Biden to attend virtual APEC summit in sign of commitment to region

© Kyodo News

President Joe Biden will attend a virtual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on Friday as the United States signals its commitment to the Indo-Pacific region and multilateral cooperation, according to the White House.

The move comes as Biden, who took office in January, seeks to revive his nation's presence in a region that is facing China's growing clout. His predecessor Donald Trump was criticized by Asia-Pacific allies for snubbing key gatherings.

During the upcoming meeting of the 21-member bloc, hosted by New Zealand, leaders will discuss ongoing efforts to address the coronavirus pandemic and to support the global economic recovery, the White House said Monday.

APEC groups the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Trump joined last year's virtual APEC summit meeting, his first attendance since 2017. There was no leaders' meeting in 2019 after host Chile canceled it due to the flare-up in domestic political unrest.