UNITED NATIONS -- China will stick to the path of peaceful development and continue to pursue the policies of reform and opening-up and an independent foreign policy of peace, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Wednesday.
"The whole world wants to know in what direction China is heading" after the Beijing Olympic Games, Wen said in a speech delivered at the annual high-level debate of the United Nations General Assembly.
"Let me tell you in unequivocal terms that China will remain committed to the path of peaceful development, unswervingly pursue reform and opening-up, and continue to adhere to an independent foreign policy of peace," he said.
"This is in the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and the people of all other countries. It is also in keeping with the trend of the world."
Wen said the success of the Beijing Olympic Games has greatly inspired the Chinese people and given them even more confidence and strength to achieve modernization of the country.
However, the premier noted that China is still a "developing country, where productivity remains low and further development is constrained by the shortage of resources, and energy and environmental consequences."
To achieve the goal of modernization and build a strong, prosperous, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious country, China will continue its reform and opening-up policy, he said.
"It is a choice of vital importance to the development of China today, and it is also a strategy that will shape China's future," Wen said.
The Chinese premier said his country is ready to make joint efforts with other countries for world peace and will develop ties with them on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
"The world needs peace, for only with peace can there be development," he said.
"The Chinese government is committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and stands ready to work with other countries to advance the noble cause of peace and progress of mankind," he added.
China is ready to develop friendly relations with all countries "on the basis of equality and mutual benefit rather than on ideology or political system," he said.
In handling international relations, China "does not seek to build alliances or become a leader and will never do so in the future," he said.
The Chinese leader also called for the peaceful settlement of international disputes.
"As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China will continue to play an active and constructive role in promoting the peaceful settlement of international hotspot issues and regional conflicts," he said.
Wen also called on the people of all countries to join hands in making the world a better place.
Given the global nature of issues threatening the survival and development of humanity, no country can expect to stay away from the difficulties or handle the problems all by itself, he said.
"The ongoing financial volatility, in particular, has affected many countries and its impact is likely to become more serious," he said, adding that "to tackle the challenge, we must all make concerted efforts."
"So long as the people of all countries, especially their leaders, can do away with hostility, estrangement and prejudice, treat each other with sincerity and an open mind, and forge ahead hand in hand, mankind will overcome all difficulties and embrace a brighter and better future," he said.
Wen said China, as a responsible and major developing country, is ready to work with other members of the international community to boost cooperation, share opportunities, meet challenges and contribute to the harmonious and sustainable development of the world.