Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday he was willing to consider joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to Nikkei Asia. The free trade agreement involves several nations in the Pacific region, with the U.S. withdrawing from it during Donald Trump’s term.
The measure is seen as part of a strategy of the Chinese government of greater affirmation and economic importance of the country in the region at a time when the US is focused on internal affairs, namely the presidential transition.
“The Asia-Pacific region must work expeditiously towards greater economic integration and the creation of a free trade area,” said President Xi at a virtual conference of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, adding that “the region must defend multilateralism, as well as promote free trade ”.
These were the president’s first public comments on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which includes members such as Japan, Singapore or Australia.