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November 19, 2015

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Home » Business » Economy

China’s economy to keep growing

PRESIDENT Xi Jinping yesterday told regional economic and political leaders that his government will keep the world’s No. 2 economy growing.

In a speech to a business conference on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Xi said China is committed to overhauling its economy and raising the living standards of its people.

China’s growth fell to a six-year low of 6.8 percent in the latest quarter as the government tries to shift the economy away from reliance on trade and investment. The slowdown, which has been unfolding for several years, has rippled around the world, crimping growth in countries such as South Korea and Australia that are big exporters to China.

Xi acknowledged that China’s vital signs are a concern and that it is facing “difficulties and challenges.” But he also alluded to the fact China is growing much faster than Western countries even as it slows.

“China’s positive economic fundamentals and long term trajectory remain unchanged,” he said. “China’s economy has strong resilience, great potential and ample room for maneuvering.”

The country is also stepping up efforts to counter climate change and clean its environment, which has been heavily polluted by years of breakneck economic growth, he said.

“We will make ecological progress part and parcel of the entire process of our economic and social development,” Xi said.

He urged Asian economies to sign up to the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific agreement, warning that rival pacts risked causing “fragmentation” among regional nations.

Last month 12 Pacific nations reached an agreement on the United States-led Trans-Pacific Partnership pact.

“With various new regional free trade arrangements cropping up, there have been worries about the potential of fragmentation. We therefore need to accelerate the realization of FTAAP and take regional economic integration forward,” Xi said.

He made no mention of the South China Sea disputes, but did call on Pacific nations to “resolve our differences through dialogue and consultation.”

“We must focus on development and spare no effort to foster an environment of peace conducive to development and never allow anything to disrupt the development process,” he said.

China said yesterday that US President Barack Obama should not get involved in disputes in the South China Sea, after he demanded an end to artificial island building in the region.

“The United States should stop playing up the South China Sea issue, stop heightening tensions ... and stop complicating disputes,” Hong Lei, a foreign ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing in Beijing.

“No country has the right to point fingers at” China’s construction activities, he added.

The rebuke came after Obama met with Philippine President Benigno Aquino in Manila hours before the annual APEC gathering.

“We discussed the impact of China’s land reclamation and construction activities on regional stability,” Obama told reporters after the meeting.

“We agree on the need for bold steps to lower tensions, including pledging to halt further reclamation, new construction, and militarization of disputed areas in the South China Sea.”

China says its construction work in the areas was “lawful, justified and reasonable.”


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