Chinese leader Xi Jinping threatened on Monday that a confrontation with China would only result in “catastrophic consequences.”
During a speech before the virtual-only Davos World Economic Forum, Xi said the world needs to move away from what he called a “Cold War mentality.”
“Our world today is far from being tranquil; rhetorics that stoke hatred and prejudice abound,” Xi said. “Acts of containment, suppression or confrontation arising thereof do all harm, not the least good, to world peace and security. History has proved time and again that confrontation does not solve problems; it only invites catastrophic consequences. Protectionism and unilateralism can protect no one; they ultimately hurt the interests of others as well as one’s own. Even worse are the practices of hegemony and bullying, which run counter to the tide of history.”
“Naturally, countries have divergences and disagreements between them. Yet a zero-sum approach that enlarges one’s own gain at the expense of others will not help,” Xi added.
Xi also appeared to criticize western nations, which have been adopting economic policies and forming alliances around countering China. For example, the U.S. has adopted the Uyghur Forced Labor Act to bar imports from China’s Xinjiang region, which are suspected of being produced through the forced labor of the Uyghur population. The U.S. has also started international efforts, like the “Clean Network,” which seeks to build network infrastructure using only trusted technology companies, while excluding companies like China’s Huawei. In September, the U.S., Australia and the United Kingdom also formed a new defense technology-sharing agreement aimed at bolstering Australia’s military capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region.
Xi said, “Acts of single-mindedly building ‘exclusive yards with high walls’ or ‘parallel systems,’ of enthusiastically putting together exclusive small circles or blocs that polarize the world, of overstretching the concept of national security to hold back economic and technological advances of other countries, and of fanning ideological antagonism and politicizing or weaponizing economic, scientific and technological issues, will gravely undercut international efforts to tackle common challenges.”
This is not the first time Xi has warned against countries adopting a Cold War mentality.
During last year’s World Economic Forum, Xi warned of a “new Cold War” brought on by nations sanctioning and cutting ties with one another. He offered his warnings about sanctions and severed ties as growing numbers of countries have begun sanctioning China over its expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea, and human rights abuses.
The Hill reported Xi said, “The Asia-Pacific region cannot and should not relapse into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era,” during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in November.