Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged that his country will be even more open to the world and debunked the notion of a clash of civilization , even as his country remains mired in a trade war with the United States.
Xi was speaking publicly for the first time after trade tensions escalated over the past week and signs emerged yesterday that China's economy was hurting. Nevertheless, he said China was an open country that wanted to contribute to building a better world.
Today's China is not just China's China, it is Asia's China, the world's China, Mr Xi said at the opening of a summit to promote cooperation among Asian countries.
The China of the future will take a more open stance and embrace the world.
While his remarks at the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations did not directly mention the US or the trade war - both countries hiked tariffs on each other's goods over the past week - they seemed directed at US President Donald Trump's America First policy.
If countries choose to close their doors and hide behind them, human civilization will be cut off from each other and lose all vitality, said Mr Xi.
He also pushed back at the US' framing of their bilateral relationship as that of a clash of civilizations. It is stupid to believe that one's race and civilization are superior to others, and it is disastrous to willfully reshape or even replace other civilizations, said Mr Xi.
The tensions come amid a rough patch for the Chinese economy. Beijing on Tuesday reported surprisingly weak retail sales for April, with the 7.2% growth from a year ago being the lowest in 16 years.
Industrial output, meanwhile, grew by just 5.4% last month, well below economists' forecasts of 6.5% growth. Motor vehicle production slumped 19%, its steepest fall ever.
The numbers indicated that Chinese consumers were increasingly worried about the economy even before the US imposed higher tariffs last week, analysts said.