Boao Forum: Global affairs can't be decided by a few countries, says China's Xi Jinping

Speaking virtually at the Boao Forum in Hainan, Chinese President Xi Jinping said there is no place for unilateralism or hegemony.
Speaking virtually at the Boao Forum in Hainan, Chinese President Xi Jinping said there is no place for unilateralism or hegemony.PHOTO: REUTERS

BOAO - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday (April 20) urged countries to work together, saying global affairs cannot be decided by just a few countries.

Speaking virtually at the Boao Forum in Hainan, Mr Xi said there is no place for unilateralism or hegemony, calling on the world to reject a "new Cold War mentality" and ideological confrontation.

"When countries get along with each other, we must put equality, mutual respect and mutual trust in the forefront, and it is unpopular to arrogantly instruct other countries and interfere in internal affairs," he said in his keynote speech.

"The world wants justice, not hegemony," he added.

China and the United States have been locked in confrontation over a range of issues - from trade to technology, and even Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Washington has sanctioned a raft of Chinese officials for human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and has blacklisted a number of Chinese technology companies for what it says are threats to national security. 

Mr Xi was speaking to more than 2,000 officials and business executives attending the conference in person in the southern island province of Hainan.

Several global leaders and heads of international organisations are also set to address the session, including Singapore President Halimah Yacob.

Calling on foreign leaders to "do more in jointly addressing climate change" and to step up implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, Mr Xi said the world needs to focus on green development.

He did not, however, announce any specific goals ahead of a special climate change summit that US President Joe Biden is set to host later this week.

The US and China last week committed to work together to tackle the threat of climate change after meetings between Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua and his US counterpart John Kerry in Shanghai.

During his speech, Mr Xi called the Belt and Road Initiative, his pet infrastructure project, a "sunny avenue open to all".

"In the spirit of openness and tolerance, we will work together with all interested parties who are willing to participate to build the Belt and Road into a 'road to poverty reduction' and a 'road to growth'," he said.

After the coronavirus forced a hiatus last year, this year's Boao event is a far more muted affair with strict virus control measures, and most foreign delegates taking part virtually.

With the resumption while the pandemic continues to rage worldwide, China is signalling it is open for business.

Officials have previously used the event for policy announcements, including major steps to open up the financial system.

Mr Xi on Tuesday also announced the second Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations, which will be held "as soon as the epidemic is brought under control".

The inaugural conference in 2019 brought together more than 2,000 officials, academics and representatives from fields such as culture, tourism, film and television from 47 Asian countries, and dozens more from outside Asia.