Multiple leaders condemn N. Korea, Russia at APEC summit


Leaders of Japan, the United States and several other Pacific Rim economies on Friday condemned North Korea at their summit meeting in Bangkok over Pyongyang’s launch of a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile.

On the first day of a two-day summit of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, most leaders blasted Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, saying that its military aggression has caused a surge in global food and energy prices, according to Japanese and Thai officials.

Russia’s war in Ukraine is hampering the recovery of the world economy from the coronavirus pandemic, a Japanese official quoted Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as telling the summit, urging Moscow to stop the invasion immediately.

The North Korean missile, fired earlier Friday, likely fell within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, posing yet another security threat to Tokyo and other economies in East Asia.

Leaders of Japan, the United States, South Korea, Canada, Australia and New Zealand held an emergency meeting the same day at which they condemned the missile launch and pledged to cooperate in efforts to completely denuclearize North Korea.

The six APEC leaders warned a North Korean nuclear test “would be met with a strong and resolute response” and said they will boost cooperation to achieve the complete denuclearization of Pyongyang.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris called the missile launch a “brazen violation of multiple U.N. security violations” and pushed Pyongyang “to commit to serious and sustained diplomacy.”

Harris is representing the United States at the summit in place of President Joe Biden. Russian President Vladimir Putin skipped it, as he did a Group of 20 summit that ended Wednesday in Bali, Indonesia.

Kishida reiterated that Japan will never tolerate Russia’s nuclear threats in his remarks at the APEC summit, which focused on ways of promoting trade and sustainable growth in the region, as well as curbing runaway commodity prices driven by Russia’s aggression.

All APEC leaders touched on ways Russia’s war in Ukraine has precipitated high inflation, an energy crisis, a global recession and supply chain disruptions, expressing concern that the conflict has had a major impact on all economies, according to a senior Thai official.

APEC ministers managed to issue a joint statement Friday, a day after the conclusion of their meeting, by including two opposing views over the situation in Ukraine, hinting at the possibility of issuing a leaders’ declaration similarly.

The joint statement 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.”

Regarding the leaders’ declaration, the Thai official said, “We are not there yet, but we are very close.”

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.




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