President welcomes founding of World Internet Conference as international body
President Xi Jinping has called on the international community to jointly foster a fairer and more equitable, open and inclusive, secure and stable cyberspace to deliver more benefits to people around the world.
In a congratulatory letter read out at the inaugural ceremony of the World Internet Conference, an international organization, held in Beijing on Tuesday, Xi said that cyberspace bears on the future of mankind and the future of cyberspace should be shaped by all countries together.
The founding of this international organization is an important step taken to keep abreast of the trend of the information age and to deepen international exchanges and cooperation in cyberspace, he said.
Xi expressed his hope that the WIC will encourage extensive consultation through dialogue and exchanges, promote the sharing of benefits through practical cooperation and contribute wisdom and strength to the global internet's development and governance.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, said the letter expressed Xi's earnest expectation that the internet should further benefit the people of the world.
Since 2014, the World Internet Conference has been held annually in Wuzhen, a water town in Zhejiang province for eight consecutive years. Xi put forward the initiative of jointly building a community with a shared future in cyberspace when addressing the second WIC Wuzhen Summit in 2015.
The formal establishment of the WIC as an international organization based in Beijing demonstrated China's commitment to take the responsibility to promote the prosperity, development and stability of cyberspace under the guidance of Xi's vision, Huang said.
Liu Zhenmin, the United Nations under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, said in a video speech at Tuesday's ceremony that the digital divide between developed and developing countries remains unacceptably wide, leaving hundreds of millions of people offline.
The international community must work together to find opportunities and ways to address these challenges, he said, welcoming China's willingness to work with other countries to promote sustainable development, including by setting up a digital cooperation structure.
The number of people using the mobile internet is expected to grow to nearly 5 billion by 2025, almost 60 percent of the world's population. However, this means that about 40 percent of the world's population will not be connected to the mobile internet.
Nii Narku Quaynor, a Ghanaian scientist and engineer who is known as the "father of the internet in Africa", said in a video address that, "We seek the cooperation with the WIC to facilitate addressing the digital divide and the buildup of internet research infrastructure in Africa."
Africa could work with China and Asia as a whole to connect the remaining 2 billion people who are without internet access, as most of them are in Asia and Africa, he said.
John Hoffman, CEO of GSMA Ltd and also member of the first council of the WIC, said that, through its establishment as an international organization, the WIC began a new chapter with an even more diverse portfolio of international leaders to advise on its activities.
"I cannot wait to see even more collaboration, deeper discussions, stronger partnerships and incredible innovations that will emerge from this new structure," he said in a video speech.
So far, about 100 organizations, companies and individuals in the field of cyberspace from 20 countries all over the world have joined the WIC, and the WIC Wuzhen Summit will become the annual meeting of this international organization.