The new Prime Minister of ChinaLi Qiang, warned this Monday that “it will not be an easy task” for the country to reach its economic growth target.
“I fear that reaching our growth target of around 5% will not be an easy task and will require us to redouble our efforts”, Li declared at a press conference in Beijing.
The modest forecast “was determined after extensive consideration of various factors,” Li explained to local and international media that arrived at the closing session of the National People’s Congress (PNA), China’s highest legislative body.
He warned of “many new challenges” for growth, although he added that people are not aware of Chinese GDP numbers. On the contrary, he said, they care more about “specific issues close to them,” such as housing, employment, income, education and health.
Li, a close ally of President Xi Jinping, was confirmed as prime minister in a unanimous PNA vote on Saturday. His predecessor in office was Li Keqiang, who held the post during Xi’s first decade in power.
Before leaving the post, Li Keqiang announced at the opening of the PNA that China aims for economic growth of “around 5%” this year.
The second largest economy in the world it grew just 3% last year, one of the lowest levels in decadesdue to the impact of the covid-19 restrictions and a crisis in the real estate sector.
Li Qiang also criticized the “siege” and “repression” of his country by the United States, in a context of exacerbated tensions with Washington.
“China and the United States can and should cooperate. If we cooperate, we can achieve great things”, Li affirmed, after adding that “the encirclement and the repression are not a solution”.
Li’s comments marked the end of more than a week of high-level meetings in Beijing.
President Xi, who was confirmed for a historic third term as head of the Chinese government, insisted at the closing session of the PNA on the need to strengthen national security. “Security is the foundation of development, while stability is a prerequisite of prosperity,” Xi declared.
“We must fully promote the modernization of the national defense and armed forces, and turn the people’s armed forces into a Great Wall of steel that effectively safeguards the interests of national sovereignty, security and development,” he added.
Xi, 69, thanked the thousands of delegates at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing for the appointment, vowing to “take the needs of the country as my mission, and the interests of the people as my measure.”
He also called for consolidating stability in Hong Kong and for reunification with the self-governing island of Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory.
“The trust of the people is the greatest force that drives me, and it is also a great responsibility on my shoulders,” he said.
(With information from AFP)
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