|PREMIER WEN JIABAO MEETS THE PRESS|
Onthe morning of 14 March 2010, a press conference of the Third Session of the Eleventh National People's Congress was held in the Great Hall of the People. At the invitation of Mr. Li Zhaoxing, spokesman of the NPC Session, Mr. Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council, met journalists from home and abroad and answered their questions.
Premier Wen Jiabao's opening remarks: Good morning, friends of the press. The Chinese people have encountered extreme difficulties in the past two years, and have traveled an extraordinary journey with solid steps. This will leave an imprint in the annals of history. The road ahead will not be smooth. It may even be filled with difficulties and challenges. We must always remember the adage that "For a journey of 100 miles, 90 miles should only be considered half the distance". We must never slacken our efforts or waver in our resolve. And we must reinforce our confidence. "However high the mountain may be, one can always ascend to its top". In the face of difficulties, our only answer, only solution and only hope lie in our own hard work. I have deep love for my country. There is no land on Earth that can arouse such passion and excitement in me; there is no river in the world that can trigger so many thoughts and reflections. "For the ideal that I hold dear to my heart, I will not regret even a thousand deaths." This will be my guiding principle in my work during the next three years.
Financial Times: I'd like to ask a question about China's currency policy. The economy is now growing very strongly in China. You've recovered very quickly. And the inflation is now rising almost close to the 3% target you set for the year. So regardless of pressure and comments from other countries, isn't it now in China's interest to begin appreciating your currency?
Premier: First I don't think the RMB is undervalued. Let's take a look at a set of figures here. We did a survey on the exports of 37 countries to China last year. Sixteen out of the 37 countries saw an increase in their exports to China. The European Union's total exports dropped by 20.3%, yet its exports to China only fell by 1.53%. Germany's exports to China reached a record high of €76 billion. Exports by the United States dropped by 17%, but its exports to China only declined by 0.22%. China has become a major export market for its neighboring countries, including Japan and the ROK. It is also an important export market for European countries and the United States.
Second, we have kept the RMB exchange rate at a basically stable level since the outbreak of the international financial crisis. This has played an important role in facilitating the global economic recovery. We started the reform in the RMB exchange rate regime in July 2005. And since then the RMB has appreciated by 21% against the US dollar. The real effective exchange rate of the RMB rose by 16%. Here I would like to point out that between July 2008 and February 2009 when the world economy was in the midst of grave difficulties, we did not devalue the RMB. Actually the real effective RMB exchange rate rose by 14.5%. In 2009, our exports dropped by 16%, but our imports only declined by 11%. China's trade surplus thus declined by US$102 billion. A basically stable RMB exchange rate in the midst of the international financial crisis has contributed to the recovery of the global economy.
Third, a country's exchange rate mechanism is determined by its economic conditions. And any change in the exchange rate policy is a response to the overall economic situation of the country. We call for free trade, because free trade helps keep the economy going like flowing water and brings benefits and peace to the people. We are opposed to the practice of mutual finger-pointing between countries, or even taking strong measures to force another country to appreciate its currency, because such practice is not in the interest of the reform of the RMB exchange rate regime. On trade issues, we have always maintained that trade disputes should be resolved through consultations. And we believe that equal consultations will always lead to a win-win or all-win solution.
Fourth, we will continue to implement a managed floating exchange rate regime based on market supply and demand. We will continue to reform the RMB exchange rate regime and keep the RMB exchange rate basically stable at an appropriate and balanced level. Xinhua News Agency: The International Monetary Fund has made quite optimistic forecasts of the world economy and China's economy for this year and the next. However, some economists believe that both the world economy and China's economy face the risk of a double-dip. They even hold the view that a double-dip is unavoidable. You said in your report on the work of the government that this year will be a very complex year for the Chinese economy. I would like to get your perspective on the worries of the public. What will the Chinese government do to avert the risk of a double-dip? And why is this year going to be a very complex year for China?
