Mainland China wins APEC support for free trade 'roadmap'中國內地贏得了自由貿易“路線圖”APEC支持
Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC group meet at the APEC Summit plenary session at the International Convention Center in Yanqi Lake on Tuesday. (AP/CNA)
November 12, 2014, 12:04 am TWN
China has been keen to underscore its rising trade and diplomatic clout during the summit, at a lakeside venue north of the Chinese capital, and Xi said the bloc had “approved the roadmap for APEC to promote and realize the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.”
A day earlier Xi had met Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in the first formal leaders' meeting for nearly three years between the Asian neighbors, who have an often difficult relationship.At the same time the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting saw a flurry of diplomatic activity, with Russia's President Vladimir Putin — often criticized by the West — meeting his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama and, separately, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
BEIJING -- An Asia-Pacific summit on Tuesday endorsed a Beijing-backed route towards a vast free trade area in the region, host Xi Jinping said, calling it a “historic” step.
He called it a “historic” step reflecting the “confidence and commitment of APEC members to promote the integration of the regional economy,” symbolizing “the official launch of the process towards the FTAAP.”
The FTAAP would build on other initiatives including the smaller U.S.-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but China's firm advocacy of the plan over TPP has added to Sino-U.S. trade rivalry.
Besides accounting for more than 50 percent of global gross domestic product, 21-member APEC also makes up nearly half of world trade and 40 percent of the Earth's population.
'We need each other'
Obama, Xi and Abe respectively lead the world's three biggest economies, while Russia is a powerful player in energy exports whose annexation of Crimea and support for Ukrainian rebels has sent relations with the United States into a tailspin, with the West imposing sanctions on Moscow.
But Obama held talks of about 15-20 minutes with Putin, according to the White House, with their conversations covering Iran, Syria and Ukraine.
The Russian leader also held a bilateral with Abbott, who has publicly declared his fury at the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people including 38 Australian citizens and residents.
Abbott's office underlined that evidence suggested a Russian-supplied missile from a launcher that was then returned to Russian territory was responsible, labeling it “a very serious matter.”
For its part China is embroiled in territorial and historical disputes with Japan, but Abe stressed cooperation with Beijing after the summit, calling for the neighbors to press ahead with tentative efforts to put their deep hostility behind them after he met Xi.
“Japan and China, we need each other. We are in a way inseparably bound with each other,” Abe told reporters. “Japan and China both have responsibility for peace and prosperity of the region and of the world.”
Some Chinese analysts and state media have framed the TPP as an attempt to check Beijing's growing economic clout — allegations Washington dismisses.Washington has been pushing the TPP, which aims for a loosening of trade restrictions and embraces 11 other Pacific Rim countries including Japan, Canada, Australia and Mexico, while notably excluding China.
At the meeting Obama himself praised China for focusing attention on APEC's role in eventually achieving the FTAAP, first proposed in 2006, but also reiterated the U.S. priority was the smaller TPP.
“The many regional initiatives will contribute to the eventual realization,” he said. “We see our engagement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a contribution towards that effort.”
Xi hosted Obama for a private dinner Tuesday at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, the two men walking through the grounds beforehand, and were to meet again on Wednesday.
China's increasing economic and military prominence has lead to tensions with Washington, including over rival allegations of cyber-spying.
But both sides say they want to manage their relationship to avoid clashes in the past that have occurred between rising and established powers.
In a sign that they can work together, the White House announced Tuesday that they had “reached an understanding” on an agreement to reduce tariffs on information technology trade.
Obama also announced in Beijing the two governments had reached a reciprocal agreement to extend visa validity periods to as long as a decade.
But Xi unmistakably underscored China's intention to enhance its world influence by laying out his vision of a Chinese-driven “Asia-Pacific dream” in a speech on Sunday to APEC business leaders.
Meanwhile Obama has stressed U.S. leadership, calling his country a “thoroughly Pacific nation.”
北京 - 在週二的亞太峰會上批准在該地區走向廣闊的自由貿易區北京支持的路線，主機習近平說，稱這是一個“歷史性”的一步。
同時，在亞太經合組織（APEC）會議上看到了小雪的外交活動，與俄羅斯總統弗拉基米爾·普京 - 經常被西方批評 - 他會見美國總統奧巴馬，並單獨澳大利亞總理艾伯特。
一些中國分析人士和官方媒體誣陷TPP作為以杜絕北京日益增長的經濟影響力 - 華盛頓指控駁回。