APEC leaders denounce terrorism

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Leaders' declaration strays from trade after Paris attacks

Leaders of 21 countries and economies meeting in Manila for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit condemned terrorism in the wake of recent attacks in Paris and Beirut.

"We will not allow terrorism to threaten the fundamental values that underpin our free and open economies," read a declaration that was released at the close of the APEC leaders’ summit on Nov. 19.

Normally, APEC meetings issue statements related to trade and business.

"Under the shadow cast by the terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, and against Russian aircraft over the Sinai and elsewhere, we strongly condemn all acts, methods and practices of terrorism in all their forms and manifestations," read the declaration.

The Asia-Pacific leaders said "economic growth, prosperity, and opportunity are among the most powerful tools to address the root causes of terrorism and radicalization."

APEC leaders denounce terrorism

Philippine President Benigno Aquino shares a moment with U.S. President Barack Obama during dinner

at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit in Manila on Nov. 18. (Photo by Gil Nartea)

"We stress the urgent need for increased international cooperation and solidarity in the fight against terrorism," said the declaration.

The economic leaders also declared their commitment to fighting climate change ahead of the highly anticipated United Nations conference on the issue in Paris, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 30.

"We are firmly committed to achieving a fair, balanced, ambitious, durable, and dynamic agreement on climate change" at the upcoming Paris conference, the leaders’ statement said.

U.S. President Barack Obama earlier urged APEC member countries to invest in a "low carbon future."

Environmental activists, however, described Obama's call as "cheap talk" that falls short of what’s needed from the top climate-polluting countries.

Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment, said key polluters, including APEC members the U.S. and China, "have not committed to cut their annual carbon pollution to a significant level."

APEC leaders denounce terrorism


Police clash with protesters who tried to go near the venue of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' meeting in Manila on Nov. 19. (Photo by Vincent Go)



The leaders' summit faced vocal protests on the streets of Manila, with thousands turning out in an attempt to get close to the meeting venue.

The summit "was all about promoting the interests of the big global corporations at the expense of the rest of the world," said Teddy Casiño, spokesman for the anti-APEC movement known as "#PHFightAPEC."

APEC's action plan this year aims to link up small and medium businesses with the global market, with a goal of making economic growth inclusive.

Casiño, however, said the plan will only expand the practice of transnational corporations farming out their work to subcontractors employing lowly paid workers.

Joe Torres, Manila


November 19, 2015