China’s Xi Warns Against Confrontation in Veiled Message to Biden

NEW YORK—Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a veiled warning against the new Biden administration’s preparations to rally allies to challenge Beijing on a range of issues, urging multilateral coordination to tackle global challenges such as the pandemic.

“To build small circles or start a new Cold War, to reject, threaten or intimidate others, to willfully impose decoupling, supply disruption or sanctions, to create isolation or estrangement, will only push the world into division and even confrontation,” Mr. Xi told the World Economic Forum, which this year is convening online instead of in the ski town of Davos, Switzerland.

His comments—from his office desk placed in front of a rendering of the Great Wall, designed to deter foreign invasions—came days after President Biden took office in the U.S. The Chinese president said Beijing would continue to open its economy and honor its global commitments, but emphasized that each country had a right to blaze its own path.

In urging multilateral engagement to discuss disagreements, Mr. Xi offered no initiatives to address Western criticisms of Chinese policies in such areas as trade, human rights and the military.

Anger simmers in many capitals over China’s lack of transparency over the coronavirus outbreak since it first appeared in Wuhan and the government’s refusal to address scientific questions about the efficacy of its vaccine program.

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