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Photograph: EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA

China's Prime Minister Li Keqiang attempted to reassure foreign investors Monday about slower growth and a higher debt burden.

"The Chinese economy will not head for a hard landing," he told the Summer Davos meeting of the World Economic Forum in the Chinese city of Tianjin.

He told the assembled business people, politicians and experts that China would hit its economic targets this year, including growth of 6.5-6.7 per cent.

Li said the recovery of the world economy was behind expectations and that Britain's decision to leave the European Union would increase uncertainty.

"We need to jointly tackle the challenges and create a stable international environment," the premier said.

Europe is an important partner for China, which wants to expand its relations with both the European Union and Britain, Li said.

The premier said there was downward pressure on the Chinese economy but that there was "more hope than difficulties."

Although exports have fallen since the start of the year, the economy was buoyed by domestic demand, he said.

"We did not resort to massive stimulus measure but followed structural reform," he said.

He said the debt burden of the central government was low by international standards, offering room for a proactive budgetary policy.

He also said China was in a position to defend itself from systemic risk.

"Short-term fluctuations are unavoidable," he said.

China would cut its overcapacity in outdated industries such as steel and coal, he said.

Li said the outlook was good and called for long-term foreign investments.

"China is a emerging market with huge growth potential," he said.

Organizers said a record figure of more than 2,000 business people, politicians and experts from more than 80 countries were attending the three-day event.

It is the tenth time the annual event has taken place in China.

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