Published: 12:42, June 17, 2024
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Northeast China eyeing economic renaissance
By Mei Xinyu
The container terminal subsidiary of Liaoning Port Holdings (Yingkou) Co Ltd records a remarkable surge in shore power usage. (ZHANG XIAOMIN /CHINA DAILY)

In the intricate tapestry of global geopolitics and economic development, Northeast China emerges as a region poised to capitalize on its third major development opportunity in modern times. Weathering waves of changes, northeastern China has shown both resilience and adaptability, with each of its transition creating new prospects for advancement.

But unlike in the past, this current moment holds distinct promise, underpinned by two pivotal shifts: China's escalated stature in the global economic and political landscape and its ascendancy as a champion of free trade across the world.

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Northeast China's historical trajectory has been marked by transformative waves of development. The first wave began with the comprehensive opening up of the region during the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), culminating in the region's formal demarcation into provinces in 1907. This era propelled the northeastern region's initial ascent under China's economic and political framework, fostering advancements across various sectors. And the second wave unfolded with the founding of the People's Republic of China and its ambitious industrialization drive, exemplified by concentrated industrial projects during the "First Five-Year Plan (1953-57)".

But the two waves emerged against the backdrop of China's peripheral status in the global economic hierarchy, constraining the region's growth potential.

Today, Northeast China stands on the brink of a new epoch, fueled by China's meteoric rise to global prominence. The third wave of development is characterized by China's role as a linchpin of the global economy, reshaping regional growth dynamics and opportunities. Although Northeast China's economic status may have been lowered somewhat, China's ascension in the global arena presents the region with an unprecedented opportunity to transform itself and advance with the times. This paradigm shift offers the northeastern region a unique opportunity to leverage its resources, expertise and strategic positioning to facilitate its economic revitalization.

Central to the northeast region's prospects is China's evolving role as a champion of free trade on the global stage. In an era where Western powers have resorted to protectionism and isolationism, China has emerged as a beacon of openness and cooperation, advocating global economic integration.

China's economic philosophy not only distinguishes it from its Western counterparts but also positions the northeastern region at the forefront of a burgeoning era of international trade and investment. By aligning regional strategies with China's commitment to open up markets and deepen collaboration, the northeastern region can unlock the full potential of this transformative moment, fostering economic dynamism and prosperity.

The impact of China's ascent as a global economic power extends far beyond the northeastern region. As China assumes a central role in shaping the global economy, it presents neighboring countries with unparalleled opportunities for collaboration and growth. This reorientation of economic ties underscores the northeast region's strategic significance as a gateway to the vast and booming Chinese market. By forging closer economic partnerships and leveraging its unique advantages, the northeastern region can position itself as an important hub for trade, investment and innovation in the wider Northeast Asian region.

Crucial to Northeast China's success in seizing this development opportunity is a strategic approach to economic development and openness. As China adheres to its promise of high-level opening-up, the northeastern region must capitalize on this momentum. By promoting innovations, fostering entrepreneurship, and improving connectivity with global markets, the northeastern region can open up new avenues to sustainable growth and prosperity.

Moreover, by leveraging its strengths in key industries such as manufacturing, agriculture and technology, Northeast China can carve a niche as a leading engine of economic development in the region. At the heart of Northeast China's transformation lies a commitment to inclusive growth and shared prosperity. Prioritizing policies that promote social equity, environmental sustainability, and inclusive development will ensure that the benefits of economic growth are distributed equitably across society.

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Furthermore, by fostering collaboration with local communities, civil society organizations and international partners can build a resilient and inclusive economy that allows everyone to thrive in the new era of opportunity.

In short, Northeast China stands at a historic crossroad, ready to seize the third wave of development opportunity. As China grows as a global economic leader and advocate for free trade, the northeastern region must rise to the occasion by harnessing its resources, talents and ingenuity to foster a future of prosperity and progress.

By embracing openness, promoting innovations, and following an inclusive development policy, China's northeastern region can chart a course toward a brighter tomorrow, when economic development would serve as a catalyst for social advancement, environmental stewardship and regional cooperation. Together, let us embark on this journey of transformation and renewal, by helping unlock the full potential of Northeast China as a growth center in the new era of opportunity.

The author is a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.