China does not want world leadership but could be forced to assume that role if others step back from that position, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Monday, after US President Donald Trump pledged to put "America first" in his first speech.
Zhang Jun, the director-general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's international economics department, made the comments during a briefing with foreign journalists to discuss President c's visit to Switzerland last week.
Topping the bill at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Xi portrayed China as the leader of a globalized world where only international cooperation could solve the big problems.
Speaking days before Trump assumed the presidency, Xi also urged countries to resist isolationism, signaling Beijing's desire to play a bigger role on the global stage.
Elaborating on that theme, Zhang said China had no intention of seeking global leadership.
"If anyone were to say China is playing a leadership role in the world, I would say it's not China rushing to the front but rather the front-runners have stepped back, leaving the place to China," Zhang said.
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