March 17, 2013 - 14:15 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday, March 17, ensuring economic growth was the top priority for his government, pledging to fight graft, tackle vested interests and calling for an end to a cyber-hacking row with the United States, Reuters reported.
"The highest priority will be to maintain sustainable economic growth," Li said at the start of the conference that lasted almost two hours and in which he repeatedly stressed the need for economic, social and government reform.
"The key is to have economic transformation. We need to combine the dividends of reform, the potential of domestic demand and the vitality of creativity so that these together will form new drivers of economic growth," he added.
"We said that in pursing reform we now have to navigate uncharted waters. We may also have to confront some protracted problems. This is because we will have to shake up vested interests," said Li.
"Sometimes stirring vested interests may be more difficult that stirring the soul, but however deep the water may be, we will wade into the water. This is because we have no alternative. Reform concerns the destiny of our country and the future of our nation."
The premier pledged to reform capital markets, the currency and fight China's pervasive corruption crisis, saying that government officials, having chosen public life, should give up thoughts of riches. Li said China's broad reform effort would also lead to improvements in environmental controls, cutting pollution in the atmosphere and raising food and water safety standards.
Li reiterated commitments to reform income distribution, improve access to social security and health care and allow welfare benefits to be paid nationwide, regardless of the official residence of the claimant.
Li shrugged off an assertion from one questioner that China was responsible for hacking into U.S. computer systems, restated Beijing's complaint that it too had been under cyber-attack.
"I think we should not make groundless accusations against each other, and spend more time doing practical things that will contribute to cyber-security," Li said.