Leaders To Support China-Backed Deal While Trump Skips Summit

The deal groups 10 ASEAN members plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Published
World
2 min read
US President Donald Trump. 
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In order to express disapproval to Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda and increasing protectionism, world leaders plan to push for completion of China-backed trade deal, which excludes US, at a Summit this week which will be held in Singapore.

According to AFP, China, Japan, India and other Asia-Pacific countries could announce a broad agreement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Earlier Trump had withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal that was headed by Barack Obama aiming to bind Asian powers into an American-backed order to counter China.

The deal groups 10 ASEAN members plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Commitment to Asia

Former President Obama has been a regular participant to the talks which will only highlight Trump’s absence from the Singapore gathering more.

The 16-member RCEP, promoted by Beijing, is a free trade deal which also aims to cut tariffs and integrate markets, but gives weaker protection in areas including employment and the environment.

Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, told news agency AFP, that talks over the deal would be "important as a symbol of Asia's commitment to trade at a time of rising global tensions."

Although according to Elms negotiations in some areas were likely to continue into next year, a diplomat attending the summit, said that "substantial progress" had been made but there were still sticking points, AFP reported.

However, Washington has argued that it remains committed to Asia.

According to a report by AFP, Patrick Murphy, one of the State Department's most senior Asia diplomats insisted that "We are fully engaged,".

South China Sea, Nuclear Programme and More on Agenda

North Korea's nuclear programme, a vaguely worded agreement on denuclearisation signed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Trump in June, will also be on agenda during the summit.

Vice President Mike Pence, who will be attending the talks in Trump's place, will also keep on pressure on Beijing regarding the South China Sea.

Other leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi will also be attending the Summit.

The RCEP, however, will be the main focus as leaders seek to send a message in support of free trade.

The gathering of 20 world leaders comes after the trade dispute between China and the United States.

(With inputs from AFP)

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