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The Asia-Pacific Report

Sameera Casmod |
16 November 2023 | 09:30 CAT
2-min read

On this week’s edition of the Asia-Pacific Report, Sanusha Naidu discusses the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit and the critical dynamics surrounding US-China relations. The summit, held in  San Francisco, stands as a pivotal moment, particularly given the absence of any previous bilateral meeting between Presidents Biden and Xi Jinping.

Naidu highlighted the multifaceted issues under discussion, stating, “There’s this tension around the data question, the question around the very aggressive policies in the legislation of the way the US is trying to contain China, but also the reaction of China to the aggressiveness of the US.” She emphasised the significance of the leaders’ approach, stating two options as suggested by analysts on social media: “Either you have a kind of consensus approach… or you just go to a zero-sum game.”

President Xi Jinping’s emphasis on creating solidarity and peaceful coexistence underscores the complexities of navigating the US-China relationship. Naidu noted, “There’s a continuous need by President Xi Jinping to talk more about how do you create solidarity, how do you achieve drift and peaceful coexistence, but also don’t actually overstep the red line…”

The interview brought to the surface the diverse national narratives in the US and among Chinese citizens, with Naidu stating, “This summit is critical because there’s a lot of different national narratives that’s been played out in the US, as well as by Chinese citizens or Chinese nationals or Chinese Americans that are living in the US.” The absence of President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in September adds urgency to the APEC Summit’s role in shaping Indo-Pacific relations, especially with countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, which is undergoing elections.

Another critical aspect discussed was Indonesia’s boycott of McDonald’s and Starbucks because of theirs support for Israel. Naidu highlighted the growing importance of explicit stances against companies with ties to Israel, stating, “This is really a global call that has been made by countries who feel that we should take a stronger stance on the situation and the outcome and the impact of what’s happening in Gaza.”

Shifting focus to India’s aspirations for a digital economy, the interview addressed the challenges of training a vast workforce of 560 million young workers. Naidu questioned whether India, with a population exceeding 1.4 billion, can meet the skills requirements for its digital ambitions. “The problem they’re facing is not necessarily a shortage of labour, but the question of whether the skills are going to be met for the kind of ambitions that India wants,” Naidu said.

The interview concluded with reflections on India’s economic policy, emphasising the need to align the workforce with international standards.

Listen to the Asia-Pacific Report on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat.


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