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Asia-Pacific should stay true to its charted course

Source: China Daily | 2023-11-20
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Asia-Pacific should stay true to its charted course

A journalist walks past a poster at the APEC 2023 International Media Center in San Francisco, the United States, on Nov 14, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

This is an editorial from China Daily.

The 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders' Meeting concluded in San Francisco on Friday with vows to create a resilient and sustainable future for all in the region.

In the Golden Gate Declaration adopted at the two-day meeting, leaders of APEC's 21 economies affirmed their determination to deliver a free, open, fair, nondiscriminatory, transparent, inclusive and predictable regional trade and investment environment. But for the Asia-Pacific economies to build the next "golden 30 years", all regional economies will need to hold true to that commitment and wholeheartedly embrace cooperative relations and reject any clique-building.

APEC's adherence to the rules-based trading system, with the World Trade Organization at its core, has catalyzed the APEC region's extraordinary growth over the past three decades. Needless to say, it is essential that the region strengthen that consensus to secure common economic development at a time of rising challenges and turbulences.

That the region has been able to create the "Asia-Pacific miracle" in recent decades lies in its constantly deepening integration and embracing of free trade and multilateralism.

But despite its dynamism, the Asia-Pacific region cannot sit on its laurels. The challenges of growing anti-globalization and "decoupling" sentiment in some regional economies, as well as the region's imbalanced development and the problems created by geopolitical rivalries and climate change threaten to disrupt the region's industry and supply chains.

Selfish attempts to distort international norms, disrupt economic ties and inflate conflicts run counter to the region's interests of common development and deepened integration. The APEC economies should pull together in the face of the headwinds and seek to build on what has been achieved.

China's call for the APEC economies to continue to embrace the spirit of partnership without uniformity and to recommit to openness and inclusiveness conforms with the aspirations of people in the region for peace and prosperity.

APEC should uphold open regionalism and advance the building of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership as its two possible base models.

For the Asia-Pacific to enjoy another 30 years of development and prosperity, it is imperative that all parties say "no" to any attempts to exacerbate differences in a bid to create self-serving frictions and estrangement.

As a locomotive of regional economic development and a practitioner of APEC's principles, China has long called for the building of an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future. And as it pursues its modernization path, more opportunities and development fruits will be produced, in which the region can share.


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