US President Joe Biden delivered reassurances to Asia-Pacific economies during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, emphasising American commitment to the region. Biden’s talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, held at a luxurious villa outside San Francisco, aimed at providing stability for the region and the global economy. The leaders pledged to avoid a dangerous rift that could disrupt the world economy by restoring military-to-military links and addressing concerns such as the production of fentanyl in China affecting the United States.
During the APEC summit, Biden affirmed Washington’s commitment to the region despite China’s efforts to expand its influence. He highlighted the stability resulting from the US being a Pacific nation, promoting peace and security. Despite existing disagreements, Biden stressed his commitment to diplomatic efforts to avoid surprises or misunderstandings with China, acknowledging the importance of a stable relationship between the world’s two largest economies.
As the main summit commenced, discussions broadened to cover a dynamic area from the coasts of Canada to Chile, including Australia, China, and Russia. Biden outlined the agenda, focusing on issues such as artificial intelligence, climate resilience, and supply chains, acknowledging the unique challenges faced by the APEC leaders.
While emphasising that the US does not intend to “decouple” from China, Biden’s administration is working to strengthen alliances in the APEC region. The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a trade pact meant to connect the US with like-minded democracies, faces political opposition but remains part of the diplomatic and economic engagement strategy.
The summit also features bilateral discussions, including talks between Mexico and China. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is expected to meet with Biden to address issues like fentanyl trafficking. Despite describing Xi Jinping as a “dictator,” Biden’s talks with the Chinese leader aimed at diplomatic engagement.
In a symbolic gesture, Xi hinted at using “soft power” through the gift of pandas as envoys of friendship between the Chinese and American people, fostering positive ties.