Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for a rejection of hegemonic power structures in global governance, amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over a widening range of issues including alleged human rights abuses.
Speaking at the annual Boao Forum for Asia, Xi criticized efforts by some countries to “build barriers” and “decouple”, which he said would harm others and benefit no one.
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.
“A big country should look like a big country by showing that it is shouldering more responsibility,” he said.
While Xi did not identify any country in his remarks, Chinese officials have in recent times referred to US “hegemony” in public criticisms of Washington’s global projection of power in trade and geopolitics. On Friday, US 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. China has, however, denied all abuse claims.
In a display of economic cooperation to the exclusion of China, Biden said Japan and the US 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 stance on China, Beijing is 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.
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