APEC summit in San Francisco, European developments: Roundup on the Four Pillars

Nov 20, 2023News

US President Biden met with Xi Jinping this week at the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Their four-hour discussion produced an agreement to restore military-to-military communications, open presidential hotlines, and work on curbing fentanyl. Some points of contention remained though, notably in regards to Taiwan. Plenty of Chinese state PR about friendliness between the two countries too, notably with the news that China will be sending two pandas to the US. It would not be surprising that even though it is all messages of goodwill and warm relations, tensions will return when some incidents occur in Asia-Pacific in two weeks. Towards the end of the summit, Biden did call Xi a ‘dictator’.

At the APEC summit, the US and Indonesia elevated their relations to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. This is another Southeast Asian state that has improved their relationship with the US this year, after Vietnam in September. This notes that the US is continuing to seek allies in the region to safeguard international maritime laws and to find ways to counter China’s influence in the Asia-Pacific. However, there was disappointment that the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework trade deal fell through due to US domestic/party pressure, even if the deal was more of a symbolic one.

In APEC, Japan, a Pillar, and South Korea continue to improve their ties, this time in regard to startups. The two countries were floating methods to benefit innovation and technology for both regional and global solutions. This is another step in the growing ties between the two countries to counter China’s rise.

In Europe, there were some minor events. France (through its courts) has officially put out an arrest warrant for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons in 2013. In the UK, somehow, David Cameron returned. Earlier in the week, PM Sunak sacked Home Secretary Suella Braverman, but surprisingly brought former PM Cameron in to fill the position.

APEC family photo in San Francisco