APEC Summit

What is APEC and which leaders are attending Bangkok summit?

Reuters
What is APEC and which leaders are attending Bangkok summit?

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks during a gala dinner at the APEC Summit in Bangkok, Thailand November 17, 2022.

Thailand/Handout via REUTERS

A quick look at the ongoing two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Bangkok, capital of Thailand

Leaders and heads of governments from the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have come to the Thai capital of Bangkok for a meeting on Friday and Saturday, November 18-19.

As host, Thailand hopes to make progress on discussion of the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), but talks come amid geopolitical tensions over the war in Ukraine and regional flashpoints such as Taiwan and the Korean peninsula.

What is APEC?

APEC is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to promote economic integration. As a grouping, it makes up 38% of the global population, 62% of GDP and 48% of trade.

APEC’s 21 members are:

Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

Here is a look at who is attending:

US VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS

Harris is standing in for President Joe Biden. The United States will be the APEC host in 2023. After the meeting in Bangkok, Harris will travel to the Philippines. Her visit to the Philippines will be at the edge of the disputed South China Sea, a move that Beijing may see as a rebuke.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris addresses the APEC CEO Summit during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand on November 18, 2022. Jack Taylor/Pool via REUTERS

CHINA PRESIDENT XI JINPING

Xi met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Bangkok on Thursday for talks. Kishida said he conveyed concerns over regional security to Xi amid growing tensions in Asia over China’s maritime ambitions. Xi was quoted by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV as telling Kishida that China and Japan should deepen trust, areas of cooperation and regional integration, and resist “conflict and confrontation”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping gestures after the 29th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) during the APEC 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand, 18 November 2022. Thailand hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC 2022, the summit for economic cooperation comprising 21 leading member economies to promote free trade in the Asia-Pacific region. Rungroj Yongrit/Pool via REUTERS

RUSSIA FIRST DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ANDREI BELOUSOV

Belousov will represent President Valadmir Putin at APEC. At an earlier APEC meeting in Bangkok this year, representatives from the United States and other countries walked out of a meeting in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine when Russian Economy Minister Maxim Reshetnikov was delivering remarks.

JAPAN PRIME MINISTER FUMIO KISHIDA

THAILAND PRIME MINISTER PRAYUTH CHAN-OCHA

As meetings kicked off, Thailand urged APEC members to “rise above differences” after geopolitical tensions dominated summits in Bali and Phnom Penh over the war in Ukraine. Prayuth said he wanted the talks to discuss how leaders can help transition to sustainable economic growth and development.

CANADA PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU

China’s leader appeared to confront Trudeau at the G20 summit in Bali on Wednesday after accusing him of leaking details from a closed-door meeting, a rare public display of annoyance by Xi. China’s foreign ministry on Thursday said Xi was not criticizing Trudeau over the alleged leaks.

SOUTH KOREAN PRIME MINISTER HAN DUCK-SOO

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo is expected to hold meetings with New Zealand and Peru, and also seek support for South Korea’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo, according to Yonhap.

MALAYSIAN CHIEF SECRETARY GOVERNMENT ZUKI ALI

Malaysia is represented by its government secretary, with the country holding general elections on November 19.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA PRIME MINISTER JAMES MARAPE

Marape will hold meetings with US State Secretary Antony Blinken.

MEXICAN AMBASSADOR TO THAILAND BERNARDO CORDOVA TELLO

The ambassador will represent President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

PHILIPPINES PRESIDENT FERDINAND MARCOS JR.

President Marcos will hold a bilateral meeting with China’s Xi and host US Vice President Harris in Manila next week, with tensions over Taiwan on the agenda.

Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos Junior arrives to attend the APEC Leader’s Informal Dialogue with Guests during the APEC 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand, 18 November 2022. Thailand hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC 2022, the summit for economic cooperation comprising 21 leading member economies to promote free trade in the Asia-Pacific region. Rungroj Yongrit/Pool via REUTERS

SINGAPORE PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG

Lee will hold bilateral meetings with China’s Xi

VIETNAM PRESIDENT NGUYEN XUAN PHUC

CHILE PRESIDENT GABRIEL BORIC FONT

INDONESIAN PRESIDENT JOKO WIDODO

NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER JACINDA ARDERN

PERU VICE PRESIDENT DINA BOLUARTE

BRUNEI SULTAN HASSANAL BOLKIAH

AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER ANTHONY ALBANESE

HONG KONG: CHIEF EXECUTIVE JOHN LEE KA-CHIU

TAIWAN: TSMC FOUNDER MORRIS CHANG

This year, host Thailand has also invited France and Saudi Arabia.

FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON

Macron is due to make a keynote address.

SAUDI ARABIA CROWN PRINCE MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN

Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler’s visit comes as the relationship between Thailand and Saudi Arabia starts to normalize this year. For nearly three decades diplomatic ties had been frozen over “the Blue Diamond Affair”, as the theft of $20 million in jewelry by a Thai janitor is known. – Rappler.com

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