China’s Xi warns, attempts to ‘threaten’ or ‘intimidate’ will further divide the world

The World Economic Forum on Monday had online meeting with business leaders, campaigners and world leaders with the intent of creating global synergy to promote equity in the recovery, with stimulus measures offering a chance to rebalance the scales.

And taking turns to speaking, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned global leaders against starting a “new Cold War” and urged unity in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

“To build small cliques or start a new Cold War, to reject, threaten or intimidate others … will only push the world into division,” said Xi at an all-virtual Davos forum on Monday.

The words appeared to be aimed at US President Joe Biden’s plans to revitalise global alliances to counter China’s growing influence. Biden, busy handling several urgent domestic crises, did not participate at Davos and tasked US climate envoy John Kerry with representing Washington.

In a swipe at moves targeting China launched by the previous US administration under Donald Trump, Xi said confrontation “will always end up harming every nation’s interests and sacrificing people’s welfare”.

Xi, making his first appearance at the forum since his vigorous defence of free trade and globalisation in an address in Davos in 2017, advocated multilateralism as the way out of current challenges in a roughly 25-minute speech.

“We should build an open world economy … discard discriminatory and exclusionary standards, rules and systems, and take down barriers to trade, investment and technological exchanges,” he said.

The G20 – an international forum grouping 19 of the biggest developed and emerging economies, plus the European Union – should be strengthened as the “main forum for global economic governance” and the world should “engage in closer macroeconomic policy coordination”, Xi added.

The international community should be governed in accordance with rules and consensus reached by all countries, instead of by one or several issuing orders, he said, without naming the countries.

Under Trump, tensions simmered between the US and China, the world’s top two economies, on issues ranging from trade and technology to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and the coronavirus.

The Chinese leader also reaffirmed Beijing’s ambitious climate pledges to slash carbon emissions by 65 per cent by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 – both significant commitments as China emits a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gases.

“Meeting these targets will require tremendous hard work from China. But we believe that when the interests of the entire humanity are at stake, China must step forward, take action and get the job done,” he said.

Lens/news agencies

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