China's President to attend Davos World Economic Forum

400Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver a speech at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum (WEF) session in Davos, Switzerland on January 17, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong said Wednesday. China's President will be the first Chinese head of state to do so at the annual gathering of business leaders, politicians and cultural icons.

"We are all aware that we are now in the transition in the world to a multilateral, to a multipolar, geopolitical and geo-economic structure," World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday.

"China will equal the United States soon as far as economic power is concerned," Schwab added, noting a "strong" Chinese business delegation would accompany Xi. "In the spirit of Davos, we want to engage them as much as possible," he said.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last month that China would "lead the way amid a shakeup in global governance, we will take hold of the situation amid international chaos, we will protect our interests amid intense and complex games."

At the same time, while Xi has promised to make the world's second-largest economy more competitive and productive by giving market forces a bigger role, reform advocates complain Beijing is failing to reduce the dominance of state companies. Foreign companies say regulators are trying to squeeze them out of technology and other promising fields.

This year's World Economic Forum, which first took place in 1971 as a business gathering but has expanded to include politics, culture and humanitarian issues, is expected to draw a record 3,000 leaders from government, business and culture.

The presidents of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and South Africa also are expected be there, as is British Prime Minister Theresa May.


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