China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 6.3% in the first half of the year, and Li said the economy was “generally stable” in the first eight months of the year.
“For China to maintain growth of 6% or more is very difficult against the current backdrop of a complicated international situation and a relatively high base, and this rate is at the forefront of the world’s leading economies,” Li said in an interview with Russian media that was posted on China’s official government website.
China is aiming for GDP growth this year of 6% to 6.5%. In the second quarter, GDP rose 6.2%, its slowest rate in 27 years. Li said the global slowdown and trade protectionism contributed to “certain downward pressure” felt by China’s economy.
In response, China have increased support, announcing on Sept. 6 a cut in the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for the third time this year, releasing 900 billion yuan ($126.35 billion) in liquidity into the economy.
Translation of the interview:
Q: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and China. The relationship between the two countries has entered a new era. May I ask the Prime Minister, how do you evaluate the development achievements of Russia-China relations in the past 70 years? What are your expectations for the future development of relations between the two countries?
A: I am very pleased that on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will pay an official visit to Russia and hold the 24th regular meeting between the Chinese and Russian prime ministers. China and Russia are each other’s largest neighbors. Over the past 70 years, relations between the two countries have gone through an extraordinary development process, becoming increasingly stable, mature, and tenacious, and they are in the best period in history. The two sides have followed the trend of world development and pioneered a new model of state relations that is non-aligned, non-confrontational, and not targeted at third parties. The two sides regard each other as their foreign diplomatic priorities, establish complete high-level exchanges and cooperation mechanisms in various fields, carry out practical and strategic cooperation, and form a comprehensive, in-depth and three-dimensional mutually beneficial cooperation pattern. The fruitful results of the people of the country. China and Russia are both founding members of the United Nations and permanent members of the Security Council. They have closely cooperated and demonstrated their role in international affairs and have become the backbone of safeguarding world peace and stability.
In June this year, President Xi Jinping successfully made a state visit to Russia and promoted bilateral relations with Russia as a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation in the new era. The current world situation is changing and the international pattern is deeply adjusted. China-Russia relations are standing at a new historical starting point and facing new opportunities, new tasks, and new challenges. China is willing to work with Russia to advance with the times, innovate, and jointly safeguard and develop Sino-Russian relations. The two sides must persist in consolidating strategic mutual trust, increase mutual support, and firmly grasp the general direction of the progress of bilateral relations, without interference from external factors. The two sides should play a complementary advantage and promote the “One Belt, One Road” initiative to better connect with the Eurasian Economic Union, deepen the integration of interests, and consolidate the material basis for the development of bilateral relations. The two sides should inherit the friendship of generations, strengthen mutual learning and mutual learning, and promote the harmony between the people and the public. The two sides must firmly defend the international system based on the United Nations and based on international law, jointly promote the building of new international relations, build a community of human destiny, and safeguard world peace, stability, fairness, and justice.
70 years is a milestone and a new starting point. Sino-Russian relations have been strong for a long time and are generating strong vitality. The same way, mutual benefit. It is believed that with the joint efforts of both sides, the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Russia will surely achieve new results and make greater contributions to the development and revitalization of the two countries and the prosperity and tranquility of the world.
Q: The regular meeting between the Russian and Chinese prime ministers is an important mechanism platform for coordinating the pragmatic cooperation between the two countries. How will the pragmatic cooperation between the two sides be promoted to achieve greater development in the new era? What directions will the two sides focus on and what new measures will be taken?
A: The regular meeting between the Chinese and Russian prime ministers is one of the earliest mechanisms established in China’s foreign cooperation mechanism. It has been successfully held 23 times so far, which in itself illustrates the high level of Sino-Russian relations and pragmatic cooperation. In the past 23 years, this mechanism has become more mature and perfect, and the overall planning and coordination promotion role have become stronger and stronger.
China and Russia are important partners of each other. The two countries have focused on achieving common development and revitalization, and insisted on deepening pragmatic cooperation and expanding common interests as an important direction for the development of China-Russia new era comprehensive strategic partnership. The two sides adhered to the complementary advantages, mutual benefit and win-win results, and realized the parallel advancement of traditional industrial cooperation and emerging industry cooperation, and the volume and quality of pragmatic cooperation were simultaneously improved. Last year, the trade volume between the two countries exceeded 100 billion US dollars for the first time, an increase of 27.1%. China has become Russia’s largest trading partner for nine consecutive years and is Russia’s largest source of import and export destination. In the first half of this year, trade and investment between the two countries continued to grow rapidly. This achievement is not easy in the context of the slowdown in global trade and investment. It also shows that China and Russia have broad prospects for pragmatic cooperation. The strategic cooperation in the fields of energy, aerospace, interconnection, and other countries has been solidly promoted. Several investment projects such as the Sino-Russian East Line Natural Gas Pipeline, Tongjiang Railway Bridge and Heihe Highway Bridge have entered the final season. Cooperation in emerging fields such as agriculture, finance, science and technology, and e-commerce has flourished, and local cooperation has achieved deep docking and wider coverage. The fruitful achievements of China-Russia pragmatic cooperation have not only enhanced the well-being of the two peoples but also added positive factors to the development of the world economy.
