Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has again urged nations across the globe to rise in unison and reject hegemonic power structures in global governance, saying the need for devolution of power at this critical juncture of world order cannot be overemphasized.
He added that it was time for world leaders to return to the negotiating table and redraw the plan of governance from being singlehandedly dominated by super powers and allow for inputs of smaller nations in deciding world’s fate collectively.
XI call was coming amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over a widening range of issues including alleged human rights abuses, among others bordering on control of world politics and economy.
Speaking at the annual Boao Forum for Asia on Tuesday, Xi criticised efforts by some countries to “build barriers” and “decouple”, which he said, would harm others and benefit no one in the long term.
It would be recalled that China has long called for reforms of the global governance system to better reflect a more diverse range of perspectives and values from the international community, including its own, instead of those of a few major nations.
It has also repeatedly clashed with the biggest stakeholders in world governance, particularly the United States, over a range of issues from human rights to China’s economic influence over other countries.
“The world wants justice, not hegemony,” Xi said in remarks broadcast to the forum, adding that “a big country should look like a big country by showing that it is shouldering more responsibility.”
While Xi did not identify any country in his remarks, Chinese officials have in recent times referred to U.S. “hegemony” in public criticisms of Washington’s global projection of power in trade and geopolitics.
On Friday, U.S. President, Joe Biden, held his first face-to-face White House summit since taking office, in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, in which China topped the agenda.
Both leaders said they “share serious concerns” about the human rights situation in Hong Kong and China’s Xinjiang region, where Washington has said Beijing is perpetrating a genocide against Muslim Uighurs. Meanwhile, China has denied abuses.
In a display of economic cooperation to the exclusion of China, Biden said Japan and the United States would jointly invest in areas such as 5G technology, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, genomics and semiconductor supply chains.
As the Biden administration rallies other democratic allies to harden their stance on China, Beijing was seeking to strengthen ties with its autocratic partners and economically dependent neighbours in Southeast Asia.
Chinese speakers at the Boao forum, Asia’s answer to Davos, also affirmed Beijing’s commitment to global free trade.
China’s trade practices were a focus of an intense tariff war between Beijing and Washington under the Trump administration, with the United States accusing Beijing of unfair subsidiaries that give Chinese companies unfair advantage abroad and forced transfers of technology and intellectual property.
“The biggest experience that China’s accession to the World Trade Organization 20 years ago is that we Chinese are not afraid of competition,” China’s Former Chief Negotiator for the China’s WTO entry in 2001, Long Yongtu， told the forum on Monday.
However, despite the persistent confrontation between the U.S. administration and China, both sides have rediscovered a common interest in battling climate change, after bilateral talks on fighting greenhouse emissions fizzled out during the Trump era.
Last week, U.S. climate envoy, John Kerry, flew to Shanghai to meet with his Chinese counterpart in the first high-level visit to China by a Biden administration official. Both agreed on concrete actions “in the 2020s” to reduce emissions.