Kamala Harris, Xi Jinping to attend APEC Summit

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Nov. 17 (UPI) — Vice President Kamala Harris will join Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Asian leaders in Bangkok starting Thursday for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meeting.

The event which will run through Saturday, follows the Group of 20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, which was attended by many of the same members.

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Harris, who is attending in the place of President Joe Biden, is scheduled to speak at the APEC CEO summit on Friday, where she is expected to outline the administration’s economic plans for the region.

Xi will attend the summit with Hong Kong leader John Lee as the two will try to repair the region’s battered image as an international financial hub in the face of pro-democracy protests and the aggressive Chinese crackdown that followed.

China’s economy has struggled under stringent COVID-19 rules meant to slow the spread of the virus. The repeated lockdowns, though, have hampered various parts of the Chinese economy.

“We will walk the talk and tell Hong Kong’s good stories in order to attract enterprises and talents to the city for business and development,” Lee said upon his arrival to Bangkok on Thursday.

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The Donald Trump administration, though, sanctioned Lee in 2020 for taking part in the “restricting the freedom of expression or assembly of the citizens of Hong Kong.” Lee was serving as Hong Kong’s secretary for security at the time.

The Trump administration also sanctioned Hong Kong’s chief executive at the time, Carrie Lam.

Hong Kong officials said in September it would stop its formal COVID-19 quarantine restrictions for international travelers that at one point required arrivals to spend as many as three weeks in a designated hotel at their own expense.

That put a financial strain on a city where tourism plays an important part of its economy.