Amid trade war, China's Xi preaches openness, says no civilisation superior

Chinese President Xi Jinping's latest remarks come amid tensions with the United States and concerns in Asia about Beijing's rising power

Chinese President Xi Jinping's latest remarks come amid tensions with the United States and concerns in Asia about Beijing's rising power

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing, China May 15, 2019.

In a veiled attack on his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump after he raised tariffs on Chinese products, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday said that it is "foolish" to believe in "superiority of civilisations" as countries can not go into isolation and close their doors from the rest of the world.

Xi made the comments at the opening session of the conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations being held here, his first comments after trade war between the United States and China escalated after Trump last Friday increased the import duty on Chinese products worth $200 billion from 10 per cent to 25 per cent. Just before Xi spoke the government reported surprisingly weaker growth in retail sales and industrial output for April.

Xi was addressing a forum in Beijing organized by the propaganda ministry, called the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations.

"Today's China is not only China's China".

China has said it would impose higher tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods from June 1 in retaliation of US's tariff hike on Chinese goods. It is Asia's China and the world's China. "China in the future will take on an even more open stance to embrace the world", he added.

Xi made no direct reference to trade tensions with the USA in his speech at the forum in Beijing, which was organized by China's Publicity Department.

Xi claimed "no country can stand alone" and added that "civilizations will lose vitality if countries go back to isolation and cut themselves off from the rest of the world".

Chinese state media has stepped up its rhetoric in the days since President Donald Trump's administration released its list of proposed new tariffs, with state television proclaiming the country will "fight to the end if the US wants to".

His remarks came after a top-level USA official last month described the rivalry between China and the U.S. as "a fight with a really different civilisation and a different ideology". He said there would be no clash of civilizations as long as people are able to appreciate the beauty of them all.

"It is stupid to believe that one's race and civilization are superior to others, and it is disastrous to wilfully reshape or even replace other civilizations".

Officials have billed the forum as part of a soft power push to put a gentler face on China's growing might, though it attracted only a handful of foreign leaders to the opening session, at which Mr Xi spoke, including the presidents of Greece, Sri Lanka and Singapore.

China has faced opposition to some of its global ambitions, mainly in the West but especially in the United States, where there has been suspicion of Chinese technology, Mr Xi's Belt and Road Initiative to re-create the Old Silk Road, and government-run Confucius Institutes to teach the Chinese language.

China has also faced criticism for its tight cyber controls - though forum organizers unblocked the internet for foreign media - and for a controversial re-education campaign for Muslims in its restive far Western region of Xinjiang.

Notícias recomendadas

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.