Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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China's Xi Jinping Defends Economic Globalization at World Economic Forum

Chinese President Xi, Defender of Globalization in World Economic Forum

(Photo : YouTube Screenshot) Chinese President compared the saying "yes to protectionism" to locking oneself in a dark room and keeping out light and air.

Chinese President Xi Jinping formally opened on Tuesday the proceedings of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as he staunchly positioned himself as a defender of globalization and free trade.

Xi set the tone for the week-long conference with a powerful speech sprinkled with Chinese metaphors and proverbs and historical reference.

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Globalization and Free Trade

Xi  argued that the economic integration has powered human advancement and improved the lives of many and it is not the root of the world's crises but rather a solution. He further explained that while it is true that economic globalization has created new problems, this is no justification to write off economic globalization altogether.

In a report by CBS Money Watch, Xi underscored the importance of saying "no to protectionism" and to remain committed to developing free trade and investment, and promoting liberalization and facilitation through opening up.

The Chinese leader compared the saying "yes to protectionism" to locking oneself in a dark room and keeping out light and air. "No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war," Xi stressed.

Xi's Speech is a Step to Global Leadership Role

One expert told The Washington Post that this could be seen as a turning point for China to move toward filling a "global leadership role" that the US has played for a century and now might be abandoning.

Other observers such as  Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the Telegraph said Xi was "throwing down the gauntlet" as US President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration approaches.

Trump, being days away from his inauguration, was not in attendance at Davos, and Xi never uttered his name. However, many of the Chinese president's statements were clearly responding to the rhetoric from Trump who have rejected globalization and many existing trade deals.

World Economic Forum 2017

The World Economic Forum is an international body that is committed to improving the state of the world. Its forum is best known for its annual meeting at the end of January in Davos, Switzerland, and  Xi was the first Chinese leader to attend this annual event.

The forum brings together thousands of top business leaders, international politics, and journalists. It runs for about four days and will cover pressing issues that the world is facing.

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