Since the reform and opening-up was initiated in 1978, China has made remarkable achievements in development. As the former President of the World Bank, Mr. Robert Zoellick comments, "China's economic performance is a unique development success story. Not only did the economic growth soar with the annual rate of 10%, but hundreds of millions of people were lifted out of poverty. China has become the second-largest economy in the world and shifted to a middle-income country from a low one". Last year, China contributed to nearly 30% of the global economic growth. Our prosperity is certainly a boon to the world.
At present, China's economy is generally stable, with steady progress of structural adjustment. In the first half of this year, China's GDP growth rate has reached 7.4%, a little lower than that of 1980s and 1990s. However it is still hard to earn. In the backdrop of slow recovery and weak growth of the global economy, China's growth rate is relatively high. It is really remarkable to win such achievements.
China's economy can be regarded as a blue chip, a rising and potential stock, with a big economy, large foreign exchange reserves and broad market. In particular, the population in the central, western and northeastern regions accounts for over 60% of the national total and per capita GDP has just exceeded 5000 US dollars. To narrow the gap between urban and rural areas and among different regions will unleash huge potential of growth. No longer in pursuit of soaring growth rate and with more attention on quality and efficiency, China will enter into a new stage of upgrade. As an analogy, compared to a 9 or 10 year-old kid, a young man of 19 or 20 years old will not care much about his growth of height, but the academic performances, which, to China's economy, means quality, innovation and efficiency.
Enterprise is like a basic cell, whose prosperity influences the whole economy. China encourages enterprises to strengthen independent innovation, enhance competitiveness and get better profits. We seek not only expansion but strength of the industrial economy; not only "Made in China", but "Created in China"; not only reasonable price but good quality.
With such achievements, we have to examine and improve ourselves. Although China's economy as a whole ranks second, its per capita GDP is only 6800 US dollars, ranking after 80 in the world. There are 200 million people living under the poverty level. China is still a developing country over long period of time. The risks and challenges like downward economic pressure and uneven development cannot be ignored.
But in the long run, there are conditions in place for China's economy to achieve sustained sound growth and embrace bright prospects. We have found a development path in line with China's national conditions, which we will unswervingly follow. We properly handle the relationship among and between reform, development and stability. Stability is the prerequisite. Without it, nothing can be accomplished or achieved. Reform is the driving force and guarantee of social development and progress. Development is the ultimate objective and end-result.
Today, China's development, with a strong tenacity, is based on increasing employment, focus on balanced development, stress on improving people's livelihood and promote social progress. We are able and also confident to keep the economy running in a reasonable range with high quality and efficiency, in order to realize the "China Dream", which means, to achieve national prosperity, revitalization and people's happiness.
What does a peaceful and progressive China mean to Pakistan? I think it means more opportunities for development, strong mutual support and expanding common interests. Pakistan is bound to benefit from China's development. The China-Pakistan relationship will also be consolidated, enhanced and upgraded in the course of China's development.
Both China and Pakistan are developing countries, shouldering the shared task of development. As a close and friendly neighbor, we expect a Pakistan that lives up to its full potential, a Pakistan that is stable, strong and prosperous, a Pakistan realizing its own vision and dreams.
Linked by the ancient Silk Road, China and Pakistan has a long history of friendly exchanges. China-Pakistan relationship, over the changing times and international politics sets a good example for state-to-state relations. Over the past year, it has made much new progress:
First are the mutual exchanges in political area. Leaders of our two nations have frequently and successfully exchanged visits in recent years. These high-level exchanges have injected impetus for China-Pakistan strategic cooperation. We will maintain high-level exchanges, and improve existing dialogue and cooperation mechanism. We will firmly support each other's core interests and concerns, further enhancing political cooperation and mutual trust.
Second are mutual benefit and win-win results in economy. The Bilateral trade volume has reached 7.3 billion US dollars from January to June in 2014, with growth rate of 9.97%. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor goes well with substantive results. Currently, we are actively promoting construction and operation of Gwadar Port, starting to construct RuYi-Masood Textile Industrial Park in Faisalabad and lots of power plants like Thermal Power Plant in Port Qasim and Solar Power in Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur. Some other projects are being implemented or soon to be implemented in other parts of Pakistan. These have made significant contributions to the enhancement of local economies and people's livelihood. Chinese government will continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in Pakistan, support Pakistan's economic and promote social development.
Third is sharing weal and woe in security. China supports Pakistan to formulate and implement counter-terrorism strategy based on its own national conditions and for the efforts to maintain the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We should advocate common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in Asia, strengthen security cooperation, and jointly fight against terrorism forces for regional peace and stability. With the construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, more and more Chinese citizens have come to live and work in Pakistan. We appreciate Pakistan's efforts to provide a good environment for cooperation and security.
Fourth is the close exchange in culture. This year, an Art troupe from Kashgar has made a fabulous cultural show, arousing strong applause in Pakistan. Chinese delegation of calligraphers and artists successful visited Pakistan and held an art exhibition of more than 100 paintings from 48 well-known Chinese painters. After Islamabad and Karachi, the third Confucius Institute is being built in Faisalabad. Another 117 students with Chinese government scholarships has gone to China as exchange students. We should further expand friendly exchanges, inherit and carry forward the traditional friendship between the two countries.
Fifth is strengthening regional and international cooperation. China and Pakistan play important roles in maintaining peace and justice in the region and the world. We work together to promote Afghanistan reconciliation process, and achieve peace, stability and development at an early date. China supports Pakistan playing a greater constructive role in regional and international affairs. We would like to work with Pakistan to safeguard peace, stability, development and prosperity in the world.
I do believe that with our joint efforts, the China-Pakistan relationship will maintain the strong momentum of growth and embrace a much brighter future in the coming years.