Representing the only major economy to record economic growth last year, Xi presented himself as the defender of multilateralism, as he did at the same forum four years ago when Donald Trump was about to assume the US presidency.

Without naming the United States, Xi seemed to have a message for Trump’s successor Joe Biden, who entered the White House just a few days ago, but who is not addressing the annual World Economic Forum (WEF).

“To build small cliques or start a new Cold War, to reject, threaten or intimidate others… will only push the world into division,” Xi told the world’s political and economic elite as the Biden administration plans to revitalise global alliances to counter China’s growing influence.