APEC summit to close, release of leaders' declaration in sight

Leaders of Pacific Rim economies will wrap up their two days of talks in Bangkok Saturday, aiming to release a leaders' declaration that will include opposing views on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit, the leaders are expected to agree on the importance of transitioning to clean energy while ensuring energy security, as well as promoting free and fair trade and investment, despite a rift over Russia's aggression.

While Western countries have imposed sanctions on Russia, some member economies, such as China, have opted not to.

A joint statement released Friday by APEC ministers said, "Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy -- constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks."

But it also said, "There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions."

Also, on Saturday, the leaders are expected to adopt the "Bangkok Goals" for a Bio-Circular-Green Economy concept, a post-COVID-19 pandemic growth strategy that addresses environmental and climate issues.

The goals are to promote the proper utilization of resources in the region.

North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile on Friday drew strong attention of the leaders at the two-day summit, with six member economies -- Japan, the United States, South Korea, Canada, Australia and New Zealand -- deploring Pyongyang for the launch at an emergency meeting held the same day.

The APEC gathering is the last of a series of summit meetings in Southeast Asia -- the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-related summits in Phnom Penh and the Group of 20 summit in Bali, along with bilateral and trilateral talks on the sidelines.

Vice President Kamala Harris represents the United States at the Bangkok summit on behalf of President Joe Biden. Russian President Vladimir Putin skipped it, as he did the G-20 summit that ended Wednesday in Bali, Indonesia.

Representing about half of global trade and 60 percent of the world economy, APEC groups 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, the United States and Vietnam.

© Kyodo News