President Xi Jinping gave a robust defence of China’s ambitions on Tuesday in a speech to the UN; warning against the perils of a “clash of civilisations” during a pandemic that has ripped through the world.
In an opening address presaged by a demand by Donald Trump for China to be held “accountable” for COVID-19; Xi said global unity was the only way to overcome the crisis.
The world must “oppose politicisation and stigmatisation” over Covid-19, Xi said in the pre-recorded address; urging world leaders to embrace the “concept of a big family… and avoid falling into the trap of a clash of civilisations.”
The US and China are eyeballing each other over a raft of issues. They include the origins of the coronavirus, trade and tech dominance, security and disputed seas.
But Xi reassured world leaders his country had no desire for “hegemony, expansion or sphere of influence”.
“China has no intention to enter a Cold War with any country,” he said; insisting Beijing is instead a bulwark of international systems such as the World Trade Organisation; as well as a willing partner in the face of diplomatic spats.
“We insist on dialogue to bridge differences and negotiation to resolve disputes,” he added.