June 10, 2018 / 5:12 AM / 15 days ago

China's Xi calls out 'selfish, short-sighted' trade policies

QINGDAO, China (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose country is locked in a high-stakes trade dispute with the United States, on Sunday said China rejects “selfish, shortsighted” trade policies, and called for building an open global economy.

A TV screen shows a live broadcast of Chinese President Xi Jinping attending a group photo of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit at the media center, in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China June 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

Xi did not mention the United States during a speech at a summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a regional security bloc led by China and Russia.

“We reject selfish, shortsighted, closed, narrow policies, (we) uphold World Trade Organisation rules, support a multi-lateral trade system, and building an open world economy,” Xi said in a speech in the port city of Qingdao.

The United States and China have threatened tit-for-tat tariffs on goods worth up to $150 billion (112 billion pounds) each, as President Donald Trump has pushed Beijing to open its economy further and address the United States’ large trade deficit with China.

Xi spoke hours after Trump said he was backing out of the Group of Seven communique, thwarting what appeared to be a fragile consensus on a trade dispute between Washington and its top allies.

“We must ... discard Cold War thinking, group confrontation; we object to acts of getting one’s own absolute security at the cost of other countries’ security,” Xi said.

The SCO was launched in 2001 to combat radical Islam and other security concerns in China, Russia and across Central Asia.

It added two new members, India and Pakistan, last year and Iran has been knocking at the door. Tehran is currently an observer rather than a full member of a bloc that also includes four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics.

Xi also said China would offer the equivalent of 30 billion yuan (£3.5 billion) in loans under a framework formed by SCO countries.

Reporting by Shu Zhang and Christian Shepherd; writing by Tony Munroe; additional reporting by Hallie Gu; editing by Richard Pullin

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