On 30 November 1999, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Zhu Rongji gave the 17th Singapore Lecture after being welcomed by Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Premier Zhu was the first Chinese political leader and second leader from Northeast Asia to give a Singapore Lecture. Befitting China's size and Premier Zhu's responsibilities, his speech focuses on changes to the Chinese economy and the benefits for Asia and the world of Chinese economic development and growth. The lecture serves as an early statement on China's emerging central economic role in Asia and globally.
Your Excellency Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,
Thank you, Your Excellency Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The Singapore Lecture is a highly acclaimed international forum. State leaders, eminent politicians, specialists and scholars from many countries have made weighty and inspiring remarks on regional and international issues at this forum. Today, I feel greatly honoured and delighted to have the opportunity of meeting you, people from different circles in Singapore, briefing you on developments in China and discussing with you the development prospects for China and Asia. Many of you here are old friends and long-term partners of the Chinese people. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to you and all other Singapore friends who have contributed to enhanced friendship between our two peoples.
Mankind is at the threshold of the 21st century. In the evolution of world civilization, the 20th century is one of hardships and sufferings as well as one of unprecedented material and spiritual wealth. The rise of Asia and the enormous changes in China represent one of the greatest miracles of this century.
From the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, the Chinese people fought courageously and finally won national independence and liberation and founded New China. Not long ago, the Chinese people held a grand celebration of the 50th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. Over the past fifty years, China has witnessed earth-shaking changes. For the past twenty years in particular since China started its reform and opened up to the outside world, it has scored even more remarkable achievements in its socialist modernization drive.