APEC pointed to the “immense human suffering” and economic fallout from the war despite Russia and China being bloc members.

Asia Pacific leaders have called for an end to the Russian invasion of Ukrainesaying that “most” of them have strongly condemned the war and the global economic turmoil it has caused.

A statement from Saturday’s summit at the end of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bangkok, Thailand, highlighted the “immense human suffering” caused by the war and the “significant impact on the global economy”, including rising inflation, food and energy insecurity and supply chain disruption.

Russia and China are part of APEC, which has 21 members. Beijing has generally refrained from public criticism of Moscow over the war in Ukraine.

The APEC statement was identical to the statement of the G20 (Group of Twenty) last week in Bali, Indonesia, where the war was also condemned.

It also said that while APEC was “not the forum to resolve security issues, we recognize that security issues can have significant impacts on the global economy”.

“There were different views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions,” it noted.

Amid tensions between Russia and the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin not been present the G20 or the APEC summits. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov went to Bali, and Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov to Bangkok.

On the sidelines of the event, US Vice President Kamala Harris exchanged brief remarks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the latter saying he saw a meeting in Bali with US President Joe Biden as a step towards a “next phase” in the ties between their countries.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies are fraught, with disagreements over trade, human rights and China’s claims to the self-governing island of Taiwan.

Host and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha urged the bloc’s leaders to press ahead with APEC’s agenda to promote free trade in the Pacific.

“We must prioritize putting this plan into action,” Prayuth said.

Last week’s summits gave leaders the chance for face-to-face meetings that have been rare for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials at both the G20 and APEC seem to have opted for it agree to disagree about the war. In Bangkok and Bali, countries that refused to condemn the invasion refrained from blocking statements sharply criticizing Moscow.

APEC is made of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

The US will host the summit in San Francisco next year.


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