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Xi ends Apec trip with call for free trade, innovation

2023-11-18 HKT 06:22
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  • Xi ends Apec trip with call for free trade, innovation
President Xi Jinping on Friday called on economies in the Asia-Pacific to safeguard free trade and foster innovation as he wrapped up his visit to San Francisco for the Apec summit.

Speaking at a final meeting of the Apec leaders, Xi also reiterated China's opposition to the politicisation and weaponisation of economic and trade issues.

"Apec has always been on the frontier of openness and transformation. We have created a world-followed Asia-Pacific region. Now the current world economy is facing multiple risks. We must reflect upon this situation," he said.

"What can we do to create a new Asia-Pacific region? And the next step is to create a new Asia-Pacific region. How can Apec play a bigger role in that regard? We must adhere to the spirit of cooperation, echo the call of the era, and have win-win cooperation. By joining hands, we hope to create a community for the Asia-Pacific region."

Xi stressed the key role of the World Trade Organisation as the centre of a multilateral trading system.

"We will support open trade, development, and innovation. And we will also support the development of the multilateralism principle, upheld by the WTO, to ensure steady and smooth trade worldwide. We will also accelerate the establishment of a mechanism of the Asia-Pacific region."

The head of the Hong Kong delegation, Financial Secretary Paul Chan, was also present and sat next to Xi. He talked to the president for a few minutes before the meeting.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva, also spoke to Xi before the meeting.

US President Joe Biden sat with Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, who will be hosting the Apec summit next year.

In his remarks to the summit's closing session, Biden urged Asia-Pacific economies to work together to ensure that artificial intelligence brings change for the better, not to abuse workers or limit potential.

Biden said he had briefly discussed AI with Xi Jinping in talks on the sidelines of Apec on Wednesday.

"We're going to see more technological change in the next 10 years than we've seen the last 50 years," Biden said, as Xi looked on a few places to his left at a circular conference table. "Together we have to make sure it changes for the better."

Biden said digital technologies like AI must be used to "uplift, not limit, the potential of our people," and noted that the United States had brought together leading AI companies in the summer to agree voluntary commitments "to keep AI systems safe and trustworthy."

The steps, he said, included committing to ensuring the security of AI systems before releasing them to the public, watermarking AI-generated content to show it has been generated by artificial intelligence and minimizing the risk AI systems posed to society, such as by promoting bias or discrimination. (RTHK/Reuters)

Xi ends Apec trip with call for free trade, innovation