On the brink of a Donald Trump administration, China's Xi Jinping has tried to position the country as the new leader of the globalised world.

Speaking at the UN headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday (18 December), the Chinese premier urged countries to reject isolationism and protectionism in order to tackle the world's pending problems.

"Trade protectionism and self-isolation will benefit no one," Xi said, according to Reuters.

"Big countries should treat smaller countries as equals instead of acting as a hegemon imposing their will on others."

Xi's 45-minute speech made the case for how China hopes to play a leading role in everything from environmental issues to tackling terrorism. His comments directly contradict Trump's, who has said he has an "open mind" on climate change and that the US would win any nuclear arms race.

"We will build a circle of friends across the whole world," Xi continued.

"We will strive to build new model of major country relations with the United States, a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with Russia, a partnership for peace, growth, reform and among different civilizations and a partnership of unity and cooperation with BRICS countries."

The UN's new Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was "very reassuring to see China assuming such a clear leadership in multilateralism in today's world," following Xi's speech.

Xi's comments came one day after he became the first ever Chinese president to address the World Economic Forum in Davos.

There, he advocated a similar message where he defended globalisation and stressed there would be "no winners" in a trade war.

Up until recent years, China had maintained a protectionist stance of its own, but has started to wield more influence worldwide.

One example is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a $51.5bn (£41.47bn) project between the two Asian countries, which includes a multitude of road, rail and pipeline projects.

It will allow China to acquire oil from the Middle East without tankers having to pass through the Malacca Strait, which crosses into the troublesome South China Sea.