Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ meeting, where Chinese experts said trade protectionism and trade frictions will be the focus.

Xi will attend the meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday after talks with PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato and PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Chinese experts said that APEC members should take the meeting as an opportunity to seek easing the influence of the US trade protectionism on East Asia. They called for equal share of global development opportunities.

“This year’s APEC meeting will probably face wide divergence given the US’ intensifying trade protectionism and China-US trade frictions,” Li Xiangyang, deputy director with the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Li said that a tough task of the meeting is to ease the influence of trade protectionism on East Asia.

Chinese foreign minister said that his visit to PNG is aimed at preparing for Xi’s attendance at the meeting and Xi’s trip so as to elevate the bilateral ties to a new high.

China and PNG have agreed to actively promote mutually beneficial cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative, Wang said.

He noted that trade and investment, energy, infrastructure, agriculture and fishery, people-to-people and local exchanges will become the priority of bilateral cooperation.

“Most of the South Pacific countries are small, lacking opportunities to join global competition. But through working with China, they can find a platform to get in, and that is a significance of our Belt and Road initiative,” Li said.

Li said that countries in the South Pacific used to rely on financial assistance from Australia.

“As their cooperation with China increases in recent years, questioning voices occurred that China is strategically expanding to the region. But our ultimate aim is to help others develop,” Li stressed.

“The main problem of island countries in the South Pacific is their single economic structure,” Shen Minghui, secretary-general of the Center for APEC and East Asian Cooperation with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Shen pointed out that they relied heavily on fishing and tourist industry, which restrict the country’s economy.

“To break the bottleneck, PNG needs to build more reasonable economic structure and promote export-oriented economy,” Shen stressed, adding that PNG should grab the opportunity of industrial transfer happening in China, even the whole East Asia.

“They need help to improve infrastructure construction and public service system to attract investors,” Shen said, adding that China could also cooperate with PNG in medical and climate sphere.

(In Association with Global Times China)