Pacific Rim leaders showed divisions over the wars in Ukraine and Gaza after a two-day summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum on Friday, although they pledged support for reform of the World Trade Organization.
Days of meetings involving Apec ministers and leaders were dominated by a summit on Wednesday between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at cooling tensions between the world’s two largest economies, which have alarmed the region.
The 21 Apec members, which include Russia and Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia, went into the meetings divided over Russia’s war in Ukraine and the Hamas-Israel war in Gaza, and that is how they left them.
A statement issued by this year’s Apec chair, the United States, echoed last year’s Apec leaders’ declaration in saying that “most” Apec members “strongly condemn aggression against Ukraine.”
It said the leaders exchanged views on the Gaza crisis, with some objecting to language of the chair’s statement in an accompanying “Golden Gate Declaration” covering economic issues “on the basis that they do not believe that Apec is a forum to discuss geopolitical issues.”