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Feb 3 (Reuters) - China’s Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday the global economy faces “many uncertainties and destabilising factors” as it battles the COVID-19 pandemic, and insisted Beijing was committed to its relationship with Britain despite recent tensions.
On a webinar co-hosted by the China Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom, Li said China would “maintain continuity, consistency and predictability” in its macro policies and “execute them in a thoughtful and targeted manner, to keep major economic indicators in a proper range”.
China posted 2.3% GDP growth in 2020 despite a steep slump in the first quarter due to the coronavirus shock, becoming the only major economy to avoid a contraction last year.
This was a “truly hard-won outcome” and “daunting challenges” posed by the pandemic remain, Li said in a video message. “Through tireless efforts, China’s economic fundamentals will be more solid.”
Sino-British relations have soured over the past year after Britain ordered equipment from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies to be completely purged from its 5G network by 2027, and offered Hong Kong residents the chance to become British citizens.
That followed Beijing’s introduction of a national security law in the former British colony.
Non-Chinese nationals travelling from Britain are currently not allowed to enter China due to coronavirus restrictions.
However, Li described Britain as an “important cooperation partner in Europe” for China, and said the two sides were better placed than in the past to overcome difficulties and obstacles.
“No matter how regional and international events evolve, China’s commitment to its relations with the UK remains as strong as ever,” Li said. “We will further build up cooperation and put China-UK relations on a firmer footing.” (Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Toby Chopra and Jan Harvey)