Top Chinese official says green, high tech development key as nation seeks to spur economy

A top Communist Party official says China is committed to introducing reforms that will upgrade the technological level of its largely manufacturing-based economy

Tian Macleod Ji
Thursday 28 March 2024 07:50 GMT

China is committed to reforms that will upgrade the technological level of its largely manufacturing-based economy and exploit green technologies expected to drive around $1.4 trillion in annual revenues, a senior Communist Party official said Thursday.

“We sincerely welcome all countries to board the express train of China’s development and join hands to realize world modernization featuring peaceful development, mutually beneficial cooperation and common prosperity,” Zhao Leiji, who heads China’s rubber stamp congress and sits on the party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, was quoted as telling business people and other leaders attending the Boao Forum for Asia.

The gathering in Boao, held on China’s island island province of Hainan on the South China Sea, is the latest venue for efforts by Beijing to reassure foreign investors rattled by policies that have raised uncertainties for foreign businesses, geopolitical tensions, and an economic slowdown.

Zhao told the forum that China’s economy will be good in the long term, the Foreign Ministry cited him as saying.

“The fundamentals have not changed,” he was quoted as saying.

China is the world’s second largest economy after the U.S. and has excelled in areas such as electric vehicles, solar and wind power, and high-speed trains. But it remains heavily dependent on highly-polluting coal to power its industries.

The government has set a goal for this year of China's energy consumption per unit of GDP by 2.5% as part of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and transition to a greener economy.

“We are speeding up efforts to promote green and low-carbon economic and social development, and will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060,” said Zhao, who ranks third in the party hierarchy and has a strong background in managing state industries that make up about a quarter of the economy and help maintain the party’s overwhelming influence over economic, political and cultural life.

China's leaders have set an ambitious target of around 5% economic growth this year despite a slowdown that has been accentuated by troubles in the property sector and the lingering effects of strict anti-virus measures during the pandemic that disrupted travel, logistics, manufacturing and other industries.

Zhao also touched on geopolitical topics, saying, “China calls on all countries to transcend the old mentality of bloc confrontation and zero-sum games and practice genuine multilateralism to jointly build an open world economy.”

That reflects Communist Party leader-for-life Xi Jinping's aspirations to make China a leading player in international affairs by challenging the power and credibility of the U.S. and its Western allies.

China has backed Russia in its invasion of Ukraine and threatens various of its neighbors in East Asia, including the self-governing island democracy of Taiwan, a close U.S. ally, that it claims as its own territory to be annexed by force if necessary.

But its top leaders have also reiterated China's intention to keep its economy open for business. On Wednesday, Xi met with American business leaders in Beijing and emphasized mutually beneficial economic ties, despite U.S. tariffs on imports from China and efforts to cut off access to advanced and sensitive technologies, especially those with military applications.

“Sino-U.S. relations are one of the most important bilateral relations in the world. Whether China and the United States cooperate or confront each other has a bearing on the well-being of the two peoples and the future and destiny of mankind,” Xi was cited as saying by China’s official Xinhua News Agency.


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