China is sending a senior Foreign Ministry official to a high-level dialogue on Asia-Pacific economic integration to be held in Chile starting March 14.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in Beijing on March 13 that the gathering is “not a meeting of the Trans-Pacific Partnership as some media have said”.
China’s Special Representative on Latin American Affairs Yin Hengmin will lead a delegation to the meeting, which will see an “extensive exchange of views over the next step in Asia-Pacific regional cooperation”, Hua said.
“China hopes the meeting will contribute to pushing forward the process of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, the construction of an open economy in the Asia-Pacific and promoting economic integration of the region,” said the spokeswoman.
Representatives from 15 countries, covering all signatories of the TPP, all members of the Pacific Alliance－a Latin American trade bloc－as well as China and the Republic of Korea, were invited to the two-day meeting to be held in the Chilean city of Vina del Mar, according to the website of the Chilean General Directorate of International Economic Relations.
Hua said China’s position on the TPP has not changed, which is to work with all parties to push forward Asia-Pacific economic integration for the benefit of all countries and all peoples in the region.
In an earlier news conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang was asked whether China would play a bigger role and benefit from United States’ withdrawal from the TPP. “Affairs in the Asia-Pacific should be decided upon consultation among all countries in the region, rather than being dictated by one country,” Geng said.
He said China is open to all trade arrangements “that are conducive to economic integration in the Asia-Pacific, liberalization and facilitation of regional trade and investment, and common development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific”.
Chen Fengying, a researcher in global economy at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said China sending a delegation to attend the meeting shows it is taking “a more active attitude” and shouldering more responsibility in global trade.
The meeting will focus on Asia-Pacific cooperation after the US withdrawal from the TPP, rather than the TPP itself, Chen said.
A major issue of the meeting will be how to promote integration of the Asia-Pacific to further enhance globalization, she said.