Nov. 19 (UPI) — Member countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on Saturday formally condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during the group’s first in-person meeting in four years.
The APEC issued the declaration after a two-day summit in Bangkok.
“This year, we have also witnessed the war in Ukraine further adversely impact the global economy. There was a discussion on the issue. We reiterated our positions as expressed in other fora, including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly,” the group said in its declaration.
“Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy — constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks.”
Not all of APEC’s 21 members agreed, however, the group noted.
“There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions,” they declared. “Recognizing that APEC is not the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.”
The United States, Japan and other APEC members have imposed sanctions on Russia — however other members, like China, have not.
“Countries concerned need to tackle the challenge resolutely,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters Saturday, referring to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine as an “issue that shakes the foundation of the international order.”
The forum also reiterated its pledge in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We continue to mobilize our resources to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and reinforce our systems to prevent and prepare for, and respond to future health threats. We are determined to ensure extensive immunization of our people against COVID-19 as a global public good,” APEC said in a statement.
“It is imperative that we further strengthen the public health workforce, acknowledging their tremendous contributions to protecting our people’s lives and safeguarding their health. We should continue our efforts to improve digital solutions and access to health services, and strengthen health systems with a view to achieving universal health coverage.”