Xi Jinping to become first Chinese president to attend Davos

China's President Xi Jinping arrives at the Peruvian congress for a ceremony in Lima on Nov 21, 2016, during an official visit ensueing the APEC Summit.
China's President Xi Jinping arrives at the Peruvian congress for a ceremony in Lima on Nov 21, 2016, during an official visit ensueing the APEC Summit.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - President Xi Jinping will become the first Chinese president to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday (Jan 10), as the country seeks a greater role in global affairs.

Xi will pay a state visit to Switzerland from Jan 15-18 and attend the forum's annual meeting alongside billionaires and politicians on Jan 17, ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing.

While in the country, Xi will also visit the offices of the World Health Organization, United Nations and International Olympic Committee.

Chinese executives including Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Dalian Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin and Baidu president Zhang Yaqin will accompany the leader.

"This year, because of the size and scale of the China delegation, we have Chinese voices in most of the global discussions," the World Economic Forum's chief China representative David Aikman told Bloomberg News.

China is seeking opportunities to reshape the rules for global trade, anticipating a more isolated United States under President-elect Donald Trump, who will take office on the last day of the forum.

Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao attended the Davos meeting in 2016, while Premier Li Keqiang led the country's delegation in 2015.