Thailand, the host of the 2022 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), was left high and dry yesterday after the goliath in the north – China, stole the limelight of the conference within hours after its president made his 1st visit to the country.
The all-powerful first 3rd term ‘elected’ President of China – Xi Jinping, issued a statement within minutes after he landed in Bangkok to attend the APEC summit that ends tomorrow.
The statement by the Chinese President called on the APEC region to be a block that focuses on economic development and not be someone’s backyard and should not be an arena for big power to contest their turf.
“The Asia Pacific is no one’s backyard and should not become an arena for big power contest. No attempt to wage a cold war will ever be allowed by the people or by our times,” Xi said in a statement issued within hours after his Boeing 747 landed at Don Muang airport late yesterday.
Xi in his speech said that that the 21st century is the Asia Pacific century and that this region accounts for 1/3 of the world’s population and more than 60% of the global economy. The Asia Pacific region, he said, also accounts for nearly 50% of the global trade and is the region with the most dynamic growth region of the world.
“Currently, the Asia Pacific enjoys overall stability. Cooperation in our region ahs been steadily advanced, and peace, development and win-win cooperation remain the underlaying trend in this region,” Xi said.
He added that the ‘cold war’ mentality, hegemonism, unilateralism and instability are growing. “Acts that distort international norms, disrupt economic linkages, inflate conflicts in the region and impede development cooperation are all too common. All these pose a challenge to peace & development in the Asia Pacific,” Xi said.
Xi was due to speak at the APEC CEO Summit on Thursday afternoon but the speech at the in-person event was canceled at the last minute due to “scheduling conflicts,” summit organizers said.
The 6-pages of the statement by the Chinese President talks about many issues that Xi used the speech to pitch his vaguely defined initiatives for regional security and development and prompted the Chinese way for modernization.
The Chinese way of modernization is being promoted as an alternative for the developmental path of the Western ways.
The written speech also called for an alternative to counter the United States influence in the region as he called for a ‘regional security architect’ that would help ‘create conditions for ensuring economic development and durable peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific.”
Prayut Left High & Dry
The powerful statement by Chinese President Xi has left the host – Thailand, in a position to scramble to snatch back the global headlines from the visitor who stole the show.
A powerful statement by the likes of Xi, which is unprecedented, especially at such big global events.
Such statements are usually reserved for the host country and its leaders. The statement that looks into what the APEC summit should be about, the statement of how one should learn their lessons from history and what economic development means as it helps solve the key problem of the world or the APEC region – poverty and higher cost of living, are all things that are usually said by the host country as a way to leave a mark on the world stage to ponder about what things needs to be sorted out.
No leader goes to another country to steal the limelight and make global headlines by making strong statement of where that event (in this case APEC) should be heading towards even though those attending the event could be some of the world’s biggest superpowers.
The fact that Xi stole the limelight should not come as a surprise to Thailand. Afterall China under Xi has basically made it very clear that the Asean region is more of its own turf and this has been visible over the past few years as many of the Asean summit have failed to issue communique due to pressure from the goliath in the north.
Xi during his G20 meeting in Bali, Indonesia was more timid and did not come out to say anything too much because other leaders such as Joe Biden was there but in Thailand, which under the military government has shown that it is more of a puppet to the Chinese leadership, he had the audacity to say things that overshadowed the host country.
The 2014 coup leader who received his 1st approval for the 2014 coup against a democratically elected government from the Chinese government under Xi, seems to continue to be indebted to that stamp of approval and is willing to allow its head to be trampled upon as a payback.
As they say, ‘payback is a bitch’ and as a Thai we all can see that with the way China is treating us today.
Prayut is likely to have a tough time overshadowing the statements made by Xi as Prayut’s bio-circular green (BCG) initiative is unlikely to make any dent and APEC 2022 is likely to be remembered for what Xi said even though Thailand is the host country.
Below is the 1st four pages of Xi’s speech issued yesterday