Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR’s newsletter and engagement editor, Benjamin Wilhelm, curates the top news and analysis from China written by the experts who follow it.
President Xi Jinping’s opening speech to the first-ever China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Monday was loaded with promises and reassurances. Seeking to convince the world of China’s openness to foreign goods and services, Xi portrayed himself as a staunch advocate for globalization. The address was delivered to an audience that included political and business leaders from 172 countries, but it was just as notable for who was missing in Shanghai and what was not said by the Chinese president.
A dozen presidents and prime ministers are attending the expo, which runs until Saturday, but none of them hail from major trading nations like Germany, Britain, South Korea, Japan and, crucially, the United States. The leaders who are in attendance—from Pakistan, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, for example—mainly represent developing countries with a history of borrowing from China.