China remains a developing country and 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, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a speech on Monday evening.
Speaking at an event hosted by the European Policy Centre, a think tank, Wang said that 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 start 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," Wang said, "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."
Wang said China indeed remains a developing country. Although China is now the second-largest economy in the world, its per capita GDP is only one-sixth that of the United States, and one fourth that of the European Union. 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, he said, 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.
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 percent to global growth for over ten consecutive years, serving as the leading engine of the world economy, said the Chinese diplomat.
In terms of opening up, China has more than fulfilled its WTO commitments, and reduced the average tariff rate to 7.5 percent, 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 percent to the increase in the world's afforested area in the past 20 years. In 2018, China reduced its carbon emission intensity by 45.8 percent 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 country as China be welcomed and its achievements appreciated by Europe and the international community?" Wang said.