He returned to notion of multilateralism at very crucial time, Davos founder says
Five years ago, President Xi Jinping sent a message at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that strongly promoted economic globalization at a time when the sluggish global economy was plagued by rising protectionism and isolationism.
Xi's speech at the Davos event still resonates today, as the world needs openness and cooperation more than ever amid the threat to all countries of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic and societal consequences, vaccine inequality and the resulting uneven economic recovery risk that compounds social fractures and geopolitical tensions.
At the invitation of Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Xi will address the virtual Davos Agenda 2022 event on Monday amid global anticipation of China's contribution to recovery from the gloomy world economy and post-pandemic development.
This would be his third time speaking to the forum. In addition to the 2017 speech, Xi made a special address to the Davos event via video link in January 2021.
At the Davos Agenda 2022 virtual event, from Monday to Friday, heads of state and government, CEOs and other leaders will discuss the critical challenges facing the world today and present ideas on how to address them, according to the WEF website.
Su Xiaohui, deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies' International and Strategic Studies Department, said that confronted by the rampant global spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the world stands once again at a crossroads.
While world leaders discuss global challenges, they may be eager to hear from China about how the world can work together to fight COVID-19, how to boost the global economy and narrow the development gap and how China's economy will develop, Su said.
In a time when international solidarity and cooperation are greatly needed to cope with the common challenges that all face, the trend of anti-globalization in developed countries has risen, but China has been a strong force in support of market opening and economic globalization, observers said.
In his 2017 speech at the Davos event, Xi underscored that economic globalization is a historical trend, saying that "whether you like it or not, the global economy is the big ocean that you cannot escape from." He added: "Any attempt to cut off the flow of capital, technologies, products, industries and people between economies, and to channel the waters in the ocean back into isolated lakes and creeks is simply not possible. Indeed, it runs counter to the historical trend."
In 2021, as the world fought the pandemic and was threatened by protectionism, Xi called for upholding multilateralism and abandoning bullying tactics, ideological prejudice and hatred as well as economic decoupling and sanctions in order to avoid pushing the world into division and confrontation.
Schwab described Xi's speech in 2021 as "historic", saying, "He came back to this proposal and notion of multilateralism at a very crucial time in the history of humankind."
Speaking at a regular news conference on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Xi's speech for this year's Davos event is crucial at a time when the pandemic is still raging, uncertainties for world economic recovery are rising, the development gap between the South and North keeps widening and economic globalization is encountering setbacks.
Analysts said China might use this year's Davos event to offer its approaches on pandemic response, global economic recovery and post-pandemic development, and to reaffirm its position to uphold true multilateralism and present the prospects of the development of the Chinese economy.