Premier: This year is going to be a very complex year for the Chinese economy, because we still face a lot of uncertainties. I believe in spite of the overall recovery in the world economy, the major challenges and problems in the global economy have yet to be fully addressed. The unemployment rates in some major economies have been hovering at a high level. Some countries have witnessed the outbreak of sovereign debt crisis. There are still risks in the financial sector and public finance. Prices of bulk commodities on international markets and exchange rates of major currencies are not yet stable. As a result of inflation expectations, some countries are facing difficulties in making policy decisions. All these may cause setbacks in the global economic recovery and may even lead to a double-dip.
It is impossible for China to develop its economy out of the context of broader international economy. It is true that the Chinese economy has stabilized and is turning for the better, but I shall also point out that there has not yet been a fundamental improvement in the operations of many Chinese businesses, which mainly rely on government policy support. The impact of the international financial crisis on the Chinese economy is, to a certain extent, the impact on our economic structure and growth pattern. We cannot expect to complete the arduous task of economic restructuring and changing the growth pattern in a short span of time. We must make long and hard efforts. We will continue to give priority to transforming the growth pattern and economic restructuring and thereby address such problems as the lack of balance, coordination and sustainability in the Chinese economy. This year we will work to maintain fast and steady economic growth, and at the same time restructure our economic structure and manage inflation expectations, thus ushering in a bright future for the Chinese economy. And only in this way can we avert the risk of a double-dip.
Newsweek Magazine: According to media reports, some American officials and analysts say that the Chinese delegation, the representatives at Copenhagen, the Climate Change Summit in December, were perceived as arrogant, and that you, Mr. Premier, your decision not to attend the key meeting there even though other heads of state, including President Barack Obama, were in attendance at the meeting was a reason for disappointment and surprise by some of the other participants. What is your response to this and how did the proceedings in Copenhagen look from your perspective?
Premier: As a Chinese proverb goes, "My conscience stays untainted in spite of the rumors and slanders from the outside." But I want to thank you for giving me an opportunity to clear up what really happened in Copenhagen.
On the evening of 17 December last year, the evening before the start of the high-level segment of the Copenhagen Conference, the Queen of Denmark hosted a banquet for the participating leaders of the Copenhagen Conference. At the banquet, I learned from the leader of a European country that there would be a small group leader's meeting after the banquet. I was shown a list of the invited countries and the list had the name China on it. I felt shocked because I had not received any notification about this meeting.
It was at this moment that the leader of a big emerging country sent his staff to me, telling me that his leader wanted to talk to me for an urgent matter. The leader told me that he had just received a notice about this small group leaders' meeting from the leader of a European country. I told him that I had not received any notification.
Upon returning to my hotel, I immediately called members of the Chinese delegation to a meeting to check what had really happened. I learned that indeed the Chinese delegation had not received any notification of this meeting. Under such circumstances, I decided, first, we would inquire of the secretariat of the conference for the accurate information. Second, I asked Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi to call US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to tell her the real situation. And third, I decided that although the Chinese delegation had not received any notification, I would still send Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei to the meeting.
Let me tell you that President Obama had not yet arrived in Copenhagen by that time. Upon arriving at the meeting, Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei voiced a protest on behalf of the Chinese delegation and he said, "I have come to this meeting uninvited."
Why was China not notified of this meeting? Up until today, no one has given us any explanation and it still is a mystery to me.
In the sixty hours that I spent at Copenhagen, I had little time for rest. As you may know, I held meetings with leaders of Germany, the UK and Japan. I met with leaders of India and Brazil. I also held meetings with representatives of the G77 and AU and leaders of some small island countries. I met US President Obama twice, and we had long conversations. I also had meetings with the UN Secretary-General and Prime Minister of the host country, Denmark. The Chinese delegation put in a large amount of efforts at the Copenhagen conference, and our efforts were widely recognized.
