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China's Xi Extols Multilateral Approach, Climate Accord

President Xi Jinping's remarks at the forum appeared to be a rebuke to the isolationist urges that helped bring Donald Trump to power

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) shakes hand with International Olympic Committee, IOC, President Thomas Bach (R) before a meeting at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, photo: AP
8 months ago

BERLIN — Chinese President Xi Jinping extolled the merits of multilateral cooperation on Wednesday, declaring that the Paris accord to combat climate change must be kept on track and that major powers should “keep their differences under control.”

Xi’s speech during a visit to the United Nations’ office in Geneva came as he wrapped up a visit to Switzerland, and a day after he cast China as a champion of free trade and stability in an address to the World Economic Forum.

His remarks at the forum appeared to be a rebuke to the isolationist urges that helped bring Donald Trump to power. Xi’s comments Wednesday tapped similar themes, again without any direct references to Trump.

“Trade protectionism and self-isolation will benefit no one,” he told an event attended by new U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“Major powers should respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, keep their differences under control and build a new model of relations featuring non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation,” Xi said, speaking through an interpreter.

He said China would “strive to build a new model of major-country relations with the United States,” as well as “a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with Russia” and other relationships, without giving specific details.

Xi praised the Paris accord as “a milestone in the history of climate governance.”

“We must ensure this endeavor is not derailed,” he said. “All parties should work together to implement the Paris agreement.”

Trump, who has called climate change a Chinese hoax, has raised speculation that he might pull the U.S. out.

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