Xi in global appeal to fight pandemic, climate change

Xi said countries need to better coordinate their economic policies, avoid protectionism and other barriers to trade and cooperation to support a global economic recovery.

Countries must cooperate more closely in fighting the challenges of the pandemic and climate change and in supporting a sustainable global economic recovery, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday in an address to the World Economic Forum.

“Humanity has only one Earth and one shared future,” Xi said in remarks from Beijing to a virtual gathering that is taking place in lieu of the annual in-person meetings in Davos, Switzerland, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Fighting the pandemic is the most urgent task facing the international community,” Xi said, in urging that countries cooperate to conquer the disease.

“In particular, we should strengthen cooperation in vaccine research and development, production and distribution, so that vaccines can truly become a public good that are accessible and affordable to people in all countries,” he said.

Xi, making his first appearance at the forum since his vigorous defense of free trade and globalization in an address in Davos in 2017, struck a similar tone this time around, advocating multilateralism as the way out of current challenges in a roughly 25-minute speech.

“We should build an open world economy ... discard discriminatory and exclusionary standards, rules and systems, and take down barriers to trade, investment and technological exchanges,” he said.

While Xi did not mention recent US policies directly, he did call for sticking to rules, embracing diversity and avoiding confrontations over trade and technology.

Relations between the US and China have sunk to their worst in decades as former President Donald Trump imposed punitive tariffs and other sanctions to try to gain concessions on trade and counter trade deficits.

“We should advocate fair competition, like competing with each other for excellence in a racing field, not beating each other on a wrestling arena,” Xi said.

“To engage in cliques, a new Cold War, exclusion, threats and intimidation against others, to warn of decoupling, cutting off supplies, sanctions at every turn ... can only drive the world to division and even conflict,” he said. “A divided world cannot tackle the common challenges facing humanity, and confrontation will lead humanity to a dead end,” Xi said.

Xi said countries need to better coordinate their economic policies, avoid protectionism and other barriers to trade and cooperation to support a global economic recovery and ensure the stability of world financial systems.

“Despite trillions of dollars countries around the world rolled out in economic remedies, the momentum of the global economic recovery remains very unstable, and there is great uncertainty about the outlook” Xi said.

The G20, an international forum grouping 19 of the biggest developed and emerging economies, plus the European Union, should be strengthened as the “main forum for global economic governance” and the world should “engage in closer macro-economic policy coordination,” Xi added.

The Chinese leader also reaffirmed Beijing’s ambitious climate pledges to slash carbon emissions by 65 percent by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

“Meeting these targets will require tremendous hard work from China. But we believe that when the interests of the entire humanity are at stake, China must step forward, take action and get the job done,” he said.

Other leaders expected to address the virtual forum include Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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