Disagreements among countries need to be resolved through peaceful, diplomatic means, and China needs a peaceful external environment to support its development, Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday.

Li made the comments at a news conference at the end of the annual meeting of Parliament.

Beijing is locked in disputes with its neighbours over claims in the resource-rich South China Sea, with tensions raised in recent months over China's aggressive land reclamation. It has also squared off with Japan over the Diaoyu or Senkaku islands.

Li also said China-United States relations would continue to develop regardless of who wins the US presidential election in November, and that China would increase market access for US investors.


China's economic performance was diverging across provinces as challenges rise and "sluggish" global growth weighs on prospects, he said.

"There are both difficulties and hopes," Li said.

While there would be small "ups and downs" in the nation's growth, China would "employ innovative means" to support the economy if necessary, he said.