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    APEC ministerial meeting

    APEC Ministers Finishing "Homework" Ahead of 2017 Economic Leaders' Meeting

    © Sputnik / Denis Bolotsky
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    Finance, economy and foreign ministers from 21 APEC member states are doing the final preparations before the bloc’s leaders’ meeting, which will take place during the weekend in Vietnam’s Danang. Among the key subjects are trade and finance, but on the sidelines, leaders will be discussing other issues, such as the situation in North Korea.

    The logo of this year’s APEC meeting has images of paddles and the ancient Vietnamese Dong Song era Lac birds moving in circles. It is meant to symbolize the organization’s synergy and dynamic. However, working on common approaches to market and economy issues doesn’t seem to be an easy task. Many of the 21 Pacific member rim states are having a hard time dealing with currency and market volatility and there is no single opinion among the members on issues such as protectionism.

    Ministers also share views on strengthening small-business competitiveness, promoting sustainable agriculture and food security, and boosting innovative growth in the region.

    According to Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, Moscow has a number of proposals on the table for APEC, including ideas regarding the digital economy, which will help to ensure the free flow of information, while at the same time providing adequate measures to counter cyber threats.

    The Danang APEC leaders’ meeting, which will start on Saturday, will be the first such event since their inaugurations for several heads of state, including South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and, of course, it will be the first APEC summit for Donald Trump, who entered office on January 20 this year.

    APEC ministerial meeting
    © Sputnik / Denis Bolotsky
    APEC ministerial meeting

    READ MORE: Trump Unlikely to Change Stance on TPP During APEC Summit — PwC

    Besides the bloc’s agenda, a lot will be happening on the sidelines of the big event. Donald Trump, who visited Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing on the first legs of his 12-day Asian tour, will definitely want to talk about the North Korean issue, and it’s likely that it will be one of the key topics of his bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Russia’s top diplomats, the meeting is in the works, and Moscow is prepared for dialogue on a wide range of issues.

    APEC ministerial meeting
    © Sputnik / Denis Bolotsky
    APEC ministerial meeting

    "All questions are on the agenda," says Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. "Our bilateral relations require serious repair after the [former US President] Obama team worked on their deterioration. In international affairs it is the Korean Peninsula, the Syrian peace settlement, Iraq, the conflict between Palestine and Israel and Ukraine, where the American representative has now begun to work actively."

    When it comes to North Korean issue, according to Lavrov, Russia is committed to a peaceful solution: "We have to sit down and talk. There are Russo-Chinese proposals, and we are convinced that there is no alternative to a peaceful settlement [of the North Korean issue]. Everyone should approach this problem with a cool head and not with emotions."

    The Asia Pacific economic cooperation forum was established in 1989 and is comprised of 21 member states. Russia joined the organization in 1998.
    The two-day 2018 annual APEC Economic Leaders’ meeting will start in Danang’s InterContinental resort on November 11th. It will be the second such event for Vietnam, which previously hosted the meeting in 2006.

    APEC ministerial meeting
    © Sputnik / Denis Bolotsky
    APEC ministerial meeting

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