The president of the People's Republic of China Tuesday pitched a future in which the country's sprawling economy is open for business with the outside world.
Speaking at the Boao Forum for Asia in Boao, China, Xi Jinping warned against the return of a zero-sum, “Cold War mentality” and said that any state failing to embrace economic openness with other countries would be consigned to the “dustbin of history.”
In his first remarks since the start of an escalating trade war with Washington, Xi denounced national “arrogance” and launched a thinly veiled attack on Donald Trump’s “America First” platform.
“In a world aspiring for peace and development, the Cold War and zero-sum mentality look even more out of place,” he said.
“Arrogance or only focusing one’s own interests will get nowhere. Only peaceful development and cooperation can truly bring win-win or all-win results,” Xi added.
As a commitment to greater openness, Xi announced China would “significantly lower” tariffs on car imports later this year, a move to improve accessibility to the world’s biggest economy.
Trump supporters will likely interpret Xi’s comments as a climbdown to the president, who on Monday raged about the the 25 percent tariff imposed on U.S. cars exported to China compared to the 2.5 percent tax imposed on Chinese cars imported into the U.S.
On Tuesday, Trump's son Donald Junior was among the first to congratulate the president:
But the reality is that Beijing had already announced the levy reductions last year.
Xi said he would also improve access to the Chinese financial sector, strengthen the protection of intellectual property, and ease restrictions on foreign ownership of companies operating in China's auto, aerospace and shipbuilding industries.
China does not want a trade surplus, he added, which reached $375 billion last year and has become a bugbear of Trump’s in recent months.
Trump recently threatened tariffs on $150 billion of Chinese goods imported to the U.S.; China fired back threatening to impose tariffs on 1,000 U.S. goods, including top exports to China such as soybeans, aircraft, and vehicles.
Trump said over the weekend he believed that “China will take down its trade barrier because it is the right thing to do...a deal will be made on trade.” He may view Xi’s comments as a sign that China is bending to his will, but experts disagree:
“This speech did not represent a major shift in Chinese policy and it is likely the US-China trade dispute will require more negotiation,” Chaoping Zhu, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management, told CNN.
Cover image: Xi Jinping applauds ahead of delivering a speech at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference in Boao, China, on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
This article originally appeared on VICE News US.