Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s comments come ahead of an upcoming virtual meeting with US counterpart Joe Biden.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned of a return to Cold War-era tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, urging global cooperation ahead of a virtual meeting with his US counterpart Joe Biden as early as next week.

Xi on Thursday, in virtual remarks on a business conference on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit hosted by New Zealand, called for cooperation on common challenges, including climate change and COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geopolitical grounds will certainly fail,” he said.

“The Asia-Pacific region can and should not fall back into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era.”

The Chinese president has called for a joint effort to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible to developing countries.

“We need consensus that vaccines are a global public good transformed into concrete actions to ensure their fair and equitable distribution,” he said.

Xi’s comments come as various US media reported that he and Biden will hold a virtual summit next week.

The US and China also announced on Wednesday a promote transaction Climate Change Cooperation at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

The climate agreement “shows that the United States and China can work together on issues that transcend other conflicts”, Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s executive vice president for the European Green Deal, told Al Jazeera.

Tensions have risen between the two countries, with China condemning a recent visit by US lawmakers to Taiwan as a “serious offense“. Beijing, which has conducted military exercises near the island, claims Taiwan as its own.

The US, like many countries, switched recognition of the exiled government in Taipei to the People’s Republic of China in Beijing in 1979, but maintained a policy of “strategic ambiguity” with the island under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.

Washington has repeatedly said it supports Taiwan’s self-defense and opposes “any unilateral changes to the status quo”.

Foreign Minister Antony Blinken warned on Wednesday that the US and its allies would “act” against China if it tried to conquer Taiwan by force. He did not elaborate on the nature of such action.

“There are many countries – both in the region and beyond – that will see any unilateral action to use force to disrupt the status quo as a significant threat to peace and security, and they will take action if that happens.” Blinken said.

The US angered China in September when it announced a security partnership with the UK and Australia helping the Australian Armed Forces to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

Beijing also rejected Biden’s efforts to confirm the Quad alliance with India, Australia and Japan in the Indo-Pacific. The White House hosted a summit with Quad leaders in September.

China hacked the meeting, to call the alliance “Exclusive” and “doomed to fail”.

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