[EDITORIALS]An opportunity for KoreaThe Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, referred to as the largest diplomatic event in Korea’s history, opened in Busan on Saturday. APEC members’ powers differ, and thus their interests and relationships also vary. Therefore, APEC has been encountering difficulties in reaching agreements.
Despite such shortcomings, APEC is growing every year. In 1989, when the organization was founded, it had 12 members. Today, it has 21 members. The agenda items have also been expanded from the economy and trade to include foreign affairs and security. It is the only conference in which the leaders of the major world powers ― China, Japan, Russia and the United States ― participate with the leaders of other major nations in the Asia-Pacific region. Furthermore, the 21 APEC member countries contain half the world’s population, while trade among the members makes up half of global trade volume.
At this year’s event, the members are to reconfirm the progress made under various APEC agreements and hold a midterm evaluation of the Doha Development Agenda. Based on such discussions, they are to adopt a roadmap presenting the future development direction for APEC members. The countries will also discuss plans to resolve the increasing gaps among the countries in the region.
According to experts, this APEC general meeting and the summits on the sidelines of the meeting will naturally address the Korean Peninsula’s peace and prosperity and the dynamics of Northeast Asia, in addition to trade issues.
South Korea, which relies heavily on trade and foreign expertise due to a lack of natural resources, needs to clearly state its commitment to free trade, openness and reform through this event. It should work actively to attract foreign investment; it should also make progress on issues associated with North Korea’s nuclear arms programs, alliances, trade and the settlement of matters related to past history by holding separate summits with the leaders of China, Japan, Russia and the United States.
The eight-day-long APEC meeting is approaching its midpoint, and we believe the event has been successful so far. Busan residents and the public have actively cooperated, and anti-terror and safety measures have been sternly enforced.
We must remain alert until the last moment and do our best to make the best use of this APEC meeting to heighten Korea’s reputation in the world.