China, Not Just Russia, Is Blocking APEC Meeting in US: Diplomatic Source

Beijing wants to be in the 'driver’s seat' and is taking issue with Taiwan
November 17, 2021 Updated: November 18, 2021

Both Beijing and Moscow are blocking a U.S. proposal to host an upcoming meeting of Asian leaders, a diplomatic source told The Epoch Times in an exclusive interview on Nov. 17. Prior reporting claims it is only “suspected” that Russia alone blocked the proposal.

On Nov. 12, Politico revealed that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum could not agree to President Joe Biden’s proposal to host an upcoming forum due to “concerns raised by one member nation.”

But according to The Epoch Times’ diplomatic source, both Russia and China blocked the proposal. China wishes to be in the “driver’s seat,” according to the source, and is making an issue of Taiwan and “other things.”

The United States and China “are competitors,” according to the source. “China is also getting stronger economically. It wants to flex its muscle. China wants to be in the driver’s seat.”

Russia and China could still relent and agree to the United States hosting the meeting. Decisions on where to host APEC meetings requires a consensus of all 21 countries.

According to the source, “both Russia and China are still ‘considering’ the APEC being held in the U.S.”

The source does not believe that China will take military action on Taiwan. “I’m not sure China will be too forceful on Taiwan,” he said. “They have a lot to lose.”

China’s embassy in Washington did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Because of potential retaliation, the diplomatic source did not wish to be identified.

Biden still has a chance of hosting APEC, according to the source. “Since it’ll be in 2023, there is still time to make a decision.”

On Nov. 12, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters that she has “every confidence that we’ll see [the impasse] resolved very shortly.”

According to Politico, “Neither Ardern nor the White House identified which APEC member was blocking the U.S. bid to host the meeting, but two former U.S. officials said indications point to Russia as the likely suspect.”

One of Politico’s sources, a former official, said, “The word on the street is that Russia is blocking consensus unless the U.S. lifts restrictions on travel to the U.S. on sanctioned Russians.”

Politico wrote that “U.S. and Russian officials are expected to meet next week to try to find a way forward.”

The White House appeared to support reporting about Russia as the source of the blockage. According to a White House spokesperson quoted by Politico, one economy has “not yet joined consensus.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Russian and possibly Chinese resistance to the U.S. proposal to host APEC only increases tensions between the three countries. The diplomatic impasse comes as Beijing threatens military action against Taiwan and Australia. The latter threat came when Australia, along with Japan, indicated that they would support the United States in military action to defend Taiwan.

Biden has twice indicated that the United States is committed to Taiwan’s defense. Over the past five years, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has acted in a particularly threatening manner toward the United States and its treaty allies, Japan and the Philippines.

China’s ally North Korea is frequently belligerent toward Japan as well as America’s other treaty ally, South Korea.

In Europe, Russia makes frequent flights of nuclear-capable bombers and fighter jets. Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated his support for his ally Belarus, which is attempting to use Middle Eastern refugees as a weapon by encouraging their illegal immigration into the European Union via Poland’s increasingly fortified border.

Anders Corr is a contributing author for The Epoch Times.

Anders Corr
Anders Corr has a bachelor's/master's in political science from Yale University (2001) and a doctorate in government from Harvard University (2008). He is a principal at Corr Analytics Inc., publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe, and Asia. His latest books are “The Concentration of Power: Institutionalization, Hierarchy, and Hegemony” (2021) and “Great Powers, Grand Strategies: the New Game in the South China Sea" (2018).