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Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds during the second plenary session of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (AP)
Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds during the second plenary session of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (AP)

Xi reassures global CEOs as Trump steps up push to isolate China

President Xi Jinping said that China will continue efforts to deepen reform and opening, and provide a more sound business environment for Chinese and overseas investors, in a brief reply letter to a group of global CEOs, as Chinese companies come under increased scrutiny worldwide

President Xi Jinping pledged to provide a better business environment for foreign firms as the US pushes to rewire supply chains in Asia and Chinese companies come under increased scrutiny abroad.

“We will continue efforts to deepen reform and opening, and provide a more sound business environment for Chinese and overseas investors," Xi wrote in a brief reply letter to a group of global chief executives, published Thursday by the official Xinhua News Agency. “Your decision to stay and develop in China is a correct choice."

Chinese companies operating abroad -- most notably the tech giant Huawei Technologies Co -- have faced questions over their government ties in recent months. The UK on Tuesday joined a handful of other nations in banning Huawei equipment from its next-generation mobile networks, citing security risks.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has been pushing American and other foreign companies to move their supply chains out of China, and even publicly floated the need for a group of friendly nations in Asia that could help produce essential goods. Earlier this week, the US president signed legislation that would sanction Chinese officials responsible for quelling political dissent in semi-autonomous Hong Kong.

Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that Trump had ruled out additional sanctions on top Chinese officials for the moment to calm tensions with Beijing. His team had drawn up a list of Chinese officials including Vice Premier Han Zheng, who along with Xi is one of China’s seven most powerful officials on the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee, Bloomberg reported. The New York Times separately reported that the White House was considering barring all Communist Party members from traveling to the US

Responding to the reports on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said they were “just pathetic" if true.

“The US is the biggest country, but what impression does it want to leave to the world?" she said at a daily news briefing in Beijing. “We hope the US can refrain from doing anything undermining the basic norms governing international relations or undercutting its image as a major country in the world."

Why the US Can’t Easily Break China’s Grip on Supply Chains

Hua also called the US campaign against Huawei a “dirty trick" after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said the US will impose visa restrictions on some employees over the Communist Party’s human-rights abuses against minority Muslims in the far west region of Xinjiang. While the US argues that the Chinese technology company could be used by the government in Beijing as a back door for spying on Americans, Huawei has said it operates independently.

“The US claims itself a champion of democratic and free values," Hua said. “Now it cannot even allow a normal foreign private company to exist and develop."

More than a dozen representatives from the Global CEO Council wrote a letter to Xi offering suggestions on China’s economic development and Sino-foreign cooperation, according to Xinhua. Premier Li Keqiang met with members of the council last year, including the chairmans or CEOs of United Parcel Service Inc, Volkswagen AG, Rio Tinto Plc, Nokia Oyj, Schneider Electric SE, ABB Ltd, and ArcelorMittal SA, according to the official China Daily newspaper.

China announced Thursday that its economy is recovering from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with gross domestic product growing 3.2% in the second quarter from a year earlier.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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