This week witnessed the 22nd APEC Summit unfold in Beijing. Leaders of the major Asian and Pacific powers converged to shape the region's economic and political future.
Amid the lip service to hopes of greater prosperity and security among the APEC states, a possible breakthrough for global climate change efforts revealed itself. The U.S. and China announced a broad agreement to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions into the next few decades.
To some, the deal represents China's emergence as a bona fide great world power. From this point of view, Beijing is showing its willingness to work with the U.S., the traditional global leader, on combating an issue of international exigence no less.
Skeptics, on the other hand, point out the agreement's shortcomings and hurdles. China, after all, will only be expected to deliver relatively modest reductions. Obama, meanwhile, will face at least rhetorical resistance from a GOP-controlled Congress.
Still, the treaty marks a step forward in the global climate change campaign, and a possible positive shift in tone for the U.S.-China relationship. Whether it will lead to bigger things on either front remains to be seen.