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China to Continue Reform and Openness, Deng Says

Times Staff Writer

China will continue its decade-old policies of economic reform and openness to the outside world but must not abandon the socialist system, senior leader Deng Xiaoping says.

In the wake of “the recent turmoil"--a reference to this spring’s student-led pro-democracy demonstrations and their suppression in early June by martial-law troops--China will do an even better job of promoting economic modernization and international ties, Deng says.

Deng, 85, who had not appeared in public since June 9 and has been rumored to be seriously ill, spoke for 70 minutes Saturday with T.D. Lee, a Nobel prize-winning physicist at Columbia University, and his wife, Jeannette Lee, according to the official New China News Agency. In video clips broadcast later on state-run television, the tanned and smiling Deng appeared fit and energetic. He walked without difficulty and gestured firmly with his right hand as he spoke.

Deng said he had spent part of the summer resting and swimming.

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“I went swimming in the sea,” he said. “I don’t like indoor swimming pools but enjoy swimming in nature.”

Deng said that this spring’s protests showed a need for the nation’s leaders to pay more serious attention to “ideological and political developments” and to take more steps to combat corruption.

“After the turmoil, all of us have become sober-minded,” he added.

Deng is chairman of the Central Military Commission, which effectively makes him the commander in chief of China’s armed forces. From that power base, he presides over a party and government deeply split by personal rivalries and differences over the pace and ultimate goals of reform.

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Deng expressed confidence, however, that younger leaders will carry on the basic policies he has nurtured for the past decade, including openness to the outside world, concentration on economic development, implementation of market-oriented reforms and unyielding dictatorship by the Communist Party.

He insisted that the current political situation is stable and that China can move forward with “more steady, more solid and quicker steps.”

“Of course, twists and turns or shortcomings are unavoidable, but we believe those who adhere to these policies will eventually win successes,” Deng said.

“One thing is sure,” he added. “China must develop, and China’s productive forces must develop at an appropriate pace.”

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