Moon urges cooperation for open, fair trade at APEC
President Moon Jae-in urged world leaders at the 28th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) virtual summit on Friday to work together to restore an open and fair trade order.
Speaking at the conference virtually, Moon said, "Overcoming the Covid-19 crisis and the stability of the global supply chain depend on free trade based on multilateralism and reciprocal cooperation."
Although Moon did not directly mention the ongoing scarcity of raw materials imports from China, the comments were interpreted as a subtle knock on China's export restrictions.
President Moon's remarks seemed to be conscious of the presence of both U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose countries are competing to secure supply chains, at the online summit.
To boost international trade, Moon said Korea will work to achieve collective progress at the 12th World Trade Organization's (WTO) Ministerial Conference, to be hosted by Seoul later this year.
With an eye on a post-pandemic world, Moon also urged that countries in the Pacific Rim, which account for about 60 percent of the global economy and nearly 40 percent of the world population, establish common standards for recognizing the certification of Covid-19 vaccinations to ease international travel.
Prior to the summit, APEC finance ministers agreed to boost their collective effort to accelerate Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing and increase vaccine sharing and distribution.
In his remarks Friday, Moon told APEC leaders that Korea expanded its aid for low-income nations, also sharing its experience of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
South Korea has provided $180 million worth of medical supplies to over 120 countries to help them with their disease control efforts, Moon said.
In addition to the restoration of global supply chains and economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, carbon neutrality was high on the agenda during the APEC summit.
Moon told APEC leaders that Seoul had passed legislation to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from peak 2018 levels by 2030.
Moon outlined Korea's goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, as well as the challenges of responding to climate change while maintaining sustainable growth.
The president repeated Korea's pledge to phase out of coal-fired power generation by 2050.
Earlier on Thursday, Moon called on all APEC leaders and businesses to strive to achieve carbon neutrality, adding that such tasks can only be accomplished when everyone participates.
"We need to muster extraordinary determination and resolve that humanity's survival and future hinges on our actions today," Moon said.
"What matters are solidarity cooperation and inclusiveness, the very spirit of APEC, which seeks collective growth and co-prosperity through free trade in a cooperative environment," Moon said.
BY MICHAEL LEE [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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