China VP pledges sustainable 2019 growth

WASHINGTON • China’s VP said the world’s second-largest economy has delivered “significant” growth and pledged to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that it won’t falter.

“There will be a lot of uncertainties in 2019, but something that is certain is that China’s economy, China’s growth, will continue and will be sustainable,” Wang Qishan (picture) said in response to a question after making a keynote speech to business leaders on Wednesday.

Wang’s comments followed a government report on Monday that GDP expanded 6.6% last year, the slowest pace since 1990 and in line with estimates. “This is a pretty significant number, not low at all,” Wang said.

Also on Monday, President Xi Jinping stressed the need to maintain political stability in an unusual meeting of top leaders — a fresh sign the ruling Communist Party is more concerned about the social implications of the slowing economy. Xi told officials the party needs greater efforts “to prevent and resolve major risks”, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

In his comment on the pace of growth, Wang said the party “is trying to remind people that speed does matter, but what really matters for the time being is the quality, structure and efficiency of our economic development.”

Wang, during his speech, mounted a vigorous defence of globalisation and offered a thinly veiled rebuke of US President Donald Trump’s economic policies. — Bloomberg