from Sputnik News:
Radio Sputnik discussed the potential collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its consequences for the region, with Dr. John Short, political analyst from the University of Maryland.
“One of the key trends is the difficulty of getting free trade agreements passed in democracies at the moment. There is tremendous resistance to free trade agreements. It just seems like it’s often working against the interest of ordinary working class people,” Short said.
He further said that leaders have to discuss the potential collapse of the TPP and the future of the region. In light of that, China’s President Xi Jinping said in separate meetings with the leaders of the Philippines and Vietnam that the disputes over the South China Sea should be resolved through bilateral talks.
Talking about finding a resolution to South China Sea dispute through bilateral talks, the analyst said that the prospects look good.
“Under the new Philippines President Duterte, the country has achieved some sort of resolution and that has dissipated the conflict a bit.”
He said that the bilateral talks will probably lead to China turning toward Vietnam, which is another main claimant in the area. The analyst further spoke about what role could Russia play in resolving regional tensions saying that Philippines is looking for allies and friends and Russia could play a major role in organizing the geo-political order in the area.
“Russia could play an important role in resolving regional tensions in the region as a member of APEC although up until now Russia hasn’t played a major role in east-Asia or in the South China Sea dispute,” Short said.
The analyst also discussed how the “collapse of TPP may leave the door open for China.”
“Under the TPP agreement China was purposely left out. So the collapse of the TPP may leave space for China to propose a new free trade arrangement.”
He further spoke about how under the presidency of president-elect Donald Trump, the US and China may have confrontation on two matters related to trade.
“The first confrontation will be on trade matters related to the US demands that China have a much more market determined exchange rate for its currency. China has already been moving in that direction but there is a real fear of currency manipulation which leads to higher prices on imports from other countries,” Short said.
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