China to promote inclusive globalisation at Davos

China's President Xi Jinping speaks to his Gabonese counterpart Ali Bongo Ondimba during a meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Dec 7, 2016.
China's President Xi Jinping speaks to his Gabonese counterpart Ali Bongo Ondimba during a meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Dec 7, 2016. PHOTO: AFP
Divided societies, rising populism and fears for the world's climate top the list of risks facing politicians, central bankers and business leaders gathering in Davos next week, says the World Economic Forum.

President Xi's trip marks Beijing's resolve to play bigger role in global governance

China seeks to play a more active role in multilateral platforms as President Xi Jinping attends a gathering of the global elite and visits several key international organisations in Switzerland next week.

This comes as the United States looks to be retreating from the world stage, with US President-elect Donald Trump questioning the necessity of multilateralism.

In a briefing yesterday, China's Vice-Foreign Minister Li Baodong said Mr Xi will offer Beijing's take on concerns over globalisation, and seek to "steer economic globalisation towards greater inclusiveness" in his keynote speech at the opening session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

The meeting is also a chance for Mr Xi to exchange ideas with global political, business and academic leaders, and brief them on China's economy and investment opportunities in China, he added.

Mr Xi is the first top Chinese leader to attend the Davos meeting.

After Davos, he will visit the International Olympics Committee (IOC) in Lausanne and the World Health Organisation (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, as well as speak at a high-level conference at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

MOMENTOUS VISIT

This fully demonstrates the importance that Chinese leaders place on multilateralism.

CHINA'S VICE-FOREIGN MINISTER LI BAODONG, saying Mr Xi will be the first head of state to speak at the UN Office.

Referring to the UN Office, Mr Li said: "Mr Xi will be the first head of state to speak at the Palace of Nations in Geneva, and the first top Chinese leader to visit the WHO and IOC. This fully demonstrates the importance that Chinese leaders place on multilateralism."

In this speech, Mr Xi will lay out a blueprint for the future development of mankind, and offer ideas on how to maintain world peace and promote common development.

"It will touch upon important issues such as resolving regional conflicts, terrorism, problems of refugees, global governance and revitalising the world economy," he said.

Analysts and commentators say Mr Xi's first overseas visit of the year marks Beijing's resolve to promote globalisation and play a bigger role in global governance.

A commentary in the People's Daily, the ruling Communist Party's official newspaper, said the visit will show the world that China has written a new chapter in its brand of "major power diplomacy with Chinese characteristics".

Peking University's foreign affairs expert Wang Dong said Mr Xi has made it very clear that Beijing will continue to support globalisation and multilateral institutions.

Mr Xi has also been emphasising a larger role for China in global governance, Professor Wang said.

"China believes that it's important for it to assume responsibilities for global growth," he said. "And it has come to a stage where China can make more contributions to global governance, so this trip to Davos is symbolic in that way."

Prof Wang noted that this also comes as the world is looking to China for more leadership, especially when the US seems to be retreating from the world.

"But China can't do it alone. What it can do is to propose doable ideas and programmes, build consensus and get other countries on board. This is how you play the leadership role," he added.

Rising inequality among biggest global risks: WEF

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2017, with the headline 'China to promote inclusive globalisation at Davos'. Print Edition | Subscribe