World entering ‘new period of turbulence and transformation’, China’s premier warns

Davos: Li Qiang said ‘a lack of trust was aggravating risks to global growth and development

The world has entered “a new period of turbulence and transformation,” Li Qiang, premier of the People’s Republic of China has told the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

Mr Li, China’s number two, warned that “a lack of trust” was aggravating risks to global growth and development.

He was speaking amid heightened geopolitical tensions between the US and China and as Beijing grapples with a sluggish post-pandemic recovery and a real estate slump.

Mr Li, who leads a large Chinese government delegation at this week’s world Economic Forum, is the most senior Chinese official to attend the event at the Swiss ski resort of Davos since president Xi Jinping in 2017.


It is “essential that we discard prejudice and work as one to reduce the trust deficit,” he told delegates. On China’s economic outlook, he noted the Asian powerhouse had some 400,000 high-tech enterprises all of which would drive growth in the future. China’s demographic dividend was “turning into a talent dividend,” he said.

The first full day of this year’s Davos programme was overshadowed by Donald Trump’s resounding victory in the Iowa caucuses and the prospect of a second Trump presidency and what this would mean for wars in Ukraine and Gaza, climate change and AI, the hot topics at this year’s event.

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Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy is due to address the forum in the afternoon. He is understood to have had talk to JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon, part of the Ukraine’s bid to keep aid flowing to his nation’s war effort.

Earlier Mike Rounds, US senator from South Dakota, gave an insight into how the US military-industrial complex views the emergence of AI.

Mr Rounds, who sits on the US armed services committee, said AI will impact “how we fight wars ... it speeds everything up, what used to be something that took time in the old days, now we’re talking milliseconds”.

“The country with an army or an armed services that has deployed AI will have a leg up on everybody else in all domains (land, air, sea and space and cyberspace),” he said.

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Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times