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China to uphold strategy to spur domestic demand amid US tensions

The Chinese national flag is flown at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (Kyodo)

BEIJING (Kyodo) -- China's Communist Party pledged to uphold a "dual circulation" strategy to bolster domestic demand while trying to boost exports, a communique of its key meeting showed Thursday, as it has claimed the United States has promoted a "decoupling" in global markets.

    Beijing may have been forced to put emphasis more on enhancing domestic demand than on depending on exports, a significant driver of growth, as market-oriented economies have become reluctant to actively trade with the Communist-led country.

    The ruling party, headed by President Xi Jinping, also shared the view that China "has seen its economic growth beat expectations, people's living standards ensured, and the overall situation of society maintained stable," the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

    The Chinese leadership expects the nation's gross domestic product to exceed 100 trillion yuan ($14.9 trillion) in 2020 despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to the communique of its four-day gathering from Monday, carried by state-run media.

    At the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party in Beijing, China's top brass adopted proposals for a new five-year economic plan and long-term goals through 2035.

    The next plan, covering between 2021 and 2025, is the first to be crafted by the ruling party since the Chinese economy was hit by the virus outbreak, first detected late last year in the central city of Wuhan, a major business and transportation hub.

    The long-term goals included commitments to making a breakthrough in the high-tech field and improving the modernization of supply chains for the coming 15 years, as U.S. President Donald Trump has been eager to exclude China from the global trade network.

    With Sino-U.S. tensions escalating over several economic and security issues as well as the virus spread dragging down both external and domestic demand, China's economy faced a severe downturn in the first quarter of this year.

    The economy has recently been on a recovery track on the back of a rebound in investment and industrial production, but consumer sentiment has remained lackluster as the employment situation has been worsening at home following the pandemic.

    The world's second-biggest economy expanded 4.9 percent from a year earlier in the July-September period, after plunging 6.8 percent in the first quarter in the aftermath of the virus outbreak and picking up 3.2 percent in the three months from April.

    The GDP of the world's most populous nation totaled 99.09 trillion yuan.

    On the security front, China's Communist Party agreed to strengthen its military capacities to safeguard the country's sovereignty, the communique showed.

    All eyes are now on whether Xi, who became the head of the party in 2012, will attempt to pave the way to hold on to power beyond a second term. In 2018, China's congress removed from the nation's Constitution the two-term limit for the president and vice president.

    The communique did not elaborate whether personnel matters of the party's leadership were raised at the latest meeting.

    As Beijing has been keen to take the lead in the global climate debate, meanwhile, ruling party officials discussed environmental issues. In his address to the U.N. General Assembly in September, Xi promised that China would aim to become carbon neutral by 2060.

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