Three aspects to expect from Xi's Asia-Pacific tour
Updated 22:30, 17-Nov-2018
By Duan Fengyuan
Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG) this weekend to discuss a wide range of topics under the theme of "Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future."
He will also pay state visits to PNG, Brunei, and the Philippines and meet leaders of the eight Pacific island countries which have diplomatic relations with China.
Here are three aspects to expect from President Xi's tour.

APEC 2018

PNG is the only APEC member of the Pacific island countries and it's hosting an APEC summit for the first time. This is also the first visit by a Chinese head of state to  Papua New Guinea.
Improving connectivity, deepening regional economic integration, promoting inclusive and sustainable growth and strengthening economic growth through structural reforms are three policy priorities of the meeting, said Justin Tkatchenko, PNG's APEC Minister. Climate change will also be a priority discussion during the 2018 APEC meetings. 
As for trade issues, PNG's APEC Ambassador Ivan Pomaleu said that multilateral trading system and the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be mainly discussed, though APEC is very sensitive to trade frictions between China and the US.
Progress on China's Belt and Road Initiative, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and announcements regarding the South China Sea are also expected.
  An inside view of the Marquee theatre, on board Pacific Explorer cruise ship, the venue for the APEC CEO Summit scheduled to be held this week as part of APEC 2018, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. /VCG Photo

  An inside view of the Marquee theatre, on board Pacific Explorer cruise ship, the venue for the APEC CEO Summit scheduled to be held this week as part of APEC 2018, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. /VCG Photo

The leaders will exchange views on cooperation among APEC economies as a whole after 2020. 
The Cook Islands has shown the willingness to signing an agreement with China on Belt and Road cooperation during the meeting, RNZ reported.
Interactions between the leaders of powerful countries will be another highlight of the event.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison are scheduled to address the meeting.
US Vice President Mike Pence will replace President Donald Trump to attend the APEC leaders' meeting and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will participate in the APEC ministerial meeting.

Pacific islands meeting

During Xi's visit, he will meet with leaders of Pacific island countries that have diplomatic relations with China.
Xi's meetings with them will be held bilaterally and collectively, said Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang at a regular press briefing on Tuesday.
CGTN Photo

CGTN Photo

PNG's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill reportedly said that he wanted Pacific nations to send a message to Asia that "a large community exists in this large Pacific Ocean" and that "the Pacific nations want to benefit from opportunities from Asia."
The cooperation between China and the Pacific island countries is part of South-South Cooperation as well as the mutual support and assistance between developing countries and friends, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson at a regular press conference on November 9.
Since the 1970s, China has established diplomatic relations with eight Pacific island countries in succession.

On three state visits

Papua New Guinea is China's second largest trading partner and its largest investment destination in the Pacific region. 
PNG was the first South Pacific island country to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Jointly Building the "Belt and Road" with China, and more progress can be expected on that front during Xi's visit.
The rapid growth of China-Papua New Guinea relations is "an epitome of China's overall relations with Pacific island countries," President Xi wrote in an article published on Papua New Guinea's mainstream newspapers ahead of his visit. 
CGTN Photo

CGTN Photo

Xi's visit to Brunei is also greatly anticipated, as the two sides strive to align the Belt and Road Initiative with Brunei's "Vision 2035."
Proposed by Brunei's government in 2007, "Vision 2035" is aimed to promote economic diversification, developing industries of export promotion and import substitution, as well as agriculture, fishery, tourism, finance and information services.
As Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said on Tuesday, the two countries are also expected to publish a joint statement to intensify their joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative and people-to-people exchanges.
Progress on joint efforts to advance consultation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be closely watched during Xi's final stop in the Philippines.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China will work together with the Philippines and other concerned countries to make new breakthroughs in maritime cooperation when meeting with Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin in October.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who is on a visit to Singapore to attend a series of ASEAN-related summits, said on Tuesday that China hopes its talks with ASEAN on the COC will bear fruit in three years.