In his keynote speech to the opening ceremony of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Monday, President Xi Jinping made it crystal clear that the world's second-largest economy stands firmly behind multilateralism and the free trade system.
China will not close its door to the world but instead will open it wider in the face of unilateralism and protectionism, he vowed.
Although the country does face challenges that need to be overcome, its development will not falter unless it closes its door to the outside world. Thus Xi's promise that China will further tap its potential for imports and continue to widen access to its market should further strengthen the world's confidence in the Chinese economy and its continued contributions to the global economy.
The reform and opening-up policies that China set in motion 40 years ago have definitely followed the trend of globalization, and they have helped China become what it is now. But it is also true to say that neither would the world economy be what it is now without globalization and China's opening-up.
Countries that have resorted to protectionism rather than the economic restructuring necessary to adjust to the changes wrought by the trend of globalization－which has been a rising tide for all economies if not all people－should accept that the practices of the law of jungle and winner takes all will only lead to a dead end.
Just as China will create fresh opportunities by sparing no effort to create a top level business environment, striving to create new heights for opening-up and further promoting bilateral and multilateral cooperation, other economies also need to play their part by extending the space for mutual beneficial cooperation.
If the friction between free trade and protectionism can be compared to a tug of war in the world economy, the expo being held in Shanghai until Saturday is a strong pull for free trade.
Not just because it is the first state level expo of its kind ever held in the world, but also because it is a manifestation of the resolve of the world's second-largest economy to hold high the banner of multilateralism in pursuit of shared development.
Economic globalization is an irreversible trend. It undoubtedly needs to be made more inclusive, but no matter whether one likes it or not, one cannot stop it or reverse it.
Xi's speech shows China is committed to looking ahead and moving forward. Other countries should do the same and instead of clinging to the past turn their gaze toward a shared future.