Donald Trump will take part on Friday in the virtual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, a senior US official said, as the president continues to reject the results of this month's election.
The APEC forum, hosted this year by Malaysia but held online because of the Covid-19 pandemic, brings together 21 Pacific Rim countries, accounting for about 60 percent of global GDP.
“President Trump will participate in tomorrow’s virtual APEC Summit,” the official told AFP.
Beijing has become the main driving force behind the organization after the United States began withdrawing from multilateral bodies during Trump’s presidency.
President Xi Jinping spoke at the summit on Thursday, hailing China as the pivot point for global free trade, and vowing to keep its “super-sized” economy open for business as the world battles the pandemic.
Buoyed by the signing of the world’s largest trade pact over the weekend, Xi said the Asia-Pacific is the “forerunner driving global growth” in a world hit by “multiple challenges.”
He rejected any possibility of the “decoupling” of China’s economy, in his only nod to the hostile trade policy of Trump’s administration, which has battered China with tariffs and tech restrictions.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which excludes the US, is viewed as a major coup for China and further evidence that Beijing is setting the agenda for global commerce as Washington retreats.