Artificial Intelligence, Ukraine, China — The Big Buzz at Davos

Thousands of global leaders have once again descended on snowy Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. The theme of this year’s event: “rebuilding trust.”

But there are the public meetings, and then there are the real ones behind closed doors that the attendees are talking about most. These include discussions touching on U.S.-China tensions, the war in Gaza, artificial intelligence and the future of Ukraine.

There is a kind of game that some C.E.O.s play with one another: How many public panels are you on, or how many times have you been in the Congress Center, the main hub for the forum’s big presentations? If the answer is zero, you’ve won.

Top U.S. officials are set to appear on the main stage, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser. But speculation abounds about whom they’re seeing behind the scenes.

One question: Will their meetings include anyone from the sizable China delegation, led by Li Qiang, the country’s premier? U.S.-China tensions are high after Lai Ching-te, a fierce defender of Taiwanese sovereignty who is despised by Beijing, was elected president of the self-governed island on Saturday.

Li has already met over lunch with the C.E.O.s of IBM, Intel, Walmart and others. (He also addressed the conference on Tuesday and revealed that China’s economy grew about 5.2 percent last year, a day ahead of the official data release.)


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