SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit held in San Francisco concluded on the 17th. While the leaders’ declaration expressed support for promoting reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO), it did not mention Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or the situation in the Middle East, highlighting the differences in positions among the participants.
The 21 countries and regions participating in APEC include Russia, as well as Indonesia and Malaysia, where the majority of the population is Muslim.
A statement released by the United States, which holds the chairmanship, said that “most” APEC participants “strongly condemn the aggression against Ukraine.” In addition, the leaders exchanged opinions on the situation in the Palestinian autonomous region of Gaza, where fighting between Israel and the Islamic group Hamas continues, and some participants said, “APEC is not the place to discuss geopolitical issues.” It clearly stated that it opposed the wording of the chairman’s statement.
The chairman’s statement also revealed that some APEC leaders shared the contents of a joint statement issued by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the League of Arab States at an extraordinary joint summit in Riyadh on the 11th. . The joint statement calls for an immediate end to military operations in the Gaza Strip and denies any justification for military action by Israel. Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia issued a joint statement after the conclusion of the APEC Summit, showing support for the joint statement from the Riyadh meeting.
On the other hand, the APEC Leaders’ Declaration states, “Improve all functions of the WTO, including advancing discussions with a view to establishing a well-functioning dispute settlement system by 2024 that is accessible to all participating countries.” We are committed to carrying out the necessary reforms to achieve this goal.” It also reaffirmed its commitment to “achieve a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, inclusive and predictable trade and investment environment.”
At this APEC summit, the first face-to-face summit meeting in a year between US President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, held on the 15th, attracted much attention. The two sides agreed to establish a hotline between their leaders, resume dialogue between the militaries, and cooperate on anti-drug measures. This seems to have provided a certain sense of security to APEC participants who were concerned about the escalation of the US-China conflict.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Georgieva told Reuters that the recent U.S.-China summit is an important signal to the world that deeper cooperation is needed, and that global issues such as climate change countermeasures are being addressed. It was evaluated as a positive sign for a cooperative relationship towards the future.
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