Asia

China's Xi offers populist message in New Year's Eve address

In this photo taken Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, a Chinese man walks past ceramic plates with images of Chinese President Xi Jinping displayed at a rest stop near Beijing. During his annual New Year Eve's speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping says his government will continue to focus on poverty alleviation at home and resolutely defending China's territorial rights on the foreign front. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

In this photo taken Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, a Chinese man walks past ceramic plates with images of Chinese President Xi Jinping displayed at a rest stop near Beijing. During his annual New Year Eve's speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping says his government will continue to focus on poverty alleviation at home and resolutely defending China's territorial rights on the foreign front. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

Chinese President Xi Jinping says his government will continue to focus on poverty alleviation at home and resolutely defending China's territorial rights on the foreign front.

Xi made the televised remarks Saturday in his annual New Year's Eve address, in which he touted China's scientific accomplishments, highlighting its large new radio telescope and space missions, and the country's growing role as a leader in global affairs.

Xi struck a populist tone, saying he was above all concerned about the living conditions of the people and vowed that improving employment, education, housing and health care would be a responsibility that his ruling Communist Party would never shirk from.

He said China in 2016 upheld its peaceful development while resolutely defending its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights.