Day 1 at Davos and global elite discuss "leadership"

Posted January 19, 2017

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech on the second day of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017.

President-elect Mr Trump has sparked alarm in Beijing by accusing China of "raping" America by flooding it with cheap imports. "Whether you like it or not the global economy is a big ocean you can not escape from", the Chinese president said in a direct message to Donald Trump without explicitly naming him.

The bumpy run-up to the Trump administration - Trump's poll numbers are low for an incoming president - has given the Chinese leader a convenient opportunity to advance his goal of giving his country a more assertive leadership role on the world stage. "Wind and rain may be kept outside, but so is light and air".

The programme for the 2017 World Economic Forum annual event has been organised around five areas that have been identified as in need of urgent responsive and responsible leadership.

"We have to make a big push and increase investment in renewables and clean energy", he told a panel at the WEF. Most of the USA representation at Davos remains from the Obama administration, including Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry.

"It is noteworthy that Xi Jinping will become the first Chinese president to attend the forum when he gives a keynote speech on Tuesday that is expected to extol Beijing's efforts to negotiate new types of regional trade deals shorn of USA influence", says the Daily Mail.

However, a report by the American Chamber of Commerce in China yesterday showed foreign companies were sceptical about China's vow to open its markets, which Mr Xi reiterated in Tuesday's speech.

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More than half a dozen senior Chinese government figures will be in Davos this week, far more than in past years. Only about one in seven people said the system is working for them. He will be accompanied by the largest delegation of Chinese officials.

Chinese analysts said Davos had presented Mr Xi with a golden opportunity to present himself as a leading worldwide statesman, as the rest of the world braces itself for Trump's presidency. The forum was first founded by an economics professor by the name of Klaus Schwab, according to the New York Times.

"We should say no to protectionism", he said. It has become one of the world's largest gatherings of government and business leaders to discuss major worldwide issues.

Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt reacted to Xi's speech on social media: "There is a vacuum when it comes to global economic leadership, and Xi Jinping is clearly aiming to fill it".

Bruce Alpert adapted this story for Learning English based on reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.

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