Chinese president Xi Jinping defended globalization in an address to the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, likening the world’s interconnectedness to a “big ocean that you cannot escape from.”
Xi didn’t mention Donald Trump, but his speech sounded like a warning to the incoming American president.
“Pursuing protectionism is just like locking one’s self in a dark room,” Xi said: “Wind and rain might be kept outside but so are light and air.”
He also warned that “no one would emerge as a winner” from a trade war.
Trump has called for higher tariffs on imported goods and measures against what he calls unfair Chinese trade practices.
Tuesday was the first time a Chinese president spoke at the annual conclave of political and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland.
Xi used the platform to declare himself a champion of the open and free economy that has allowed China to lift hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty and grow into the second largest economy in the world.
“It is true that economic globalization created new problems,” the Communist Party leader admitted, “but this is no justification to write off economic globalization altogether.”
Rather we should adapt to and guide economic globalization, cushion its negative impacts and deliver its benefits for all countries.
This is the opposite approach from Trump’s, who would rather shut out the rest of the world and somehow return to the industrial-heavy economy of the America’s past.