Xi-Biden to meet amid US-China tensions: What is APEC, the forum they will be attending?

As the world’s two most powerful economies, the United States and China, find themselves entwined in a predicament of tensions and disagreements, Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden are set to meet. Intriguingly, their rendezvous is scheduled at the APEC – a forum that may not be familiar to many.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is the stage for this highly anticipated dialogue. It’s a regional economic forum established in 1989 to maximize the prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region by enhancing economic growth and integration. It currently includes 21 Pacific Rim member economies which work together to address their common concerns, collaborating to promote balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth.

The issues APEC address range from trade and investment to sustainable development and climate change. It facilitates business activities, promotes investment, and ensures security and stability to stimulate economic growth. APEC’s relevance in present times is highly significant, considering the current geopolitical shifts and economic stagnation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Xi-Biden meeting at APEC has generated a lot of interest given the current US-China relationship. Their tensions cover several domains including trade, technology, human rights, and regional security. While Biden’s administration has called for a more collaborative approach to China than his predecessor, significant differences continue to persist.

The fact that both leaders have chosen the APEC forum for this interaction is not coincidental. Indeed, it is a calculated move that demonstrates the importance of the Asia-Pacific region in the global economic balance. The meeting, to be conducted virtually this year due to continuing COVID-19 concerns, could potentially provide a platform for both countries to deescalate their ongoing tensions and strategize their roles in the region.

In conclusion, APEC is much more than just a congregation of economies. It serves as a pivot around which the future of global politics and economics could revolve. The upcoming Xi-Biden meeting at this forum is an important reminder of this fact, highlighting the critical role of APEC in the broader context of US-China relations and global affairs in general.

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