APEC leaders pledge to tackle economic recovery, COVID-19, climate – Community News

APEC leaders pledge to tackle economic recovery, COVID-19, climate

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with US Vice President Joe Biden (L) in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, December 4, 2013. REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool//File Photo

  • Summit held amid heightened tensions between the US and China
  • Biden and Xi are expected to meet virtually on Monday
  • Biden emphasizes commitment to ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’
  • Xi warned this week that the region must not return to Cold War tensions

WELLINGTON, Nov. 13 (Reuters) – Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum vowed Friday to tackle the region’s economic recovery by strengthening supply chains, addressing labor problems and continuing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a joint statement following a virtual meeting hosted by New Zealand, the leaders of the 21-strong group also pledged to work together to tackle climate and environmental challenges.

“With the COVID-19 crisis far from over, we are determined to use all available macroeconomic tools to address the adverse effects of COVID-19 and support the economic recovery, while preserving the sustainability of the budget in the long term,” the leaders said in their joint statement. .

“We will intensify our efforts to ensure goods continue to flow, even under challenging conditions.”

The Pacific Rim summit came amid heightened regional trade and geopolitical tensions, particularly between China and the United States, and global efforts to deal with the pandemic and climate crisis.

Speaking to APEC leaders at the summit, US President Joe Biden underlined his commitment to strengthening the US relationship with the APEC economies “to promote fair and open trade and investment, enhance US competitiveness and create a free and open Indo-Pacific”.

Biden said the climate crisis was a huge opportunity to create good jobs and countries should work together to move towards a sustainable future, according to a White House statement. read more

“The president discussed ways to unleash the economic power of the region and deepen US economic engagement across the Indo-Pacific,” the statement said, without elaborating.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the meeting that economic and technological cooperation is important for the bloc and that further investment is needed, Chinese state media reported.

Via a video link, Xi also said China would “unshakably” extend its opening to the outside world and share China’s development opportunities with the world and Asia-Pacific countries, state broadcaster CCTV said.

The APEC summit preceded a highly anticipated online summit between Biden and Xi expected Monday. US officials have said they believe direct involvement with Xi is the best way to prevent the relationship between the world’s two largest economies from spiraling into conflict. read more

China set the tone for the APEC meeting with Xi who on Thursday warned in a videotape that the region must not return to the tensions of the Cold War era.

The comment was seen as a reference to efforts by the United States and its regional allies to mitigate what they see as China’s growing coercive economic and military influence. read more

Ahead of the expected Biden-Xi meeting, a Chinese official said Beijing was also keen to avoid confrontation and focus on “positive competition” while pushing for cooperation on issues such as the climate crisis and ending the coronavirus pandemic.

A framework agreement on boosting cooperation to tackle climate change, unveiled by the two countries at the UN climate conference in Scotland, sent a “pretty positive signal” for the upcoming summit, the official said. read more

APEC is the last multilateral meeting of the year and comes after a series of meetings, including the high-profile G20 summit in Rome and the COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.

The leaders’ statement made no mention of an offer from the US to host the meeting in 2023. Officials have said no consensus had been reached on this proposal and a source told Reuters that Russia had not supported the proposal.

A US official said all but one of the countries had supported the offer, which requires the consensus of all 21 economies. “One economy is still being consulted and has not yet reached a consensus. We hope this deadlock will be resolved quickly to ensure we can continue the positive momentum for economic cooperation through APEC,” the official said.

The APEC summit will be held in Thailand next year.

In a hearing on Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated the importance of vaccinations in the fight against the pandemic. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern then paid tribute to the outgoing Chancellor. read more

Additional coverage by David Brunnstrom, Steve Holland, Andrea Shalal, and Susan Heavey in the Washington and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Michael Perry, Raissa Kasolowsky and Andrea Ricci

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