ANKARA – The 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Organization (APEC) Summit kicked off on Friday in Thailand, with leaders from member countries meeting in person for the first time in four years.
Leaders from member countries have already arrived in Bangkok, Thailand's capital, for the summit, which is being held under the theme "Open, Connect, Balance."
During the two-day summit, they are expected to discuss the region's economic and climate challenges.
Thailand Prime Minister and APEC host Prayut Chan-o-cha said he wanted this week's meeting to discuss how leaders can help in the transition to sustainable economic growth and development, the Bangkok Post reported.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, French President Emmanuel Macron, US Vice President Kamala Harris, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and other leaders and representatives from 21 countries and territories in APEC are attending the summit.
It is the first in-person meeting of APEC leaders since 2018.
Speaking at the summit, Chinese President Xi urged the member countries to join hands to build an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future and take Asia-Pacific cooperation to a new height.
"We should always assume the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries," Xi said, according to a transcript released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
He added that no one should interfere in other countries' internal affairs and that everyone should respect the development path and social system chosen independently by the people of each country.
"We should take seriously the legitimate security concerns of every country, and promote peaceful settlement of differences and disputes among countries through dialogue and consultation," he said.
As the world faces climate change, he assured that China is ready to support the Bangkok Goals on Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy.
"We need to enhance economic and technical cooperation, speed up coordinated digital and green development, advance the transition and upgrading of energy, resources, and industrial and consumption structures, and promote green economic and social development," he said.
He emphasized the importance of maintaining APEC's role as the primary channel for regional cooperation and steering Asia-Pacific cooperation in the right direction.
"We need to follow the spirit of our Asia-Pacific family, look after one another like passengers in the same boat, and steadily move toward an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future," Xi said. (Anadolu)