APEC Focuses on Paris Attacks, S. China Sea

APEC Focuses on Paris Attacks, S. China SeaAPEC Focuses on Paris Attacks, S. China Sea

Asia-Pacific leaders are voicing outrage over the attacks in Paris, as security and geopolitical concerns overshadowed talks on trade and the economy at an annual regional summit being held under ultra-tight security in the Philippines.

Leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum plan to condemn the Paris attacks in a joint statement to be released on the last day of meetings, according to AP.

“We strongly condemn these atrocities that demand a united voice from the global community. We, therefore, reaffirm our strong collective resolve to counter terrorism,” the draft statement says.

Friction over territorial disputes also was not on the official APEC agenda, but the rifts were inevitably bursting through APEC’s facade of handshakes and unity photo ops.

China’s territorial ambitions in disputed waters of the South China Sea were weighing on the minds of foreign ministers who met in Manila ahead of the leaders’ summit, begining on Wednesday.

Five APEC countries, including the Philippines, are at odds with Beijing over conflicting claims to islands in those resource-rich waters. The US showed solidarity with the Philippines by conducting military maneuvers recently near contested islands where China has reclaimed land and built settlements to shore up its own claims.