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One month ago China warned the world on ‘new Cold War’

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One months ago in Davos World Economic Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned global leaders against starting a «new Cold War», and urged global unity in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Having largely curbed the spread of the pandemic within its borders, Xi wants to position China as a key player in a new multilateral world order as the US remains crippled by the 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 in a likely veiled attack on US President Joe Biden’s plans to revitalise global alliances to counter China’s growing influence.

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

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.

«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.

Xi also called for stronger global governance via multilateral organisations, the removal of barriers to international trade, investment and tech exchanges, as well as stronger representation on the world stage for developing countries.

He stressed the importance of strengthening macroeconomic policies to combat the pandemic-induced global economic downturn. «We must build an open world economy, firmly safeguard the multilateral trade system, and refrain from making discriminatory and exclusive standards, rules and systems, as well as high walls that separate trade, investment, and technology,» he said.

China saw its GDP increase 2.3 percent last year, according to official data which is the lowest growth rate since 1976. Its economy is also forecast to grow by 7.9 per cent in 2021, according to the International Monetary Fund. China also overtook the US as the world’s biggest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2020, according to a UN report.

Bolstered by confidence in his country’s management of the pandemic, Xi has made ambitious climate pledges and vowed to uphold multilateralism as US-China relations entered their worst phase under the Trump administration. The Chinese government has been accused by US of mishandling the initial COVID-19 outbreak and covering up information, while a World Health Organisation expert team is currently conducting a long-delayed probe into the origins of the virus.

Biden, busy handling several urgent domestic crises, did not participate at Davos and tasked US climate envoy John Kerry with representing Washington.How Biden decides to handle the mounting tensions posed by China’s rise will be one of the biggest strategic challenges he faces.

Xi last addressed Davos in 2017, presenting himself as the champion of free trade on the eve of Trump’s inauguration.


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