Chinese Regime Leader Xi Jinping Gives Notice to Asia–Pacific in Criticism Against US

By Frank Fang
Frank Fang
Frank Fang
journalist
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers news in China and Taiwan. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.
November 11, 2021 Updated: November 11, 2021

Chinese regime leader Xi Jinping has issued a warning to U.S.-friendly nations in the Asia–Pacific, in a thinly-veiled swipe against the formation of a Washington-led alliance against communism, during a prerecorded video address to the APEC summit on Nov. 11.

“Attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geopolitical grounds are bound to fail,” Xi told the CEO forum of the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, without naming any country.

Xi added, “The Asia–Pacific region cannot and should not relapse into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era.”

APEC has 21 members, including Australia, China, Canada, New Zealand, Taiwan, and the United States. This year, the summit is hosted virtually by New Zealand.

Like Xi, Chinese regime officials have also criticized Western alliances that the United States is a part of. Most recently the condemnation has targeted the newly-formed AUKUS defense pact, a security arrangement between the United States, the UK, and Australia. Under the agreement, Australia will field a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

In October, Hong Xiaoyong, China’s ambassador to Singapore, slammed the United States for having “formed more and more ‘small circles,’” in an opinion article published in The Strait Times. As examples of such circles, he named the Five Eyes, the Quad, and AUKUS.

The Five Eyes is an intelligence-sharing alliance between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the United States. The Quad, formed by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007, comprises Australia, India, Japan, and the United States.

On Oct. 19, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, accused AUKUS of embodying “the Cold War mentality,” saying the alliance was aimed at provoking “bloc confrontation.”

This is not the first time that Xi has decided to use an international forum to take a jab at Washington. In September, he said the world needed to “reject the practice of forming small circles or zero-sum games,” in a prerecorded speech to the U.N.’s 76th General Assembly.

Australia’s intention to be part of AUKUS was recently explained by Arthur Sinodinos, the country’s ambassador to the United States, during a virtual talk hosted by the Washington-based think tank the Hudson Institute.

Sinodinos said that being a member of AUKUS was about upholding the international rules-based order. As for countries like China, the ambassador said they “cannot throw [their] weight around” against other nations.

Additionally, joining AUKUS was about protecting Australia, the ambassador said.

“We want to be able to, in these deteriorating strategic circumstances, be able to project our power further up, rather than taking an approach that all our defense has to be a defense of the mainland,” he explained.

Beijing Criticized

Also in his video address, Xi repeatedly called for cooperation among APEC members, including in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, innovation in science and technology, and economic development.

However, the international community has questioned China’s willingness to cooperate with the global fight against COVID-19, a disease caused by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus. Beijing was criticized for failing to cooperate with a World Health Organization-led investigation team conducting groundwork in Wuhan, China, earlier this year.

Xi also spoke of China’s intention to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a free trade agreement between 11 nations including Australia, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Beijing applied to join the trade pact in September.

The Chinese leader also promised to open up more of China’s agricultural, manufacturing, and service sectors.

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have sounded the alarm about China’s bid to join the CPTPP.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), in a letter (pdf) dated Oct. 5, called on U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to use tools available under the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USCMA) to stop China from joining the 11-nation pact.

“China comes nowhere close to complying with CPTPP’s standards on state-owned enterprises, intellectual property, labor, the environment, and many other areas,” Cotton wrote.

“China’s entry into the CPTPP would reward the state-sponsored theft and economic coercion that has been a hallmark of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Frank Fang
journalist
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers news in China and Taiwan. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.