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China expands its economic 'gravitational force' amid US retreat

Push for free trade and global yuan offer peek into a Beijing-led future

Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials attended a virtual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Nov. 20, at which Xi said he would consider joining the TPP.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- It was as if Chinese President Xi Jinping made a slam dunk, perfectly timed to take advantage of the presidential transition in the U.S.

On Nov. 20, Xi said that China would "favorably consider" joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- an 11-member trade pact including Japan and Australia. Just days before, China and 14 other countries had signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, creating the world's largest free trade bloc.

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