APEC members condemn Russian invasion of Ukraine
BANGKOK — Most members of the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) issued a summit statement on Saturday condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has also caused economic difficulties all over the world.
“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,” the APEC leaders’ joint declaration read.
“There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions. Recognizing that APEC is not the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy,” the communique added.
The joint statement was almost word-for-word the same as the G-20 declaration issued in Indonesia on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters here on Saturday afternoon, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the Philippines also joined the majority and called for an end to the war.
“The Philippines’ position has been made very clear in the United Nations, in the UN votes and wherein we talked about self-determination and peace,” he said in a press briefing.
‘Stop the fighting’
“There were several speeches that I made. All of them included urging that peace be brought back to Ukraine and that the confrontation be brought to the diplomatic space,” he added.
The president said the country’s foreign policy “is based on the national interest and peace,” reiterating that the Philippines will continue to uphold “the enemy to none, friend to all policy.”
“We have to stop the fighting and we have to move on to diplomacy so that we at least, these other aspects of the Ukrainian and Russian economy can be productive again,” he said.
He pointed out that the effects of the war between Russia and Ukraine have been “so far-reaching and profound, and to the detriment of many economies and the food supply of everyone in the world.”
On Saturday, Thai Prime Minister and Apec chair Prayut Chan-o-cha sought to refocus the summit on economic issues and said the bloc agreed to a multi-year work plan for a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.
US next summit host
The APEC leaders’ declaration also said the bloc would uphold and further strengthen a rules-based multilateral trading system, but also recognized more intensive efforts were needed to address challenges like rising inflation, food security, climate change, and natural disasters.
Prayut later turned over the bloc’s chairmanship to the United States, represented by Vice President Kamala Harris, which will host the next summit in San Francisco in the week of Nov. 12 next year.
APEC leaders said the group welcomed an offer by Peru to host the bloc in 2024 and by South Korea to host it in 2025.
Set up to promote economic integration, Apec’s 21 members account for 38 percent of the global population, 62 percent of gross domestic product, and 48 percent of trade.
Harris, who is scheduled to arrive in Manila on Monday, said: “We are working to strengthen our economic relationships throughout the region, including by increasing two-way trade flows and the free flow of capital, which supports millions of American jobs.”
—WITH REPORTS FROM REUTERS AND AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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