During my visit to Russia, the two sides will sort out the results of cooperation, plan the direction of cooperation, and push the pragmatic cooperation between the two sides to a new level. The two sides will adhere to innovative ideas and take measures to continuously develop new areas of cooperation and deepen the new potential of cooperation. The two sides will continue to expand and open up each other, relax investment and market access, and create more opportunities for cooperation between the two countries. The two sides will continue to play the role of the main force of large and medium-sized enterprises, promote strategic large projects, and will also attract small and medium-sized enterprises to join the e-commerce, digital economy and other emerging industries to create a new force for sustainable development of cooperation between the two countries. The two sides will continue to expand cooperation in the field of science and technology. Both China and Russia are big countries with profound innovations, and they are vigorously promoting innovation-driven development strategies. The two sides have decided to hold the “Sino-Russian Science and Technology Innovation Year” in 2020 and 2021. The two countries should take this opportunity to combine China’s industrial, capital and market advantages with Russia’s resources, technology and talents to inject new momentum into economic and social development. It is believed that with the joint efforts of the governments of the two countries and the industry, the pragmatic cooperation between China and Russia will certainly create more fruitful results in the new era and better benefit the two peoples.
Q: In recent years, observers have seen that China’s economic growth is declining. Do you see this as a threat to improve the standard of living of the people? Is there any “red line” in the process of GDP growth? Will China adjust its social and economic development plan in this complicated situation?
A: After decades of rapid development, the Chinese economy has reached a total of 13.6 trillion US dollars of GDP last year, accounting for nearly 16% of the world economy. The expected target of China’s economic development this year is the economic growth of 6%-6.5%, the urban-rural unemployment rate of 5.5%, and the consumer price increase of about 3%. From the first eight months of the situation, China’s economic operation was generally stable and stable. In the first half of the year, GDP grew by 6.3% year-on-year. The main economic indicators were in line with expectations and a reasonable range. The economic structure continued to be optimized, and positive factors for high-quality development increased. In the context of the current complicated international situation, it is not easy for China’s economy to maintain a medium-to-high-speed growth of more than 6% on a high base. This rate is still at the forefront of the world’s major economies.
The Chinese government adheres to economic development as the center and strives to better protect and improve people’s livelihood in development. In recent years, although the economic growth has slowed down and the pressure on fiscal balance has increased, the basic investment in the people’s livelihood has only increased, and people’s lives have continued to improve. First, keep the income growth of residents and the economic growth synchronized. China’s per capita GDP is close to 10,000 US dollars, and the per capita disposable income of the national population has grown at an average annual rate of more than 7%. The income gap between urban and rural residents has gradually narrowed. At the end of last year, the number of rural poor people decreased to 16.6 million, and the goal of comprehensive poverty alleviation will be achieved next year. The second is to ensure the stability of the overall employment. Employment is the biggest livelihood. The Chinese government has always placed steady employment in a prominent position. Our steady growth is mainly to protect employment. As long as employment is relatively adequate, income continues to increase, and environmental quality continues to improve, a higher growth rate is acceptable. We implement the employment priority policy and take measures to stabilize and expand employment. The number of new jobs in cities and towns has exceeded 13 million for six consecutive years, and the national urban survey unemployment rate has stabilized at a relatively low level of around 5%. A large developing country with a population of nearly 1.4 billion has achieved full employment. The third is to continuously improve the level of social security. Accelerate the development of education, medical care, pension, culture, sports, and other social undertakings. Financial education funds account for more than 4% of GDP. We have woven the world’s largest social security network and continue to raise urban and rural subsistence allowances and pensions. The life expectancy of residents reached 77 years old, and the people’s sense of gain was significantly enhanced.
