The performance of the Chinese economy in the first half of this year was steady and in line with expectations, and China is confident of achieving its main full-year development targets, Premier Li Keqiang said on July 15.
“New economy is vibrant, new business forms are booming, and new growth momentum is accumulating,” Premier Li said in a keynote speech at the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Ulaanbaatar.
The comments came shortly after the release of China’s key macroeconomic data earlier in the day. Official statistics showed China’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 6.7 percent year on year in the first half of 2016 to reach 34.06 trillion yuan ($5.08 trillion).
Economic growth in the second quarter was slightly faster than expected, holding steady from the first quarter and fueling hopes that the economy has entered a period of relatively slower but steady growth.
The Premier said the world’s largest developing economy, while facing continued downward pressure, still has huge potential, sufficient advantages and big maneuvering space.
Premier Li said that China’s current government debt ratio is low while household savings rate is high, with still ample policy tools available.
“China will unswervingly stick to the reform and open-up policy, and push forward its structural reforms, especially supply-side structural reforms,” the Premier said.
China is confident of achieving the main development targets set for this year and ensuring medium-high economic growth rates to take the economy to medium-high levels of development, Premier Li said.
The Premier began his speech by extending condolences to the victims of an overnight attack in the French city of Nice and their families. He said Eurasia is facing great opportunities and severe challenges, especially knotty problems such as terrorism and the refugee issue.
The Premier said all sides should abide by the ASEM consensus on such principles as mutual respect and friendly consultation, and explore new paths to further promote Eurasia cooperation. He offered a three-point cooperation proposal.
Firstly, Premier Li called for an innovative approach to Asia-Europe cooperation. He urged all parties to share the ideas of a community of common destiny and common responsibilities, conduct dialogues and cooperation so as to effectively cope with regional challenges, prevent breeding grounds for new turmoils and safeguard world peace and regional stability.
“All sides should jointly safeguard the post-World War II international order, abandon cold-war or zero-sum mentality, and strive to make the international order and global governance system more fair and justified,” he said.
Premier Li said China always acts as a promoter of world peace, the international order and rule of law, and a keeper of regional peace and stability.
“We have always advocated that all countries, big or small, rich or poor, strong or weak, should conduct themselves in accordance with the laws and rules, be opposed to misinterpretation of international law, be opposed to double standards, obey rules agreed in the region, and resolve disputes in a peaceful manner and through political means rather than incite conflicts or confrontation,” he said.
China will unswervingly pursue a path of peaceful development, the Premier stressed.
Secondly, the Premier called for concerted efforts to create new cooperation impetuses. Cooperation between Asia and Europe should be guided towards a more pragmatic direction, and economic and trade cooperation should particularly be enhanced, he said.
Premier Li said he looks forward to the resumption of the ASEM Economic Ministers’ Meeting next year after a 10-year hiatus. He called for joint efforts to speed up the establishment of an open and inclusive megamarket across Asia and Europe and facilitate free trade and investment.
Any form of protectionism should be rejected and the world should work together to cope with climate change, Premier Li said.
Thirdly, Premier Li called for establishing a stronger foundation for the cultural cooperation between Asia and Europe. More dialogues are needed between different civilizations, he said.
The two-day ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar aims to promote “partnership for the future through connectivity.” It brought together leaders and delegates from 53 countries, the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).