China’s President Xi seeks sustained reform during New Year

China’s President, Xi Jinping, has emphasised the need for the country’s stable growth, as well as the need to press ahead with political and economic reforms in 2016.

In a New Year’s Eve speech carried by Chinese state-run broadcast networks, Mr Xi said the country’s “economic growth remained at the forefront of the world” despite its recent slowing compared to previous years.

“We need [in 2016] to keep pushing forward structural reform as well as opening up, and keep promoting social fairness,” he said. The President added the country needed to “lay a solid foundation for the decisive stage in building China into a moderately prosperous society”.

President Xi also stressed the need for building “a clean and healthy political environment”.

Talking about international co-operation, the President added: “China will, as always, open its arms to embrace the world, and offer its helping hands to those in need. Our circle of friends will grow bigger.”

It is expected – once official figures are released – that China will in 2015 have posted the slowest growth in 25 years; at around 7 percent. China’s leaders have also predicted the nation’s average growth would slow from previous levels; but would still be at least 6.5 percent per annum in each of the next five years.