China’s Xi Jinping Speech Seen as Move to Fill Global Leadership Role

China’s President Xi at the World Economic Forum, in Davos. He portrayed further globalization as a historical trend and outlined China’s contributions that had benefited the rest of the world. PHOTO: LAURENT GILLIERON/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

 

DAVOS, Switzerland—Chinese President Xi Jinping’s strong defense of globalization at a speech at the World Economic Forum was depicted here as an effort to fill a vacuum being created by the U.S. stepping back from a global leadership role.

Mr. Xi was seen as reacting to growing concerns that the incoming U.S. administration of Donald Trump would shift the world’s largest economy toward protectionism.

In an hour-long speech before a packed hall of 1,600 delegates, Mr. Xi portrayed further globalization as a historical trend and outlined China’s contributions that had benefited the rest of the world. He also acknowledged that while economic globalization had boosted global wealth, the consequence had also been growing inequalities.

In the speech, Mr. Xi built a case that China should have a greater formal role in guiding the world economy. But some in the audience questioned the readiness of China to adopt the leadership role that Mr. Xi was viewed as mapping out.

“Here, we have the global elite embracing Xi as the anti-Trump,” said Lawrence Freedman, emeritus professor of war studies at King’s College, London.

Former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt said: “There is a vacuum in global leadership. Xi sees it and he seizes it.”

Full article: China’s Xi Jinping Speech Seen as Move to Fill Global Leadership Role (Wall Street Journal)

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