'China will not shut its door to outside world'
Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to open the country's economy further as leaders of Asia-Pacific countries sought new free-trade options following Donald Trump's election as US president on promises to scrap or renegotiate trade deals.
All eyes were on China at this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Lima, Peru just over a week after Mr Trump's surprise victory in the United States dashed hopes of the largest-ever US-proposed trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), coming to fruition.
US President Barack Obama has championed the TPP as a way to counter China's rise, but he has now stopped trying to win congressional approval for the deal signed by 12 economies in the Americas and Asia-Pacific, excluding China. Without US approval, the current agreement cannot be implemented.
Following a meeting with Mr Obama, Mr Xi said Beijing's relationship with Washington was at a "hinge moment" and called for a smooth transition. Mr Xi has been selling an alternate vision for regional trade by promoting the Beijing-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which as it stands excludes the Americas.
"China will not shut its door to the outside world but open more," Mr Xi said. "We're going to...make sure the fruits of development are shared."
Chinese attendance at the APEC meeting was its largest ever and regional delegates said China would take the lead on trade if the US turned toward protectionism.
The Obama administration has warned that the RCEP would not include strong protections for workers, the environment or intellectual property. (©Reuters)