I did not give up the efforts and continued with consultations with leaders from other countries when the Copenhagen conference ran into difficulty and leaders of some delegations were even getting prepared to leave Copenhagen. China worked with other countries attending the conference and, with joint efforts, we made possible the Copenhagen Accord. This achievement has not come easily. It is the best outcome that could be achieved on an issue that concerns the major interests of all countries.
After the Copenhagen conference, I wrote letters to the UN Secretary-General and Danish Prime Minister respectively last January, stating in clear-cut terms that China highly commends and supports the Copenhagen Accord. Not long ago, China once again wrote to the UN, stating that China fully supports the Copenhagen Accord and confirming that China can be included in the list of countries supporting the Copenhagen Accord.
It still baffles me why some people keep trying to make an issue about China. The issue of climate change concerns human survival, the interests of all countries and equity and justice in the world. We are fully justified to stick to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities". And China will continue to work with other countries to advance the international efforts in tackling climate change.
Taiwan-based United Daily News: My question is about the negotiation and signing of Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. You said during your online chat with internet users before the two sessions this year that given the different sizes of the economy of the two sides and taking into account the interests of small and medium-sized businesses and farmers in Taiwan, the mainland would be prepared to let people in Taiwan benefit more from ECFA. I wonder if you can elaborate on what you mean by letting Taiwan benefit more from ECFA. Do you think ECFA can be signed in June this year? Last year at the press conference you made some heart-warming remarks, saying that you wanted very much to visit Taiwan one day. I wonder if the signing of ECFA will help foster more favorable conditions for you to make a trip to Taiwan.
Premier: The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits is a comprehensive document that reflects the characteristics of both sides of the Straits. In negotiating such an agreement, it is important to abide by the following three principles: first, equal consultations; second, mutual benefit and win-win progress; and third, accommodation of each other's concerns.
I did say that in negotiating such an agreement, full consideration will be given to the different sizes of the economy and market conditions of the two sides of the Straits. We will care for the interests of small and medium-sized businesses and ordinary people in Taiwan. In particular, we will accommodate the interests of farmers in Taiwan.
I also said that we will let the people in Taiwan benefit more from ECFA. For example, there can be tariff concessions through the "early harvest" program. Efforts will be made to help reassure the farmers in Taiwan. I have noticed that there has been a lot of coverage about my remarks on letting Taiwan benefit more from ECFA in the news media of Taiwan. But I have seen little coverage of the following remarks that I made in my online discussion, that is, "because we are brothers".
I understand the negotiations may be a complex process. But as the saying goes, "differences between brothers cannot sever their blood ties". I believe that as brothers, we will eventually solve the problems.
My wish to visit Taiwan is as strong as ever. Because in my view, the five-thousand-year culture of the Chinese nation has strong appeal and cohesiveness. I don't think that one should abandon the five-thousand-year culture just because of politics in the past 50 years.
Let me tell a story here and I hope that you will bring the story to the people in Taiwan too. There was a painter by the name of Huang Gongwang in Yuan Dynasty in China, and he had a famous painting of Fuchun Mountain. He started the painting at the age of 79, and he passed away shortly after he completed the painting. For hundreds of years, this painting changed hands a lot of times. But I know that now half of this painting is kept in the museum in Hangzhou and the other half in the palace museum in Taiwan. I hope that one day the two parts of the painting will be put together again, and I cherish the same wish not only for the painting but also for people on both sides of the Straits. Thank you. Please convey my greetings to the compatriots in Taiwan.
People's Daily: Just now you said China stands for free trade. We know that China has become the biggest exporting country in the world. However, recently, there have been rising trade protectionist measures against China. And we have seen increasing trade frictions between China and the United States. Some say that trade protectionism has affected, in a serious way, recovery in the global economy. What is the view of the Chinese government on this issue?
Premier: I am a staunch supporter of free trade. As I said, I believe free trade can not only promote the growth of the world economy, but also promote harmony in the world and improve people's livelihood.
