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Open world economy and reject protectionism, says Chinese President Xi at BRF

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping urged dozens of world leaders on Saturday to reject protectionism and invited more countries to participate in his global infrastructure project after seeking to ease concerns surrounding the programme.

Addressing 37 leaders from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, Xi made a new pitch for his cherished Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as he kicked off the last day of a three-day forum.

The world’s number two economy has been fighting a festering trade war with the United States for months, and Xi has long sought to take the mantle of the new world power open to multilateral cooperation and globalisation.

“We need to build an open world economy and reject protectionism,” Xi told leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Pakistan’s Imran Khan seated around a large round table at the idyllic Yanqi Lake retreat at the edge of Beijing.

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