June 16, 2024

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Chinese Premier Li Qiang is seeking to rally Asia behind Beijing

Chinese Premier Li Qiang is seeking to rally Asia behind Beijing
  • Chinese Premier Li Qiang claimed that China acted “responsibly” in its role as a major country, and generally contributed to world peace.
  • His speech, which lasted about 25 minutes at the Boao Forum for Asia, did not delve into the escalating tensions between China and the United States.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang addresses an international audience at the Boao Forum for Asia in Boao, Hainan on March 30, 2023.

Lintao Zhang | Getty Images News | Getty Images

BOAOA, China — Chinese Premier Li Qiang has sought to rally Asian countries behind China in his first public address to an international audience as prime minister.

On Wednesday, Li claimed that China had acted “responsibly” in its role as a major country, and generally contributed to world peace.

“Peace is a prerequisite for development,” he told me in Mandarin, which was translated by CNBC.

His speech, which lasted about 25 minutes at the Boao Forum for Asia, did not delve into the escalating tensions between China and the United States.

The annual meeting, hosted by China, is seen by some as the region’s response to the World Economic Forum’s gathering of world leaders every year in Davos, Switzerland.

Li said Asia and the world stood at the “crossroads” of history, while portraying China as a center of stability.

He referred to the congress meeting of China’s ruling Communist Party in the fall, and its goal of “national rejuvenation” claiming that the country’s “significant contributions” to the world are “rapid economic growth” and “social stability”.

Li, who was confirmed as prime minister in March, said the push forward with China’s development will bring “strong impetus to economic growth in Asia.”

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On China’s domestic economic outlook, Li said the situation in March will be better than in the first two months of the year.

China announced economic figures for January and February that showed a modest recovery from the impact of Covid last year.

In January, the country relaxed its border controls after nearly three years of strict Covid-zero restrictions.

Read more about technology and cryptocurrency from CNBC Pro

The new premier said Thursday that China will expand its domestic market and improve the business environment. He reiterated the government’s pledge to resolutely prevent systemic financial risks.

State media reported that Li met IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva during the forum.

His speech comes as China launched a charm offensive this month to retain and attract investment from foreign companies.

Notably, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited Beijing. The state announcement said he was among several executives who met with Li on Monday at the conclusion of a conference organized by the government, the China Development Forum.

Cook also met with Cheng Shanjie, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s economic planning agency.

China “hopes that Apple will continue to actively carry out corporate social responsibilities, and strengthen the protection of personal data and information,” said the committee’s statement to the meeting in Chinese.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Separately, China announced the Ministry of Commerce Its Minister Wang Wentao met on Tuesday with ASML President and CEO Peter Wenink.

The Dutch company is one of the most important semiconductor companies in the world. The United States is trying to prevent ASML from exporting advanced chip technology to China in an effort to maintain the advantage of the United States in key technology.

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