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China’s Xi warns ‘period of turbulent change’ as external risks rise

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that the world’s second-biggest economy is facing a period of ‘turbulent change’ and that rising external markets risk required policymakers to increasingly rely on domestic demand to spur growth.

Xi, chairing a seminar on Monday with a group of policy advisors and state economists, discussed the country’s mid- to long-term economic trends in preparation for the drafting of the 14th Five-year plan.

The five-yearly economic blueprint is expected to be unveiled in the annual parliament meeting next year, and Xi said China must be prepared for “a period of turbulent change” as the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated protectionism, hammered the world economy and disrupted supply chains.

“In the coming period, we will face more and more headwinds in the external environment, and we must be prepared to deal with a series of new risks and challenges,” he said, according to comments released by state news agency Xinhua late on Monday night.

Xi said the domestic market will “dominate the national economic cycle” in the future, but vowed to further open up China’s economy.

While Xi didn’t make direct references to intensifying US-China tensions, he signalled China’s willingness to work on issues with the United States.

“We must actively cooperate with all countries, regions and enterprises who are willing to cooperate with us, including states, localities and enterprises in the United States,” he said.

The United States and China have been engaged in nearly two years of tit-for-tat tariffs and angry rhetoric, with tensions between the two economic superpowers spilling into other areas.

The US has sanctioned companies and individuals linked to a security crackdown in Hong Kong and human rights, banned a Chinese owned video app, penalised Chinese academics and closed Beijing’s consulate in Houston in recent months.

Xi also stressed the importance of technological innovation, adding without elaborating that China must “make breakthroughs in key core technologies as soon as possible.”

(Reporting by Yawen Chen, Stella Qiu and Tony Munroe; Editing by Toby Chopra & Shri Navaratnam)


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