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APEC leaders pledge to strengthen rules-based multilateral trading system

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BANGKOK — Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum vowed on Saturday to uphold and strengthen a rules-based multilateral trading system while most of them condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Leaders of the 21 members of the grouping in their declaration at the end of a two-day summit in Bangkok also said they recognized that more intensive efforts were needed to address such challenges as rising inflation, food security, climate change and natural disasters.

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The APEC gathering is the third summit in the region in the past week. A Southeast Asian summit that included China, Japan and the United States was held in Cambodia while the Group of 20 (G20) nations met on the Indonesian island of Bali.

The earlier meetings were dominated by the war in Ukraine as well as tensions over Taiwan and the Korean peninsula.

At the G20 meeting in Indonesia, countries unanimously adopted a declaration saying most members condemned the Ukraine war but that also acknowledged some countries saw the conflict differently.

The APEC leaders echoed that as they referred to U.N. resolutions that deplore Russia’s aggression and demand its complete and unconditional withdrawal from Ukraine.

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“This year, we have also witnessed the war in Ukraine further adversely impact the global economy,” they said.

“Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy.”

“There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions. Recognizing that APEC is not the forum to resolve security issues, we acknowledge that security issues can have significant consequences for the global economy.” (Reporting by Poppy McPherson; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Ed Davies and Bradley Perrett)

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