Li Keqiang

Premier Li Keqiang looks to ‘crucial moment’ for China

He also touches on Hong Kong and Taiwan issues during speech at National Day reception in Beijing

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 September, 2017, 9:19pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 September, 2017, 10:24pm

The upcoming party congress will be a “crucial moment” for China, Premier Li Keqiang told a reception on the eve of National Day in Beijing on Saturday.

“This party congress will be held at a crucial moment for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and for the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” Li said.

The premier was addressing a reception at the Great Hall of the People, just weeks before the twice-a-decade congress which will see a new leadership line-up and China’s future policy directions announced.

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Li also touched on Hong Kong and Taiwan issues, saying China “will continue to fully and faithfully implement the principles of ‘one country, two systems’, Hong Kong people administrating Hong Kong” … and a high degree of autonomy”.

While he did not make reference to China’s opposition to the independence movement, he said Beijing did “firmly oppose Taiwan independence” during the speech.

China would continue to uphold the one China principle and the 1992 consensus, and work with “our compatriots in Taiwan” to move towards “complete reunification of the motherland”, he said.

“We are committed to ensuring the peaceful development of the cross-strait relationship.”

President Xi Jinping, who will begin his second term in power after the congress, also attended the reception but did not give a speech.

Li highlighted Xi’s role in leading the reform push. “We must unite even more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, forge ahead with one heart and one mind,” he said.

China had achieved “stable economic growth with significantly improved quality and efficiency”, he said, adding that the country’s opening up and reform had improved the lives of ordinary people.

Li also stressed the importance of upholding China’s sovereignty, security and development interests.

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“We will continue to follow an independent foreign policy of peace and stand firm in upholding China’s sovereignty, security and development interests,” he said.

Earlier on Saturday, at a ceremony for Martyrs’ Day at Tiananmen Square, Xi led a group of senior officials in a walk around the Monument to the People’s Heroes, followed by children and adults who laid flowers there, Xinhua reported.