This article appears in the February 5, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
PRESIDENT XI JINPING AT DAVOS
Let the Torch of Multilateralism Light Up Humanity’s Way Forward
This is the first half of the speech presented by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Davos virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum on January 25, 2021. It is a powerful warning of the disastrous consequences for mankind of the policies implemented by former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (although he is not mentioned by name), and by those in both U.S. political parties who contributed to those policies, and which were unfortunately accepted by President Donald Trump, despite his initial embrace of China as a “great nation” and President Xi as “great leader.” Consider this speech with the wise words of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in mind, as World War II was coming to its end—his words on a vision of peace through development and cooperation. Subheads have been added.
The second half of President Xi’s speech addresses China’s plans for the coming era. The full speech is available here.
Professor Klaus Schwab, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends:
The past year was marked by the sudden onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. Global public health faced severe threat and the world economy was mired in deep recession. Humanity encountered multiple crises rarely seen in human history.
The past year also bore witness to the enormous resolve and courage of people around the world in battling the deadly coronavirus. Guided by science, reason and a humanitarian spirit, the world has achieved initial progress in fighting COVID-19. That said, the pandemic is far from over. The recent resurgence in COVID cases reminds us that we must carry on the fight. Yet we remain convinced that winter cannot stop the arrival of spring and darkness can never shroud the light of dawn. There is no doubt that humanity will prevail over the virus and emerge even stronger from this disaster.
Four Major Tasks of Our Time
History is moving forward and the world will not go back to what it was in the past. Every choice and move we make today will shape the world of the future. It is important that we properly address the four major tasks facing people of our times.
The first is to step up macroeconomic policy coordination and jointly promote strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth of the world economy.
We are going through the worst recession since the end of World War II. For the first time in history, the economies of all regions have been hit hard at the same time, with global industrial and supply chains clogged and trade and investment down in the doldrums. Despite the trillions of dollars in relief packages worldwide, global recovery is rather shaky and the outlook remains uncertain.
We need to focus on current priorities, and balance COVID response and economic development. Macroeconomic policy support should be stepped up to bring the world economy out of the woods as early as possible.
More importantly, we need to look beyond the horizon and strengthen our will and resolve for change. We need to shift the driving forces and growth models of the global economy and improve its structure, so as to set the course for long-term, sound and steady development of the world economy.
The second is to abandon ideological prejudice and jointly follow a path of peaceful coexistence, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.
No two leaves in the world are identical, and no histories, cultures or social systems are the same. Each country is unique with its own history, culture and social system, and none is superior to the other. The best criteria are whether a country’s history, culture and social system fit its particular situation, enjoy people’s support, serve to deliver political stability, social progress and better lives, and contribute to human progress.
The different histories, cultures and social systems are as old as human societies, and they are the inherent features of human civilization. There will be no human civilization without diversity, and such diversity will continue to exist for as long as we can imagine. Difference in itself is no cause for alarm. What does ring the alarm is arrogance, prejudice and hatred; it is the attempt to impose hierarchy on human civilization or to force one’s own history, culture and social system upon others.
The right choice is for countries to pursue peaceful coexistence based on mutual respect and on expanding common ground while shelving differences, and to promote exchanges and mutual learning. This is the way to add impetus to the progress of human civilization.
The third is to close the divide between developed and developing countries and jointly bring about growth and prosperity for all.
Today, inequality continues to grow, the North-South gap remains to be bridged, and sustainable development faces severe challenges. As countries grapple with the pandemic, their economic recoveries are following divergent trajectories, and the North-South gap risks further widening and even perpetuation. For developing countries, they are aspiring for more resources and space for development, and they are calling for stronger representation and voice in global economic governance. We should recognize that with the growth of developing countries, global prosperity and stability will be put on a more solid footing, and developed countries will stand to benefit from such growth. The international community should keep its eyes on the long run, honor its commitment, and provide necessary support to developing countries and safeguard their legitimate development interests. Equal rights, equal opportunities and equal rules should be strengthened, so that all countries will benefit from the opportunities and fruits of development.
The fourth is to come together against global challenges and jointly create a better future for humanity.
In the era of economic globalization, public health emergencies like COVID-19 may very well recur, and global public health governance needs to be enhanced. The Earth is our one and only home. To scale up efforts to address climate change and promote sustainable development bears on the future of humanity. No global problem can be solved by any one country alone. There must be global action, global response and global cooperation.
The opening and closing paragraphs of the concluding half of President Xi’s speech, on China’s role in the coming era, follow.
After decades of strenuous efforts by the Chinese people, China is on course to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We have made historic gains in ending extreme poverty, and have embarked on a new journey toward fully building a modern socialist country.
As China enters a new development stage, we will follow a new development philosophy and foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. China will work with other countries to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity….
There is only one Earth and one shared future for humanity. As we cope with the current crisis and endeavor to make a better day for everyone, we need to stand united and work together. We have been shown time and again that to beggar thy neighbor, to go it alone, and to slip into arrogant isolation, will always fail. Let us all join hands and let multilateralism light our way toward a community with a shared future for mankind.