The Bold Voice of J&K

APEC Summit begins; key issues, FTA on agenda

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apecBeijing, Nov 11 (PTI) Theattended by 21 heads of states, including US President Barack Obama, began today with key issues like a free trade arrangement for the region to be discussed during the meeting.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is hosting the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ meeting at the Yanqi Lake International Convention Center in northern suburb of Beijing.

The meeting is being attended by 21 heads of state including US President Barrack Obama, his Russian counterpart Vladamir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of APEC, which has been the top-level and most representative cooperation mechanism that covers wide range of areas in the Asia-Pacific.

Xi said the meeting is expected to make four achievements, including the launch of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) process, issue a statement on the 25th anniversary of the APEC, promotion of innovation, reforms and growth to seek new momentum for long-term development of the Asia-Pacific and a blueprint to lay a solid foundation for all-round connectivity in the Asia-Pacific.

Xi also said China will donate USD 10 million for institutional development and capacity building of the APEC.

India is not a member of APEC, a bloc largely comprised of the countries of the Pacific region.

It is to be seen whether the APEC which specialised in trade and commerce would consider admitting new members as a ban in this regard had been lifted in 2010.

Image conscious China has spent billions of dollars to spruce up pollution ridden Beijing into a brand new city to bath in the autumn sun by creating a new smog free atmosphere for the conference.

Hundreds of factories in the city and vicinity have been closed down to ensure smog free weather in the city.

The 22nd summit of APEC is being held at Yanqi Lake, about 50 km north east of Beijing, where China has built a special conference centre, a waterfront boutique hotel and 12 VIP villas on an islet besides the newly opened Sunrise Kempinski hotel nearby.

This is the largest event being hosted by China after the 2008 Olympics.

While not much is expected out of the summit due to the strategic rivalry between US, its allies and China, it has already achieved certain political breakthrough specially in ending a two-year long China-Japan spat over the disputed islands in the East China Sea.

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