China media: Growth fears

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang speaks during the opening ceremony of the 5th Summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program in Bangkok on December 20, 2014. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Chinese papers say Li Keqiang will reassure the world about China's economic growth

Papers allay fears of China's slower economic growth as Premier Li Keqiang heads to Switzerland for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

Mr Li's trip comes as the authorities released the latest economic figures on Tuesday.

"China's economy grew 7.4% in 2014, in line with market expectations and registering the weakest expansion in 24 years," the Xinhua News Agency reports.

Several commentaries expect the premier to reassure the world about China's economic growth and reform initiatives at the meeting in Davos.

"The world awaits the voice of China," says an article in the state-run People's Daily.

"Amid the complex changes the world is currently facing… everyone wants to know China's perspectives and remedies," it says, adding that Beijing's voice will "definitely strengthen the international community's confidence towards the economic development of China and the world".

Echoing similar views, an article in the overseas edition of the paper highlights the significance of the event, saying this is the first time a top Chinese leader is attending the meeting after five years.

The commentary says that Mr Li will "brief the audience on China's economy and will boost everyone's confidence on the Chinese and emerging markets' economic development".

'New normal'

Paper are also abuzz with the term "new normal" ever since President Xi Jinping stressed last year that the country needed to adapt to a slower growth rate, as the economy undergoes major restructuring.

"China's economy has entered into the 'new normal' phase, its growth has switched from high speed to medium-high. The impact of such a change will garner wide attention at Davos," Ding Yifan, an expert with the Development Research Centre of the State Council, tells the Haiwai Net.

The Xinhua News Agency quotes experts as saying that the current "rebalancing" process the Chinese economy is undergoing "might hurt growth, but will secure a solid foundation for sustainable development in the interest of both China and the world economy".

The China Daily adds that the world has "confidence" in China's reform. "China's reform is a noteworthy aspect of the Chinese presence at Davos, because the international community believes deepening of its reform in economic, political and social spheres will bring more opportunities to the world," it says.

Abe's global diplomacy

Turning to international news, state media are closely following Japanese PM Shinzo Abe's "global diplomacy" as he visits the Middle East.

Mr Abe's six-day tour of the region includes Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Over the weekend in Egypt, the Japanese leader pledged $2.5bn (£1.7bn) in non-military assistance to the region.

The overseas edition of the People's Daily points out that Mr Abe is "hoping to make his presence felt internationally" and to fulfil the dream of Japan being a "major political country".

Ties between the two nations have been strained over rival territorial claims and disputes about Japan's World War II history.

"Tokyo has also started to display friendliness towards its neighbours. However, since the Abe administration always flip-flops on its policies, no one really knows if such friendliness is trustworthy," notes the flagship paper under the Communist Party.

"The Second World War ended 70 years ago… The Abe government has started its global diplomacy, but it does not seem to show any remorse (for the war)," it concludes.

Some papers, meanwhile, criticise Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida for saying that a disputed border area was India's territory during his visit to New Delhi over the weekend.

The border region, known as Arunachal Pradesh in India and South Tibet in China, is part of the decades-long Sino-India border dispute.

China lodged a protest on Monday over Mr Kishida's remarks.

"Mr Kishida's absurd remarks seem to show that instead of being a 'proactive contributor of peace', the Abe government is seeking to become a 'proactive trouble-maker'," says a commentary in the Beijing Times.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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