Of course, affected by factors such as slowing world economic growth, protectionism, and rising unilateralism, China’s economy is also facing certain downward pressure, but China’s economic development has enormous resilience, potential, and room for maneuver. First, the huge domestic market will continue to release demand and drive momentum. China is not only a “world factory” but also a “world market”. The consumption of residents is accelerating and upgrading. Infrastructure, enterprise technological transformation, and other fields still require a large amount of investment. The expanding domestic demand has become a strong support for the Chinese economy to resist external shocks. Second, the continuous deepening of reform and opening-up will further stimulate economic vitality. China vigorously promotes market-oriented reforms, continuously expands its opening up to the outside world, and strives to improve the marketization, the rule of law, and the convenience of the business environment. At present, the market has more than 110 million households, and the daily average new registration enterprises are still more than 19,000. The strong entrepreneurial enthusiasm of hundreds of millions of people has formed an inexhaustible development momentum. At the same time, foreign investment has maintained steady growth. Third, sufficient macro-control measures and capabilities will create a stable development environment. Over the years, in the face of economic downward pressure, the Chinese government has insisted on not engaging in the “great flooding” type of strong stimulus, but constantly innovating and improving macroeconomic regulation and control, maintaining a low government debt ratio, and reserved for responding to possible risks. Policy space. In response to changes in the current economic situation, the Chinese government will use counter-cyclical adjustment tools to maintain large-scale tax reductions and reductions, increase the use of special bonds, reduce financing costs, encourage entrepreneurial innovation, etc., while maintaining the stability of macroeconomic policies. Policies to consolidate the microeconomic foundation. The Chinese government is fully confident and capable of overcoming various risk challenges and maintaining a stable and healthy economic development.
Q: In today’s complicated international situation, international political and economic cooperation is also facing various shocks. What kind of strategy will China choose? Is China still a supporter of globalization?
A: After the end of the Second World War, the world maintained overall peace. More and more countries have embarked on the road of development and prosperity, and economic globalization has played an important role. From the perspective of China’s development process, over the past 40 years of reform and opening-up, China has insisted on sharing development opportunities with countries in the process of opening up and actively integrating into the tide of economic globalization. It is both a beneficiary and a contributor to economic globalization. China’s GDP as a share of the world’s total economy has grown from 1.8% in 1978 to 15.9% in 2018. It has become the world’s second-largest economy, a major trading partner and an important export market for more than 130 countries and regions. In this process, we have been under great pressure, paid a lot of money, and experienced a lot of pains. However, we have recognized that economic globalization is an irresistible trend of the times and insists on opening the door to openness. Of course, in the process of participating in economic globalization, there are some inclusive problems such as opportunities and uneven benefits, and the impact of traditional industries and employment. In this regard, we must conduct a comprehensive and in-depth analysis to find out the crux of the problem and solve it in a targeted manner. We cannot simply and unilaterally blame all the problems on economic globalization itself. As the Russian proverb says, “people who can’t go can’t fall.” If you can’t walk and smash your feet, you will be blamed for not being able to move forward.
At present, the uncertainties in the international situation continue to increase, and multilateralism and free trade face new and multiple challenges. In this context, whether it is to open the door or to build a barrier, whether it is to fight in the same boat or to fight for each other, is to deepen mutual trust or doubts and suspicions, and become a proposition that every country must seriously consider.
As the world’s largest developing country, China will adhere to the path of peaceful development, adhere to the concept of global governance, and build a shared global governance concept. We will develop friendly relations and develop mutually beneficial cooperation based on mutual respect and equal treatment. Maintain multilateralism, support the UN to play a central role in international affairs, strengthen South-South cooperation, deepen North-South cooperation, promote the building of new international relations, and build a community of human destiny.
Economic globalization and free trade, the cornerstone of global development and prosperity, cannot be shaken. China will continue to firmly support economic globalization, work with other countries to maintain a multilateral trading system centered on the World Trade Organization, support necessary reforms to the World Trade Organization, promote global trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and promote economic globalization toward greater Open, inclusive, inclusive, balanced, and win-win development, making greater contributions to human development and progress.
Q: Not long ago, the Russian authorities expressed concern about the large-scale illegal deforestation in eastern Russia. The Russian Minister of Natural Resources proposes to absorb the Chinese side to solve this problem. Do you think that a joint investment project to restore forests in Russia can be established?
A: Human beings have only one home of the earth. Protecting the ecological environment is the common responsibility of all countries. China attaches great importance to the construction of ecological civilization and is strengthening pollution prevention and ecological construction and vigorously promoting green development. We strongly support the Russian side to rectify its forestry development order, combat illegal logging and criminals, and are willing to share China’s experience and practices with Russia.
In recent years, Sino-Russian forestry investment cooperation has developed rapidly and has become one of the most important areas of development in bilateral economic and trade cooperation. Enterprises and people of both countries have benefited enormously. Chinese enterprises have invested more than US$3 billion in forestry in Russia, creating a large number of jobs for the local community. We will continue to encourage qualified, competent and reputable enterprises to carry out investment operations in Russian forestry, especially in the field of forestry processing, and support the development and protection of both sides in the areas of forest cultivation and reforestation. Promote the upgrading of Sino-Russian forestry cooperation. At the same time, I hope that Russia can create a more open, stable and predictable environment for the investment cooperation between the two countries and effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of enterprises.
In addition to forestry, China and Russia still have huge space for cooperation in environmental protection. We are willing to work with Russia to complement each other’s national conditions and needs, strengthen environmental protection industry and technical cooperation, promote economic development and environmental protection, and promote green development in both countries. [source]