Prime Minister Narendra Modi will leave for Singapore this evening to attend the 13th East Asia Summit, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and other associated meetings of the ASEAN Summit now underway.
As discussions over the RCEP trade pact drag on, another, rival accord, the dozen-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, has been making headway despite Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the Pacific Rim free trade initiative three days after he took office.
A fast-urbanising and aging region of 630 million people, ASEAN is destined to become the world's fourth biggest economy by 2030, after the US, China and the European Union. "It's going to send a message to the worldwide community that we stand by free trade and are determined to push it forward with concrete action".
Commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu is meeting his counterparts to "continue to exert all efforts towards meeting the targets set".
Vice President Mike Pence will attend instead of Trump, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are among those also expected to join Li and the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The one-on-one meetings with the U.S. Vice President and the Chinese President, the Blue House says, . are still in the works, . meetings where President Moon will try to put some speed on what appears to be slowing progress on North Korea-related diplomacy.
On Wednesday, Asean leaders and Chinese President Li Keqiang will meet during the Asean-China Summit to discuss concerns on regional issues and enhance cooperation among countries in the region.
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According to the ASEAN department which is under Foreign Affairs Ministry, during the ASEAN and APEC meeting, the State Counsellor will speak with global leaders about increased cooperation, trade and investment, defense and security, among other issues.
The meeting was held amid warnings that the post-World War Two global order is in jeopardy and trade tensions between Washington and Beijing could trigger a "domino effect" of protectionist measures by other countries.
"China has opened its door to the world; we will never close it but open it even wider", Li said in the article, in which he called for an "open world economy" in the face of "rising protectionism and unilateralism".
Analysts said future RCEP talks could be complicated by potential changes of government in some countries such as Australia, India, Indonesia and Thailand, where elections are due next year.
India is pushing for liberalising norms to promote services trade with 15 other countries including China as part of a mega free trade agreement as it looks for a balanced pact with these nations.