Xi Jinping has warned against a return to cold war-era tensions in the Asia-Pacific, urging greater cooperation on pandemic recovery and the climate crisis.
Amid growing tensions with the US over Taiwan, the Chinese president said all countries in the region must work together on joint challenges.
“Attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geopolitical grounds are bound to fail,” he told a virtual business conference on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
“The Asia-Pacific region cannot and should not relapse into the confrontation and division of the cold war era.”
Xi’s remarks were an apparent reference to US efforts with allies and partners in the region, including the Quad grouping with India, Japan and Australia and the new Aukus alliance, to blunt what Washington sees as China’s growing coercive economic and military influence.
China’s military said on Tuesday it conducted a combat readiness patrol in the direction of the Taiwan Strait, after its defense ministry condemned a visit by a US congressional delegation to Taiwan, the democratically governed island claimed by Beijing.
Combative US diplomatic exchanges with China early in the Biden administration unnerved allies, and US officials believe direct engagement with Xi is the best way to prevent the relationship between the world’s two biggest economies from spiralling toward conflict.
A date has not been announced for the Xi-Biden meeting, but a person briefed on the matter said it was expected to be as soon as next week.
The Chinese leader also called for a joint effort to close the “immunisation gap”, making Covid-19 vaccines more accessible to developing nations.
“We should translate consensus that vaccines are a global public good into concrete actions to ensure their fair and equitable distribution,” he told the New Zealand-hosted summit.
Xi said the region should ensure that developing countries can access and afford Covid-19 vaccines.
China on Wednesday said it had reached an understanding with the US at a summit in Glasgow on the climate emergency, a key area on which the Biden administration sees the potential for cooperation.
Xi did not mention the deal with the US directly but said “all of us can embark on a path of green, low-carbon sustainable development”.
“Together, we can usher in a future of green development,” he said.
“China will stay committed to promoting win-win cooperation and contribute to the economic development of the Asia-Pacific region.”
With Reuters and Agence France-Presse
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