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Jakarta Post

RCEP not China-led initiative: ASEAN Secretary-General

  • Dian Septiari

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Thu, November 7, 2019   /  08:40 pm
RCEP not China-led initiative: ASEAN Secretary-General ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi (R) gestures to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as Myanmar's Union Minister for International Cooperation Kyaw Tin (L) watches during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) US Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok on August 1, 2019. (AFP/Romeo Gacad)

ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi rejected on Thursday mischaracterizations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a landmark trade deal encompassing most of the Asia-Pacific, arguing that it has always been an ASEAN-led effort and not a China-backed initiative. At the Third RCEP Summit earlier this week, held in Bangkok as part of a series of meetings under the banner of the ASEAN Summit, the leaders of 15 countries announced that they had concluded text-based negotiations of the trade pact, but left the door open for India to resolve domestic issues that had led it to pull out of the deal.  “This [agreement] was mooted by ASEAN. ASEAN put this forward and [it was] agreed by everyone, and following that we started negotiations in 2013 in Brunei,” Lim told journalists in a briefing in Jakarta on Thursday. “It was very much coordinated a...