Chinese President Xi Jinping offered a vigorous defense of globalisation and free trade in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday. As Ivor Bennett reports, it underscores Beijing's desire to play a greater global role as the United States turns inward.
When there's a chill in the air, a little self-protection is understandable. But delegates in Davos this year are being warned not to retreat too far. Safety, we're told, is to be found in numbers. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING SAYING: "Pursuing protectionism is just like locking oneself in a dark room. While wind and rain may be kept outside so are light and air. No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war." He didn't mention Donald Trump by name, but it was clear who the Chinese President was referring to. Beijing is one of the first on the president-elect's list for potential new trade tariffs. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING SAYING: "It is true that economic globalisation has created new problems. But this is no justification to write it off altogether. We should instead adapt and guide globalisation, cushion its negative impact and deliver its benefits to every nation." It's the first time a Chinese leader has appeared at the annual gathering but some feel it may be too soon to call this a changing of the guard. SOUNDBITE (English) JAMES BEVAN, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CCLA, SAYING: "There is an expectation that Mr Trump's strategy in practice may turn out to be less painful than has been anticipated in the media so far." For now though, team Trump is sticking to the script. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR ADVISER TO U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI SAYING: "We want to have a phenomenal relationship with the Chinese. But if the Chinese really believe in globalism, and they really believe in the words of Lincoln, they have to reach now towards us and allow us to create a symmetry because the path to globalism for the world is through the American worker and the American middle class." If that is the case, it may not be long before others seek shelter too.