Premier Li Keqiang held talks with representatives at the third Understanding China Conference on Dec 17 in Beijing.
More than 30 former politicians, strategists, entrepreneurs and scholars attended the conference.
Premier Li listened to speeches by former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, former British prime minister Gordon Brown, former Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Greek prime minister George Papandreou and former World Trade Organization director-general Pascal Lamy, and answered their questions.
Premier Li said China praises what the representatives have done to promote exchanges between China and the world. President Xi Jinping also sent a congratulatory letter to the conference.
Noting that this year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, Premier Li said China has seen remarkable achievements over the past four decades, which brought benefits to not only the Chinese people but the world at large, and was the result of painstaking efforts made by the Chinese people.
As it did in the past, the country’s development will rely on reform and opening-up in the future, he said.
The Premier added China will continue to promote reform and opening-up, making efforts to create a level-playing field for both domestic and foreign companies, protect intellectual property rights and develop an open economy at a higher level.
China has conditions and capabilities to deal with all kinds of risks and challenges, maintain stable operation of the economy, and promote high-quality development, Premier Li said.
Humanity owes the achievements of the past seven decades in maintaining world peace and reducing poverty largely to multilateralism, free trade and the rule-based international order, Premier Li said.
The world should reinforce multilateralism and free trade under the complicated political and economic situation, and solve the problems arising in globalization and world trade in the light of development, the Premier said.
China supports the reform and improvement of the rules of WTO advancing with the times, the Premier said, while reiterating world free trade, concerns and interests of all parties, the development rights of developing country members to narrow the gap between the North and the South.
Premier Li also stressed that although China’s economy has been among the strongest in the world, it is still and will be a developing country for a long time, according to standards of any international organization, which is very special from both an historical and global perspective.
China is willing to strengthen interaction with the world and help the world have a better understanding of China, he said, while calling on the world to approach China and deepen its knowledge about the real China.
“I hope that the representatives can build a bridge for communication and cooperation between China and the world, and make greater contributions to the common development and progress of China and the world,’’ the Premier said.
The representatives said that world politics and the economy are facing unprecedented challenges, and on the occasion of China commemorating its 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up, it is exactly at the right time to hold the international conference, “Understanding China”.
They also sent their congratulations on China’s tremendous achievements in economic development, poverty alleviation, education and other fields since its reform and opening-up.
Dialogues and cooperation are required in the era of globalization, they said, adding that the world should work together to promote reform and improvement of international rules, safeguard multilateralism and free trade, and make contributions to human progress.
The leader of the National Development and Reform Commission, He Lifeng, also attended the conference.