xi further said that China will expand foreign trade, develop new models and new forms of trade, and turn China into a trader of quality.
“With these efforts, we hope to make new ground in opening China further through links running eastward and westward, across land and over sea,” he added, at the five-yearly political gathering attended by 2,287 delegates from across China. Among the delegates were former general secretary of the party Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. The congress will conclude on October 24.
President Xi, who delivered his speech for almost three and half hours, reviewed the progress made by the CPC since the 18th national Congress in 2012 on various fronts and unveiled a two-step approach to build China into a modern socialist country mid-21st century--to make China moderately prosperous by 2020 first and develop it into a modern socialist country by 2049.
Over the past five years, China's GDP rose from 8.2 trillion to 12.1 trillion US dollars, contributing more than 30 percent of global economic growth. More than 60 million people have been lifted out of poverty, the party report claimed. China launched over 1,500 reform measures, establishing general frameworks for reform in major fields, according to the report.
The national congress will deliberate on the work report for the next six days and roll out overall strategic plans and their implementation steps for the cause of the party as well as the country.
Similarly, the national congress will also amend the party congress to include key theories and strategies proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping as the party core leader for the governance of China.
After that, the congress will also elect the party's 19th Central Committee and 19th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. However, a new leadership will be elected for the 19th Central Committee and 19th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection following the conclusion of the congress.
The central committee will endorse the second term for President Xi as the general secretary of the party for the next five years.