Xi first top Chi­nese leader at Davos

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUNBI in Bei­jing zhangyunbi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Fight­ing trade pro­tec­tion­ism, anti-glob­al­iza­tion and boost­ing con­fi­dence in the Chi­nese econ­omy will be high on Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s agenda as he be­comes the first top Chi­nese leader to at­tend the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum next week, ob­servers said.

Xi will pay a state visit to Switzer­land on Jan 15 to 18 and at­tend the fo­rum’s an­nual meet­ing in Davos on Jan 17 along­side cor­po­rate and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, Foreign Min­istry spokesman Lu Kang said on Tues­day.

The meet­ing was at­tended by Premier Li Ke­qiang in 2015 and by Vice-Pres­i­dent Li Yuan­chao last year.

Widespread po­lit­i­cal reshuf­fling across the globe has dam­p­ened in­vestor con­fi­dence and added un­cer­tainty to the al­ready slug­gish growth of the world econ­omy since the eco­nomic cri­sis in 2008.

World po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic lead­ers also are an­tic­i­pat­ing Xi ad­dress­ing the health of the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy in the wake of fluc­tu­a­tions in the yuan and Bei­jing’s mea­sures to rein in sys­tem­atic fi­nan­cial risks, ex­perts said.

Ruan Zonzge, vice-pres­i­dent of the China In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, said Xi’s first trip to the Davos meet­ing is to ad­dress “the widespread lack of con­fi­dence over the prospects for the world econ­omy and the lack of vi­able so­lu­tions”.

Events last year, in­clud­ing the United King­dom’s vote to leave the Euro­pean Union, “show­case the down­ward pres­sure of the global econ­omy since the cri­sis in 2008”, and “the gath­er­ing mo­men­tum against glob­al­iza­tion and in fa­vor of pro­tec­tion­ism”, Ruan warned.

The world is ex­pect­ing China to de­liver a strong voice against trade pro­tec­tion­ism at the fo­rum be­cause the voices of smaller coun­tries have not been enough of a coun­ter­bal­ance, Ruan added.

The fo­rum also is be­ing at­tended by such fig­ures as Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May and US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry, AFP re­ported.

Chen Fengy­ing, a se­nior re­searcher on the world econ­omy at China Institutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Relations, said, “We should

make it clear (at the fo­rum) that the ex­ist­ing in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tive mech­a­nisms should not be changed be­cause of the change in state lead­ers.”

Since the world econ­omy and glob­al­iza­tion are “at a cross­road and a turn­ing point”, it is time for Xi to demon­strate China’s power and duty as a ma­jor de­vel­op­ing coun­try, Chen said.

Xi’s com­ments also are highly an­tic­i­pated be­cause China’s an­nual cen­tral eco­nomic work con­fer­ence re­cently wrapped up, Chen noted.

“China’s econ­omy is also at a cross­roads. We could get ei­ther sus­tained growth or mas­sive risks break­ing out,” Chen said.

Huang Yip­ing, amem­berof the cen­tral bank mone­tary pol­icy com­mit­tee and an econ­o­mist at Pek­ing Univer­sity, said China’s cur­rent pri­or­i­ties in­clude elim­i­nat­ing sys­tem­atic fi­nan­cial risks and sta­bi­liz­ing its eco­nomic growth.

Dur­ing his stay in Switzer­land, Xi also will visit the of­fices of the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, the United Na­tions and the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee.

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