Top Asia-Pacific leaders convene in San Francisco amid escalating tensions with China

Asia-Pacific leaders gather in San Francisco as tensions with China run high


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This week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in San Francisco is set to showcase a major face-to-face meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, as better diplomatic relations are sought between the two superpowers to avoid unsettling the entire summit.

Negotiating for Stability

Both sides have made extensive efforts to ensure the meeting does not escalate tensions, in an effort to restore dialogue rather than achieve a grand bargain, said Jonathan Berkshire Miller, director of foreign affairs at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. There is a general understanding among various nations that a conflict between China and the U.S. would have damaging global consequences.

Fragile Canadian Relations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other Canadian leaders will participate in APEC, amid deteriorating Canadian-China relations, with feld policy regarding encountering China. Experts have noted a shift that appears to favour the Indo-Pacific strategies collaboration over Canada’s complicated connection with China.

Exclusion and Omission

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), led by the United States, is focused on challenging China’s economic dominance, with Canada notably absent from the member countries. Observers say a proposed deal with Biden on the framework poses risks for future U.S. administrations, leading to concerns from other potential members, including Canada.

In Search of a Clear Strategy

The Business Council of Canada has expressed concerns that the Canadian government might lose focus and frame APEC in the context of domestic politics, insinuating that this is not a conference about affordability but global reliability and the delivery of goods to markets in APEC. In addition, the council stresses the importance of promoting Canada as a serious and reliable partner to the other nations involved.


The complex interplay of world affairs will continue to evolve as these leaders meet in San Francisco to address pressing global issues. Canada stands at a crossroads as it seeks to balance diplomatic relations and economic interests, facing potential consequences if it does not engage with China. The outcome of this summit has the potential to shape the future of international trade, security, and cooperation among the influential countries of APEC.


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