It was fitting that Chinese President Xi Jinping devoted his keynote address at the Boao Forum (also known as "China's Davos") to the theme of "a new phase" in the opening up of China's economy. Against the backdrop of the trade tension between China and the United States, many were seeking reassurance from Mr Xi, especially after he had mounted a vigorous defence of free trade and globalisation at Davos last year.
All eyes were on him as this was Mr Xi's first major public address since the outbreak of the trade spat. His essential message - that China is committed to opening up its economy "even wider" and to maintaining the multilateral trading system - was a welcome counterpoise to the protectionist rhetoric emanating from Washington.
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