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Premier Li says China to inject new impetus into global economic development

Pushing back “trade protectionism,” China’s Premier Li Qiang on Thursday said the world’s second-largest economy will “inject new impetus and vitality into global economic development.”

“We oppose trade protectionism and supply chain decoupling, and want to ensure smooth global industrial and supply chains,” Li told Boao Forum for Asia in the island province of Hainan.

He added: “No matter how the world changes, we will always adhere to reform and opening up and be driven by innovation,” according to a translated version of his speech reported by the daily South China Morning Post.

“It will not only inject new impetus and vitality into global economic development but allow countries to share the opportunities of China’s development,” said Li, who was picked as China’s new premier early this month.

In the State Council, China’s Cabinet, the premier’s primary job is to manage the economy.

Li was joined by Malaysian, Singaporean, and Spanish prime ministers at the forum which is dubbed Asia’s Davos. Hundreds of politicians, ex-officials, and business leaders, including International Monetary Fund Chief Kristalina Georgieva, are attending the forum.

The Chinese premier said Beijing “will stand firm against decoupling and trade fragmentation.”

“We’ll join hands to build a more dynamic growth center and inject more certainty into the global economic recovery,” said Li.

In his regional push for digital and green economies integration, Li called for “extensive cooperation” with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“China’s economic growth momentum is strong,” said the premier.

The IMF has projected China will contribute one-third of global economic growth during the ongoing year.

Calling out a “new cold war”, Li said: “We oppose the misuse of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction.”

Calling for a focus on “values that unite us as a human family,” Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said: “Ethics, sincerity, and integrity in dealing with partners in the bilateral and multi-lateral situation must be paramount.”

“The concept of democratic accountability should prevail rather than just trumpeting the slogan or term democracy which has been used as a means of pigeonholing countries according to rather arbitrary standards,” said Anwar, who was inaugurated as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister last November.

“In my mind, democratic accountability enjoins leaders to be accountable to the people across the board, providing improved standards of living, transparency in the decision-making process and essentially the overarching practice of good and effective governance,” said Anwar, according to an online version of his speech.

Anwar is on a three-day trip to China since Wednesday.

He will also meet China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

The Malaysian prime minister said the burden on an ordinary citizen of “having to put food on the table and the tangible and pressing uncertainties faced must also not be forgotten.”

“Wages remain the main form of income for the majority of the world’s population but according to the ILO’s (International Labor Organization) Global Wage Report 2022-2023, wages and the purchasing power of households have ‘dented considerably’ due to COVID-19 and global inflation,” he added.

Pointing to a “lack” of adequate policy responses, Anwar said: “The immediate future would witness a sharp fall in real incomes and a rise in inequality which could fuel further social unrest.”

“In light of this, we should work closely together in a spirit of cooperation and solidarity, striving towards reducing inequality, promoting social justice, and enhancing standards of living for all.

“I cannot overstress that if we continue to cooperate, speak in a unified voice, and exchange ideas on strategy and best policy practices, we can work towards an Asia that is stronger and more resilient,” said Anwar.

Calling Asia a “vibrant region” and “better educated,” Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called on regional nations “to draw close and work together and with external partners.”

While Asia is “affected by strategic tensions,” Lee said: “Realizing Asia’s promise depends on a stable, inclusive and openness.”

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has greatly violated UN Charter and international law and profoundly undermined the rules-based international order,” said the Singaporean prime minister.

Calling the state of bilateral relations between the US and China “most worrying,” Lee said: “Big powers have a heavy responsibility to maintain stable and workable relations with one another because any clash between them will have grievous consequences for them and the world,” he added.

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