top of page
  • Writer's pictureWei Azim Hung

Report: APEC, Taiwan on the Sideline

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

Key takeaways:
  • After ASEAN and G20, APEC is the third summit in a week in the Asia-Pacific.

  • Overshadowed by ASEAN and G20, Biden and Putin missed APEC, raising doubts on what could be achieved.

  • APEC fully adopts Bali G20 Leaders' Declaration.

    • “The Leaders' Declaration at the APEC forum fully adopted the Bali G20 Leaders' Declaration formula, word by word,” says Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto.

    • APEC leaders condemn war, call for open Pacific trade.

  • Xi Jinping wraps up first international tour since Covid with success.

    • Reiterates that Asia must not become an arena for ‘big power contests’.

    • Jacinda Ardern raises Taiwan with Xi Jinping at APEC meeting.

    • China’s Xi Jinping and Japan’s Fumio Kishida to hold first face-to-face talks.

    • Xi stated that his country’s policy was to help Asia-Pacific to grow.

  • Kamala Harris reaffirms commitment to Southeast Asia, holds talks with Thai prime. minister

  • Taiwan Envoy Morris Chang met with over half of all 21 leaders and representatives.

    • Among others, Chang met with Kamala Harris, Lee Hsien Loong, Fumio Kishida, Anthony Blinken, Katherine Tai, as well as Xi Jinping.

    • APEC expects stability, says Chang.

    • No need to avoid Xi at APEC, Chang added.

  • PM of Australia A Anthony Albanese said CPTPP was only for "recognized" nation-states, rather than economies.

    • Taipei sought clarification from Canberra, in which it responded saying it has not changed its position on Taiwan's accession to the CPTPP.

APEC: China winning, Russia losing

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is an inter-governmental forum for 21 member economies in the Pacific Rim that promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The 21 member economies account for 38 percent of the global population, or 2.9 billion people, and approximately 47 percent of global trade. After ASEAN and G20, APEC marks the third and last substantial summit this week in the Asia-Pacific. Amongst the 'big three' (others being Biden and Putin), Xi Jinping is the only head of state/government to attend in person. As such, doubts were raised over whether anything impactful could be achieved at APEC. Moreover, while Putin loses the opportunity to represent Russian interests at the table, Xi emerges as the clear winner, holding flurry bilateral meetings with various heads of state, including News Zealand's Jacinda Ardens, where they discussed the Taiwan issue. Furthermore, for the first time, Xi met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in person. Xi also took the opportunity to project China as a global leader signaling both to domestic and foreign audiences. Specifically, stressed the need to reject confrontation in Asia, warning against the risk of cold war tensions, as leaders gather for the last of three world summits hosted in the region this month. The U.S. was represented by Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and U.S. Trade Representative Katharine Tai. The Russian Federation was represented by First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov. Unsurprisingly, geopolitical concerns, namely the Russian invasion of Ukraine, occupied APEC's agenda. APEC leaders not only condemned the war but according to Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, “the Leaders' Declaration at the APEC forum fully adopted the Bali G20 Leaders' Declaration formula, word by word". Overall, most countries are stridently against Putin's unfavorable war in Ukraine. Even soft allies such as Indonesia and India have voiced opposition to 'war', as well as China opposing the use of nuclear weapons. These are symptoms and signals of countries losing patience with the Russian invasion.

Taiwan envoy: Morris Chang meets world leaders

Taiwan sent Morris Chang as its representing envoy, marking his sixth appearance representing the nation. Chang met with various world leaders, including U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Singaporean President Lee Hsien Loong, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, as well as Chinese President Xi Jinping. Regarding Xi, Chang said, "We asked after each other, and I congratulated him on the success of the Communist Party's 20th Congress". Moreover, he met over half of all 21 leaders and representatives and exchanged opinions with them. According to Chang, world leaders attending APEC have expressed “very strong expectations” that regional peace and stability would continue to be upheld. More importantly, Chang said he had conveyed President Tsai's message at the summit, including Taiwan’s willingness to meet the standards of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and participate in climate change initiatives. During the summit, Australian Prime Minister Anthony controversially stated that CPTPP was only for "recognized" nation-states, rather than economies. Taipei immediately requested clarification from Canberra, to which it responded by saying it welcomes Taiwan's bid and has not changed its position on Taiwan's accession to the CPTPP.



Cover image: APEC 2022 Thailand Facebook Page

Comments


bottom of page