Xi Jinping said China’s economy is “resilient” and pledged to deepen economic ties with other countries as he began his third term as leader of the country’s ruling Communist Party.
“China cannot develop in isolation from the world. The development of the world also needs China,” Xi said, addressing an audience of Chinese and foreign journalists after the conclusion of the party congress.
The twice-decade event comes at a time of heightened concerns about the world’s second-biggest economy, where growth has been hampered by tight Covid-19 controls and a deep slump in the property market.
Xi tried to allay those concerns by pointing to the country’s long-term growth prospects. “Currently, the Chinese economy is resilient. The economic potential is great. There’s a lot of room for maneuver,” he said. “Long-term solid economic fundamentals will not change.”
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At the convention, Xi pushed for the “dual circulation” policy — an attempt to shield China from economic shocks and US sanctions — while maintaining strategic trade and investment ties with the rest of the world. Xi emphasized the latter part of this approach in his comments to reporters, saying that the country’s economic opening “will only go further.”
Xi also promised economic policy changes aimed at improving growth, without giving details.
“We will firmly deepen reform and opening-up, and firmly pursue high-quality development,” he said.
Bloomberg Economics estimates that China can grow at around 4.6% annually over the next decade if announced reforms such as raising the retirement age and easing city residency restrictions continue.
Xi’s most recent predecessors as party leader resigned after two five-year terms, but the congressional outcome means Xi should remain in the top post until at least 2027 in the next year’s government.
Xi’s brief remarks to the press included a call for China to achieve “Chinese-style modernization,” which referred to efforts to achieve high-income status without following the economic and political policies adopted in advanced economies is to be observed.
In his report to the party congress last week, Xi stressed that economic development is the party’s “top priority,” but added that development must be balanced with national security. The focus in the next five years will be on developing strategic technologies and limiting inequality, he added.