As trade war bites, China's Xi preaches openness

15 Mai, 2019, 19:11 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Trump calls trade war with China 'a little squabble'

Chinese President Xi Jinping denounced as "foolish" foreign efforts to reshape other nations as he pushes back against US trade demands.

China has a glorious history of being open to the world and it will only be more open, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday (May 15), in his first public address since trade tension with the United States spiked last week.

Xi's speech comes less than a week after trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing took a turn for the worse, with the U.S. hiking tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese merchandise and targeting duties on $300 billion more. Just before Xi spoke the government reported surprisingly weaker growth in retail sales and industrial output for April.

China levied $60 billion of USA goods, starting from June 1, after the United States announced it would raise $200 billion on Chinese imports.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilization, which opened today at the China National Convention Center in Beijing.

Xi made no direct reference to trade tensions with the U.S. in his speech at the forum in Beijing, which was organized by China's Publicity Department.

Chinese civilisation was an "open system" that continuously had exchanges and learnt from other cultures, including Buddhism, Marxism and Islam, Mr Xi told the forum.

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China's rising influence has also raised alarm bells in Asia, especially as it continues to assert its vast territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea and East China Sea. China in the future will take on an even more open stance to embrace the world.

No country can stand alone, Xi said, perhaps taking an indirect swipe at U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" policy.

"Civilisations will lose vitality if countries go back to isolation and cut themselves off from the rest of the world", Xi said.

China has been particularly upset by comments reported in the USA media last month by a State Department official who said the United States was involved in "a fight with a really different civilization" when it came to China. He said there would be no clash of civilizations as long as people are able to appreciate the beauty of them all.

Xi offered no new concrete measures to open China up, aside from proposing an Asia tourism promotion plan, and even on that he gave no details.

China has also faced criticism for its tight cyber controls - though forum organizers unblocked the internet for foreign media - and for a controversial re-education campaign for Muslims in its far Western region of Xinjiang.

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