Xi, Putin lash out at US hegemony

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a plenary session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum yesterday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a plenary session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum yesterday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Protect multilateral trade system, Chinese leader urges world powers

MOSCOW • Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday joined his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in lashing out at United States' global dominance, highlighting the two powers' growing confrontation with the administration of President Donald Trump.

"Along with the emergence of reverse-globalisation and hegemonism, global society faces increasing new challenges," Mr Xi said at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Mr Xi called on world powers to protect the multilateral trade system and said it was important to find a solution to trade disputes despite disagreements.

He said China supported globalisation and described it as a historical trend that remained intact.

The US is trying to "impose its jurisdiction across the entire world", Mr Putin said, adding that this was pushing the world on a "path to permanent conflicts, trade wars, and maybe not only trade ones".

But the Chinese President also called Mr Trump his friend and said he believed the US was not interested in rupturing economic ties with China.

TRADE CHALLENGES

Along with the emergence of reverse-globalisation and hegemonism, global society faces increasing new challenges.

CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING, on the challenge of protecting the global multilateral trade system.

"It's hard to imagine a complete break of the United States from China or of China from the United States. We are not interested in this, and our American partners are not interested in this. President Trump is my friend and I am convinced he is also not interested in this," Mr Xi said in Chinese.

The Chinese leader's visit to Russia comes as he seeks to face down Mr Trump in an escalating trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

While China has traditionally avoided being dragged into a direct stand-off with the US, the commercial battle is making that increasingly hard to do.

Mr Xi presided over the signing of US$20 billion (S$27 billion) in agreements at his meeting with Mr Putin on Wednesday, the start of his three-day visit to Russia.

The agreements include an accord for Huawei Technologies, which faces a US ban from 5G networks, to start pilot zones in Russia with Mobile TeleSystems PJSC.

Mr Putin named Mr Trump's campaign against Huawei as an example of US efforts to monopolise the world economy, along with threats of sanctions to try and derail the building of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Europe.

"In some circles, this is even being called the first technological war of the dawning digital era," Mr Putin said yesterday.

Huawei has been in turmoil since last month, when the Trump administration banned US companies from selling high-tech equipment to the Chinese telecoms giant over suspicions it is spying for Beijing.

Mr Putin also said the use of the US dollar as an instrument of pressure was undermining its role as a global reserve currency.

 
 

He said Russia would try to help Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un resume talks in an effort to find a breakthrough in their row over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

Mr Xi also said that work needed to continue on solving the crisis on the Korean peninsula.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was also on the panel, said it was important to prevent the US and China from sliding into a new Cold War.

Mr Xi, who brought with him two pandas for the Moscow Zoo, said at the Kremlin meeting that Sino-Russian ties had reached their "highest level in history".

On Thursday, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Mr Putin's alma mater, and the Russian leader showed him around his hometown of St Petersburg.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2019, with the headline 'Xi, Putin lash out at US hegemony'. Print Edition | Subscribe