China’s Xi Jinping warns against return to ‘Cold War-era’ tensions

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Chinese President Xi Jinping warned on Thursday against a return to Cold War-era tensions in the Asia-Pacific, urging greater cooperation on pandemic recovery and climate change.

Amid growing tensions with the United States over Taiwan, slightly offset by a surprise deal between Beijing and Washington on climate, Xi said all countries in the vicinity must work together on joint challenges.

“Attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geo-political grounds are bound to fail,” he told a virtual business conference on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

“The Asia-Pacific vicinity cannot and should not relapse into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era.”

The Chinese leader called for a joint effort to close the “immunisation gap”, making Covid-19 vaccines more easy to reach to developing nations. 

“We should translate consensus that vaccines are a global public good into concrete actions to ensure their fair and equitable dispensing,” he told the New Zealand-hosted summit.

Xi said countries should step up cooperation in research, production, testing, and mutual recognition of vaccines, “to appear from the shadow of the pandemic and unprotected to steady economic recovery at an early date”.

China on Wednesday said it had reached an understanding with the United States at a summit in Glasgow on climate change, a meaningful area on which the Biden administration sees the possible for cooperation.

Xi did not mention the US deal directly but said “all of us can embark on a path of green, low-carbon sustainable development”.

‘Green development’ 

“Together, we can usher in a future of green development,” he said.

“China will stay committed to promoting win-win cooperation and contribute to the economic development of the Asia-Pacific vicinity.”

The global warming pact came ahead of expected virtual talks between Xi and US President Joe Biden, reportedly to be held as soon as next week.

It also came at a time of rising tension in the Asia-Pacific.

Beijing has ramped up military activities near Taiwan, a self-ruling democracy claimed by China, with a record number of planes intruding into the island’s air defence identification zone in early October.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that the United States would ensure Taiwan can defend itself to avoid anyone “trying to disrupt the position quo by force”.

China also claims almost all of the resource-high South China Sea, by which trillions of dollars in shipping trade pass yearly, rejecting competing claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Against that backdrop, the United States, Britain and Australia announced in September that they had formed a new alliance — AUKUS — under which Australia will acquire nuclear-powered submarines using US technology.

Although delivery is years away and China was not specifically named, the announcement angered China and separately sparked a furious row with France which saw its before negotiated contract for selling Australia traditional submarines torn up.

(AFP)

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