News / Asia

Li Keqiang says China Has Guts, Wisdom to Solve its Problems

China's Premier Li Keqiang gestures as he speaks during a news conference, after the closing ceremony of the Chinese National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, March 13, 2014.
China's Premier Li Keqiang gestures as he speaks during a news conference, after the closing ceremony of the Chinese National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, March 13, 2014.
China's premier Li Keqiang says his country will need guts and wisdom to handle the broad range of economic, political and diplomatic challenges it is grappling with this year. In a wide-ranging speech, the premier also suggested there is “friction” with the United States and the two countries should respect each other’s core interests.

Premier Li Keqiang spoke at the closing of the National People's Congress, in what was his first news conference after China unveiled an ambitious agenda for economic reform last year.

China’s leaders are trying to move the economy away from a three decade old mode of development focused on state-backed enterprises. The model has created tremendous wealth, but also led to corruption and inefficiencies. It has also made things more difficult for private enterprises.

On Thursday, Li said the government is making progress in encouraging new private businesses by streamlining hundreds of transactions that previously needed government approval.

He says China will push forward the simplification of administration and the decentralization of government power and will allow market forces to take effect.

Much of China's economic growth in the past 30 years has relied on large scale investments by state owned enterprises and local administrations, often bankrolled by government-controlled banks.

Asked about the liability of such debt, Li said that after auditing the situation last year, the government believes the risk is under control.

Li said that in 2014 China's biggest challenge will be how to maintain growth, keep people in China employed and inflation under check.

Li says the reason why the official goal for GDP growth is set at 7.5 percent is that China is considering the need to keep stability in the labor market, to benefit people's livelihood and to increase the income of urban and rural residents.

China has been experiencing an economic downturn which economists say is caused by both international and domestic factors.

The kinds of reforms that the new administration is pushing for, including measures to cut down pollution and reduce inefficiency might further impact economic growth in 2014.

On Thursday, answering a question about smog, which has become the most visible mark of the economy's toll on the environment, Li said China is committed to turning a new page.

He says the government is going to declare a war against China's inefficient and unsustainable model of growth and way of life.

Li spoke about relations with the United States, emphasizing their growing ties while acknowledging there is “friction” in their otherwise cooperative relationship.

He did not discuss tensions over cyber security, human rights or territorial disputes with China’s neighbors, instead focusing on economic ties that he estimated are worth $100 million in every hour’s work.

Li Keqiang also spoke about the government's anti corruption drive, which he says will intensify and target the wasteful ways government agencies use public money.

Despite saying China will prosecute corruption at all levels of power, Li did not mention specific high level officials, including former security tsar Zhou Yongkang which many believe to be currently under house arrest.

In recent weeks, Zhou's business and personal connections with people currently under investigation for abuse of power has been widely reported on state media. If officially indicted, Zhou will be the most senior target in Xi Jinping's anti corruption push.

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Comment Sorting
by: Shintaro Sakamoto from: Japan
March 13, 2014 6:23 PM
I cannot trust top leaders of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. They are devoted to worship of this mass murderer, Mao Zedong.
People’s Republic of China is too large to properly control everything. It had better split into 3 or 4 countries for much better human rights of the people, especially Tibetans and Uighur. Wish to hear the declaration of independence from each Autonomous Region of Tibet, Xinjiang-Uighur, and Inner Mongolia.
In Response

by: Daller from: Taiwang
March 18, 2014 10:15 PM
The Unite Status get so much land,why don't you set them into seveal countries? China is a country can never be seperated.

by: Wangchuk from: NY
March 13, 2014 9:28 AM
It's OK for US & China to work together for world peace and where they have common interests. But it's not OK for the US to remain silent as the CCP commits massive human rights violations in China, Tibet & East Turkestan (Xinjiang). The US has an obligation to speak our for democracy & human rights around the world, including areas China, Tibet & East Turkestan.

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