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Spotlight: China major driving force in Asia-Pacific -- Russian experts

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Xinhua

11-14-2016 16:54 BJT

Full coverage: Xi Visits Ecuador, Peru and Chile, Attends APEC Summit

MOSCOW, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- As the main driving force of growth in the Asia-Pacific, China has served as a major source of dynamism within the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Russian experts said.

This is proven by China's activity in regional cooperation, as well as by the important role Chinese businesses have played in all spheres of economic cooperation in the region, Andrey Belov, first deputy dean of the Faculty of Economics of St. Petersburg State University, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

China clearly demonstrated its interest in developing partnership in the region, while Chinese businesses have huge influence in the processes of regional integration, said Belov.

At the 2015 APEC informal leader's meeting held in Manila, the Philippines, out of the total 800 companies present, nearly 150 were from China, he said.

China has the political clout to promote the cooperation between Russia and other countries not involved in APEC activities, as this joint work would serve the fundamental interests of countries in the region and around the world, Belov added.

China, which joined APEC in 1991, two years after its inception, has hosted APEC summits twice -- one after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 and the other amid the Ukraine crisis in 2014.

During the 2014 APEC summit in Beijing, APEC member economies pushed forward the process of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) by sketching out a historic road map for the FTAAP.

The meeting also adopted important documents for an integrated, innovative and interconnected Asia-Pacific.

"It was there (at the Beijing meeting) that the idea of creating a free trade area including all countries in the region acquired real shape for the first time," said Oleg Timofeyev, associate professor of the Russian University of Peoples' Friendship.

"Without the participation of Beijing, this platform would simply not assume the form it has now," Timofeyev said.

Chinese leaders have always stressed APEC's leading role in addressing trade and economic problems in the region, never allowing it to be dragged into painful political issues, such as territorial disputes, he said.

A collective strategic study on issues related to the realization of the FTAAP has been completed and the final version of the study along with recommendations will be presented to leaders at the 24th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting held from Nov. 19 to Nov. 20 in Lima, Peru.

At the Peru summit under the theme of "Quality Growth and Human Development," the 21 APEC members will seek to make decisions to facilitate trade and investment as well as consolidate liberalization policies.

Besides, APEC is capable of taking real steps to avoid confrontation and destructive competition between it and other integration mechanisms in the region, which would help establish mutually beneficial and fruitful cooperation, Belov said.

Dialogue with other institutions will take place at the Peru summit, including one between APEC members and the Pacific Alliance -- a Latin American trade bloc composed of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru -- and another with Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

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