Tags: Biden Administration | China | xi jinping | china | supply chain | unilateralism

China's Xi Gives Thinly Veiled Warning to US Against 'Unilateralism'

China's Xi Gives Thinly Veiled Warning to US Against 'Unilateralism'
A large screen in a press center in China's southern island province of Hainan shows the country's president, Xi Jinping, giving an online speech at the Boao Forum for Asia on April 20, 2021. (Kyodo via AP Images)

Tuesday, 20 April 2021 01:42 PM

China’s President Xi Jinping is calling for a new world order — taking aim at the United States for trying to decouple supply chains and barring high-tech goods from being sold to Chinese companies.  

"International affairs should be handled by everyone," Xi said Tuesday at the Boao Forum for Asia, which is modeled after the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Financial Times reported.

Though Xi didn't call out the United States by name, he warned Washington against decoupling and withholding sales of critical U.S. semiconductors to companies like Huawei.

"The rules set by one or several countries should not be imposed on others, and the unilateralism of individual countries should not give the whole world a rhythm," he said, FT reported.

"Building walls and decoupling violate economic and market rules, harming others."

The warning comes after President Joe Biden and Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga committed to working together to oppose Chinese coercion in the South and East China Seas. 

The United States, and other western governments have also been critical of Beijing's crackdown on Hong Kong and human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

"Bossing others around and interfering in other countries' internal affairs will not be well received," Xi said. 

Though Xi’s comments reflected the ruling Communist Party's desire for global influence to match China's status as the second-largest economy, other remarks about its military ambitions clashed with reality.

"No matter how far it develops, China will never seek hegemony, expand, seek spheres of influence or engage in an arms race," Xi said — though Beijing has stepped-up military activity in the South China Sea and other areas where its territorial claims conflict with those of Japan, the Philippines, India, and other countries.

According to FT, U.S. businesses are eager to expand operations in China, which posted 18.3% year on year economic growth in the first 3 months of 2021. U.S. banks especially are interested as Beijing gradually opens up its financial markets, the news outlet noted.

Shi Yinhong, director of the Centre on American Studies at Renmin University in Beijing, told FT there was no doubt the United States was the target of Xi’s remarks. "In the eyes of China, the U.S. is still hegemonic," he told FT.

Xi also called for closer global co-operation on developing, manufacturing, and distributing COVID-19 vaccines to improve access in developing countries.

"We want to make [the vaccine] truly accessible and affordable to people of all countries," he said, FT reported.

Chinese vaccines developed by Sinopharm, Sinovac and CanSino have already been produced in countries that have signed up to its Belt and Road Initiative, including Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia, FT reported. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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China’s President Xi Jinping is calling for a new world order — taking aim at the United States for trying to decouple supply chains...
xi jinping, china, supply chain, unilateralism
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2021-42-20
Tuesday, 20 April 2021 01:42 PM
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