Photo taken on Oct. 21, 2018 shows the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), the main venue of the First China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, east China. (Xinhua/Ding Ting)
BEIJING, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping delivered a New Year speech Monday evening, calling on the whole nation to strive for "an unprecedented and great cause" in the year 2019, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Chinese people, who are self-reliant, hardworking and enterprising, have created a China miracle recognized by the world, he said, vowing to rely on the people and push forward the cause step by step.
"In 2018, we had a fulfilling and focused year," Xi said in the speech, summarizing the progress made in 2018, which saw the country's economy stay "within a reasonable range."
The campaign to prevent and control pollution of air, water and soil went smoothly while the people's wellbeing and their living standards improved, he said.
National strategies including the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the development of Yangtze Economic Belt, and the construction of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area were steadily implemented.
Xi also mentioned the achievements he witnessed during his inspection trips: the improved ecology along the Yangtze River, the agricultural harvest in northeast provinces, the reform and vitality in Shenzhen and Shanghai, as well as the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
China launched Chang'e-4 lunar probe, conducted sea trials of its second aircraft carrier, completed first water takeoff of its independently-developed large amphibious aircraft, and took solid steps in BeiDou Navigation Satellite System's global service, Xi noted in the speech.
Around 10 million people in the country's rural areas were lifted out of poverty in 2018, said the president, recollecting his visits to villages in Sichuan, Shandong, Liaoning and Guangdong provinces.
In the year marking the 40th anniversary of the country's reform and opening-up, China unveiled a systematic, comprehensive and restructuring reform of both Party and State institutions.
More than 100 important reform measures were rolled out, he said. "China's reforms will never stop and its door will only open even wider."
Zhang Ruimin, chief executive officer of China's Haier Group, said the company is determined to make its own contributions to making China a manufacturing power.
"Just like President Xi said in his speech, we are all 'running at full speed toward the realization of our dreams,'" Zhang said.
HOPEFUL, CHALLENGING 2019
Joint efforts are needed as China faces both opportunities and challenges in 2019, Xi noted.
In the new year, Xi said, the policies to cut taxes and fees should be well implemented to ease the burden on enterprises.
Sincere appreciation should be given to professionals in all areas while efforts be made to motivate responsible and competent grass-roots officials, he said.
The goal of lifting 10 million rural residents above the poverty line should be fulfilled as planned, he said, adding that veterans should receive proper attention and care.
Xi also extended gratitude to millions of hardworking people, such as deliverymen, sanitation workers and taxi drivers.
"President Xi's New Year speech is very touching and inspiring," said Soinam Yangjen, a 35-year-old village official in Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China.
With over 16 years of experience in poverty alleviation work, she said that through the speech she and her fellow villagers can see a brighter future, "a future that is created by us together."
In 2018, China hosted diplomatic events including the annual Boao Forum for Asia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Qingdao summit, and the Beijing summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
China put forward its proposals and made its voice heard, and enlarged its circle of friends in 2018, Xi said.
In a world that is undergoing changes unseen in a century, China will remain confident and resolute in safeguarding its sovereignty and security, and maintain its sincerity and goodwill for safeguarding world peace and promoting common prosperity, he said.
China will actively promote the joint construction of the Belt and Road, continue to promote the building of a community with a shared future for humanity, and work relentlessly for an even more prosperous and beautiful world, he said.
"I think China is demonstrating a greater capacity to perform global leadership roles in an increasingly broad range of fields," said Lucio Blanco Pitlo, a lecturer from the Chinese Studies Program of Philippine Ateneo de Manila University. "I expect this trend to continue in the coming year."
China's experience in the past 70 years also proves that every country, especially the developing ones, can carve their own development path based on their unique conditions, Pitlo said.