Chinese President Xi Jinping warned on Thursday against reverting to a Cold War mentality as a result of tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.
His statements on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum’s annual conference come only weeks after the US, Britain, and Australia declared a new regional security alliance in which Australia will construct nuclear submarines. The agreement has been roundly panned by China.
Xi gave a pre-recorded video address to a CEO Summit at APEC, which is being hosted in a virtual version by New Zealand. On Saturday, Xi will take part in an online meeting with other Pacific Rim leaders, including US President Joe Biden.
Attempts to construct regional boundaries along ideological or geopolitical lines, Xi stated in his speech, will fail.
“The Asia-Pacific area cannot and should not revert to the Cold War era’s conflict and division,” Xi remarked.
Xi also stated that the area must ensure that supply lines remain operational and that trade and investment remain liberalized.
“China will stay steadfast in promoting reform and opening up in order to boost economic growth,” he added.
The most essential duty in the region, he added, is to make an all-out effort to combat the epidemic and escape as quickly as possible from its shadow.
Amal Clooney, a human rights lawyer, also addressed at the CEO meeting, stating that liberal democracies might promote global human rights by exerting pressure on authoritarian countries. Businesses, she added, must also play a part.
Clooney remarked, “If you can’t fight evil, you can at least try to fight apathy.” “And if you can’t rely on liberal governments to address global problems, you have to attempt to motivate the private sector to help.”
APEC members collectively account for approximately 3 billion people and around 60% of global GDP. However, the unusual alliance of 21 states and territories, which includes the United States, China, Taiwan, Russia, and Australia, is riven by profound conflicts.
On the economic and geopolitical fronts, several Asian nations strive to balance Chinese and US interests.
China has asserted its ancient rights to broad swaths of the South China Sea and other locations by establishing a military presence, including the construction of islands in certain disputed areas.
Both Taiwan and China have applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Pacific Rim trade pact, with Beijing claiming that Taiwan’s bid will be rejected because the democratically governed island refuses to accept that it is a part of communist-ruled China.
It’s also uncertain whether all APEC nations would back the United States’ proposal to host the next round of APEC meetings in 2023.
Nanaia Mahuta, New Zealand’s foreign minister, said on Wednesday that APEC was based on consensus and that the 2023 host has yet to be determined.
Officials claim that during the 340 preparatory talks building up to this week’s leaders’ conference, they achieved great progress. Many tariffs and border delays on vaccinations, masks, and other medical supplies that are critical to battling the epidemic have been reduced or eliminated by APEC countries.