China's Global Leadership at APEC and Anhui
John Kirton, Co-director, G20 Research Group
in Anhui Province, China
November 23, 2016
On November 19-20, 2016 Chinese president Xi Jinping attended the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders meeting in Lima, Peru. He did so when the United States was represented by Barack Obama, coming as a lame-duck president whose preferred successor and Democratic Party had just been surprisingly and decisively defeated by the politically inexperienced Republican candidate Donald Trump, who during the election campaign had offered a dramatically different approach to China, to trade in the Asia Pacific region and to global affairs as a whole.
At APEC Xi stood out as the sole global leader, acting now without his recent U.S. presidential companion and co-leader by his side to offer more than moral support. Xi's leadership was well reflected in his speech to APEC CEOs just before the governmental summit start. Here Xi called for the 21 APEC members to generate a more open, integrated, interconnected and innovative economy, fuelled by domestic demand and backed by strong international partnerships.
Xi's call and credibility as the new global leader was backed by the many advances he and his country were making back home. The Chinese region of Anhui, located partway between Beijing and Shanghai, is an exemplar of what is being done to fulfill Xi's summit priorities and to give life to APEC's Lima Summit theme of "Quality Growth and Human Development." In Anhui Sinobioway has partnered with Baylor University in the United States to pioneer new biological products to treat cancer in international patients, and create a hub of innovation, health tourism and wellness centres around its labs. An emergency response research centre affiliated with Tsinghua University, whose creation was inspired by the shock of the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, is working at home and abroad, notably in Venezuela, to save lives in new health emergencies, natural disasters and the fight against the drug trade. The Wanda Group's striking hotel and entertainment centre in Anhui's capital city of Hefei is attracting inward tourists, even as Wanda expands its investment in the United States and elsewhere in the world. At its manufacturing plant and with a young workforce, JAC Motors is producing 300,000 vehicles a year, many of which are the electric vehicles helping to bring President Xi's vision of an ecological civilization to life. And on the shores of the majestic Chao Lake, one of China's largest, sustained efforts at reforestation are creating natural, protected areas and parks that support recreation and tourism and help control climate change.
When Xi Jinping meets Donald Trump at their first global summit together, at the G20 in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7-8, 2017, both presidents can share stories of their experience with and commitment to innovative, sustainable infrastructure and creating good manufacturing jobs at home, and perhaps work together in a new phase of Sino-U.S. co-leadership to share their successes with the world.
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