Emergency Meeting of APEC Leaders Discusses Economic Recovery Amid the Corona Pandemic

Emergency Meeting of APEC Leaders Discusses Economic Recovery Amid the Corona Pandemic

APEC leaders met virtually on Friday (16/07) to discuss economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern and US President Joe Biden confirm vaccine availability in the region.

UMMATIMES - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as the host presided over the special virtual meeting of the leaders of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on Friday (16/07). This time, the special APEC meeting focused on discussing strategies to restore the slumped economic conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

US President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to attend the meeting.

The pandemic and vaccine diplomacy have proven to be problems among the 21 member countries and this meeting has the main objective of supporting sustainable economic growth in the Asia Pacific region.

Ardern and Biden confirm vaccine availability

In a telephone conversation between PM Jacinda Ardern and US President Joe Biden ahead of the APEC meeting, the two discussed the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine in both countries and the Asia Pacific region.

"President Biden and I discussed the upcoming APEC meeting and discussed the importance of cooperation in the region to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic," Ardern said in the statement.

"We also discussed the launch of vaccines, in both countries and in the Pacific region and the efforts of both countries to ensure the availability of vaccines," he continued.

Improving relations with allies in the Pacific region is one of the priorities of the Biden administration. Quoted from Reuters news agency, a senior official in the US administration said Biden would use the opportunity at this meeting to demonstrate his commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

"As one of the occasions he will have to meet with many of these leaders, he will make it clear that the United States is committed to the region. He will propose a vision for the region that is based on our values," the official said.

Countries in the region are battling the pandemic

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the "important meeting" was held at a critical time at a time when the world is facing an increasing number of COVID-19 infections and international cooperation in fighting the pandemic has entered a new chapter.

"We hope that all parties can uphold the vision of the Asia-Pacific community with a common future, advance the Asia-Pacific partnership, send a positive message to fight the coronavirus with solidarity, and deepen economic recovery and cooperation," Zhao said.

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will assure member countries that his party is able to safely hold the Tokyo Olympics on July 23. Suga will also emphasize Japan's commitment to support equitable access to vaccines for all countries and regions to support global efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Japan's vision to expand a free and fair economic bloc.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who will also attend the meeting, said now was an "important time for Australia to engage with regional partners to promote free trade facilities, particularly for vaccines and other essential goods, build momentum to strengthen the multilateral trading system, and secure a sustainable recovery." sustainable and inclusive."

Earlier in June, APEC member trade ministers agreed to review trade barriers and expedite cross-border transit of COVID-19 vaccines and related goods, but refused to remove tariffs on them as New Zealand proposed.

There are reported to be more than 50 million cases of COVID-19 in the APEC region, with the death toll reaching more than one million cases. The value of the APEC region's gross domestic product (GDP) was recorded to have contracted to 1.9% in 2020.