Trump to represent US at APEC

Trump to represent US at APEC

Attendance at Nov. 20 meeting will be his first since 2017

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — President Donald Trump plans to represent the United States at a virtual Asia-Pacific summit this week in which his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping also plans to participate, a U.S. official told Reuters.

Trump’s participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum hosted virtually by Malaysia on Friday will be his first in the event since 2017, the only time he has participated.

The news comes after Trump’s outgoing administration faced criticism for lower-level participation at last weekend’s virtual East Asia Summit, on the sidelines of which 15 countries signed a major China-backed regional trade deal.

“POTUS is doing APEC,” said a U.S. official, who did not want to be identified, using the acronym for the President of the United States.

The White House declined to comment and while the current plan is for Trump to take part in APEC, the Republican president is preoccupied with an uphill battle to contest his defeat in the Nov. 3 presidential election. In the past, he has changed his mind about taking part in such meetings.

China’s Xi is scheduled to be among the participants in Friday’s APEC leaders’ meeting and will also address a chief executives’ conference starting on Thursday.