The annual 3-day Economic Leaders’ Meeting for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) concluded today in Beijing. The 21 nations around the Pacific account for 40% of the earth’s population, 54% of the world’s gross domestic product and 44% of global trade. Their leaders have been gathering since 1989.
This year the world’s two biggest polluters publicly committed themselves to reducing greenhouse gasses. Industrializing China expects its CO2 emissions to peak in 2030 and promises that 20% of its energy will be zero-carbon by then. The US promises to reduce its carbon emissions by 25% by 2025.
The meeting also agreed to a two-year ‘strategic study’ into a Free Trade Area for the Asia-Pacific region (FTAAP). This inclusive proposal is a blow for the US’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would exclude both China and Russia.
The Presidents of China and Japan looked awkward as they shook hands for the first time since 2012 but at least they managed to break the ice.
At a fireworks display, Russia’s President wrapped a coat around the shoulders of China’s first lady, which she smilingly accepted before subtly sliding it off into the hands of an aide. The exchange created a media storm, which was wiped from the Chinese Internet by morning.
On to Brisbane for the G20 Leaders’ Summit this weekend.