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China’s Li Keqiang warns against protectionism in UN address

China’s Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday warned against the rise of protectionism and assured that China will press ahead with its opening-up policy during a speech given at the United General Assembly.

“In the course of economic globalisation, there may be certain groups and sectors that have been hit and affected,” he said. “But we cannot give up eating for fear of choking,” he added in alluding to a Chinese proverb.

“Economic globalisation is in the long term interest of all countries,” he said, “All parties must resolutely oppose all kinds of protectionism, and to uphold the free trade system of the World Trade Organization.”

After finishing his speech, Li had a brief exchange with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who appeared at the corridor as Li took the exit.

Li, who arrived in New York on Sunday for his first attendance to the global summit as a Chinese Premier, called on world leaders to uphold free trade.

Li’s statement came at a time of increasing concerns over the rise of anti-globalization following Britain’s shock vote to re leave the European Union.

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The rhetoric against free trade has reached new heights with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump denouncing what he called unfair trade deals and pledging to tear up those agreements.

China has also been criticised by foreign firms in recent years for a lack of access and the slow pace of its market reforms.

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But Li provided assurances China will remain open to overseas investment and global trade.

“Our door [of opening-up] will only open wider. We are resolute and steadfast in adhering to this development path,” he said.

In a show of support to the United Nations, Li said China will provide an additional $300 million in aid to the UN along with providing support to developing countries, including African nations.

The Chinese Premier also touched on North Korea’s nuclear development, reiterating China’s call for denuclearization, as well as dialogue to solve the crisis.

Li will leave for Canada later in the day as part of his three-nation visit which will end with a visit to Cuba.