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Sixth Wuzhen World Internet Conference - Opening

​​Opening Speech by Malcolm Johnson, ITU Deputy Secretary-General

Sixth Wuzhen World Internet Conference - "Intelligent Interconnection for Openness and Cooperation: Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace"

20 October 2019 - Wuzhen, China

Distinguished leaders, Guests, Ladies and Gentleman,

Good morning, zao shang hao.

It is a great pleasure to be here with you in Wuzhen for the sixth World Internet Conference. Thank you for your kind invitation to ITU, and greetings from Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

Firstly, let me congratulate the People's Republic of China on its 70th anniversary and recognize, as President Xi Jinping did, the country's epic progress over the past seven decades.

The increasing engagement of China with ITU in recent years has been remarkable. It has coincided with an unprecedented growth for information and communication technologies (ICTs) – and a period during which China has undergone a profound digital transformation.

Today, China is home to leading players in the digital economy: China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Huawei, ZTE, Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Dji, Hikvision, Qihu Keji and others - and, I am pleased to say, all are members of ITU. China also has a vibrant small and medium-sized tech startup sector, and ITU looks forward to strengthening its cooperation with this sector as from January next year when ITU opens a new category of membership for SMEs with substantially reduced fees. To reduce the cost of participation further, we are now providing remote participation to many of our meetings.

With so many different organisations and sectors reliant on ICTs, collaboration, coordination and cooperation are now more important than ever before. This is true at the national, regional and international level. ITU with a membership of 193 governments as well as some 900 private sector companies, universities, and international and regional organizations, offers an ideal platform for international cooperation to build a future cyberspace community open to all.

Let me give you just one example: ITU organized a workshop on 'Quantum Information Technology for Networks' in Shanghai which brought together representatives of governments, companies, academia and standards bodies to explore how quantum information technologies can make communication more secure. As a result, ITU has now established a new Focus Group on 'Quantum Information Technology for Networks' open to everyone, to provide a global collaborative platform for pre-standardization studies. We expect China to play a leading role in the work of this group.

As I mentioned, universities are also members of ITU. I am pleased to say of ITU's 160 academia members, 13 are Chinese. This year, we signed Memorandum of Understandings with Tsinghua University and Zhejiang University to contribute to the work of ITU on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G, the Internet of Things, smart cities, cybersecurity and data privacy.

These emerging technologies will revolutionize the digital economy, enabling innovations in areas such as health, education, financial inclusion, mobility, energy, and many others. These technologies will be essential for the implementation of each of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The challenge before us is to bring these new technologies to people and industries everywhere – including in remote, rural areas and isolated communities. We look forward to continuing our excellent collaboration with China to achieve this.

ITU's World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 will begin in Sharm-El-Sheikh next week. In an extensive agenda there are some significant items promising to bring low cost connectivity to the unconnected – such as high-altitude platforms and low earth-orbiting satellite networks. What is at stake is digital inclusion and the chance to improve the lives of millions of people around the world. China will have a large delegation participating in the conference and the resulting changes to the international treaty on the use of the radio spectrum and satellite orbits, known as the Radio Regulations, will have a huge impact on future developments, and will help enable the creation of a community with a shared future in cyberspace.

In ITU we count on China as a major partner and we reiterate our gratitude to the Chinese government for its strong support to ITU.

I wish you all a very successful sixth World Internet Conference.

Thank you.​