18 November 2014
Despite all 21 APEC leaders having endorsed Beijing’s move to promote the FTAAP, President Obama continues to harbour hopes that the TPP will serve as a key pathway towards the proposed free trade area in the region. American opposition to Beijing’s APEC stance is indicative of US wariness of China’s growing stature.
The announcement of the recent signing of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was greeted with less than universal acclaim. The developed economies of Japan, South Korea and Australia expressed reservations regarding the bank’s standards of governance and transparency though 20 other countries joined it. The United States had been working vigorously behind the scenes to persuade its allies to shun the project, which has been viewed as a challenger to the Western-dominated World Bank and the Japan-led Asian Development Bank (ADB).
US opposition to Chinese initiatives in the Asia-Pacific has similarly been observed with respect to Beijing’s proposal of the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) at the recent APEC summit in Beijing. Owing to the huge untapped capacity for economic integration in the region and the inability of the Western-dominated institutions to fulfill their infrastructure needs, it is little wonder that the developing countries in the Asia-Pacific have been keen to embrace Beijing’s advances. Rather than work with China, US opposition towards Chinese initiatives may run counter to America’s regional leadership status.
…James Char is a Research Analyst with the China Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 19/11/2014