torsdag 22. november 2018

US and China ruin Asian cooperation with their battle for supremacy

Twenty-five years after the first Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Blake Island, Seattle, the regional forum has degenerated into a battle for influence between the U.S. and China. The 21-nation body had just 14 members back in 1993, but there was a sense of optimism in the air. "There is a growing sense of community among us," then-U. S. President Bill Clinton said in the leaders' declaration. "Our meeting reflects the emergence of a new voice for the Asia Pacific in world affairs," he added, still fresh in his first year in office aged 47.

Much has changed since then, and the APEC leaders' summit in Papua New Guinea felt quite different this year. For the first time in APEC's quarter-century history, its members could not agree on a joint communique. The host leader, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, was asked by reporters on Nov. 18, which of the members could not agree on the wording. "You know the two big giants in the room," he said. "What can I say?"