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Most APEC leaders condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Asia-Pacific leaders added their voices on Saturday to international pressure on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, issuing a summit statement saying “most” of them condemned the war.

The 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum issued a joint declaration after a day and a half of talks in Bangkok criticizing the conflict and the global economic turmoil it has unleashed.

The summit communique was agreed by all APEC members, but includes a number of diplomatic fudges.

“Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy,” it said.

“There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions.”

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., for his part, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was “unacceptable.”

“The war is unacceptable and we asked all parties involved… Urging

that peace be brought back to Ukraine and the confrontation be brought to diplomatic space,” Mr. Marcos said.

Most…“The effect is not solely upon Ukraine and Russia. It was made clearer in APEC on how effects have been so far overreaching and profound to the detriment of many economies and the food supply of the world. We have to stop fighting and we have to move on to democracy,” the Philippine leader added.

Apart from substituting the name of the organization, the statement of the APEC leaders was word-for-word the same as a G20 declaration issued Wednesday after a summit in Indonesia and reportedly the fruit of intense diplomatic haggling.

The APEC statement highlighted the “immense human suffering” caused by the war, lamenting its impact on economic growth, inflation, supply chains and energy and food security.

The United States and its allies used the G20 summit to broaden the coalition against President Vladimir Putin’s invasion and scotch Kremlin claims of a war of East against West.

With his war effort floundering in the face of Ukrainian resistance backed by Western support, Putin refused to attend either the G20 or the APEC summits, sending his foreign minister to Bali and a deputy prime minister to Bangkok.

Moscow unleashed a hail of missile attacks across Ukraine this week after losing the city of Kherson in one of the biggest setbacks suffered by Russian forces since their invasion in February.

The onslaught has left millions of Ukrainian civilians suffering power shortages as winter bites and temperatures plunge.

As this developed, Asia-Pacific leaders will gather in November 2023 in San Francisco with climate high on the agenda, Vice President Kamala Harris announced Saturday, offering an opportunity for a rare US visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Harris, who is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, announced the week beginning November 12, 2023 for the APEC summit as this year’s meeting wrapped up in Bangkok.

“There is no better place to host APEC 2023 than California, a state known for economic innovation,” Harris said.

She said that President Joe Biden’s administration would focus the summit on sustainability and moving economies away from carbon as part of the fight against climate change.

“We will promote economic growth and prosperity for the American people, and people throughout the Indo-Pacific region,” she said, using another term for the Asia-Pacific.

During the talks in Bangkok, Harris asked leaders to prepare new targets for reducing emissions from the power sector in time for next year’s summit, a US official said.

She also proposed an APEC-wide goal on slashing methane, one of the most powerful greenhouse gases, which is released from oil and gas production and agriculture.

The official said Harris asked for specific commitments as most APEC nations already have longer-range goals on zeroing out the emissions responsible for climate change.

APEC, born in the 1980s, is focused on trade rather than political questions and each year offers an occasion for leaders of the 21 members to meet on the sidelines.

The United States last hosted APEC in 2011 when then-president Barack Obama invited leaders to his birth state of Hawaii.

 

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