“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” With this quote in his first speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid homage to Charles Dickens, reflected on the West post-Industrial Revolution and emphasized the force of will that’s led China on a path of growth. Then, shortly afterward, Xi recalled the labors of the Chinese people and the achievements of China, thanks to globalization and “the leadership of the Communist Party.”
Pundits remarked that Xi’s speech Tuesday could have been read by Barack Obama. The Financial Times said it made Xi look like the only responsible adult left in the room, a reference to the sense of responsibility to the international community that other countries seem to have lost.
Xi defended globalization and at the same time asserted his desire to chart a new, Pacific-lead, financially stable course in the world. The “liberal” version of the Chinese leader believes that a peaceful world can grow. “No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war,” he said. Of course there are many uncertainties: Automation, innovation and the uneven distribution of wealth means globalization has losers. The important thing, Xi said, is that “no country should view its own development path as the only viable one.”