I understand that some countries want to increase their exports. What I don't understand is the practice of depreciating one's own currency and attempting to press other countries to appreciate their currencies in order to increase one's own exports. This is trade protectionism. As the financial crisis spreads far and wide, trade protectionism has not dissipated, rather, it has got worse. This should arouse the attention of all countries. We will continue to take measures to increase our imports. Last year, when the economic situation was most difficult, we sent several procurement missions to European countries and the United States. We will make every effort to achieve basic equilibrium in our balance of international payments. I believe that free trade will give a strong impetus to the effort to counter the financial crisis and promote global economic recovery.
What's most important now is to advance the Doha Round negotiations. And we must work for the establishment of a fair international trading order by bringing the Doha Round negotiations to a reasonable and balanced conclusion.
I sincerely hope that Europe and the United States will recognize China's market economy status and lift restrictions on high-tech exports to China, because that will help promote trade balance.
Here let me tell you something which you may not be very familiar with. It is true that China has a big trade volume. But 50% of the trade is processing trade. And 60% of China's exports are made by foreign funded businesses or joint ventures. Therefore, to apply restrictions on China is tantamount to causing difficulty for their own businesses.
DPA: With great power comes great responsibility. And so with China's rise, the world is increasingly looking for leadership from China to solve global challenges or economic and security or political problems. So, I know there is a lot of debate in your government about this. Is China capable and also willing to play a greater role on the world stage?
Premier: I can see that you have put your question in a quite mild way. I know that there have been media reports which say that China has got more arrogant and tough. And some have put forward the so-called theory of China's triumphalism. You have given me an opportunity to explain how China sees itself.
First, it is true that China has made remarkable progress in its economic development in recent years. But China is still a country with a big population, weak economic foundation and uneven regional and urban-rural development. China is still at the primary stage of development.
Not long ago, in order to solicit public opinions on the report on the work of the government, I paid a visit to the county of Luanping, which is only 150 kilometers away from Beijing. In spite of some improvement in the working and living conditions of the people there, I still saw a big gap between the living standards of people in that county and people in Beijing. I have visited the Luanping County three times – in 2000, 2005 and 2010.
I have often encouraged journalists to visit China's rural areas and China's central and western regions. Because I believe if you visit those places, you will come to recognize that the development in Shanghai and Beijing can in no way represent the entire situation in China. We still need to make strenuous efforts if we are to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. And we will have to work very hard till at least the middle of this century to make China a medium-developed country. It will take 100 years and even longer for us to achieve true modernization.
Second, China is firmly committed to peaceful development. China's development will not have a negative impact on any country. China does not seek hegemony now, nor will it ever do so in the future, even when it becomes a developed country.
Third, China has been steadfast in upholding its sovereignty and territorial integrity, even when it was a very poor country.
Fourth, China is a responsible country. China has called for and taken an active part in international cooperation to address the major economic and political issues in our world. We have provided assistance with no strings attached to the underdeveloped countries.
These four points together constitute the basic position underlying China's foreign policy.
Sing Tao Daily of Hong Kong: Hong Kong's economy is recovering from the international financial crisis. You once remarked that greater efforts should be made to address the underlying problems in Hong Kong. What are those underlying problems and what advice would you give in addressing problems and challenges. Secondly, the central government is formulating the 12th five-year plan for China's economic and social development. What role will Hong Kong play in the 12th five-year plan? Last question, you have been very busy over the years and many people have expressed concern for your health. Could you let me know how you have always kept strong vigor and vitality in your work?
Premier: Talking about the underlying challenges and problems in Hong Kong's economic development, I believe, first, it is important to give further play to Hong Kong's advantages and strengths and maintain and further develop the status of Hong Kong as an international financial, shipping and trade center.
Second, it is important to develop industries where Hong Kong has comparative advantage, in particular the service sector, in keeping with Hong Kong's unique features.
Third, it is important to make full use of Hong Kong's geographic advantage of being close to the mainland and to further strengthen the ties between Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region. I believe the vast market and rapid economic development on China's mainland will be a strong source of potential for Hong Kong's future development.
