Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned against returning to Cold War-era tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, urging global cooperation ahead of a virtual meeting with his US counterpart.
In a recorded video message to a CEO forum on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Xi said on Wednesday that attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geopolitical grounds were bound to fail.
“The Asia-Pacific region cannot and should not relapse into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era,” he said.
The Chinese president’s remarks were an apparent reference to US efforts with regional allies and partners including the Quad grouping with India, Japan and Australia, to blunt what they see as China’s growing coercive economic and military influence.
Xi also said the region should make sure to keep supply lines functioning and to continue liberalising trade and investment.
“China will remain firm in advancing reform and opening up so as to add impetus to economic development,” he said.
In all, APEC members account for nearly 3 billion people and about 60 per cent of the world’s GDP. But deep tensions run through the unlikely group of 21 nations and territories that include the US, China, Taiwan, Russia and Australia.
China claims vast parts of the South China Sea and other areas and has moved to establish a military presence, building islands in some disputed areas as it asserts its historic claims.