The Latest: China’s Xi says China will keep economic growth on track, fight climate change

MANILA, Philippines – Leaders from 21 countries and self-governing territories are in Manila for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. The meeting’s official agenda is focused on trade, business and economic issues but terrorism, South China Sea disputes and climate change are also set to be in focus. (All times are local.)


12:20 p.m.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is seeking to reassure regional economic and political leaders that his government will keep the world’s No. 2 economy growing.

Xi told a business conference on the sidelines of the APEC summit that China is committed to reforming its economy and raising the living standards of its people.

He also said Beijing is stepping up efforts to counter climate change and clean up its environment.

Xi did not comment on South China Sea disputes.


11:15 a.m.

President Barack Obama is calling on China to halt further land reclamation and new construction in the South China Sea.

Obama is meeting with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on the sidelines of the APEC summit. He’s calling for “bold steps” to lower tensions.

Obama says he and Aquino discussed the impact that China’s land reclamation is having on regional stability. He’s adding that maritime disputes need to be resolved peacefully.

Aquino says freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea must be continuously ensured, consistent with international law.


11:10 a.m.

Local news reports say a woman in labour failed to reach hospital and delivered her baby on a Manila sidewalk, assisted by police, after getting caught in horrendous traffic due to road closures for APEC.

ABS-CBN news website posted pictures from eyewitness Angel Ramos-Canoy of the woman being helped off a motorcycle and assisted on the sidewalk, apparently in labour. Reports say the incident happened Monday.

Cely Gonzales of the San Juan de Dios Hospital says the woman did not want to be interviewed. Gonzales says “the mother and baby boy are doing well and are about to be discharged.”


10:40 a.m.

President Barack Obama tells a business conference on the sidelines of APEC that nations must achieve an “ambitious framework” to limit global warming.

Obama and dozens of other leaders will meet in Paris at the end of the month to finalize a carbon-cutting deal.

Obama urged businesses to view responses to climate change as an opportunity. He says there’s no contradiction between economic development and protecting the environment.

“My message to you today is your businesses can do right by your bottom lines and also the planet.”


10:10 a.m.

Manila residents are complaining of difficulties getting to work and a fake image of the Philippines being presented to the world during the APEC meetings.

Roads have been closed to regular traffic in central Manila and other efforts made to spruce up the usually traffic clogged city.

Trixie Logan, 19, says it’s “a bit off because it’s like fake beauty, because they hid the problems around just to say that the Philippines is beautiful.”

Many workers whose offices are near the APEC venues are walking for several kilometres to get to work because of the tight security.

Jaime Rocete, 63, says “workers are having a difficult time, especially for those who are sick, with arthritis, it’s hard to walk.”


9:30 a.m.

Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese online commerce giant Alibaba, says there should be a “third world war,” against poverty, climate change and disease.

Ma told a gathering of business leaders on the sidelines of the APEC summit on Wednesday that he is an optimist.

Ma says “You should always have hope. Try to make sure that it’s not only in the movies you see Mission Impossible. In the real life you have to make mission possible.”

Drawing from his own experience in building a business empire from scratch, he said that many issues, including trade disputes, can be resolved just by doing things online.


8:30 a.m.

China is unhappy with Japanese comments about territorial tensions in the South China Sea.

Japan has voiced objections to Chinese moves to expand its claims in the South China Sea that Tokyo says are violating international law and threatening free navigation and flight in the region. Japan has also sparred with Beijing over their conflicting claims to uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

At a daily press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China was “dissatisfied with the remarks and actions of the Japanese side.” He accused Japan of trying to stoke tensions over an issue it is not directly involved with.

The territorial spats are not on the APEC agenda, though are drawing attention.