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HomePoliticsTurning Asia-Pacific into a 'backyard' is not in region's interest

Turning Asia-Pacific into a ‘backyard’ is not in region’s interest

The 29th APEC Economic Summit will be held on 18 November 2022 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok, Thailand./Xinhua

The 29th APEC Economic Summit will be held on 18 November 2022 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok, Thailand./Xinhua

Editor’s Note: Abu Naser Al Farabi is a Dhaka-based columnist and analyst who focuses on international politics, especially in Asia. This article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of his CGTN.

On the eve of the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, China’s President Xi Jinping said at the APEC CEO Summit, “The Asia-Pacific is no one’s backyard and should not become a playing field between great powers.” . Drawing on the region’s tragic Cold War past and explaining China’s vision for regional security and development, Xi said, “Attempts to wage a new Cold War are a threat to the people and our times.” will never be forgiven by the

As President Xi explained, China, along with the United States and the region, has become a hotbed of animosity, and the “road to peaceful development” depends on how current geopolitical tensions turn out, and how Asia-Pacific nations respond. I explained that it depends on how I play my role. ominous development.

Despite lingering uncertainties, the Asia-Pacific region has maintained relative peace and stability, with development and cooperation continuing to be key priorities. But the region stands at a precarious crossroads, and many countries fear losing their long-cherished path of peace and stability.

They suffer from long-standing structural and economic shortcomings, such as dealing with the effects of war in Ukraine. The Asia-Pacific region has achieved an impressive record of lifting hundreds of millions of people out of and reducing poverty over the past two decades.

Moreover, the pandemic has worsened many economic and human development parameters such as trade, investment, poverty and unemployment, reversing gains. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, there are 640 million poor people in the Asia-Pacific region, and the pandemic could quickly double this number for him.

Queen Sirikit National Convention Center during Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders Week in Bangkok, Thailand, November 17, 2022.  /CFP

Queen Sirikit National Convention Center during Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders Week in Bangkok, Thailand, November 17, 2022. /CFP

Queen Sirikit National Convention Center during Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders Week in Bangkok, Thailand, November 17, 2022. /CFP

As President Xi pointed out, Asia-Pacific nations need to “work hand in hand to overcome the difficulties and obstacles” in the way that “the Asia-Pacific miracle has been created” in the last few decades. increase. They need to strengthen the “foundation for peaceful development” through higher-level infrastructure connectivity. But the region lags behind here.

The Asian Development Bank estimates that developing Asia will need to invest $26 trillion from 2016 to 2030, or $1.7 trillion annually, to build roads, railways, power plants, ports and clean water systems. I assume there is.

But the region is on a path to ‘peaceful development’ and has a precarious balance that must be made between a zero-sum game and win-win cooperation.

After the Cold War, until the United States shifted its strategic focus to the Asia-Pacific under its pivot to Asia, and framed strategic competition under a zero-sum “great power confrontation,” the region saw an economic miracle that was unprecedented on all fronts. had experienced. geopolitical controversy. Yet America has emerged from a status quo that creates hard-won prosperity by fueling division and conflict.

Long after World War II ended, the United States viewed the Asia-Pacific region as its “geopolitical backyard,” used as a Cold War outpost for its ideological and ultra-confrontational battle against communism. was The toxic legacy continues to fuel tensions today, with cross-strait tensions rising over the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan.

Tensions between China and the United States across the Asia-Pacific region are rapidly escalating from traditional international competition to more confrontational zero-sum contests. The regional cooperation framework and peaceful security environment that have brought unprecedented prosperity, growth and win-win cooperation in the region are at an uncertain crossroads.

Countries in the Asia-Pacific region, as Xi said, “must respond” by drawing on past experiences and lessons. [in the right way] By facing the challenges of the times and resisting geopolitical confrontational attempts, we will steadily advance the economic integration of the Asia-Pacific region.

(If you would like to contribute or have specific expertise, please contact us at opinion@cgtn.com. @thouse_opinions See the latest commentary in the CGTN Opinions section on Twitter. )

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