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Xi warns of challenging times ahead

2018-12-31 HKT 23:54
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  • President Xi Jinping warned in a New Year speech that the world is in an unprecedented situation under the toughest conditions in a century, but has vowed to continue economic reform. File photo: AP
    President Xi Jinping warned in a New Year speech that the world is in an unprecedented situation under the toughest conditions in a century, but has vowed to continue economic reform. File photo: AP
Beijing will continue market reforms and open its doors to the world in the face of a challenging geopolitical landscape, President Xi Jinping pledged on Monday in a New Year speech.

Xi said that in 2018 -- 40 years since the transformation led by Deng Xiaoping -- the country had enacted "systematic, holistic and reconstructive reforms of the party and state institutions".

"The pace of our reform will not stagnate, and the open door will only grow bigger and bigger," he said in a speech broadcast by the state-run CCTV.

China recently marked the anniversary of the momentous policy shift agreed at a Communist Party gathering on December 18, 1978 under late paramount leader Deng, who is considered the architect of the country's opening up to the world.

Xi said on Monday that China had welcomed many "new and old friends" to the country, hosting several international forums this year.

"My colleagues and I visited five continents... had extensive exchanges with leaders of various countries, consolidated friendship, enhanced trust, and expanded our circle of friends," he said.

Touching on geopolitics, Xi said the world is in an unprecedented situation under the toughest conditions in a century.

"No matter how the international situation changes, China's confidence and determination to safeguard national sovereignty and security will not change," he said.

"China's sincerity and goodwill to maintain world peace and promote common development will not change."

China has been locked in a bruising trade war with the United States and is also facing a slowing domestic economy.

Washington and Beijing have imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on more than US$300 billion worth of goods, and the trade conflict has spooked markets worldwide.

But both countries on December 1 agreed to a 90-day truce after Xi met with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.

2019 will also see China celebrating 70 years since its founding as a nation.

"Seventy years of challenges, 70 years of wind and rain," Xi said.

"Along the way, the Chinese people have become self-reliant and hard-working, creating a Chinese miracle that has attracted worldwide attention." (AFP)