APEC Summit 2022: China’s Xi Jinping says Asia should not become an arena for ‘great power competition’

Bangkok, Thailand

Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed the need to reject confrontation in Asia, warning of the dangers of Cold War tensions, as leaders gather for the latest global summits hosted by the region this month.

Xi has already used the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit in Bangkok to find out how he wants his counterparts to view China — positioning the country as an engine of regional unity in a written speech released ahead of opening day on Friday. .

Without specifically naming the United States, the speech also seemed to deal several blows to the United States.

In the statement, in which he also warned against attempts to “disrupt” or “dismantle” industrial supply chains, Xi said the Asia-Pacific region “is no one’s backyard” and should not become “an arena for major power competition.”

“Unilateralism and protectionism should be rejected by all; any attempt to politicize and weaponize economic and trade relations should be rejected by all,” said Xi, who was scheduled to deliver the remarks to business leaders but canceled due to an unexpected scheduling conflict, Reuters reported, citing organizers.

“Neither the people nor our time will allow any attempt to launch a new Cold War,” he added. Xi, speaking in a more moderate tone in a separate address to leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Organization Friday morning as the event kicked off, called for stability, peace and the development of a “more just world order.”

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have deteriorated sharply in recent years, with the two sides feuding over Taiwan, the war in Ukraine, North Korea, and technology transfer among other issues.

In August, following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China fired several missiles into the waters around the self-ruled island and stepped up naval exercises and warplanes in the surrounding area. Beijing claims the democratic island as its territory, although it never controlled it, and has suspended a number of dialogues with the United States over the visit.

But tensions between the United States and China, which eased slightly after a landmark meeting between Xi and US President Joe Biden in Bali, Indonesia earlier this week, aren’t the only shadow hanging over the APEC summit.

North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Friday morning, the second missile test by Kim Jong Un’s regime in two days, and part of a period of increasing provocation from Pyongyang.

US Vice President Kamala Harris met on the sidelines of the summit with leaders from Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Canada to condemn the launch, in a previously unscheduled media briefing.

Leaders and representatives from the 21 economies on both sides of the Pacific — accounting for about half of global trade — will also struggle to process the economic fallout from the war in Ukraine over the course of their two-day summit, an annual gathering meant to advance regional economic integration.

At stake is whether leaders can find consensus on how to deal with Russian aggression in an outcome document, or whether differences in viewpoints among the broad group of countries will impede such an outcome, despite months of discussions among the countries’ lower-level officials. your father.

Received by Thailand, the host country but not part of the grouping, French President Emmanuel Macron, in a speech to business leaders alongside the summit Friday morning, called for consensus and unity against Russian aggression.

“Help us convey the same message to Russia: stop the war, the international order, and come back to the negotiating table,” he said.

Macron also called out the rivalry between the United States and China, warning of the dangers to peace if countries are forced to choose between the two superpowers.

“We need a one world order,” Macron said, to applause from business leaders.

Before the events began on Friday, Chinese President Xi met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday, in the first meeting between the two countries’ leaders in nearly three years. The two sides called for more cooperation in the wake of the breakdown in communication over points of contention from Taiwan to the disputed islands.

Xi also met with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos — an effort to stress the importance of China’s regional ties. They added to a crowded lineup of bilateral meetings during what was Xi’s second trip abroad since the start of the pandemic and his first since he assumed an ill-conceived third term as China’s leader.

In his remarks to APEC leaders on Friday, Xi also said that China will consider hosting the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation next year. The event, linked to China’s overseas development and infrastructure, has not been held since 2019, as China continued to restrict its borders after the Covid-19 outbreak.

Unlike the G-20 earlier this week, Xi will not enter the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum having to sit across from Biden, who left Asia on Wednesday for a family event and handed over US representation in Bangkok to the vice president.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will also not attend, instead sending a representative, having already skipped the G-20 and meetings around the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia over the past week.

When asked about the possibility of reaching a consensus at the upcoming leaders’ summit, following the meeting of foreign ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Organization on Thursday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was optimistic.

“Far from being divided along one line or another, I think we’re seeing a growing convergence of all countries around the critical issues that really matter to the lives of our citizens…I think you’ll see out of Bangkok in the next 24 hours or so important steps forward that we’re taking together.” “.

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