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China's New Premier Meets The Press

Shunqi Lin |
March 17, 2013 | 2:10 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

China's new Premiere Li Keqiang waves as he leaves the news conference in Beijing. /Reuters
China's new Premiere Li Keqiang waves as he leaves the news conference in Beijing. /Reuters

China’s new premier, Li Keqiang, held his first news conference at the Great Hall of People in Beijing on Sunday, shortly after the closing ceremony of the National People’s Congress. 

Li is a part of the fifth generation of Chinese Communist Party Leadership, along with new President Xi Jinping, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, and Zhang Gaoli.

During the conference, Premier Li made very clear point that economic growth was China's top priority. He said he would also push for reforms, fight graft and corruption, tackle vested interests and strengthen the ties with the United States.

Nearly 700 reporters attended the conference to gauge China’s incoming leadership. Li answered 12 questions. 

He started the conference outlining three tasks for China: maintain economic growth, improve the standard of living, and engage cooperatively with the US.

"The highest priority will be to maintain sustainable economic growth," Li said with regards to the first task he outlined. “China will pursue economic transformation to make full use of fiscal, financial, pricing and other policy instruments, and it will pursue the reform of budget system to make it more open, transparent and inclusive, which will allow the people to better supervise financial revenue and expenditure, and tilt government spending to areas that will benefit the people.”

On the second task, Li emphasized the significance of establishing a solid social security network to safeguard basic public welfare, especially concerning education, medical care, social insurance and housing. The government would also strive to ensure equal opportunities for all Chinese people. 

On the relationship with the United States, Li emphasised the importance of maintaining cooperation and ensuring the mutual benefits between the two countries.

“I often meet American political leaders," said Li. "They tell me frankly that they are coming for the benefit of the US. I tell them I work for China. So we have something in common."

Li also mentioned that both countries have gained from each other through trade.

"Look back three decades ago and the trade volume between China and US was only $1 billion," said Li. "Last year it is more than $500 billion.”

Li said he agreed with a theory raised by some US experts that conflicts between strong nations are not necessary. He then proposed to build a new type of relationship under which both countries can learn from each other. He said that by enhancing the social foundation of China-US relations, China and the US can keep the Asia-Pacific region steady and prosperous.

Li also commented on the cyber attack issue, calling it “ a worldwide problem.” He called for cooperation to fight hackers, “China is the main target of these attacks as well. China does not support it and firmly objects cyber attacks. We should not make groundless criticisms and do more to protect cyber safety.”

57-year old Li Keqiang is the first Premier born after 1949, when the People’s Republic of China was founded. He earned a PhD in economics and bachelor degree in law from Beijing University. Li is the Former Party chief of Henan and Liaoning Provinces. He is known to be outspoken, and led economic development in Henan, transforming the poor inland region into an attractive area for investment.

Reach Staff Reporter Shunqi Lin here. Follow her here.



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