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Xi sees 'bright' prospects for China but warns of 'severe' challenges ahead

President Xi Jinping warned of "severe" challenges as he outlined his vision to turn China into a leading global power by 2050 during a three-hour speech at the Oct. 18 opening of a key Communist Party Congress, according to media reports.

He said China would continue to open its doors to foreign investment, expand access to its services sector, strengthen regulation of the financial sector and better coordinate fiscal and monetary policy, according to a Reuters report.

He said reforms will aim to strengthen inefficient state-owned enterprises and curb the ballooning corporate debt, which pose threats to China's stability, Bloomberg News reported. China saw its slowest full-year growth in about a quarter of a century in 2016, and S&P Global Ratings in September cut China's sovereign rating for the first time since 1999.

"Right now, both China and the world are in the midst of profound and complex changes," Xi said. "The prospects are bright, but the challenges are severe."

Xi also hailed his signature policies like the Belt-and-Road infrastructure initiative and anti-corruption campaign, which has caught some one million officials since 2012 and sidelined many of his would-be rivals, according to the Bloomberg News report.

Xi affirmed the Communist Party's supremacy and said that China has its own unique political system, which has entered a "new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics."

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.