Already, Xi appears to be embracing the change. Since the US presidential election, Xi has held a flurry of meetings with global leaders, including some historically ignored by China's top official in the US's own backyard. China has also swiftly become the new, and surprising, voice on climate change. And with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, designed to counter China's influence on Asia trade, all but abandoned, Beijing is already trumpeting the end of the US pivot to Asia.

... Nov. 20... at the opening of the APEC forum, [Xi gave a speech] emphasizing his "Belt and Road Initiative," a key policy connecting trading partners along the ancient Silk Road. He also discussed creating the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), a long-term goal of the APEC members initiated in 2006. Beijing is backing a TPP alternative known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which notably excludes the US.

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