Fourth, I believe people in Hong Kong should be inclusive and stick together in tackling challenges. It is important for Hong Kong compatriots to build consensus and stay united in a joint effort to maintain Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. Hong Kong will not only enjoy great development on the economic front in the future, but also make gradual progress in promoting democracy in accordance with the Basic Law.
Fifth, we must not overlook the following two things. First, we should make every effort to improve people's livelihood, and second, we should develop education.
As to the 12th five-year plan, it is mainly about economic and social development of the mainland. We will certainly take into account the close economic ties between Hong Kong and the mainland, particularly between Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region in formulating the plan. And we will fully solicit the views of the people from various sectors in Hong Kong.
As regards my health conditions, I am sure you can see that I am full of energy. I do not have the luxury of many holidays or weekends, but I do like exercise, e.g. taking a walk or swimming. It helps me relax and gives me vigor and vitality in the face of a heavy work schedule.
Thank you. Please convey my greetings to Hong Kong compatriots. Wall Street Journal: We have heard some complaints from foreign businesses operating in China that the foreign investment environment in China is not as good as it was before. Recently, Google has threatened to pull out of the Chinese market, and last year four employees of Rio Tinto were arrested. That has become a source of concern for foreign businesses. I wonder what is the perspective of the Chinese government on these issues and what steps will the Chinese government take to make foreign businesses feel reassured about doing business in China.
Premier: I don't think the situation that you described in your question accords with the reality, that is, there is a large inflow of foreign capital into China every year. But I am still willing to answer your question.
China will unswervingly pursue the policy of opening up to the outside world. Foreign enterprises are welcome to come to China to establish businesses according to law. We will vigorously bring in foreign capital and at the same time we will give high priority to bringing in foreign technologies and managerial expertise. I hope multinational corporations will build more R&D centers in China so that we will be able to raise the quality and efficiency in using foreign capital.
We will foster a legal environment that enables multinational corporations to operate on a level-playing ground and enjoy national treatment as the local businesses in China. To give you an example, we have introduced a series of stimulus measures to tackle the financial crisis. They include the program of subsidizing the sale of home appliances in the rural areas and the trade-in of second-hand automobiles with new ones. In implementing these programs, we have conducted public tendering. Those who have participated in the tendering include businesses from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as multinational corporations.
If there is anything that we are falling short of, I would say that I am still not in very close touch with foreign businessmen in China. So in the next three years in my work, I will seek more opportunities to have interactions with the foreign businessmen in China so that I will help them better understand China's policies and will listen to their views on China's efforts to introduce more foreign investment.
CCTV: My questions are related to China's macroeconomic policy. According to the official statistics, the issuance of loans increased by RMB9.6 trillion yuan last year, investment in fixed assets rose by 30% and housing prices in some big cities hovered at a very high level. Some are concerned that all these will mean bubbles in the Chinese economy. I wonder if you have the same concern for the Chinese economy. And in response to the inflation expectations, is it possible for the Chinese government to contemplate withdrawing or withdrawing in part the stimulus measures?
Premier: You have raised a question that is indeed a cause of concern for me too. I once said inflation, if it happens, plus unfair income distribution and corruption, will affect our social stability and even the stability of state power.
It is indeed a challenging job for us to ensure economic growth, adjust the economic structure and manage inflation expectations all at the same time. As I said earlier, we will usher in a bright future. We face a difficult task, but we must achieve our goal.
We will give full consideration to the following three points. First, with regard to the monetary policy, it is important for us to maintain appropriate and sufficient liquidity, keep our interest rate at a reasonable level and manage inflation expectations. If we can do these three things well, we will have a good grasp of the essence of the monetary policy.
Second, we must give high priority to agriculture. We should do everything possible to ensure a bumper harvest this year. Agriculture is the lifeline of the entire economy and it is essential to our effort to maintain fast yet steady economic growth and manage inflation expectations this year. In this sense, agriculture is the decisive factor.
