Opinion: U.S. needs to involve itself more actively in Asia-Pacific region
Updated 16:55, 24-Nov-2018
CGTN's The Heat
Over the past weekend in Papua New Guinea, leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum failed to issue a joint communique for the first time in the grouping's history, reflecting the deep division on trade.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday blamed individual economies that tried to impose their own texts on other members and did not accept reasonable revisions from the Chinese and other parties for such a failure.
The meeting also witnessed Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in disagreement over the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
While Pence warned Asian nations that by working with China they would be saddled with a "debt trap" through the loans the BRI offers for infrastructure development, President Xi described the initiative as "non-exclusive" and reaffirmed China's commitment to pursue mutual development with the world.
Jorge Heine, former Chilean ambassador to China, was disappointed with the meeting's outcome. He pointed out that a meeting's success relies primarily on the participation of the members, while the APEC meeting in Papua New Guinea is the first time in several years when neither the president of the U.S. nor Russia showed up.
Jorge said that the U.S. needs to realize that if it is to compete with China in regional influence, it must invest in the region.
Peter Petri, a professor of international finance at Brandeis University, expressed his concern regarding the possibility of tensions in the APEC casting a shadow on a turbulent G20 summit which is scheduled to be held on November 30-December 1.
He also states that the failure of a joint communique was a result of APEC members refusing to follow U.S. dissatisfaction over institutions like the WTO.
He hopes that certain proposals and responses can be put on the table in the following month by the end of G20 summit. 
Karunasena Kodituwakku, Sri Lankan ambassador to China, said that Sri Lanka wishes to interact more with ASEAN countries, with North and East Asia, and with the Pacific region. "The Sri Lankan opinion over trade is open and welcomes all kinds of cooperation, not only with China but also with India, Japan, EU, and the U.S." 
Peter Petri concluded that multilateral institutions embody a set of rules that all members can comply with to ensure a smooth flow of products and services from one country to another.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) symbolize such set of rules and we expect members to reach an agreement on these frameworks to enhance world trade, Petri said. 
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