Is it China’s time to be the global leader?
As Trump’s administration is taking steps back from its global leadership role to focus on its “America First” policy, Beijing is now declaring that it’s ready to take its place.
For the first time ever, a Chinese president and not an American politician made a case for the importance of globalization and multilateral cooperation at the recently held World Economic Forum.
“The problems troubling the world are not caused by globalization,” Chinese President Xi Jinping declared in Davos last month. “Countries should view their own interest in the broader context and refrain from pursuing their own interests at the expense of others.”
In fact, China has become the world’s biggest proponent of globalization after Trump became president. And while this is the first time a Chinese president has ever attended the annual Davos conference, Xi made sure his presence made an impact. He even took a jab at Donald Trump’s policies without being too specific.
“Pursuing protectionism is just like locking one’s self in a dark room. Wind and rain may be kept outside, but so are light and air,” he said during his address. “No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war.”
Xi has also been recently declaring that he is the exact opposite of Trump to the international community.
When Trump was speaking of junking the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Xi offered to the world his alternative Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
While Trump pushed for tougher immigration policies, Xi made to it easier for foreigners to get Chinese green cards.
But Xi’s indication that China is ready to take charge became even more evident during a national security seminar in Beijing last week.
“The overall trend of world multi-polarization, economic globalization, and democratization of international relations remains unchanged,” Xi was quoted by Xinhua (via Quartz) as saying. “We should guide the international community to jointly build a more just and reasonable new world order.”
But with China’s further ascent as a global economic power and its bid to be the world’s guide toward the future, one can’t help but wonder: “How will this all work with a government run on authoritarianism and rigid political control?”
The state-controlled media has dubbed the president’s new approach as the “Two Guides” policy, which refers to the new world order and international security.
The emphasis on international security, of course, is no coincidence. With China’s dismal humanitarian record and strict internet policies and regulations, one can only imagine how Beijing will will play its role as a “guide” for the rest of the world.
Expressing deep support with Xi’s new proposal, the China’s state-run news stated that it has “profound meaning,” and coincided with the annual Munich Security Conference and the G20 finance ministerial meeting.
“Western-dominated world order is near its end as Western countries are showing less willingness and ability to interfere in global affairs—as evidenced by Trump’s isolationist foreign policy,” the government-owned press was quoted as saying.