By Kerry Brown | The Diplomat
The annual round of summitry is imminent. November is the time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), and the G20 summit that follows it. This year, the APEC meeting will be held in the Philippines, the G20 in Turkey. This will add two more countries to the list of 33 that Xi Jinping has visited since becoming president in 2013.
Much of the commentary and interest toward the APEC summit will revolve around discussions about the South and East China Seas. APEC involves almost all the main parties, from the United States to Vietnam, China, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, and Malaysia. The fact that it is occurring in the Philippines adds to the piquancy. Memories are still fresh about Manila’s victory in late October in getting the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague to grant a hearing to their maritime complaints, something China had opposed.
Signs of compromise or any hardening of positions among the contesting parties will be important, particularly in view of the United States’ more muscular attitude recently and its deployment of a destroyer in the region to protect rights of navigation. Even so, these disputes obscure a bigger issue, and one that the non-Chinese attending might want to ponder: what to make of the increasingly ambitious foreign policy posture of the Xi leadership and the opportunities – rather than threats – if offers them. Read more