China to protect its territorial integrity at all cost: Li Keqiang


—Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing: Photo by Reuters

BEIJING: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang declared that his country will not abandon a single inch of its own land, nor will it take or occupy an inch of land of others.

The country’s territorial integrity will be safeguarded at all cost, he said at a news conference. It is a misinterpretation to see China’s cooperation with other countries and its assistance to underdeveloped ones as strategic expansion.”We will focus on managing our own affairs well,” he said.

China’s business cooperation with other countries follows market principles and business rules, and its assistance to the developing countries comes without any political strings attached, which is far from political infiltration, the premier said.

Li noted that in pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, China follows the principle of seeking shared benefits through consultation and collaboration.

He said China’s economic growth contributes to both global recovery and global peace, as stronger cooperation and trade bring more negotiations and keep conflicts away.

As a developing country, China hopes for a peaceful international environment to achieve modernization, he said, promising that the country will not seek hegemony even if it grows stronger in the future.

While China is ready to fulfill its due international responsibilities as a large developing country, the country will focus on managing its own affairs well, as it is still confronted with many difficulties and pressing issues concerning people’s life, he said.

“China is clear about the heavy agenda it faces,” he said adding China will open even wider to the rest of the world.

Li said China still has much room for further opening up its market and will lower overall tariffs on imports. Tariffs on popular consumer goods, including drugs, will be slashed, while the much-needed anti-cancer drugs might phase in zero tariffs.

Despite a deficit in service trade, China will increase efforts in relaxing control over market access to the service sector, including old-age care, medical care, education and financial services, according to him.

China will gradually relax and even scrap foreign-owned equity limits in some sectors and shorten the negative list for foreign investment, Li added.

No compulsory technology transfers will be imposed on foreign investment in the general manufacturing sector and intellectual property rights will be protected, he said.

“We aim to make the vast Chinese market a fair place for both domestic and overseas firms with all kinds of ownership to compete to offer more options for about 1.3 billion Chinese consumers, expediting upgrading of Chinese products and services,” Li said.—INP