SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping, fresh off his meeting with President Joe Biden, courted Indo-Pacific leaders in a flurry of meetings Thursday at a time of intensifying competition with the United States.
Xi held individual talks with the leaders of Mexico, Peru, Fiji, Japan and Brunei, all on the sidelines of a summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies.
In a meeting with Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, Xi said the two countries should strengthen economic and trade cooperation and pledged China’s support for Peru as host of next year’s summit of APEC leaders.
In particular, Xi said, China will be willing to import more “premium” agricultural products from the South American country and will encourage Chinese businesses to participate in major projects in Peru.
Earlier, Xi held talks with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, praising the Mexican president for his leadership and reform efforts and pledging to bring the China-Mexico relationship to a new level. It was believed to be the first face-to-face meeting between the two men.
During the meeting, the two sides agreed to deepen cooperation on counternarcotics efforts. China and the United States on Wednesday said the two would work together to stem the flow of fentanyl precursors to countries such as Mexico before the drug is finished and gets smuggled into the U.S.
Xi said the two countries should collaborate in industries such as infrastructure, finance and electric vehicles, while López Obrador said Mexico would smooth the way for Chinese businesses investing in Mexico. The Mexican leader also said his country would be willing to work with China on multilateral affairs and help promote relations between China and Latin America, according to China’s state media.
In recent years, many Chinese businesses — faced with tariffs and other restrictions from the U.S. government — have moved some production to Mexico. Xi expressed his sympathy for those affected by Hurricane Otis and said China made emergency arrangements for Mexico to procure relief supplies.
The Mexican president posted on X shortly after his meeting with Xi that the two leaders “reiterated the commitment to continue maintaining good relations to the benefit of our people and our nations.”
Xi met Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka. Xi said Beijing is treating Fiji as “a good friend and a good partner” in the Global South, roughly referring to developing countries.
The Chinese leader also met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the sultan of Brunei.
In an opening statement, Kishida said China and Japan “share a mutual responsibility to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world.”
China said Xi told Kishida that it is in the interest of the two peoples for the two countries to coexist peacefully, cooperate and grow together. Xi said the two sides should handle differences properly and focus on common interests.
Xi called Hassanal Bolkiah, Brunei’s sultan, an “old friend” and said China would work with Brunei to bring benefits to both people.
Xi spent four hours with Biden on Wednesday, their first face-to-face meeting in a year.