Chinese leader Xi warns of ‘Cold War’ in Asia-Pacific – Community News
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Chinese leader Xi warns of ‘Cold War’ in Asia-Pacific

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday warned against letting tensions in the Asia-Pacific region lead to a dip in Cold War mentality.

His comments on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit came weeks after the US, Britain and Australia announced a new security alliance in the region, with Australia building nuclear submarines. China has strongly criticized the deal.

Xi spoke in a pre-recorded video with a CEO summit at APEC, which is being hosted in a virtual format by New Zealand. Xi will attend an online meeting on Saturday with other Pacific Rim leaders, including US President Joe Biden.

In his speech, Xi said attempts to draw borders in the region along ideological or geopolitical lines would fail.

“The Asia-Pacific region cannot and should not fall back into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era,” Xi said.

Xi also said the region needs to ensure that supply lines continue to function and that trade and investment are liberalized.

“China will remain determined to implement reforms and open up to boost economic development,” he said.

The most urgent task in the region is to do everything in its power to fight the pandemic and get out of its shadows as soon as possible, he said.

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney also spoke at the CEO summit and said she believed liberal democracies can improve global human rights by pressuring autocratic nations. She said companies also had a role to play.

In total, 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 countries and territories, including the US, China, Taiwan, Russia and Australia.

Many of the countries in Asia are trying to balance Chinese and American influences economically and geopolitically.

China claims large swaths of the South China Sea and other areas and has moved to establish a military presence and build islands in some disputed areas while asserting 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 because the democratically-ruled island refuses to accept that. it was part of communist China.

And it remains unclear whether all APEC members will support a US bid to host the 2023 round of APEC meetings.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said on Wednesday that APEC is based on consensus and there is not yet a confirmed host for 2023.

Officials say they made significant progress in some 340 preparatory meetings ahead of this week’s leaders’ meeting. APEC members have agreed to reduce or eliminate many tariffs and border crossings on vaccines, masks and other medical products important to fight the pandemic.