Chinese President Xi Jinping has sought to reassure regional economic and political leaders that his government will keep the world’s second-biggest economy growing.
In a speech to a business conference on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Mr Xi said China is committed to overhauling its economy and raising the living standards of its people.
China’s growth fell to a six-year low of 6.8 per cent in the latest quarter as Beijing tries to shift the economy away from reliance on trade and investment.
The slowdown, which has been unfolding for several years, has rippled around the world, crimping growth in countries such as South Korea and Australia that were big exporters to China.
Mr Xi acknowledged that China’s vital signs are a concern and that it is facing “difficulties and challenges.” But he also alluded to the fact China is growing much faster than Western countries even as it slows.
“China’s positive economic fundamentals and longterm trajectory remain unchanged,” he said. “China’s economy has strong resilience, great potential and ample room for manoeuvring.”
He also said Beijing is stepping up efforts to counter climate change and clean up its environment, which has been heavily polluted by years of breakneck economic growth.
“We will make ecological progress part and parcel of the entire process of our economic and social development,” Mr Xi said.
Weeks away from a deadline for an agreement to limit global warming, President Barack Obama sought to build momentum for the pact yesterday, reasoning that bold climate action will boost businesses in Asia and around the world.
At the APEC business conference, Mr Obama urged business leaders to reduce their own emissions and pressure governments to sign up to an international carbon-cutting pact to be discussed later this month in Paris.
“Your businesses can do right by your bottom lines and by our planet and future generations,” Mr Obama said. “The old rules that said we can’t grow our economy and protect our economy at the same time – those are outdated.”
The 21-member APEC bloc accounts for about 60 per cent of the global economy. It groups the United States and China with middle powers such as Australia, as well as developing nations in Asia and South America.
All the events at the summit are tightly scripted and security has been extremely heavy. Thousands of police and military personnel are deployed in Manila.