National Post (Latest Edition)

China’s Xi calls for new world order

- Ryan mcmorrow

• Xi Jinping has called for a new world order, using a speech at China’s flagship business event to launch a veiled attack against U.S. global leadership and to warn against economic decoupling.

“Internatio­nal affairs should be handled by everyone,” the Chinese president told the Boao Forum for Asia, an event billed as the country’s answer to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Last year’s summit was cancelled because of the coronaviru­s pandemic.

Xi did not name the

United States in his 18-minute speech but he took aim at Washington’s efforts to decouple supply chains and bar critical American semiconduc­tors and other high-tech goods from being sold to Chinese companies such as Huawei.

“The rules set by one or several countries should not be imposed on others, and the unilateral­ism of individual countries should not give the whole world a rhythm,” he said.

Xi made the comments just days after Joe Biden, U.S. president, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga committed to working together to oppose Chinese coercion in the South and East China Seas.

Washington and other Western government­s have also been highly critical of Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong and human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

“Bossing others around and interferin­g in other countries’ internal affairs will not be well received,” Xi said.

Despite the geopolitic­al tensions, U.S. businesses are eager to expand operations in China, which posted 18.3 per cent year on year economic growth in the first three months of 2021. U.S. banks in particular have been keen as Beijing gradually opens up its financial markets.

Western executives scheduled to participat­e in the four-day Boao Forum, which wraps up on Wednesday, included Apple chief executive Tim Cook, Goldman Sachs president John Waldron, Tesla boss Elon Musk and Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone.

Shi Yinhong, director of the Centre on American Studies at Renmin University in Beijing, said there was no doubt that the United States was the target of Xi’s remarks. “In the eyes of China, the U.S. is still hegemonic,” he said.

Xi also called for closer global co-operation on developing, manufactur­ing and distributi­ng COVID-19 vaccines to improve access in developing countries.

“We want to make (the vaccine) truly accessible and affordable to people of all countries,” Xi said.

Chinese vaccines developed by Sinopharm, Sinovac and Cansino have already been produced in countries that have signed up to its Belt and Road Initiative, including Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. China has administer­ed 195 million doses and has just 311 COVID-19 cases.

Xi insisted that vaccines were global public goods and promised to provide more help for developing countries to overcome the pandemic and seek broader global co-operation in public health and traditiona­l medicine.

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