BEIJING — As tensions with the U.S. simmer, China’s second-in-command emphasized the country’s need to build up its own talent.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was addressing reporters Thursday immediately after the close of a largely symbolic annual parliamentary meeting.

This year, the so-called Two Sessions officially approved China’s development plan for the next five years — and goals for the year 2035. The document lays out seven areas of scientific research that Beijing plans to focus on in an effort to build technological “self-reliance.”

Li reiterated calls for the U.S. to cooperate and not interfere with China’s “internal” affairs, and focused most of his comments on how Beijing intended to bolster its own economy.

After stressing the need to support scientists in research and development, Li said, “I want to say a few words to young students. Regardless of what your future career or ambitions are, you must strengthen your learning of basic knowledge.” That’s according to a CNBC translation of his Mandarin-language remarks.

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