Third, we will maintain the continuity and stability of our policies. We will continue to pursue a proactive fiscal policy and moderately easy monetary policy so as to consolidate the hard-won good momentum in the stabilization and turnaround of the Chinese economy. Should there be new setbacks in our economy, the cost will be too high. At the same time, we will make our policies more flexible and better targeted in keeping with the changing circumstances and maintain the appropriate direction, intensity and focus of our policy measures.
We must watch very closely the developments and trends in our domestic economy and in the global economy this year. Timing is essential in deciding when one should act and when one should stay put. We must have both great prudence and flexibility.
I have the confidence that there will still be smile on my face when I meet you in the press conference next year.
Reuters: A year ago, at the press conference, you said you were a bit worried about China's assets in the United States. A year has passed. Are you now more or less worried about China's assets in the United States or have you become confident in the Chinese assets in the United States? Secondly, I would like to ask, what is your biggest concern and worry on the external front?
Premier: As is known to all, China has massive foreign exchange reserves. We must make good use of and properly manage this large amount of assets. In running foreign exchange reserves, we follow the principle of ensuring their safety, liquidity, good value and value increase.
We have been buying the treasury bonds of some countries. The purpose is to introduce diversity into our foreign exchange holdings to serve the goal that I just mentioned.
The United States is the issuing country of a major reserve currency. Any fluctuation in the value of the US currency is a big cause for concern for us. I said I was concerned about Chinese assets in the United States last year, and I want to make the same remark this year.
We cannot afford any mistake, however slight it may be, when it comes to running our financial assets. Here, I would like to stress that the US treasury bonds are guaranteed by the national credibility of the United States. I hope that the United States will take concrete steps to reassure the investors. It is not only in the interest of the investors but also the United States itself.
You asked a question about our biggest concern regarding the international situation. I would say our major concern is whether there will be stability and security in the world. We in China are concentrating all our efforts on development. This requires sound external conditions and a peaceful and secure international environment.
Also as I mentioned, uncertainties in the global economy will affect the Chinese economy. To sum up, China is ready to work with other countries in the world to build a fair and equitable new international political and economic order.
AFP: My question also relates to the relationship with the United States. Your Foreign Minister said a couple of weeks ago that the U.S. has to take credible steps in order to get the relationship back on track. I am wondering can you tell us what those steps are specifically. Are you still waiting for them, or are you willing to move ahead past this recent rough patch in the interest of your overall relationship?
Premier: China-US relationship is our most important bilateral relationship. It concerns not just the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples. In a sense, it has gone beyond the bilateral scope. As a Chinese poem reads, "I do not fear that the floating clouds may block my vision, for where I stand is the top of the mountain". We should manage China-US relations from such a height. China-US relations got off to a good start after President Obama took office. However, in the past weeks and months, the U.S. allowed the Dalai Lama to visit the U.S. and sold arms to Taiwan. These moves have violated China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and caused serious disruptions to China-US relationship. The responsibility does not lie with the Chinese side but the US side. The three joint communiqués between China and the United States form the foundation of China-US relations. We hope the United States will face the issues squarely and take concrete steps to come back to the foundation of the three joint communiqués so as to ensure that China-US relations will return to normal and further improve.
I once said that what has happened in the past 30 years since China and the United States established diplomatic relations has shown that a peaceful China-US relationship makes both countries winners while a confrontational one both losers. With mutual trust, the two countries can both forge ahead; yet with suspicions, we will both fall behind. It is always better to have dialogue than confrontation, cooperation than containment, and partnership than rivalry. We should bear this in mind and work hard to push forward China-US relations.
CNR: The international community has shown great concern over the issue of imbalances in the global economy, and has asked major exporting countries such as Germany, Japan and China to reduce their dependence on exports in order to rebalance the global economy. I would like to get your perspective on this issue.
