Washington DC, Nov 19 (efe-epa).- The outgoing president of the United States will participate Friday in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, White House officials confirmed to EFE.
The virtual summit organized by Malaysia began Thursday, a day that saw the participation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. It is not yet known whether the details of the closed APEC session to be held Thursday evening, Kuala Lumpur time, will be made public.
This will be Trump’s first participation in an APEC Summit since 2017. In 2018, the US was represented by Vice President Mike Pence, and last year it was suspended due to social unrest in the host nation, Chile.
The US leader did not attend last week’s high-level meetings with counterparts at the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), nor the East Asia Summit. He instead sent representatives.
His appearance also comes at a time of growing influence of China in the region. Last week the Asian giant led the signing of the largest free trade agreement in the world, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), with 14 other Asia-Pacific countries in the region accounting for a third of the world economy. The pact excludes the US.
During his speech Thursday at the APEC summit, Xi Jinping made a fiery defense of economic openness and multilaterialism against the protectionism of other countries to guarantee economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Protectionism and unilateralism are mounting. Yet China has not stalled in its pursuit of opening up. As a matter of fact, we have taken many policy steps to open the country still wider,” said the Chinese leader.
Xi denied that China was disconnected from the rest of the world economies and, in what many viewed as a pointed reference to the US during a time of tense bilateral relations, said that “mounting unilateralism, protectionism and bullying as well as backlash against economic globalization have added to risks and uncertainties in the world economy.”
Trump’s online appearance at the summit is one of the few engagements he has participated in since his Nov. 3 presidential election defeat to Democrat and president-elect Joe Biden. He has not yet recognized Biden’s victory and is focused on his strategy of denying the results and holding onto power through the courts.
The incumbent has minimized his agenda and his public appearances.
APEC, founded in 1989, consists of 21 member countries and accounts for nearly 60 percent of the global GDP as well as more than half of global trade.
It forms a market of 2.85 billion consumers – around 40 percent of the world’s population – and aims to establish a free trade zone among member economies by 2020.
APEC is made up of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, South Korea, the United States, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. EFE-EPA