US President Joe Biden reassured Asia-Pacific economies of American commitment during the APEC summit 2023 in San Francisco on Thursday. He stated that his discussions with Chinese leader Xi Jinping would contribute to stability for the region and the entire world.
Addressing the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) group, which comprises 21 members but operates under the shadow of US-China relations, Biden emphasized, “We’re not going anywhere.”
The APEC summit 2023 commenced with a sense of relief following Biden and Xi’s first meeting in a year at a lavish villa outside San Francisco on Wednesday. Both leaders emerged from the meeting pledging to avoid the kind of dangerous rift that could disrupt the global economy.
The leaders reached agreements to reinstate military-to-military links, and Xi committed to cracking down on the production of ingredients in China for the drug fentanyl, which has been flooding into the United States.
During the APEC summit, Biden reiterated Washington’s commitment to the region despite Beijing’s efforts to expand influence. Reflecting on his conversation with Xi, Biden stated, “He asked me on Wednesday why we are so engaged in the Pacific. I said it’s because we’re a Pacific nation. Because of us, there’s been peace and security in the region, allowing you to grow. He didn’t disagree.”
While emphasizing the commitment to diplomacy, Biden acknowledged that the US and China remained far apart on issues such as Taiwan, the US-backed democratic island claimed by China. He stressed the importance of a stable relationship between the world’s two largest economies for global well-being.
As the main summit unfolded in San Francisco, attention shifted to the dynamic area stretching from the coasts of Canada to Chile and across to Australia, China, and Russia.
Biden highlighted that the discussions over the next two days would center on various issues, including artificial intelligence, climate resilience, and supply chains. He noted that the challenges faced by the current group of APEC leaders differed from those of their predecessors.
Despite asserting that the United States has no intention of “decoupling” from China, the Biden administration is actively working to strengthen alliances with APEC countries concerned about Beijing’s expansionist policies. A significant element of this strategy is the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a loose trade pact designed to unite the United States with like-minded democracies such as Australia and South Korea. However, the IPEF has encountered obstacles due to opposition within US domestic politics.