APEC Summit in Russia to discuss trade, also South China Sea

Updated On: Sep 05, 2012

APEC Leader’s Week is being held in Vladivostok from September 2 to 9 as part of Russia’s tenure as APEC Chair. During this week, several functions will be held, including the APEC Ministerial Meeting (September 5-6), the APEC CEO Summit (September 7-8), and the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (September 8-9). The priorities declared by Russia include trade and investment liberalization, regional economic integration, strengthening food security, establishing reliable supply chains and cooperation to foster innovative growth.

Given the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea, it has been reported that the leaders meeting in Russia are expected to discuss how best to reconcile the border disputes. Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, and China all have competing territorial claims. A new Chinese garrison on a disputed island put these rival claims at the center of international attention. This development has also prompted fears that the incident could escalate into a conflict involving China and one of its neighbors. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Southeast Asian nations to draft a unified code of conduct with China to resolve competing claims to the sea. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) failed to agree on a code of conduct in July, but Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa is taking the lead on discussions with China to return to a diplomatic process. China has been wary of US involvement in the matter, with Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei noting that “the United States has said many times that it will not hold a position on the South China Sea issue”.

APEC Finance Ministers concluded their meeting on Monday by issuing a joint statement on advancing policies to make the region’s financial sector more balanced and inclusive. The joint statement provided guidance for APEC economic to improve fiscal sustainability, with attention to public finance governance and the need to closely monitor vulnerabilities stemming from the build-up of excessive private debt. It also included initiatives for improving strategies for financial literacy and strengthening natural disaster risk management.

Info: “APEC 2012 Leaders’ Week” [APEC] 
Report: “APEC Leaders to Discuss Rival South China Sea Claims” [Voice of America, 4 September 2012] 
Report: “APEC to reinforce region as vanguard for global growth” [Jakarta Post, 4 September 2012]