27 Jan 2018 |Debra Killalea | News.com.au
“CHINA has given the world a blunt choice by asking global leaders to choose between Xi Jinping’s global outlook and that of US President Donald Trump.
In a strongly worded editorial by the state’s news agency, Beijing said the world needed to choose between “two fundamentally different outlooks” which included the Chinese President’s shared future and Mr Trump’s America First policy.
The commentary, by Xinhua, comes as global leaders and policy makers gather in the Swiss town of Davos for the World Economic Forum which draws to a close on Friday.
Mr Trump has already attended a gala reception and dinner with European business chiefs.
The US President is due to address the forum on its closing day at the end of a week that saw his administration announce a new package of trade tariffs targeting China and South Korea, and spark upheaval on the currency markets.
The glitzy annual gathering at a Swiss Alpine resort has drawn politicians, CEOs and celebrities to ponder public policy and global co-operation for more than 50 years.
Mr Xi last year delivered the first address by a Chinese leader at the forum where he took up the torch of global trade to the delight of the well-heeled audience then anxious about Mr Trump’s inauguration.
He was absent from this year’s forum, but that didn’t stop China from delivering its own message to the world.
Xinhua said the world can either choose between China’s vision or Mr Trump’s “self-centred America First policy (which) has led his country away from multiple multilateral pacts and infused anxiety into both allies and the broader world”.
“Although what he is about to say at the globalist brainstorming feast on Friday remains guesswork, few believe this particular pulpit would be able to make him turn his back on the poster boy of a rising isolationist tendency that many fear is fragmenting the world,” the editorial reads.
It goes on to say the “Xi-style collaborative approach” is the only way forward because of “the interests of different countries have become so closely intertwined that mankind has no future but a shared one”.
China and the US have had a testing relationship in recent months with tensions increasing over Mr Trump’s push for China to do more over North Korea.
During the US election campaign, Mr Trump was outspoken about his opposition to Beijing’s global trade policy.
In 2016 he told a rally in Indiana the country was responsible for “the greatest trade theft in the history of the world”.
“We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country, and that’s what we’re doing,” he told the crowd.
Beijing has made no secret of its ambitious plans for global growth in the past.
In a 3 ½ hour speech given while opening a five-yearly national congress in October last year, Mr Xi set out his country’s ambitious plans to become the world’s biggest superpower within the next 30 years.
The Chinese President spelt out his time frame for the country to become a “global leader” with international influence and said “it was time for his nation to transform itself into a mighty force” that could lead the entire world on political, economic, military and environmental issues.
US OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Earlier this week White House officials said the President was going to the World Economic Forum to promote his economic policies.
Top Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn said the President was going to Davos to “tell the world that America is open for business”.
Administration aides say he will use his maiden appearance to play salesman-in-chief, making the case for investment in a revitalised America.
“(This trip) is about an America First agenda but America First does mean working with the rest of the world,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
“It just means that President Trump is looking out for American interests, no different than other leaders look out for their own.”
Mr Trump’s business-friendly tax cuts and a record-breaking bull run on Wall Street have wowed many in the Davos crowd.
But the decision by Mr Trump — the self-styled anti-globalist president — to attend the world’s most notable gathering of globalists, and at an exclusive Swiss ski resort no less, has left some scratching their heads.
Mr Trump has criticised global pacts, withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on trade, demanding changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement and announcing his intent to exit the Paris climate accord.
However, in a an interview with CNBC to be broadcast in full on Friday US time, Mr Trump suggested he was open to the United States joining the TPP, which he had rejected only a year ago.
China’s stinging editorial also comes after Mr Trump imposed tariffs on imported solar-energy components and large washing machines last week in a blow to China’s export market.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross conceded that China could slap retaliatory tariffs on US products following the decision this week to impose tariffs on imported solar-energy components and large washing machines.
Mr Ross said there’s “always potential for retribution and retaliation and that’s up to the Chinese to decide”.