“Obviously this is a very complicated, complex relationship, and there are hostile sides, there are competitive sides; the term used a lot by the government – which I believe very much – is about competitiveness,” Udall said.
“But there’s a side to the problems and there’s been a lot of problems since a Republican president went to China and opened us up to talk to China. That is, what can we work together on and what can we work on? And boy, do I will tell you one thing, what we need to work on around the world is climate change, because that’s an existential crisis.
“It’s especially strongly felt here in the eastern Pacific countries with what’s happening to the oceans and things like that.”
President Xi recently warned the countries of Asia and the Pacific not to “fall back into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era”. It’s no secret that relations between China and Australia have deteriorated since Canberra called for an international investigation into the origins of COVID-19, which was first reported in China.
But there are signs that countries are committing to working together.
New Zealand hosted APEC this year, and while its importance was tempered by the fact that it had to be held virtually, Ardern received a joint statement from leaders representing 2.9 billion people and 60 percent of global GDP.
It includes commitments to keep supply chains open, reduce the cost of COVID-19 vaccines, global efforts to distribute vaccines fairly and support action against climate change.