China’s Xi Jinping warns Apec leaders against isolationism

President’s caution follows Peruvian leader’s call to fight rising protectionism

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 November, 2016, 6:58am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 November, 2016, 7:03am

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) nations to play a leading role in the global economy, which faces challenges and uncertainty.

Xi was giving a keynote address at the Apec Economic Leaders’ summit in Lima, Peru, which is his second stop on his current Latin American trip.

“Global economic recovery is still weak as growth impetus is not strong enough,” Xi told the summit on Saturday night, Beijing time. “Facing the challenge of risk, all parties should cooperate and stick to the spirit of partnerships and win-win cooperation.

“[We] should build up an equal and universally beneficial framework agreement, as isolation and exclusiveness are wrong.”

Apec ministers fear threat to free trade as Trump presidency looms, Hong Kong commerce chief says in Lima

Xi will also hold discussions in Lima with representatives of the Apec Business Advisory Council and meet with leaders of some other member economies.

When the president arrived in Lima on Saturday morning, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who is widely tipped to be seeking re-election in March, greeted Xi at the airport. CCTV footage showed the two smiling and talking as they shook hands.

Leung arrived a day earlier than Xi but had no official functions on his first full day in Lima.

The two are expected to have a formal meeting on Sunday, raising speculation as to whether Xi would bless Leung if he decided to run for a second term.

Leung hinted to Xinhua last Sunday that he might consider doing so.

Xi delivered a written speech upon his arrival, saying his visit aimed to deepen cooperation, expand common grounds, strengthen friendships and promote development.

Earlier on Friday, Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski urged Apec members to fight rising protectionism, after Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election stoked fears that free trade and globalisation are under threat.

Meanwhile, Ning Gaoning, China’s co-chairman of the Apec Business Advisory council, said Trump’s pledge to build a wall on the US border with Mexico and slap high tariffs on Chinese imports were unlikely to happen because the world was “rational”.

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“We worry about the incoming US president, Donald Trump, and his policies, but we don’t think he would ... really increase import duties or some taxes on Chinese products by 40 per cent,” he said.

Ning, who is also chairman of China’s state-run Sinochem, was speaking at a press conference held by the Chinese delegation, a day before the Economic Leaders’ summit that brought together leaders from 21 Pacific Rim economies, including the United States, China and Russia.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte would have bilateral meetings with Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, Manila’s foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay told journalists.

Xi will travel to Chile on Monday after the Apec summit. Ecuador was his first stop on his Latin American itinerary.

Additional reporting by Stuart Lau.