Xi focuses on open-China policy

World | REUTERS 16 May 2019

China will only be more open to the world, President Xi Jinping said, as he denounced those who believe in cultural superiority as "stupid," in his first public address since trade tension with Washington spiked last week.

China and the United States are in an escalating trade war, with both levying tariffs on each other's imports.

China on Monday set higher tariffs on US$60 billion (HK$468 billion) worth of US goods, effective June 1, in retaliation to the US raising levies on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Xi was addressing a forum in Beijing and focused on presenting China as a non-threatening country open to all. He said the Chinese have exchanged and learned from other cultures, including Buddhism, Marxism and Islam.

"China in the future will take on an even more open stance to embrace the world," he added.

No country could stand alone, Xi said, perhaps taking an indirect swipe at US President Donald Trump's "America First" policy.

"Civilizations will lose vitality if countries go back to isolation and cut themselves off from the rest of the world," Xi said.

China was upset by comments reported in US media last month by a State Department official who said Washington was involved in "a fight with a really different civilization" when it came to China. Xi told the forum that civilizations were not destined to clash.

"It is stupid to believe that one's race and civilization are superior to others, and it is disastrous to willfully reshape or even replace other civilizations."

Xi, however, offered no new concrete measures to open China up, aside from proposing an Asia tourism promotion plan.

China has faced opposition to some of its global ambitions, mainly in the West but especially in the United States, where there has been suspicion of Chinese technology, Xi's Belt and Road Initiative and government-run Confucius Institutes to teach Mandarin.

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