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Xi Addresses Davos Forum for First Time
Edited by Li Nan 

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech at the opening plenary of the 2017 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 17, 2017 (XINHUA)

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for joint efforts to chart the course of economic globalization and forge new models of global growth, cooperation, governance and development.

Xi made the remarks while addressing the opening plenary of the 2017 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). He is the first Chinese head of state to attend the Davos meetings in Switzerland.

Amid a rising tide of global concerns for protectionism, anti-globalization sentiment and other economic and political issues, Xi's presence with Chinese wisdom and experiences at Davos bears tremendous historic significance, said WEF founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab.

Guiding global economic governnance

In his keynote keynote speech, Xi stressed the importance of adapting to and guiding economic globalization and delivering its benefits to all.

Blaming economic globalization for the world's problems is inconsistent with reality and unhelpful to solving the problems, Xi said, underlining the need to act pro-actively and manage economic globalization appropriately, so as to release its positive impact and rebalance its process.

Xi called on all countries to follow the general trend, proceed from their respective national conditions, and embark on the right pathway of integrating into economic globalization with the right pace.

He stressed the need to strike a balance between efficiency and equity to ensure that different countries, different social strata and different groups of people all share the benefits of economic globalization.

"President Xi's remarks objectively elaborated the role of globalization in the entire process of human history and suggested that its role should be viewed dialectically," said Zhang Yuyan, director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"Trade protectionism, populism and nationalism can quell public dissatisfaction for the time being, but in the long run, they will harm the overall interests of all," Zhang said.

Analyzing the root causes of the sluggish global economy, Xi pointed to a lack of robust driving forces for global growth, inadequate global economic governance, and uneven global development.

He stressed the importance of developing a dynamic innovation-driven growth model, a model of open and win-win cooperation featuring a well-coordinated and inter-connected approach, and a model of fair and equitable governance in keeping with the trend of the times, and a balanced, equitable and inclusive development model.

Citing the contributing role his country -- the world's second largest economy -- has played in economic globalization, Xi said China's rapid growth has been a sustained, powerful engine for global economic stability and expansion, and the inter-connected development of China and a large number of other countries has made the world economy more balanced.

China's remarkable achievement in poverty reduction has contributed to more inclusive global growth, and its continuous progress in reform and opening-up has lent much momentum to an open world economy, he added.

China's commitment to global growth

Xi pledged that China's development will continue to offer opportunities to business communities in other countries.

In the coming five years, China is expected to import $8 trillion of goods, attract $600 billion of foreign investment, and make $750 billion of outbound investment, said the president, adding that Chinese tourists will make 700 million overseas visits.

China will keep its door wide open, Xi said, voicing hope that other countries will also keep their door open to Chinese investors and keep the playing field level for them.

"China has been a locomotive of growth, especially for the emerging world, but really for the whole world," said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS, a consulting firm. "More positive perspective of China is an accurate one."

On the progress of the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi told the audience that China's circle of friends along the Belt and Road is growing bigger, and Chinese investment in the countries along the routes has surpassed $50 billion in the past three years.

Over 100 countries and international organizations have given warm responses and support to the initiative, and more than 40 have signed cooperation agreements with China, said the Chinese president, who put forward the initiative in 2013.

Meanwhile, Chinese companies have launched a number of major projects in the countries along the routes, spurring the economic development of these countries and creating many local jobs, Xi noted.

The Belt and Road Initiative, envisioned as an infrastructure and trade network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes, originated in China, but it has delivered benefits well beyond its borders, he said.

China plans to host a Belt and Road forum for international cooperation in Beijing this May to brainstorm on interconnected development, the president announced.

The upcoming forum will explore ways to address regional and global economic problems, generate fresh energy for interconnected development, and ensure that the Belt and Road Initiative delivers greater benefits to the people of the countries involved, Xi said.

Xi arrived in Switzerland on Sunday for a four-day state visit and the WEF annual meeting, which is themed "Responsive and Responsible Leadership" this year and expected to draw together about 50 heads of state and 1,700 political, business, academic and media leaders from across the world.

In his first overseas trip in 2017, Xi will also travel to Lausanne and Geneva to visit the International Olympic Committee, the World Health Organization and the UN Office at Geneva.

(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2017)

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