CHINESE Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday meets the press at the Great Hall of the People after the conclusion of the annual national legislative session. He answered a couple of questions raised by journalists from different media agencies.
China to set up special fund on smog research
Premier Li said China will set up a special fund and pool the country's best scientists to find out the "unique" cause of smog that frequently blankets north China in winter.
"The cause of smog should be found out as soon as possible so our response will be more effective," Li said.
The government is determined to spend as much as needed for the research, he said, pledging that the country will fight and win the battle against smog.
"Smog tackling methods will focus on coal-burning, automobile exhaust, and dust," he said, but acknowledging that the it takes time to win the battle.
"The weather is not something humans can control," Li said, "but we can choose our behaviors and transform the model of development."
"We all want blue sky," he continued. "Blue sky won't be a luxury, nor should it be."
Central gov't planning mainland-Hong Kong bond market connect
Li said that the central government is planning to establish a bond market connect between the mainland and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on a trial basis this year, allowing overseas capital to better access the mainland's bond market.
Hong Kong will be the first to benefit from such an arrangement, Li told.
This will help Hong Kong maintain its status as an international financial center and provide Hong Kong residents with more investment options, thus bringing them benefits and enabling Hong Kong's lasting stability and prosperity, Li said.
The premier stressed the principle of "one country, two systems" to be perceived and implemented, citing the government work report which requires the principle be steadfastly applied without being bent or distorted.
Li said the central government will continue to increase its support for Hong Kong's development, and introduce more measures conducive to Hong Kong's development and cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong.
China remains important engine for world growth
China will remain an important engine for world growth amid sluggish global economic recovery, Li said.
Given China's GDP has exceeded 74 trillion yuan (about US$11 trillion), the 6.5-percent growth this year does not mean the country's contribution will be coming down, according to Li.
A lower growth target will enable China to put more efforts in improving the quality and efficiency of economic performance, the premier said.
"I should say that the growth target of around 6.5-percent is not a low speed and it will not be easy to meet," he said.
"If we meet the growth target this year, the size of expansion will be bigger than the growth last year," Li said.
He also struck a confident tone in the country's financial stability, ruling out the possibility of systemic risks as "the country has plenty of policy options at its disposal."
"China's financial system is generally safe," the premier said.
China's budget deficit to GDP ratio stands below 3 percent, the capital adequacy ratio of commercial banks is 13 percent and their provision coverage ratio is at 176 percent, all above the international standards for financial security, he cited a set of data to support his view.
Acknowledging potential risks in the financial sector, Li said the government will take them seriously and adopt prompt and targeted measures to prevent them from spreading.
China will "fasten the seat belt" and prevent any "acute outburst" of financial risks on the track for maintaining medium-high growth speed, Li said.
China's financial system generally safe
China's financial system is generally safe, Premier Li said, ruling out the possibility of systemic risks as the country has plenty of policy tools at its disposal.
China, US communicating on presidents' meeting
Li said that China and the United States are in communication on a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump.
Li said "diplomatic authorities of the two countries are already engaged concerning a face-to-face meeting" between the two presidents.
The China-US relationship is crucial not just to the two countries themselves, but also to regional and global peace, security, and stability, he said.
"Hence we must work together to continuously take it forward," he said.
Li noted that China-US ties have been going forward despite various twists and turns, but said he feels optimistic about future China-US relations, because "after several decades of growth of bilateral relations, the two countries now share a wide range of common interests."
One-China policy foundation of China-US relations
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said that the one-China policy will remain as the foundation of China-US relations.
Li said Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump have talked to each other over the phone after Trump took office, and the two leaders have agreed to push forward China-US relations.
He noted that the US President and senior officials from his administration have explicitly stated that the United States will continue to follow the one-China policy.
"This policy constitutes the political foundation of China-US relations, which has remained unshaken in spite of the changing circumstances, nor can this foundation be undermined," Li said.
"With that foundation in place, we believe there are bright prospects for China-US cooperation," he added.
China committed to denuclearization, proposes dialogue to solve Korean Peninsula issue
China is committed to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and proposes all parties de-escalate tensions through dialogue and consultation, Premier Li said.
Li said the situation in the Korean Peninsula and even broader Northeast Asia has recently become tense.
"Tensions may lead to conflicts, which will bring harm to all parties involved," Li said. "It is just a common sense that no one wants to see chaos at his doorstep."
China hopes all parties make concerted efforts to de-escalate tensions and get issues back to the track of dialogue in order to find proper solutions, he said.
China has fully complied with UN resolutions on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and is a staunch supporter of upholding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, the premier said.
China not to see nor allow massive unemployment
China will not see nor allow massive unemployment of particular groups this year as the government is capable of ensuring job creation, Premier Li said.
Li voiced confidence that China would be able to create jobs through opportunities offered by new growth impetus, entrepreneurship and innovation activities.
He admitted that the country, which has successfully created over 13 million new urban jobs annually for four consecutive years, does face significant pressure from job creation this year, and underscored that ensuring employment was of paramount significance to a country of 1.3 billion population.
The government has set a higher employment target of 11 million new urban jobs this year, one million more than last year's target.
Li said that some 7.95 million students will graduate from Chinese universities and collages and some 5 million from secondary vocational schools.
China will not devalue yuan to boost export
China will not devalue the yuan to boost its exports, Premier Li said.
Last year, the international foreign exchange market experienced some volatility, and major currencies depreciated against the US dollar, Li told.
He added that the depreciation of the Chinese yuan against the dollar was quite modest.
China has no intention of devaluing its currency to boost exports, as the move does no good for companies' transformation and upgrading, Li said.
China does not hope to be involved in any trade war either, because that is not good for the stability of the international trade and currency systems, Li added.
China will continue to push forward reform of its exchange rate formation mechanism, and follow a system of managed floating exchange rate determined by market supply and demand.