BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei - China and 15 other Asia-Pacific nations will kick off the first round of free trade talks next month in a move to create one of the world's largest trading blocs, officials said Thursday.
Leaders chat at the start of lunch at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Bandar Seri Begawan. Asean leaders and their dialogue partners were set to wrap up a summit on Thursday dominated by efforts to defuse tensions over the South China Sea and deepen economic links throughout the region. (AFP Photo)
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a rival pact to the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade initiative involving a dozen countries but that excludes China. Both pacts underline competition between the US and China for influence in Asia.
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