WELLINGTON (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that tensions in Asia-Pacific should not lead to a relapse to a Cold War mentality.
His comments at the sidelines the annual summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum were made weeks after Australia, Britain, and the U.S. announced a new security alliance that would see Australia building nuclear submarines. China strongly criticized the deal.
A separate illustration of strains in APEC , shows that a Southeast Asian delegation told The Associated Press, “The group has so far failed to agree on a U.S. bid for the 2023 summit because of unmet Russian demands.”
Xi gave a pre-recorded speech to a CEO Summit at APEC ,, which is being hosted in a virtual format by New Zealand. Xi will be participating in an online meeting on Saturday with other leaders from the Pacific Rim, including President Joe Biden.
Xi stated that attempts to create boundaries in the region along ideologic or geopolitical lines will fail. His reference to the Cold War echoes Beijing’s oft-stated position that the U.S. should abandon that way of thinking in dealing with China.
” The Asia-Pacific region should not relapse in the confrontation and division of Cold War era,” Xi stated.
Xi said that the region should ensure that supply lines are functioning properly and continue to liberalize trade and investment.
“China will remain firm in advancing reform and opening up so as to add impetus to economic development,” he said.
The most urgent task in the region, he stated, is to make an effort to eradicate the pandemic as quickly as possible.
The Southeast Asian delegate spoke under the condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. She stated that Russia refused to support the U.S. bid unless certain of its diplomats were removed on a U.S. blacklist and allowed to enter the U.S. for the APEC meetings.
The delegate stated that the U.S. would not agree to Russia’s demands, as security issues involving America are “non-negotiable.” He also said that China has remained silent about the U.S. Offer.
If the 21 APEC leaders fail to reach a consensus on the U.S. bid by Friday, the delegate said, a paragraph in a draft of the summit communique welcoming the U.S. offer would have to be deleted.
New Zealand’s Foreign Ministry Nanaia Mahuta stated earlier this week that APEC was based on consensus and that there wasn’t yet a confirmed host for 2023..
Amal Clooney, a human rights lawyer, spoke at the CEO summit. She stated that liberal democracies can improve global rights by putting pressure on autocratic countries. She also said that businesses must play a part.
” If you cannot fight evil, at least you can try to combat apathy,” Clooney stated. “And if liberal governments can’t solve global problems, you need to inspire the private sector.”
In all, APEC members account for nearly 3 billion people and about 60% of the world’s GDP. But deep tensions run through the unlikely group of 21 nations and territories that include the U.S., China, Taiwan, Russia, and Australia.
Many countries in Asia seek to balance U.S. and Chinese influence on the political and economic fronts.
China claims vast parts of the South China Sea and other areas and has moved to establish a military presence, building islands in some disputed areas as it asserts its historic claims.
Both Taiwan and China have applied to join a Pacific Rim trade pact, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, with Beijing saying it will block Taiwan’s bid on the basis that the democratically governed island refuses to accept that it’s part of communist-ruled China.
Officials claim they made significant progress in some 340 pre-meetings leading up to the leaders’ meeting this week. APEC members agreed to lower or eliminate many tariffs as well as border holdups for vaccines, masks, and other essential medical products to fight the pandemic.
Gomez was reported from Manila, Philippines.
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