Premier: When talking about imbalances in the international economy, I don't think it will be fair for one to fix his eyes on China's exports. The main manifestations of such imbalances include the imbalance between consumption and saving in some major economies, and the financial instability caused by the excessive expansion of some financial institutions in pursuit of their own profits. If we take this issue to a deeper level, we will see that the biggest imbalance in our world is the imbalance in development. The developing countries have been hit the hardest in the international financial crisis. As for trade, as I already mentioned, we will take steps to import more. At the same time, we hope developed countries will ease their restrictions on high-tech exports to China.
To address imbalances in the global economy, it is important for all countries to act in a coordinated way. In particular, countries should coordinate their macroeconomic policies in order to secure the good momentum in the recovery of the world economy. And at the same time, further steps should be taken in financial reform. Lianhe Zaobao: My first question is related to China's foreign policy, but let me ask this question from the perspective of the role of public opinion in China's foreign policy. With economic development in recent years, we have seen some changes in perceptions of the Chinese public on China's national strength. And in some media reports, we have heard some Chinese people say that China has become much stronger now and we the Chinese should walk with our head held high on the world stage. And we have even heard some quite extreme views from the Chinese public. I wonder to what extent will public opinion affect China's foreign policy. My second question is related to the people's wellbeing, a topic that has not been touched upon today. In your report on the work of the government, you said it is important for the government to distribute the "pie" of social wealth in a fair way and it is important to promote social equity and harmony. The government will also make every effort to enable the Chinese people to live a happier life with more dignity. But at the same time, we have noticed there is still a lot of inequality in the Chinese society such as unfair income distribution and difficulty of rural migrant workers in blending into the fabric of urban society. I would like to ask that as the Premier, how would you lead the government in promoting social equity and justice and enabling the Chinese people to live a happier life with more dignity.
Premier: The Chinese people suffered so much in the modern history. That is why the Chinese people feel very strongly about China's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. In formulating and carrying out our foreign policy, our fundamental objective is to uphold China's national interests, China's sovereignty and territorial integrity in particular. We also take into full account both the domestic and international situations in carrying out our foreign policy. The Chinese nation is a nation that values friendship, credibility and dignity. We treat other nations who are friendly towards China on an equal basis. There are diverse cultures and social systems in the world, but we don't think these differences should impede efforts of countries and nations to embrace mutual respect, treat each other as equals and learn from each other. As I said in my speech in Singapore, I believe only a nation that is open and inclusive can prosper. These are important aspects that we take into account as far as how public opinion may affect China's foreign policy.
In pursuing development, we will not only seek economic growth, but also promote social equity and justice and advance the all-round development of our people in a free environment. We should give equal importance to all these three tasks. The fundamental purpose of our all-out effort in economic development is to meet the growing material and cultural needs of our people. I believe equity and justice form the basis of social stability. And social equity and justice can shine even more brightly than the sun. There is no denying that we still face the problem of unfairness in many fields, including in income distribution and judicial system. This deserves our close attention. I once said that true economic theories and high ethical standards are indivisible. In pursuing economic and social development, we should always give high priority and pay more attention to the poor people and disadvantaged groups in our society, because they account for the majority of the population. We will press ahead with economic restructuring, political restructuring and the reforms in other aspects. The fundamental purpose of all our reform endeavors is to enhance productivity and promote social equity and justice. And we should also work to ensure that all individuals will have the opportunity to achieve all-round development in a free environment. China's modernization drive is not only about achieving economic prosperity. It also includes our endeavors to promote social equity and justice and enhance our moral strength. In the remaining years of my term, I will exert my utmost efforts to accomplish this task. And I am convinced that future Chinese leaders will pay closer attention to this issue.
The press conference, which lasted for nearly two hours and twenty minutes, was held at the Golden Hall on the third floor of the Great Hall of the People. Upon its conclusion, Premier Wen walked to the audience to shake hands and exchange greetings with the Chinese and foreign journalists. Over 1,000 Chinese and foreign journalists attended the press conference.