China's President Xi Jinping addresses the audience during a meeting of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Ceo Summit in Lima, Peru, November 19, 2016. Photo: Reuters, Mariana Bazo

The trade ministers from twelve Asia Pacific nations are meeting in Chile this week to discuss what to do now that the US has left the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Many of the countries who will be represented this week had been involved in planning and negotiation of the TPP for almost ten years, and had finalized the deal in the beginning of 2016. Now that the US has backed out, the deal cannot be ratified, but there will be one special guest at the meeting in Chile. China, while not a party to the TPP negotiations, will also be sitting in on the talks. The US, on the other hand, has yet to even confirm trade representative Robert Lighthizer, and has decided not to send any senior official. The decision to sit out of the talks as China seizes the opportunity will likely please the People’s Liberation Army general Jin Yi’nan. The Financial Times quoted a speech given by Jin in January, that has since gone viral, during which Jin gleefully proclaimed that “Trump has given us a grand gift, though he does not know it.”

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