China President Xi Jinping has sent a chilling warning to the US that it risks sparking a new Cold War.
In a speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Xi called for a multilateral approach to solving the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The warning comes as Beijing seeks to establish itself as a strong advocate of multilateralism after a bruising trade war with the United States, at a time when the coronavirus has forced the closure of many international borders.
Speaking at the forum, President Xi said "no global problem can be solved by any one country alone" as he hinted China would not be dictated to by Washington.
Mr Xi, who addressed world leaders via video, warned that countries who "willfully impose decoupling" will ultimately lead to economic division – and could pave the way for armed conflict.
"To build small circles or start a new Cold War, to reject, threaten or intimidate others, to willfully impose decoupling, supply disruptions or sanctions, and to create isolation or estrangement will only push the world into division and even confrontation," the Chinese president said.
"We cannot tackle common challenges in a divided world, and confrontation will lead us to a dead-end," he added, according to China’s Global Times newspaper.
With new US President Joe Biden yet to give any indication he will soften the tough attitude initiated by the previous incumbent Donald Trump towards Beijing, Mr Xi also said the "strong should not bully the weak".
Xi said: "We should build an open world economy, uphold the multilateral trading regime, discard discriminatory and exclusionary standards, rules and systems, and take down barriers to trade, investment and technological exchanges.
"State-to-state relations should be coordinated and regulated through proper institutions and rules.
"The strong should not bully the weak. Decisions should not be made by simply showing off strong muscles or waving a big fist."
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President Xi Jinping criticised isolationism and "Cold War" thinking and called for barriers to trade, investment and technological exchange to be removed.
He added: “The misguided approach of antagonism and confrontation, be it in the form of a Cold War, hot war, trade war or tech war, would eventually hurt all countries’ interests.”
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