Belt and Road Forum

Belt and Road Forum

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World must unite like a ‘flock of geese’, says China’s Xi Jinping at Belt and Road Forum

Chinese president Xi Jinping has made his latest bid for global leadership urging world leaders to reject protectionism, embrace globalisation and pull together like an airborne skein of long-necked geese.

Chinese president Xi Jinping has made his latest bid for global leadership urging world leaders to reject protectionism, embrace globalisation and pull together like an airborne skein of long-necked geese.

Speaking on the final day of a forum promoting the Belt and Road initiative – a potentially historic Chinese infrastructure campaign that could transform swathes of the developing world – Xi said cooperation was the only way to confront the “profound” changes sweeping the globe.

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“Economic growth is not on solid ground … Economic globalisation is encountering some headwinds. Development has become more uneven – not to mention the other challenges that overshadow the world economy such as wars, conflicts, terrorism and a massive flow of refugees and migrants,” Xi told a meeting of leaders including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Erdoğan.

“Confronted by these challenges many countries are pondering the way forwards … [but] in a world of growing interdependence and challenges … no country can tackle all the challenges or solve the world’s problems on its own,” Xi added.

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In a clear attempt to contrast himself with the US president Donald Trump, who has vowed to devote his presidency to putting “America First”, Xi urged his audience to reject protectionism and shun “exclusive arrangements”.

“ Swan geese are able to fly far and safely through winds and storms because they move in flocks and help each other as a team,” the Communist party chief said. “The message is: the best way to meet challenges and achieve better development is through cooperation.”

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For China, the two-day summit represents the latest chance to promote its authoritarian president, who completes five years in power this autumn, as a strong and stable world leader. China has also sought to soothe widespread misgivings in the west about the motives driving Xi’s $900bn development plan.