|Chinese Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Ma Zhaoxu (front L) and Assistant Minister of Commerce Yu Jianhua (front R) attend the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting, in Vladivostok of Russia, on Sept. 5, 2012. The two-day meeting kicked off here Wednesday. (Xinhua/Jiang Kehong) |
By Zheng Haoning, Wei Lianglei
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies will soon gather in the Russian Far Eastern city of Vladivostok to discuss ways to facilitate regional development in the face of an ailing global economy.
APEC, the largest regional bloc on earth, accounts for around 50 percent of the world's total gross domestic product (GDP) and 40 percent of its population and trade.
However, there is also huge diversity among the 21 APEC members as their economies differ sharply in type and development.
Prior to the meeting, Yu Jianhua, China's assistant commerce minister, called on APEC members to bear in mind the nature of the alliance and to take members' differences into consideration.
Yu also urged the members to uphold non-discriminatory policies, openness and tolerance while advancing regional integration.
As was stressed in the group's 1994 Bogor declaration, APEC leaders should reinforce economic cooperation "on the basis of equal partnership, shared responsibility, mutual respect, common interest, and common benefit."
However, some APEC members, especially the developed economies, put their own interests above all else, ignoring other partners' voices on such issues as the lowering of tariffs on green products and services, and carbon emission reductions.
Moreover, some members even take others' development as a threat and create barriers under the excuse of protecting domestic industries.
That kind of selfish thinking will not only hinder regional integration but also harm the growth of APEC members, especially developing economies.
It will also aggravate the already existing problems that some APEC members face such as economic slowdowns, inflation and joblessness.
Thus, the timely APEC gathering in Vladivostok should overcome the differences, expand mutual trust, strengthen coordination and further promote integration in a bid to advance an overall recovery of the regional economy and sustainable development.
APEC in past decades has played an important role in facilitating trade and investment liberalization, economic integration, technological cooperation and regional growth. It is expected that the bloc will contribute more to the development of the Asia-Pacific region and the world.
Amid the global economic woes, more joint efforts are needed to tackle the challenges of financial volatility, uncertain recovery, energy security, climate change, and natural disasters.
During the Sept. 8-9 20th informal APEC economic leaders' meeting, world leaders will exchange views concerning four major topics on the agenda: trade and investment liberalization and regional economic integration, food security, reliable supply chains, and innovative growth.
If the sides could reach agreements on the topics, that would conform to the interests of all APEC members and boost the prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.
Further integration of APEC members also would be in line with the regional economic development with calls for promoting cooperation between developed and emerging economies.
In conclusion, policy-makers should try to understand each other and overcome their divisions -- the only way to reach practical and balanced solutions to deepening APEC integration.