Chinese delegation open to meeting Trump's team at Davos

FILE- In this Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 file photo, China's President Xi Jinping applauds during the bilateral trade agreements signing ceremony at the Palacio de La Moneda in Santiago, Chile. China's President Xi Jinping will attend the World Economic Forum, that opens in the ski resort of Davos on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, becoming the first Chinese head of state to do so. (AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo, File)

BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping's delegation to next week's World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos is open to meeting with President-elect Donald Trump's team, an official said Wednesday.

Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong told reporters at a briefing that "there are open channels of communication" with Trump's team.

Bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the annual gathering of business leaders, politicians and cultural icons are still being finalized, but China would look into what sort of arrangements could be made "as long as the schedule permits and if there is the wish," he said.

Trump has accused China of unfair trade practices and threatened punishing tariffs and upended diplomatic protocol by speaking by phone with the president of Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory.

Xi, the first Chinese president to attend the Davos meetings, will champion multilateralism at a time of global economic uncertainty and worries that countries will turn inward to trade protectionism — an issue that has risen in prominence with Trump's pledges to restrict access to American markets to promote the U.S. manufacturing industry.

On Tuesday, Xi will give a speech urging leaders to "steer globalization in the direction of more inclusiveness and mutual benefit," Li said.

Western countries and companies accuse Beijing of maintaining its own protectionist practices, for example subsidies for its bloated steel industry that have led to trade tensions over Chinese exports of low-priced steel.

Li said accusations of trade protectionism against Beijing were "unjustified," and that China has always opposed such measures. "Trade protectionism will lead to self-isolationism and it is in the interests of no one," he said.

Xi's attendance at Davos is part of an official four-day visit to Switzerland that begins Sunday. He will also visit the U.N., World Health Organization and the International Olympic Committee, and discuss with Swiss officials how to deepen trade cooperation following the signing of the 2013 China-Switzerland free trade agreement, as well as how to encourage their business communities to collaborate on innovation.

In the past, Chinese delegations at Davos were led by Premier Li Keqiang.

China has sought to be more influential globally and present itself as a force for stability and champion of globalization while opposing rising protectionist sentiment in the West. The Davos forum takes place during a week when the United States, the world's largest economy, will be focused on Donald Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration as president.

Must Read

Air China removes mag with offensive article about London

Sep 8, 2016

Air China says it has removed copies of its inflight magazine containing an article criticized as...

Leader of Chinese protest village gets 3 years in jail

Sep 9, 2016

The democratically elected mayor of a fishing village in southern China _ which became a focus of...

China says it can't end North Korea nuke program on its own

Sep 12, 2016

China says the United States has inflamed the conflict on the Korean Peninsula and must carry the...

Taiwan loses diplomatic ally in move welcomed by Beijing

Dec 21, 2016

Taiwan has condemned the African island nation of Sao Tome and Principe's "abrupt" move to break...

Winds may finally clear 'scary' pollution from China's skies

Dec 21, 2016

The dense smog that has smothered much of China for five days may soon clear, giving relief to...

More News From aseancoverage.com

US, Russia close on Syria deal, but Obama says not there yet

Sep 4, 2016

President Barack Obama says the United States and Russia are working "around the clock" to try to...

Britain's May seeks out new trading relations post-Brexit

Sep 4, 2016

British Prime Minister Theresa May says she intends to seize new trading opportunities for a...

Obama and Putin meet in China amid struggle for Syria deal

Sep 5, 2016

US, Russia struggle to keep alive negotiations to end the bloodshed between U.S.-backed rebels

Merkel appeals to Russia to enable Syria cease-fire

Sep 5, 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is renewing an appeal to Russia to enable a cease-fire in Syria and...

Asian stocks drift as Fed rate outlook eases on service data

Sep 7, 2016

Asian stocks meandered Wednesday after a weak report on U.S. service companies reinforced...