Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Xi challenges US global leadership, vows green future without pledges

After cancelling the Boao Forum last year because of the coronavirus outbreak, China is signalling it’s open for business again.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on the US and its allies to avoid “bossing others around”.

He was speaking by video to more than 2,000 officials and business executives attending the Boao Forum on Asia in person in the southern island province of Hainan.

The Boao is touted as an Asian version of the World Economic Forum in Davos and will wind up on Wednesday.

Global leaders and the heads of the International Monetary Fund and United Nations attended the opening ceremony via video-link, according to state media.

Several key American executives are participating in the forum, including Apple’s Tim Cook, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman and Bridgewater Associates’ Ray Dalio.

After cancelling the forum last year because of the coronavirus outbreak, China is signalling it’s open for business again with the resumption of the conference.

On Tuesday, Xi told the forum, “International affairs should be conducted by way of negotiations and discussions, and the future destiny of the world should be decided by all countries.”

In a veiled critique of Washington’s efforts to reduce dependence on Chinese supply chains and withhold exports of goods like advanced computer chips, Xi said “any effort to build barriers works against economic and market principles, and would only harm others”.

“What we need in today’s world is justice, not hegemony,” Xi said, adding that China would never engage in an arms race.

A key focus was on any new climate goals from Beijing, following promises from the US and China to work together to tackle climate change after a visit by Washington’s global climate envoy John Kerry to Shanghai last week.

Xi didn’t provide any new targets on his drive to cut China’s carbon emissions or tackle global climate change.

His speech had multiple mentions of the words “green” and “sustainability”, but he offered no new pledges or suggestions for the pathway to carbon neutrality.

“We need to follow the philosophy of green development, advance international cooperation on climate change and do more to implement the Paris agreement on climate change,” he said.

He vowed that projects in the Belt and Road Initiative will be sustainable, and “green should effectively become the strategy’s background colour”.

Washington has been critical of the Belt and Road plans, saying that China’s loans locked poorer countries in “debt traps” while advancing its own strategic aims.

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