Beijing has expressed hope that Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies can jointly convey a message of unity against COVID-19 and deepen cooperation to promote economic recovery as APEC leaders are set to meet on Friday.
President Xi Jinping will attend the informal APEC leaders' meeting from Beijing via video link, at the invitation of Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
The APEC Informal Leaders' Retreat on COVID-19, initiated by New Zealand as this year's chair, also marks the first time in APEC's history that the leaders will hold an extraordinary meeting. APEC's traditional Economic Leaders' Meeting is scheduled to take place at the end of the year.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a news briefing on Thursday that the meeting comes at a critical moment, with the pandemic now rebounding globally and the international pandemic response entering a new phase.
China attaches great importance to the role of APEC as an important platform for economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, and the nation hopes different sides will uphold the vision of an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future and give strong momentum to the regional and global fight against the pandemic and economic recovery, he said.
Su Xiaohui, a researcher of international strategy at the China Institute of International Studies, said China will be the center of attention at the meeting, with the nation now leading regional economic recovery and the pandemic response, especially vaccine assistance.
She noted that APEC economies face new opportunities and challenges with the bloc adopting its Putrajaya Vision 2040 last year, which pledges to build an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040.
"With the Communist Party of China having just celebrated its 100th founding anniversary, different sides will also look forward to hearing how China will embark on a new course of socialist modernization and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind," she said.
According to a news release from the New Zealand government, APEC-wide GDP contracted by 1.9 percent in 2020, the biggest fall since World War II, with around 81 million jobs being lost due to the pandemic.
(Source: China Daily)