If the United States withdraws from the world stage under President Donald Trump, China could step in to fill the void, according to a Chinese diplomat.

Zhang Jun, director general of the Chinese foreign ministry's international economics department, said China doesn't want to assume that role, but may have to should Trump follow through with so-called "America first" policies, Reuters reported Monday

"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, via Reuters. "If China is required to play that leadership role then China will assume its responsibilities."

Trump laid out a protectionist world view in his inauguration speech last week. 

"From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land," he said. "From this day forward, it's going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families."

Considering the tremendous influence the United States wields over global events, and the global economy, governments worldwide are carefully watching Trump, who has threatened to renegotiate or back out of important trade deals while placing massive taxes on goods manufactured in foreign markets.

"We still hope that the United States and other Western economies can continue to make an even bigger contribution to the world economic recovery. We’ve heard Trump announce that the United States will achieve four per cent growth and we’re very happy about that," Zhang said. "A trade war or an exchange rate war won’t be advantageous to any country."

Reports indicated Monday that Trump planned to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and is also considering overhauling the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).