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Asia must not become arena for ‘big power contest ’- Xi, “The US is here to stay”- Kamala

Newsman:  The Asia-Pacific is no-one’s backyard and should not become an arena of big power rivalry, China’s President Xi Jinping has said, warning against the risk of Cold War tensions in the region. Xi’s remarks was  on Thursday ahead of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok as leaders gather for the last of three world summits hosted in the region this month. Leaders and representatives from 21 economies on both sides of the Pacific are meeting in the Thai capital for the two-day summit to discuss how best to promote growth in the region

Xi in a separate address to APEC leaders on Friday morning in the main event got underway, called  for stability, peace and the development of a “more just world order.”

Chinese leader Xi Jinping began the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit by staking out his wish for China to be viewed as a driver of regional unity in a written speech released ahead of Friday’s opening day.

“No attempt to wage a new cold war will ever be allowed by the people or by our times,” Xi said in written remarks  addressed to business leaders meeting alongside the summit and did not name the US.

“We should follow a path of openness and inclusiveness,” he said in the speech, adding the region should not turn into “an arena for big power contest”.

“Unilateralism and protectionism should be rejected by all, any attempt to politicize and weaponise economic and trade relations should also be rejected by all.”

The Asia-Pacific region is “no one’s backyard” and should not become “an arena for big power contest,” Xi said in the statement.

US Vice President Kamala Harris gathered on the sidelines of the summit with leaders from Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Canada to condemn the launch in an unscheduled media briefing.

In a speech Friday to business leaders, Harris said the US had a “profound stake” in the region, and described America as a “strong partner” to its economies and a “major engine of global growth.”

Without mentioning China in her address, she also promoted American initiatives to counter Beijing’s regional influence, including the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, launched by Washington earlier this year, and the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.

“The US is here to stay,” said the vice president, who is representing the US at the summit after President Joe Biden returned home for a family event after attending meetings around the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia in recent days.

US Vice-President Kamala Harris will on Tuesday visit the Philippine islands of Palawan on the edge of the disputed South China Sea.

The trip will make Ms Harris the highest-ranking US official to visit the island chain adjacent to the Spratly Islands.

A landmark meeting between Xi and Biden on the sidelines of the G20 in Bali on Monday – the leaders’ first since Biden took office – ended with the two sides agreeing to bolster communication and collaborate on issues like climate and food security.

Host Thailand on Thursday said leaders gathering for the APEC forum should “rise above differences”.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said the meeting of the 21-member bloc, which started on Friday, “takes place at a pivotal juncture” with the world facing multiple risks.

“Cancel mentality … permeates every conversation and action, [and] makes any compromise appear impossible,” he said in a statement after a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers ahead of the main summit.

“That’s why APEC this year must rise above these challenges and deliver hope to the world at large.”

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