China's Xi Jinping Defends Economy, Markets at U.S. Address

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In his first policy address during a landmark visit to the United States, Chinese President Xi Jinping defended his country's growth pace and reassured the world that China's financial markets will remain stable.

"China's economy will stay on a steady course with fairly fast growth. It's still operating in a proper range with a growth rate of 7 percent ... Our economy is under pressure but that is part of the path on the way toward growth," the 62-year old leader told U.S. diplomats and corporate leaders at a dinner in Seattle on Tuesday.

His comments preceded data showing a preliminary gauge of Chinese manufacturing activity falling to a six-and-a-half-year low in September.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during his welcoming banquet at the start of his visit to the United States, at the Westin Hotel in Seattle, Washington on September 22, 2015.MARK RALSTON / AFP - Getty Images

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Among the high-profile guests in attendance at Tuesday's dinner were former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and a number of C-suite executives from Microsoft, Ford, Apple, Starbucks, IBM and many more.

While President Xi's speech touched on a range of hot-button topics from cyber crimes and human rights issues, his commentary on Chinese markets was perhaps the most key to international investors.

Xi said the Chinese stock market has now reached a phase of self-recovery and self-adjustment after a period of extreme volatility that caused worldwide ruptures.

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Despite his optimistic tone, indices in Shanghai and Shenzhen opened more than 1 percent lower during Asian trade.