Chinese President Xi Jinping’s comments come ahead of an upcoming virtual meeting with US counterpart Joe Biden.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned against returning to Cold War-era tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, urging global cooperation ahead of virtual meeting with his US counterpart Joe Biden that is expected as early as next week.
In virtual remarks on Thursday to a business conference on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit hosted by New Zealand, Xi urged cooperation against common challenges, including climate change and COVID-19 vaccinations.
“Attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geopolitical grounds are bound to fail,” he said.
“The Asia-Pacific region cannot and should not relapse into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era.”
The Chinese president called for a joint effort to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible for developing nations.
“We should translate consensus that vaccines are a global public good into concrete actions to ensure their fair and equitable distribution,” he said.
Xi’s comments come as several US media outlets reported that he and Biden will hold a virtual summit next week.
The US and China also on Wednesday announced a deal to boost cooperation on climate change at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.
The climate agreement “shows that the United States and China can cooperate 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 been growing between the two countries, with China condemning a recent visit by US lawmakers to Taiwan as a “serious violation“. Beijing, which has been conducting military exercises near the island, claims Taiwan as its own.
The US, like many countries, switched recognition from the exiled government in Taipei to the People’s Republic of China in Beijing in 1979 but maintains a policy of “strategic ambiguity” with the island under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.
Washington has repeatedly said it supports Taiwan’s self-defence and opposes “any unilateral changes to the status quo”.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that the US and its allies would “take action” against China if it tries to take Taiwan by force. He did not elaborate on the nature of such action.
“There are many countries – both in the region and beyond – that would see any unilateral action to use force to disrupt the status quo as a significant threat to peace and security, and they too would take action in the event that that happens,” Blinken said.
The US angered China in September when it announced a security partnership with the UK and Australia that will help the Australian military acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
Beijing has also rejected Biden’s efforts to cement the Quad alliance with India, Australia and Japan in the Indo-Pacific. The White House hosted a summit with Quad leaders in September.
China slammed that meeting, calling the alliance “exclusive” and “doomed to fail”.