Premier Li: China Wishes for a Stable and Peaceful South China Sea

Mar 16, 2017, 00:05
Premier Li: China Wishes for a Stable and Peaceful South China Sea

Speaking to reporters at the close of China's annual top political meetings, Mr Li said China would implement policies and plans that would foster growth across the Taiwan Strait and in the semi-autonomous financial hub, at a time of economic uncertainty for both.

"Our hope on the Chinese side is that no matter what bumps this relationship hits, we hope it will continue to move forward in a positive direction", he said. "China has no intention to overreach itself". Beijing insists Taiwan is part of China and shuns countries that maintain official contacts with the island.

He reiterated that the "One China" policy, under which the USA regards Taiwan and mainland China as parts of the same country, constitutes the "political foundation" of ties between Beijing and Washington.

But Mr Li also had a veiled warning for Trump administration officials, such as Mr Lighthizer, who advocate a tougher approach when dealing with China.

In his press conference after the parliament meeting, Li said that a "substantive progress" is now made for the code's draft.

Li is second only to Xi in the Communist Party hierarchy.

"If there were a trade war, it would be foreign-funded companies, particularly United States firms, that would first bear the brunt", the premier said while explaining that this was the conclusion of a study by a "reputed" worldwide think-tank.

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Delivering his government's annual report to the rubber-stamp National People's Congress 10 days earlier, Li cited a "more complicated and graver situation" facing the global and domestic economy this year.

China's GDP growth target for this year, which is "around 6.5 percent", is not low given China's already big economic scale and it would not be easy for China to achieve the target.

On the state of China's economy, Li ruled out the possibility of systemic risks as "the country has plenty of policy options at its disposal".

China is trying to pivot from hyper-fast growth based on investment, heavily-polluting industries, and exports towards a steadier consumer-driven model.

"China's economy will continue to enjoy medium to high growth", he said. "We will take prompt and targeted measures to prevent them from further spreading", Li said.

China has long urged a resumption of six-nation denuclearization talks on hold since North Korea withdrew from them in 2009. North Korea has caused alarm with its latest missile tests while US-South Korean military exercises have added to the discord.

Meanwhile, China has only offered one possible resolution to the Korean conflict: for the USA and South Korea to cease all joint military exercises in exchange for a full stop of all North Korean nuclear operations.