Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday warned the international community against starting a “new cold war” at the virtual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“To build small circles or start a new Cold War, to reject, threaten or intimidate others, to willfully impose decoupling, supply disruption or sanctions, and to create isolation or estrangement will only push the world into division and even confrontation,” Xi said during his opening remarks. “We cannot tackle common challenges in a divided world, and confrontation will lead us to a dead end.”
The president also took a swipe at the Donald Trump-led United States administration for various moves targeting China. While he did not mention the US policies directly, he called for avoiding conflicts such as cold war and confrontations on trade and technology. “History and reality have made it clear, time and again, that the misguided approach of antagonism and confrontation, be it in the form of cold war, hot war, trade war or tech war, would eventually hurt all countries’ interests and undermine everyone’s well-being,” Xi said.
“We should reject the outdated Cold War and zero-sum game mentality, adhere to mutual respect and accommodation, and enhance political trust through strategic communication,” he said, while promoting multilateralism.
Xi also urged the global community to jointly tackle the coronavirus and said China will take an active part in international cooperation on the pandemic. “China will continue to share its experience with other countries, do its best to assist countries and regions that are less prepared for the pandemic, and work for greater accessibility and affordability of Covid-19 vaccines in developing countries,” he said. “We hope these efforts will contribute to an early and complete victory over the coronavirus throughout the world.”
The Chinese president also reaffirmed Beijing’s climate pledges to cut carbon emissions by 65% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Both of them are significant commitments as China emits about one-fourth of the world’s greenhouse gases, according to AFP. “Meeting these targets will require tremendous hard work from China,” he said. “Yet we believe that when the interests of the entire humanity are at stake, China must step forward, take action, and get the job done.”
Xi also asserted that China will continue to implement a “win-win strategy” of opening-up economies. “It serves no one’s interest to use the pandemic as an excuse to reverse globalisation and go for seclusion and decoupling,” he said. “As a longstanding supporter of economic globalization, China is committed to following through on its fundamental policy of opening-up.”
Xi’s remarks on multilateralism, global cooperation and economic globalisation were on the same lines that he used in his last address to Davos four years ago, according to Bloomberg. China’s leaders have often used Davos as a forum to showcase economic reforms, while avoiding questions about politics. Former Premier Li Peng visited the forum in 1992 as China sought to attract foreign investors in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are also expected to address the virtual forum, AP reported. The forum has said it was planning to hold its annual meeting in person in May in Singapore.