'Catastrophic consequences': Chinese leader issues bleak warning to world leaders

Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned of “catastrophic consequences” in an appeal to world leaders to scrap a “cold war mentality”.

Mr Xi delivered the opening speech of a virtual gathering hosted by the World Economic Forum which was held online in place of its annual January meeting in Davos, Switzerland, because of health concerns linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chinese president touted his country's efforts to share vaccines, fight climate change and promote development at home and abroad. Mr Xi pledged an additional one billion doses of vaccine to other countries.

President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote address for the 2022 World Economic Forum virtual session in Beijing.
President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote address for the 2022 World Economic Forum virtual session in Beijing.

"We need to discard the cold war mentality and seek peaceful coexistence and win-win outcomes. Our world today is far from being tranquil," Mr Xi said, through a translator.

"Protectionism and unilateralism can protect no one. They ultimately hurt the interests of others as well as one's own. Even worse are the practices of hegemony and bullying, which run counter to the tide of history.”

He added “a zero-sum approach” would not help, and the “right way forward” includes peaceful development and “win-win cooperation”.

"History has proved time and again that confrontation does not solve problems, it only invites catastrophic consequences," he said.

The reference to a Cold War mentality appeared to be a not-so-veiled swipe at the US during a time of tension between the two nations.

'Practices of hegemony and bullying'

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told The Global Times on Monday “it’s clear” the president is speaking out against the US and “a few of its loyal followers”, referring to efforts “to contain China's economic and technological development”.

Mr Li accused the US of bringing more crisis and confrontations at the cost of globalisation.

The relationship between the US and China remains strained. As does the relationship between China and Australia just weeks out from the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks about China during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia will join the US in boycotting the winter games in Beijing, China. Source: AAP

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last year Australia will send no government representatives as part of a diplomatic boycott of the games. The move followed the same same action taken by the US as part of a protest against allegations of human rights abuse in China.

Acting Ambassador Wang told Yahoo News Australia the decision not to send officials to the Beijing Games was “disappointing”.

“The decision came immediately after Washington made a similar decision, and it does not conform to the commitment from the federal government to pursue a constructive and mutually beneficial relationship with China,” he said.

Residents buy daily necessities at a residential community in Anyang, Central China's Henan Province.
People buy food in Anyang, Central China's Henan Province. Source: AAP

His comments follow that of Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin who said no one will care if Australian government officials don't attend the Beijing Winter Games.

"China hasn’t invited any Australian government official to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics," he said.

"In fact, no one would care whether they come or not, and Australian politicians’ political stunt for selfish gains has no impact whatsoever on the Olympics to be successfully held by Beijing."

with The Associated Press

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