Spotlight: APEC economic leaders pledge coordinated efforts on COVID-19 fight, economic recovery

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Economic leaders of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) committed their efforts on Friday to combating the COVID-19 pandemic and pushing for post pandemic recovery in a coordinated manner.

In a declaration issued after the virtually held 27th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, APEC economic leaders announced their commitment to "stand united in our determination to enable the Asia-Pacific region to successfully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts," as the pandemic "is one of the most challenging health and economic crises of our times."

"We are committed to protecting our people's lives and safeguarding their health. We resolve to further navigate the region towards recovery along the path of strong, balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure economic growth," said the Kuala Lumpur Declaration, named after the capital city of Malaysia, the host of this year's APEC meetings.

"Our coordinated action and cooperation are more important than ever to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 and realize new and emerging opportunities for prosperity for all," it said.

"On the whole, regional cooperation is crucial to contain the impacts of the pandemic. APEC economies have come together to collect and share information, keep open the supply chains for medical and food products, and to coordinate policy responses," Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told a press conference after chairing the economic leaders' meeting.

"During the meeting, the APEC economic leaders have exchanged views on the current state of the global economy and initiatives by APEC economies in combating the health crisis. They also discussed matters related to regional issues including APEC economies' responses in mitigating the health and economic impact of the COVID-19," he said.

The prime minister said APEC's immediate priority is to ensure readiness of the health and medical care institutions to provide critical treatment as well as to manage public health policies to contain the spread of COVID-19.

"APEC has also pledged to refrain from backtracking and resorting to protectionist measures to keep markets and borders open. This includes ensuring smooth cross-border movement of essential goods including food, medicines and medical supplies and other necessities during the pandemic to ensure unobstructed supply chain within the region," he said.

Muhyiddin added that all leaders have noted their commitments to collaborate with and support each other for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The declaration is one of two important documents that resulted from this year's APEC meeting, with the other being the "APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040" which will replace the Bogor Goals that will expire this year.

At the end of the meeting, Muhyiddin handed over the APEC chairmanship to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as the host of next year's APEC meetings.

In a brief address, Ardern said New Zealand as the host is committed to fostering an inclusive, sustainable and innovative future for the Asia-Pacific region.

APEC 2021 will be the start of reigniting growth, implementing the new vision and setting a long lasting recovery across the entire region, she said.

APEC is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. APEC's 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration. Enditem

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