Mon, Oct 19, 2015 - Page 5 News List

China’s president lauds UK for ‘visionary’ openness

WESTERN ENGAGEMENT:Xi Jinping’s comments came ahead of a four-day visit to the UK, where he is expected to receive a much warmer welcome than he did in the US


EDF Energy chief executive Vincent de Rivaz has said Xi’s visit is a “timely opportunity” to seal the deal.

China has ambitions to sell its own nuclear technology overseas, including in Western nations. While critics have said that Chinese government support, including cheap financing for companies in that and other sectors could amount to unfair competition, Xi defended China’s approach.

Xi also underscored China’s readiness to strengthen financial cooperation with London, which aims to be an important hub for yuan trading and offshore yuan business and is set to be the first location outside China and Hong Kong to host the issuance of Chinese central bank and finance ministry debt.

“When conditions are in place, China is ready to consider strengthening the connectivity of the financial markets of the two countries,” he said.

His comments were prepared by Chinese government officials, but were reviewed and approved by Xi himself, the government said.

Xi acknowledged that the Chinese economy’s slowing was a concern.

“As an economy closely linked to international markets, China cannot stay immune to the lackluster performance of the global economy. We do have concerns about the Chinese economy, and we are working hard to address them. We also worry about the sluggish world economy, which affects all countries, especially developing ones,” he said.

Xi said the monetary easing steps China had taken to date, as well as its adjustment to the exchange rate mechanism for the yuan in August, which was accompanied by a devaluation of the currency, had helped to defuse risks.

Xi said China would continue to seek to attract foreign investment, improve the rule of law to enhance the business environment, protect intellectual property rights, and promote fair competition.

China has rattled nerves around the region and prompted concern in Western capitals about its increasingly assertive moves to push its territorial claims in the South China Sea, including construction of artificial islands.

Xi was unequivocal in his defense of China’s right to develop the areas it claims as its own.

“The islands and reefs in the South China Sea are Chinese territory since ancient times. They are left to us by our ancestors. The Chinese people will not allow anyone to infringe on China’s sovereignty and related rights and interests in the South China Sea,” he said.

However, it is not in China’s interests for there to be instability in the South China Sea, he added.

“China would not want any turbulence there, still less would it be the party to stir up chaos,” Xi said, adding that China would work to manage disputes via talks and ensure freedom of navigation.

On a lighter note, Xi, a football fan, highlighted the potential for further UK-China cooperation on the sport. Xi is to visit the Manchester City football club on Friday, accompanied by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, according to a schedule of the trip provided by Buckingham Palace.

“My greatest expectation on Chinese football is for the Chinese team to be one of the best in the world and for football to play an important role in making people stronger in body and mind,” Xi said.

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