The APEC summit over the weekend was capped off by a joint declaration but progress was not universally lauded, as territorial spats cloud the bloc’s goal to create a regional free trade zone in the long term.
The meeting in Vladivostok yielded an extended list of environmental goods which will be subjected to tariff reductions of 5% or less by 2015. The list initially had 25 items but was expanded to 54 in one day. According to Wall Street Journal, Indonesia lobbied to put crude palm oil on the list but failed. The joint declaration also claimed that the debt crisis in Europe was “adversely affecting growth in Asia-Pacific” and that the group aims to “avoid competitive devaluation of their currencies”.
However, cracks showed on the sidelines of the summit as leaders from countries in a tug-of-war over territories attempted to settle their diplomatic row. Chinese President Hu Jintao and Japanese President Yoshihiko Noda met informally but did not disclose the contents of their brief meeting. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, on the other hand, wasn’t able to meet the Chinese leader who purportedly had a loaded schedule.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly met with the Russian delegation and touched on Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Journal that Russia does not support economic pressure in Syria because “sanctions will not bring about anything”.