What to expect from Xi-Biden meeting and the upcoming APEC

All eyes are on the U.S. city of San Francisco for a key Asia-Pacific meeting and a meeting between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to be in the city from November 14 to 17 for a China-U.S. summit meeting and the 30th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, China’s Foreign Ministry announced on November 10.

With mounting global instability and uncertainty, China is expected to elaborate on its initiatives for regional peace and efforts for a sound China-U.S. relationship, according to experts.

What’s on the agenda?

Home to 2.9 billion people, or nearly 40 percent of the world’s population, the 21 APEC economies, including three major powers, namely China, the United States and Russia, account for about half of global trade and over 60 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product (GDP).

“The annual APEC leaders’ meeting will involve the coordination of geopolitical order in the Pacific Rim, and the coordination of social and economic policies as well as governmental and social relations among the members,” said Zhang Yifei, an associate researcher from the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

APEC meetings throughout this year have focused on regional economic issues, including sustainability, digitalization, women’s economic empowerment, trade facilitation, energy security, food security and health.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver an important speech at this year’s APEC leaders’ meeting to fully elaborate on China’s major proposals on deepening Asia-Pacific cooperation and driving regional and global growth, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

In the speech, Xi may advocate the building of an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future, which is to deepen the regional partnership featuring mutual trust, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, Zhang told CGTN.

For global order, he said that Xi may elaborate on his vision of a global community with a shared future, which includes promoting a new type of economic globalization, taking the path of peaceful development, practicing true multilateralism and advancing the common values of mankind, which are in line with the spirit of APEC.

He said all APEC members should seek the broadest common interests at the meeting in terms of the free flow of goods, personnel, labor and capital, and the improvement of official and people-to-people exchanges.

Noting that APEC members will continue their pursuits toward realizing APEC’s Putrajaya Vision 2040 at this year’s meeting, John Gong, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics, told CGTN that there is still room for the U.S. and China in the region to take the leadership role in terms of achieving that vision. 

“We should be very grateful and lucky that this region is absolutely peaceful. We should uphold peace here and raise the focus on economic development, as this region is the most economically vibrant one in the world right now, and I think the U.S. and China should work indeed together towards that vision,” said John.

Banners depicting the upcoming 30th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting outside the venue of the meeting in San Francisco, California, the United States, November 7, 2023. /Xinhua

Banners depicting the upcoming 30th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting outside the venue of the meeting in San Francisco, California, the United States, November 7, 2023. /Xinhua

Banners depicting the upcoming 30th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting outside the venue of the meeting in San Francisco, California, the United States, November 7, 2023. /Xinhua

Sound China-U.S. ties are greatest peaceful dividend

Besides attending the APEC leaders’ meeting, Xi will also meet U.S. President Joe Biden.

The meeting, highly anticipated by the world, comes at a time when the world’s two major powers have resumed contact and maintained frequent interactions at different levels in various sectors in recent months.

Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng also held talks with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in San Francisco, the second face-to-face communication in four months after their July talks in Beijing.

In terms of the meeting between the two presidents, Zhang said that the Chinese side may say something new, but it will remain in the framework of the three principles in developing China-U.S. relations proposed by Xi, namely, mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. 

“These principles are comprehensive enough and really hit the biggest problems between China and the United States, as the two countries need to respect each other’s distinct national conditions, manage risks to uphold the bottom line of peaceful existence and on such basis seek common interests.”

However, Zhang said that even if the two sides make diplomatic progress at this meeting, China-U.S. relations are far from ice-breaking as the structural contradictions between the two countries still exist.

The U.S. has not stopped its actions against China, such as intensified sanctions on Chinese companies and the publishing of a report on China’s military development in October.

Zhang said the ice-breaking for bilateral ties lies in the U.S. changing its positions on China and China-U.S. relations.

“If the United States, for example, still sees China’s rise as a challenge, and then regards China as the so-called most important geopolitical competitor, it will miss the opportunities that China’s development brings to the United States and the world,” said Zhang.

“A sound China-U.S. relationship is the greatest peaceful dividend for the Asia-Pacific region and the world, given the fact that many places are in flames of conflicts,” he noted.

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