China's Vice Premier calls on West to 'abandon Cold War mentality' in Davos speech

Meeting the challenge of global economic growth requires group thinking, Beijing said

China's Vice Premier has said the Communist government stands ready to work with international partners to meet global challenges. Reuters
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China has urged the western governments to “abandon the Cold War mentality” in favour of strengthening ties to tackle common challenges.

Liu He, Vice Premier of China, said the traditional ways of thinking will not provide effective solutions to climate change or break down barriers against global economic stability.

In a special address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, Mr Liu mentioned strengthening international co-operation and maintaining world peace 11 times.

He suggested that governments around the world are not doing enough to encourage collaboration.

The politician, one of President Xi Jinping’s most trusted confidants, laid out a three-point plan as he called for a seismic change in approach.

He said Beijing is dedicated to playing its part in advancing international co-operation in a fragmented world — the theme of this year’s gathering.

Firstly, Mr Liu said teamwork is essential to ensure that the effective economic order can be maintained.

“The traditional way of thinking is not the solution,” he said. He added that leaders must “abandon the Cold War mentality” to “build a community with a shared future for mankind”.

“We believe that an equitable international economic order must be preserved by all of us,” he said, and insisted that fair distribution of goods and services and a strong social safety net are essential.

Liu He, Vice Premier of China, at the World Economic Forum in Davos. EPA

Secondly, Mr Liu said international partners must bang heads to find ways to “strike a good balance between inflation and growth”. China “stands ready to work with all parties” to find solutions to debts incurred by developing nations, he said.

Lastly, he highlighted the need for “common actions” in the fight against climate change.

He pledged China will honour its commitments to the international community and co-operate on the world stage to address the urgent problem.

“We need a global response to climate change,” he said.

China is one of the world's leading polluters and accounts for almost a third of carbon emissions.

The government in Beijing is committed to opening the door to foreign investment even wider, the economic tsar said, and is determined to champion entrepreneurship.

He laid out an optimistic vision for the world’s second largest economy after the battering it has taken from nearly three years of lockdowns, quarantines and strict coronavirus rules.

Despite the upheaval, he said China benefits from “overall financial stability” in what is a volatile atmosphere.

Looking ahead, he said the focus will be on expanding domestic demand, keeping industrial and supply chains smooth, supporting healthy development of the private sector, attracting foreign investment and preventing economic risks.

He said with hard work, Beijing is confident that in 2023 growth “will most likely return to its normal trend and the Chinese economy will see a significant improvement”.

Earlier, Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum, welcomed Mr Liu to the stage and noted that the international community “is eager to understand the next chapter of China’s development strategy both domestically and globally”.

Mr Shwab said this was of particular interest following the Communist Party’s 20th national congress last October.

“We firmly believe that China can and will play an important role and assume a responsible role amid a fragmented world,” he added.

World Economic Forum — in pictures

Updated: January 17, 2023, 1:54 PM