China grabs limelight as Asia-Pacific summit opens
China took centre-stage yesterday as Asia-Pacific leaders opened an annual economic summit in the shadow of global growth clouds that are darkening by the day with the US government paralysed by infighting.
The US federal shutdown has stopped President Barack Obama from attending the two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on the Indonesian island of Bali, and another summit this week of East Asian leaders in Brunei.
US Secretary of State John Kerry stressed anew Obama's determination to remain engaged with the Pacific Rim region, but his absence has left the arena clear for the leader of one-party China to trumpet the mounting heft of the world's second largest economy.
In a speech to APEC business leaders, President Xi Jinping insisted there was "enough space to sail together" despite territorial disputes in Southeast Asia and tensions with Washington.
"China cannot develop in isolation of the Asia-Pacific and the Asia-Pacific cannot prosper without China," he said, stressing that his country's recent economic slowdown was the intended result of policies designed to put growth on a more sustainable path.
"China will firmly uphold regional peace and stability," Xi added.
Previewing today's final summit declaration in Bali, the ministers said that "global growth is too weak, risks remain tilted to the downside, and the economic outlook suggests growth is likely to be slower and less balanced than desired".