Chinese President: World at a Crossroad in History, Leaders to Support Free Trade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Says Trade War Forcing China to Rely on Itself, but 'It's Not a Bad Thing'
(Photo: REUTERS/Pool)

Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the world is "at a crossroad in history" as he urges world leaders to support free trade following the exchange of criticisms between him and the US Vice-President Mike Pence. President Xi delivered his speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Papua New Guinea.

The Chinese president and the U.S. vice president delivered speeches that criticize each other during the summit. President Xi on his speech denounced the US claiming that they are promoting "unilateralism and protectionism". Pence countered the presidents on Saturday by Defending US tariffs on Chinese imports and he repeated the US' claim that China is taking advantage of the US.

The conflict between the two economic giants raised doubts about the Asia-Pacific region's future development and the APEC forum's strength in promoting economic integration. The summit was greatly affected by the division between the two sides. In the end, the summit ended with a communiqué that included reports that suggest that they had argued over the United States demand that calls for "level playing field" at the World Trade Organization to be included as part of the document.

On Sunday, during a closed-door session for APEC leaders, the Chinese President once again noted Their view that countries under the APEC needs to continue to advance economic cooperation and they need to "firmly uphold the existing rule-based multilateral trading system and refuse to submit to protectionism.

According to President Xi, the world has reached a crossroad in history and the nations need to have a keen appreciation of the trend of our world and take the pulse of the world economy. He added that the road toward a free-trade area of the Asia-Pacific will not be smooth, yet, we need to remain commuted to the goal and move forward. He, then, called for "an open, inclusive and transparent approach" to various free-trade agreement policies.

President Xi also emphasized that reforms of the World Trade Organization need to be created in the aim of promoting multilateral trading systems instead of "having the organization overhauled".

The Chinese president solicited other member nations support promising them that they would benefit from China's open trade policy and a booming economy. President Xi said that China is a champion of Asia-Pacific cooperation and has taken concrete steps to promote cooperation on the ground.

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