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China’s Premier Li Qiang seeks to rally Asia behind Beijing

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China’s Premier Li Qiang addressed an international audience at Boao Asia forum in Boao, Hainan on March 30, 2023.

Lintao Zhang | Getty Images News | Getty Images

BO’AO, China — Chinese Premier Li Qiang sought to rally Asian countries behind China in his first public address to an international audience as premier.

On Wednesday, Li claimed that China had acted “responsibly” in its role as a big country, and generally contributed to world peace.

“Peace is the prerequisite for development,” Li said in Mandarin translated by CNBC.

The annual Boao Forum for Asia, hosted by China, is seen by some as the region’s answer to the World Economic Forum’s gathering of global leaders every year in Davos, Switzerland.

Li met with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva during the forum, according to state media.

His speech comes as China went on a charm offensive this month to retain and attract investment from foreign businesses. The country in January relaxed its border controls after nearly three years of strict Covid-zero restrictions.

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Notably, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited Beijing. State announcement said he was among several executives who met with Li on Monday at the close of a government-organized conference, the China Development Forum.

Cook also met with Zheng Shanjie, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s economic planning agency.

China “hopes Apple will continue to actively bear a company’s social responsibilities, strengthen protection of data and personal information,” the commission’s readout of the meeting said in Chinese, according to a CNBC translation.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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