• June 22, 2024

Asia-Pacific leaders condemn war, renew calls for open trade

BANGKOK (AP) — Leaders from around the Asia-Pacific called for an end to Russia’s war on Ukraine and pledged to steer the region’s economies toward sustainable growth as they wrapped up summit meetings Saturday.

Host Thailand garnered a diplomatic coup in managing to bridge divisions among the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum by saying that most members had condemned the war. Russia is an APEC member, as is China, which generally has refrained from criticizing Moscow.

The declaration issued by APEC leaders acknowledged differing views on the war and said the forum, which is devoted largely to promoting trade and closer economic ties, was not a venue for resolving such conflicts.

But it noted that the conflict and other security issues “can have significant consequences for the global economy.”

The leaders’ statement said most members had strongly condemned the war in Ukraine, stressing that it is causing immense human suffering and worsening inflation, supply chain troubles, food insecurity and financial risks.

Like a statement issued by the Group of 20 leading economies in Bali, Indonesia, earlier this week, it echoed the wording of a March 2 United Nations General Assembly resolution that “deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine.”

The meetings Saturday wrapped up a flurry of events in Southeast Asian countries this week that gave leaders opportunities for face-to-face talks that have been rare in the past two years of pandemic precautions.

Much of the activity at such summits occurs on the sidelines and in the interludes before and after the formal meetings.

Dheia Alhouraniz

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