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Chinese leadership capable of coping with economic challenges: Russian experts

Updated: Dec 7,2016 11:14 AM     Xinhua

MOSCOW — The skillful Chinese leadership will help China deal with all risks and reach its planned targets, despite multiple economic challenges facing the country, Russian experts said.

The year of 2016 is the first year of China’s 13th five-year plan with a goal of comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society by 2020.

The Chinese government targets this year’s economic growth at 6.5 percent to 7 percent with an annual average growth rate of at least 6.5 percent through 2020.

The slowdown in the Chinese economy will occur, as the policy related to the new normal implies that the Chinese economy will not grow as fast as before, Andrei Ostrovsky, deputy director of the Institute of the Far East under the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The deceleration of the Chinese economy as a whole is due to the fact that China is restructuring its economy in a global way, said Alexey Maslov, head of the Oriental Studies Department at the Russian Higher School of Economics Research University.

To achieve the goals, it has to change the nature of the economy, which is “painful and difficult,” Maslov added.

After 15 years of rapid growth, he said, major Asian countries all slowed down and had to restructure their economies to keep them afloat, while China has been growing for an even longer time.

In fact, Ostrovsky said, the pace of China’s economic growth — 6.7-6.8 percent a year — is quite high, significantly higher than that of many other countries in the world.

But there are also more complex problems related to the current situation in China, which cannot be solved in a simple way, he said.

One of the biggest problems in China today is the environment, Ostrovsky said, adding that the damage to the environment has reached a critical state after the issue has been ignored for dozens of years due to the necessity of maintaining rapid economic growth.

Other challenges include the shortage of labor as China’s population has been rapidly aging, he added.

“The country’s decision to allow families to have a second child will only bear fruit 20 years from now when the newborns reach the working age,” Ostrovsky said.

For Maslov, he believed that there is a necessity for China to invest abroad in order to support its internal market.

The Belt and Road Initiative designed for infrastructure construction in countries of Asia, Europe and even parts of Africa is aimed at reaching this goal, he added.

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