APEC Russia 2012

By Ducky Paredes

‘APEC is all about building goodwill that would lead to bringing down trade barriers among these Asia-Pacific nations that control more than half of the world’s economic output.’

THE APEC 2012 Summit, the 24th annual gathering of APEC leaders, was held on Russky Island, off the coast of Vladivostok.

Two giant cable-stayed bridges were built in preparation for the summit, namely the Zolotoy Rog bridge over the Zolotoy Rog bay in downtown Vladivosotok, and Russky Island Bridge from inland to Russky Island (which is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world right now).

At the end of 
the annual gathering of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Vladivostok, of course, as is usual, everyone congratulated each of the 21 other countries in attendance for a fruitful summit. And, although progress was made to cut tariffs on environmentally friendly goods, and commitments renewed to fight protectionism, the reality is that what most concerned them all was what was not talked about – the increasingly tense territorial disputes in the Asia-Pacific.

APEC is all about building goodwill that would lead to bringing down trade barriers among these Asia-Pacific nations that control more than half of the world’s economic output. However, amongst the participants, things never really looked too good. In fact, what could possibly break up APEC has always been present at each of the 24 Summits.

The Japanese and the Chinese have issues with each other. So do the Chinese and the Koreans and the Koreans and the Japanese and Pinoys with the Chinese over Chinese claims on islands clearly within Philippine territory.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Chinese President Hu Jintao did not hold their customary talks on the summit sidelines this time around. Noda and South Korea’s Lee Myung-Bak–both allies of Washington–shunned each other. President Aquino wanted to meet with China’s Hu but failed to do so. Hu would not meet with Aquino.

“Now is the time for everyone to make efforts to reduce the tension and strengthen the diplomatic involvement,” said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Clinton, who was filling in for US President Barack Obama, who is busy with his re-election campaign,

“This region of the world is the economic engine in what is still a fragile global economy. It’s not in the interest of the Asian countries, it’s certainly not in the interest of the United States or the rest of the world, to raise doubts and uncertainties about the stability and peace in the region.”

While her words were conciliatory, the US is actually building a missile-laden naval base in the sleepy village of Gangjeong in Jeju Island, South Korea, 300 kilometers from the Chinese mainland. This is similar to the Cuban Crisis situation during Kennedy’s presidency when Cuba installed Russian missiles that could reach the heart of the American mainland.

This time around, American missiles in Korea have been installed within range of China.

Of course, since the Cuban Crisis, there has been so much progress technically in long-range weapons there really is no more need to bring missiles closer to their intended targets.

In their final summit statement, the leaders pledged to help boost the sluggish global economy by strengthening demand in their own countries, cutting public debt and committing to no new trade barriers. Would that they had talked more of peace in their region!

What was missing and which the world would have appreciated are indications that the Asian countries with contentious claims over territories regarded by other countries as theirs promising to settle differences peacefully — as over a conference table and not over a battlefield. Considering how close these countries are situated to one another, any disputes could just as easily turn into shooting wars.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who hosted the two-day event, described the event as a great success. “The Vladivostok summit has once again reaffirmed the APEC economies’ commitment to the underlying principles of free trade and integration. The Asia Pacific region is a locomotive, a driving force in the world economy.”

Clinton said, before leaving: “Last year in Honolulu, APEC leaders committed to spark green growth by developing a list of environmental products on which we would significantly reduce tariffs. And here in Vladivostok, the leaders delivered on that commitment, agreeing on a list that includes solar panels, gas, and wind turbines and dozens more products. Today, tariffs on these products can run as high as 35 percent. By 2015, APEC members will cut them to 5 percent or less. By making green products more affordable and creating jobs wherever they are manufactured, including in the United States, we hope this decision will inspire other trading groups to emulate APEC’s record of trade innovation.


Copyright © Malaya Business News Online

You can comment this article, but links are not allowed.

Оставить комментарий