Chinese President Xi calls for increased Asian economic connectivity

World Today

China's President Xi Jinping speaks at the Dialogue On Strengthening Connectivity Partnership at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in BeijingChina’s President Xi Jinping speaks to other leaders attending the Dialogue On Strengthening Connectivity Partnership at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on November 8, 2014. The leaders are here on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in the Chinese capital.(AFP PHOTO / POOL / Kim Kyung-Hoon)

China’s President Xi Jinping addressed top officials, stressing the importance of economic connectivity. China will provide financial support of $40 billion to the Silk Road Fund. It’s another concrete measure to put the connectivity pledge into action. CCTV America’s Han Bin reported the story from Beijing.

It was a simple reception for talks on pragmatic cooperation. President Xi presided over the Host’s Partners Dialogue on Saturday, a meeting with seven Asian leaders who are not APEC economic leaders. The Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was also present at the talks.

“Connectivity doesn’t just mean building bridges and roads. These are two dimensional links…single line connections,” said the president. “We must also have three dimensional connections, like infrastructure, institutional improvements, and people to people exchanges. We must advance connectivity side by side, in five different areas: They are the coordination of policies, the connection of facilities, unblocking trade, the free flow of capital, and people-to-people communication.”

Chinese officials believe connectivity is crucial for economic growth and a competitive edge for Asian economies. It’s a concept that’s gathering pace during the APEC meetings in Beijing, and a theme that coincides with China’s initiative to establish a new Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road.

Two weeks ago, China signed a memorandum of understanding with 20 other nations to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China will provide most of the initial capital. The new bank will fund the construction of roads, railways, power plants and telecommunications networks.

“To realize a common development for Asian economies, each one needs to attach great importance to connectivity,” said the president. “We need to coordinate and connect each other’s strategy and planning, and target priorities for cooperation.”

The president said connectivity must be a priority for Asian economies and that a framework is needed to fulfill such a mandate.

APEC focuses on counter-terrorism, transportation security

One of the key topics being discussed at this week’a APEC leaders’ meeting in Beijing is the fight against terrorism, which has grown as a threat in the Asia-Pacific region in recent years. CCTV America’s Liu Yang reported on some of the new challenges facing the region.

Security measures have already been amped up at important public areas and sightseeing spots for the APEC leaders’ meeting in Beijing. Prior to the start of APEC, an anti-terrorism drill was held at a conference center in a suburb of Beijing.

The scenario was a terrorist hijacking of a bus full of people. The joint drill was held by the People’s Armed Police Corps and China’s SWAT team, the Snow Leopard Command Unit. According to an expert from the China Institutes for Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), cracking down on terrorist activities on the Internet also urgently needs APEC抯 attention.

“Using the Web to facilitate terrorist planning and implementation, and training,” said Yan Shuai, executive chief of organized crime studies at CICIR. “This is a threat to every country in the world nowadays. How to prevent the flow of foreign jihadists is another important issue.”

Experts have also said that joint efforts to combat terrorism have gradually begun among the 21 APEC economies.

A global counterterrorism forum will also be held in Beijing in November, one week after the APEC meeting. Joint efforts to fight against terrorism will be a long-term goal for every country in the region.

John Kerry: U.S. welcomes China-Japan agreement
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. is looking forward to building a stable and connected regional order through the APEC partnership. Kerry, who is in Beijing for the APEC ministerial meeting, said the U.S. also welcomes the latest initiative by China and Japan to reduce tension in the area. CCTV America’s Zhang Nini reported the story from Beijing.

In a sign of easing tensions, China and Japan reached a four-point consensus on Friday to resume dialogue on islands disputes.

“I want to be clear that the United States welcomes such an initiative,” said Kerry. “Any steps that the two countries take to reduce the tension is helpful not just to the two countries but also to the region.”

Kerry hopes the agreement could be the outline for further efforts to resolve the situation. In addition to security issues, he said progress has been made to support educational opportunities and advancing commitments on clean energy and fighting corruption.

“We deepened cooperation with APEC economies on fighting corruption,” Kerry said. “The principles we have adopted are clear and compelling. We are determined to prevent, detect and effectively prosecute bribery.”

He reiterated the importance of APEC as a multinational mechanism giving a voice to every economy. He said the U.S. is looking forward to deepening their partnership on bilateral and multilateral levels when President Obama comes to Beijing on Monday.

Beijing imposes pollution controls during APEC meeting

Beijing has seen cleaner air than usual with APEC meetings now officially underway, and it’s no coincidence. The government has forced factories within 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) of the capital to stop during the meetings, while thermal plants in Beijing were told to cut emissions by 30 percent. It’s also imposed odd-even license plate rules to ease pollution and traffic. CCTV America’s Grace Brown reported the story from Beijing.

As the city hosts APEC, it’s determined to look orderly and clean.

Beijing pulled out all the stops to ensure clean air during APEC. Everything from giving government workers a six-day holiday, to banning barbecues and forcing vehicles to drive on alternating days. Perhaps the most significant measure of all was the suspension of hundreds of nearby factories.

In neighboring Hebei province, authorities suspended more than 800 factories, from Nov. 1 until Nov. 12. Construction in Beijing has also been halted.

In the days ahead, though, Beijing’s haze could return.

“From Nov. 8 until Nov. 10, conditions will be worse. Less wind to disperse pollution,” said Sun Jisong, chief forecaster for Beijing’s Meteoroligical Center. “So we think there is a possibility of several days of fog or smog, especially on the 10th, when the smog could even be severe. Afterwards, it may snow and the air will improve again by the 12th.”