Xi to be first Chinese president to attend Davos forum

BEIJING: China's President Xi Jinping will attend the World Economic Forum next week, becoming the first Chinese head of state to do so.

As part of an official visit to Switzerland, Xi will attend the annual economic meeting in the ski resort of Davos on Jan. 17, a foreign ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

Xi's attendance comes as China has sought to be more influential globally and present itself as a force for stability and champion of globalization and opponent of protectionism.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last month that China would "lead the way amid a shakeup in global governance, we will take hold of the situation amid international chaos, we will protect our interests amid intense and complex games."

At the same time, while Xi has promised to make the world's second-largest economy more competitive and productive by giving market forces a bigger role, reform advocates complain Beijing is failing to reduce the dominance of state companies. Foreign companies say regulators are trying to squeeze them out of technology and other promising fields.

Ministry spokesman Lu Kang says Xi's Jan. 15-18 trip to Switzerland will also include visits to the offices of the United Nations and the World Health Organization in Geneva, and the International Olympics Committee's headquarters in Lausanne.