San Francisco, US, Nov 17 (EFE).- The leaders of the 21 economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), which includes Russia, China and the United States, concluded their summit this Friday in San Francisco with a joint statement that did not reference the wars in Ukraine or Gaza.
The text, agreed upon by all the members, was a departure from that agreed upon at last year’s edition in Bangkok, Thailand, where the “majority” of the members condemned Russian “aggression” against Ukraine, demanded its withdrawal from Ukraine, and mentioned the invasion’s effects on the world’s economy.
Separately Friday, the United States released a statement about Ukraine and Gaza, explaining that “some leaders” had objected to the inclusion of this language in the joint text.
The text published by the American chair of APEC is very similar to that from Bangkok and uses the same expressions to affirm that “the majority” of the members of this forum condemn the aggression against Ukraine.
It is emphasized that the war in Ukraine is “causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy,” in a phrase copied from the Bangkok declaration that was then published as the APEC consensus, despite the resistance that Russia also presented then.
Regarding the Middle East, the statement said APEC members “exchanged views on the ongoing crisis in Gaza” and leaders, including US President Joe Biden, shared “their respective positions.”
The fact that a consensus was not been achieved is a setback for the Biden government, which in its statement acknowledged that some countries did not want to include these references to Ukraine and Gaza “on the basis that they do not believe that APEC is a forum to discuss geopolitical issues.”
APEC was created in 1989 with the objective of promoting free trade among its members.
Instead of mentioning Ukraine and Gaza, the leaders used their declaration to move towards sustainable and inclusive policies to battle climate change and, at the same time, foster a “transparent, inclusive” business environment for the region’s economies.
Likewise, APEC members committed to promoting greater participation of women, to reinforce their commitment against gender-based violence and to work together against cross-border corruption and illicit capital movements.
APEC member countries had been negotiating for days behind closed doors to reach a joint statement, which was issued five hours after Biden handed over the chairmanship of the organization to his Peruvian counterpart, Dina Boluarte, who will host next year.
APEC groups 21 territories in Asia and America: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United States and Vietnam. EFE