China reiterates support for Asean
China, B eijing: has always put the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in a priority position in its neighbourhood diplomacy, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gives a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Mr Li gave the assurance when holding a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing after the end of the fifth session of the 12th National People's Congress.
“We will continue to support Asean's community-building efforts and its importance in regional cooperation,” Mr Li said.
“Just now, I heard the spokesperson say that today (Wednesday) we have many journalists here. I heard that many ofyou arrived here two or three hours in advance. I thank you for your attention.”
The Premier delivered his opening remarks before answering questions from journalists. He thanked them for their hard work during the two sessions of the fifth session of the 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the fifth session of the 12th National People's Congress.
“China will hold the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation this year to put forward more opening up measures. We propose to establish a Free Trade Zone or make negotiations on investment and trade treaties with many other countries,” Mr Li said.
The government will add 11 million new urban jobs this year, an increase of one million over last year's target.
The economic growth rate is targeted at 6.5 percent and employment is the biggest issue for a country with a population of more than 1.3 billion. Employment is the foundation of economic development, the source of wealth growth and the main channel of people's income, he added.
China has been implementing the active employment policy in recent years and has created more than 13 million new urban jobs for four consecutive years. Employment is still of high priority this year. China will strive to achieve relatively full employment and keep the unemployment rate at a low level.
“In the past few years we have been at a peak for new labour force growth. This year, employment pressure is still relatively high, as we have 7.9 million college graduates, a record high, 5 million vocational graduates, and hundreds of thousands of transferred workers from the excessive industrial capacity,” Mr Li said.
(Latest Update March 17, 2017)