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Li set to dispel fears of slower China growth

(Global Times)    09:09, January 20, 2015
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Chinese Premier Li Keqiangis set to leave for Switzerland Tuesday to attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, where he is expected to provide reassurance about China's economic growth and initiatives.

During his three-day visit, Li will meet with WEF founder and chairman Klaus Schwab, President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga, and is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at the plenary session of the forum.

The trip marks the first diplomatic visit for a top Chinese leader in 2015 as China enters a critical year of deepening economic reform, said Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong on Friday at a press conference.

China's delegation this year includes Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma Yun, China Investment Corporation Chairman Ding Xuedong and Huawei's CEO Guo Ping.

The last time a senior Chinese leader attended Davos was in 2009, when then-premier Wen Jiabao visited weeks after unveiling a $586 billion stimulus package. China was at that time the world's fourth-biggest global economy.

The WEF meeting, scheduled from Wednesday till Saturday, will explore solutions to major global challenges under the theme "The New Global Context."

Observers said Li's attendance this year shows that China has attached great importance to the meeting as an occasion to dispel worries over China's slowing economy and to strengthen the international community's confidence in China's increasingly important role in stabilizing the sluggish world economy.

Li will also expound China's domestic and foreign policies and respond to other countries' concerns over China's development, Wu Hailong, China's ambassador to the United Nations Office in Geneva, was quoted as saying by the Xinhua News Agency.

"Last year, the world was slowly recovering after the 2008 financial crisis. It expects China to become the new driver of the global economy," Zhang Yunling, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times Monday.

"While the nation is undergoing major economic restructuring, the international community has been keenly concerned about whether China can maintain its target GDP growth rate during its 'new normal' phase," Zhang noted.

Chinese President Xi Jinpinghas previously said the nation needs to adapt to a "new normal" of slower growth as the country undergoes a major economic reform.

"China's economic vitality will recover after the adjustment in 2014. The US and China drove the global economy in 2014, and both will continue to do so this year," Jiang Yuechun, director of the Department for World Economy and Development Studies with the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times Monday.

Jiang expects that Li will also address international concerns over China's ambitious "One Belt, One Road" development initiative.

"The initiative will be the new source of economic growth this year in releasing the development potential of Central Asian countries. But some countries still maintain a cautious distance from the plan, fearing that it may challenge the dominant role of the US in the Asian economy," said Jiang.

China will establish a Silk RoadFund of $40 billion to support infrastructure investments in countries involved in the "One Belt, One Road" plan, Xi announced during the APEC meeting held in Beijing last November.

The plan proposed building a "Silk Road Economic Belt" and "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" to boost regional cooperation.

Apart from the global economic growth rate, falling oil prices, Russia's annexation of Crimea, the likelihood of quantitative easing in Europe and the renewed threat of terrorism will also be discussed at the Davos forum.

Over 2,500 participants from more than 140 countries and regions representing governments, international organizations, businesses, academia, civil society and the media are expected to attend this year's meeting for strategic dialogues, which will map the key transformations reshaping the world.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Wang Ao,Liang Jun)

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