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Xi urges unity on virus fight, climate

By AN BAIJIE | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-01-26 07:13
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President Xi Jinping addresses the World Economic Forum Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda by video link in Beijing on Monday. LI XUEREN/XINHUA

President Xi Jinping elaborated on China's stance on multilateralism and expressed opposition to the building of "small circles" and starting a new Cold War, at a virtual meeting attended by world leaders on Monday.

These acts, as well as efforts 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 in a speech by video link to the World Economic Forum Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda.

History and reality have made it clear that the misguided approach of antagonism and confrontation, be it in the form of a cold war, hot war, trade war or tech war, would eventually hurt all countries' interests and undermine everyone's well-being, Xi said.

The speech was Xi's second appearance at a Davos event as Chinese president. His first was in January 2017, when he reaffirmed China's pledges on supporting economic globalization and building an open world economy.

"We cannot tackle common challenges in a divided world, and confrontation will lead us to a dead end," Xi said.

In the tone-setting speech, Xi elaborated on what kind of multilateralism should be upheld and what should be discarded by the world.

Multilateralism is about having international affairs addressed through consultation and the world's future decided by everyone working together, Xi said.

Multilateralism should not be used as a pretext for acts of unilateralism, and "selective multilateralism" should not be an option, he said.

Xi noted that state-to-state relations should be coordinated and regulated through proper institutions and rules. The strong should not bully the weak, and decisions should not be made by simply showing off strong muscles or waving a big fist, he said.

"We should respect and accommodate differences, avoid meddling in other countries' internal affairs, and resolve disagreements through consultation and dialogue," Xi said.

To tackle the challenges of mankind, Xi said, the right approach is to safeguard multilateralism and act on the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind.

He called for more efforts to build an open world economy, uphold the multilateral trading regime, discard discriminatory and exclusionary standards, rules and systems, and remove barriers to trade, investment and technological exchanges.

Xi stressed the importance of sticking to the concept of cooperation based on mutual benefit and guaranteeing all countries' equal rights to development.

"We should advocate fair competition, like competing with each other for excellence in a racing field, not beating each other on a wrestling arena," he said.

In his speech, Xi listed four major tasks that should be addressed at the current time, namely stepping up macroeconomic policy coordination, abandoning ideological prejudice, bridging the gap between developed and developing nations, and uniting against global challenges.

Xi also reaffirmed China's commitment to a number of issues including further boosting opening-up, promoting sustainable development, advancing innovation and promoting a new type of international relations.

Noting that the world has achieved initial progress in fighting COVID-19, Xi expressed confidence in the global fight against the disease despite its recent resurgence.

"There is no doubt that humanity will prevail over the virus and emerge even stronger from this disaster," he said.

The president pledged that China will continue to take an active role in international cooperation on COVID-19. 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 the greater accessibility and affordability of COVID vaccines in developing countries, he said.

China has so far provided assistance to over 150 countries and 13 international organizations, sent 36 medical expert teams to countries in need, and remained strongly supportive and actively engaged in international cooperation on COVID vaccines, according to Xi.

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