Most of the leaders from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on Saturday strongly condemned Russia for invading Ukraine, saying the war has adversely impacted the global economy.
In a leaders' declaration issued after a two-day summit in Bangkok, most of the APEC leaders said the war in Ukraine is "exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy," citing increased inflation, supply chain disruption, heightened energy and food insecurity, and elevated financial stability risks.
But in a show of dissent by some APEC members regarding Russia's attack on its neighbor, the declaration said, "There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions."
While the United States, Japan and other APEC members have imposed sanctions on Russia, some other members, such as China, have opted not to.
"Recognizing that APEC is not the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy," the declaration said.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called Russia's aggression against Ukraine an "issue that shakes the foundation of the international order."
"Countries concerned need to tackle the challenge resolutely," Kishida told a press conference after the first in-person APEC summit in four years.
With the Ukraine crisis dividing the world, Kishida stressed the importance of boosting relations with the mostly developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America known collectively as the Global South, so as to uphold the rules-based international order.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris attended the summit on behalf of President Joe Biden. Russian President Vladimir Putin skipped it, as he did the Group of 20 summit that ended Wednesday in Bali, Indonesia.
Kishida said he also conveyed his strong sense of crisis to the APEC leaders over the unprecedented pace of ballistic missile launches by North Korea, as well as China's assertive territorial claims in the East and South China seas.
Pyongyang's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday was condemned in the strongest terms by six of the member economies -- Japan, the United States, South Korea, Canada, Australia and New Zealand -- in an emergency meeting held the same day.
Despite the rift over Russia's war in Ukraine, the APEC leaders pledged to promote "strong, balanced, secure, sustainable and inclusive growth," according to the declaration.
They underscored their commitment to "keep markets open and to address supply chain disruptions" to that end, it said.
The leaders affirmed they will continue to mobilize the grouping's resources to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and reinforce the system to prevent and better respond to future health threats.
The leaders also adopted the so-called Bangkok Goals for a Bio-Circular-Green Economy concept, a post-pandemic growth strategy intended to address environmental and climate issues.
Harris said that with the United States taking over from Thailand as the APEC host in 2023, the Biden administration will consider setting new "ambitious" sustainability goals.
Speaking at a handover ceremony at the summit, Harris proposed setting a new aggregate target for reducing carbon emissions from the power sector in APEC economies since almost all members have committed to carbon neutrality.
APEC will next hold a summit in San Francisco in November 2023, she said, adding, "Our host year will demonstrate the enduring economic commitment of the United States to the Indo-Pacific."
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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