China's Xi to promote globalisation at Davos, not "war and poverty"

BEIJING/GENEVA: China's President Xi Jinping will promote "inclusive globalisation" at this month's World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos and will warn that populist approaches can lead to "war and poverty", Chinese officials said on Wednesday.

This year's forum, from January 17-20, is expected to be dominated by discussion of a surge in public hostility towards globalisation and the rise of US President-elect Donald Trump, whose tough talk on trade, including promises of tariffs against China and Mexico, helped win him the White House. Trump will be sworn in on Jan. 20.

Xi is the first Chinese president to ever attend the WEF's annual forum in Davos, which brings together top-level political and business leaders.

Jiang Jianguo, head of the State Council Information Office, told a symposium hosted by the World Trade Organisation in Geneva that President Xi would go to Davos to push for development, cooperation and economic globalisation in order to build "a human community with shared destiny."

"With the rise of populism, protectionism, and nativism, the world has come to a historic crossroad where one road leads to war, poverty, confrontation and domination while the other road leads to peace, development, cooperation and win-win solutions," Jiang said.

At a briefing in Beijing on the Davos visit, Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong said China would respond to the international community's concern over globalisation by putting forward Beijing's opinions on how to "steer economic globalisation towards greater inclusiveness.".

Li said criticism of trade protectionism levelled at China, by Trump and others, was unjust. "Trade protectionism will lead to isolation and is in the interest of no one," he said.

"Channels of communication are open" between China and Trump's transition team at the forum, Li said, but warned that scheduling a meeting might be difficult.

Days after Trump's victory, Xi vowed to fight protectionism and to push forward with multilateral trade deals. Foreign businesses in China have long complained about a lack of market access and protectionist Chinese policies.

Xi will attend the Davos forum on January 17, part of a three-day state visit to Switzerland from Jan. 15 to 18.

The United States will be represented at Davos by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, days before they leave office, as well as someone from the Trump transition team, the WEF said on Tuesday.