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Asia Pacific leaders address pandemic recovery

Twenty leaders of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) met on Friday July 16 to discuss – among other things – the COVID-19 pandemic health and economic crisis and response.

The United States, Russia, China, Japan, Canada, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea met through their various government heads in a virtual meeting organised and chaired by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Among them were leaders from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) who provided a report and some advice on response from their respective world organisations.

The APEC Informal Leaders Retreat began at 9pm (PNG Time) on Friday and ended at 11.30pm, beginning with the IMF and WHO reports and a short question-answer session, and ended with a more formal presentation from each of the 20 leaders including PNG Prime Minister James Marape who spoke emphatically on behalf of the South Pacific countries.

The leaders then released a joint statement pledging renewed collaborative efforts as APEC countries and the world experiences a second, more deadly wave of the pandemic through the Delta strain of the virus.

“The pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on our region’s people and economies. Our efforts to diagnose and treat COVID19 continue to be essential. But we will only overcome this health emergency by accelerating equitable access to safe, effective, quality assured and affordable COVID19 vaccines,” the statement read.

“We recognise the role of extensive immunisation against the pandemic as a global good. To that end, we will redouble our efforts to expand vaccine manufacture and production technologies on mutually agreed terms.

“We must ensure our health systems cover all people efforts as well as the contribution of additional resources across APEC to combat the pandemic.”

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