Kuala Lumpur (dpa) – Given tensions with the United States, the head of state and Chinese party Xi Jinping has spoken out against protectionism and the “decoupling” of economies.
Speaking by video at a forum hosted by business leaders the day before the Asia-Pacific (Apec) summit in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, Xi Jinping said China is well integrated into the global economy and “would open its doors to the wider world”. .
He called for greater cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus and to stimulate the global economy, which has entered a recession. In an indirect reference to US President Donald Trump and his’ America First ‘policy, Xi Jinping said:’ Growing unilateralism, protectionism and harassment, as well as backlash against economic globalization, have increased risks and uncertainties in the global economy. “
The Asia-Pacific Partnership (APEC) summit, chaired by Malaysia, will bring together 21 countries on Friday, including the United States, Russia and Japan. Due to the pandemic, the meeting will be held as a video conference. It has not been officially confirmed whether the US president-elect, but still in office, will appear. Two years ago, Trump only sent his Vice President Mike Pence. In 2019, host Chile had to cancel the meeting due to unrest in the country. Apec represents more than half of the world’s economic production and 39% of the world’s population.
The Asia-Pacific summit follows less than a week after the conclusion of the world’s largest free trade agreement between China and 14 other Asia-Pacific economies. The “regional and global economic partnership” or RCEP, as the pact is abbreviated, comprises 2.2 billion people and a third of the world’s economic output. In addition to China and the ten states of the Southeast Asian Economic Community, American allies such as Japan, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand are also participating.
The group of major industrial nations (G20), chaired by Saudi Arabia, will meet on Saturday for a virtual summit. This is the first meeting of heads of state and government of the illustrious circle since the outbreak of the pandemic. Along with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump, Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and, for the first time, new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga are expected to attend the deliberations.
The pandemic shows once again that the interests of all countries are closely linked, Xi Jinping said in his speech. Globalization is an irreversible development. China is determined to be behind the multilateral trading system. “No country can develop by keeping its doors closed,” Xi Jinping said. “We will not change course or go against the historical trend by ‘decoupling’ or creating a small circle to exclude others.”
On the one hand, Xi Jinping has turned against the technological and economic “decoupling” of the United States and China to which Trump aspired. On the other hand, the Chinese president also countered fears abroad that the second largest economy with its new economic policy of “two cycles” could decouple from the world.
With this new strategy in the future five-year plan from 2021 to 2025, China wants to promote domestic consumption and its own technological innovation in order to make itself more independent from the United States and the rest of the world in the face of American sanctions. But Xi Jinping stressed, “We do not follow the traffic behind closed doors.” The national and international cycle must be mutually reinforcing.