• Monday, Nov 28, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Xi challenges US global leadership

  • Published at 03:14 pm April 20th, 2021
Chinese President Xi Jinping and  then US vice president Joe Biden
File Photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with then US vice president Joe Biden inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on December 4, 2013 AFP

China called on the US and its allies to avoid ‘bossing others around’

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for greater global economic integration and warned against decoupling while calling on the US and its allies to avoid "bossing others around."

"International affairs should be conducted by way of negotiations and discussions, and the future destiny of the world should be decided by all countries," Xi said yesterday at the Boao Forum on Asia, without naming the US specifically. 

"One or a few countries shouldn't impose their rules on others, and the world shouldn't be led on by the unilateralism of a few countries."

In a veiled critique of US efforts to reduce dependence on Chinese supply chains and withhold exports of goods like advanced computer chips, Xi said "any effort to build barriers and decouple works against economic and market principles, and would only harm others without benefiting oneself."

"What we need in today's world is justice, not hegemony," Xi said, adding that China would never engage in an arms race. 

"Bossing others around or meddling in others' internal affairs will not get one any support."

Xi spoke by video to more than 2,000 officials and business executives attending the Boao conference in person in the southern island province of Hainan. 

Global leaders and the heads of the International Monetary Fund and United Nations attended the opening ceremony via video-link, according to state media.

After cancelling the forum last year because of the coronavirus outbreak, China is signalling it's open for business with the resumption of the conference, billed as an Asian version of the World Economic Forum in Davos. 

Officials have in the past used the event to announce major steps to open up the financial system, including the establishment and expansion of the stock connect program that links mainland exchanges with Hong Kong.

Philosophy of green development

China is making a concerted effort to improve ties with US businesses in particular. A slew of American executives are participating in the forum, including Apple Inc's Tim Cook, Tesla Inc.'s Elon Musk, Blackstone Group Inc's Stephen Schwarzman, and Bridgewater Associates' Ray Dalio.

A key focus was on any new climate goals from Beijing, following promises from the US and China to work together to tackle climate change after a visit by US global climate envoy John Kerry to Shanghai last week.

Xi didn't provide any new targets on his drive to cut China's carbon emissions or tackle global climate change. His speech had multiple mentions of the words "green" or "sustainability," but offered no new pledges or suggestions for the pathway to carbon neutrality.

"We need to follow the philosophy of green development, advance international cooperation on climate change and do more to implement the Paris agreement on climate change," Xi said.

He vowed that projects in the Belt and Road Initiative will be sustainable, and "green should effectively become the strategy's background colour."

Xi has called for China's signature foreign policy strategy to go green since 2019 amid criticism from environmentalists. Roughly two-thirds of the infrastructure initiative's funding has gone to oil, coal, and natural gas projects, according to Boston University's Global Energy Finance Database, which tracks data from two state-owned development banks.

Washington has also been critical of the Belt and Road plans, saying that China's loans locked poorer countries in "debt traps" while advancing its own strategic aims.

President Joe Biden will host a virtual climate conference tomorrow and on Friday with world leaders. Xi will participate in the event, Dow Jones has reported.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US is falling behind China in the race to seize opportunities created by climate change. 

The issue will increasingly be at the centre of US foreign policy but Blinken vowed that the Biden administration won't let other countries get away with bad practices such as human rights abuses because they're making progress on curbing climate change.

The argument appeared to be aimed at rebutting growing criticism, particularly from Republicans, that Kerry may trade away US interests in a push for climate cooperation with China.

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