AP Wire Service
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Leaders from 21 countries and self-governing territories are gathered in Manila for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Nov. 17. The meeting’s official agenda is focused on trade, business and economic issues but terrorism, South China Sea disputes and climate change are also set to be in focus.
8:30 a.m. Nov.17
China is unhappy with Japanese comments about territorial tensions in the South China Sea.
Japan has voiced objections to Chinese moves to expand its claims in the South China Sea that Tokyo says are violating international law and threatening free navigation and flight in the region. Japan has also sparred with Beijing over their conflicting claims to uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
At a daily press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China was “dissatisfied with the remarks and actions of the Japanese side.’’ He accused Japan of trying to stoke tensions over an issue it is not directly involved with.
5:45 p.m. Nov. 17
Vietnam and the Philippines have signed an agreement to elevate their relationship to a strategic partnership.
The countries are the ones most at odds with Beijing over its claims to the South China Sea. Their agreement is meant to help deepen their trade, maritime and defense cooperation.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino said he and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang shared their concerns over recent developments affecting the region’s peace and stability.
5:20 p.m. Nov. 17
Large sections of central Manila’s busiest thoroughfares are closed to all but official vehicles during APEC. The nearly empty streets are a rare site in the notoriously traffic clogged city. The government is advising residents to either take a holiday or stay a home during the meetings.
4:10 p.m. Nov. 17
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says the Paris attacks preoccupied foreign ministers as they met at the APEC summit. He says every minister that spoke at a ministerial meeting started with remarks about the attacks Friday that killed 129 people and expressed condolences to the families of victims.
3:50 p.m. Nov. 17
President Barack Obama says the U.S. will transfer two ships to the Philippine Navy as part of an effort to boost maritime security for the Southeast Asian nation.
The U.S. has tried to boost security ties with the Philippines in a bid to check China’s territorial ambitions in disputed waters of the South China Sea.
3:30 p.m. Nov.17
Philippine trade secretary Gregory Domingo says trade and foreign ministers who finished two days of meetings Tuesday have called for a comprehensive study and recommendations on a proposed free trade area encompassing all of Asia and the Pacific Rim. The work is to be completed by the end of next year with an initial report scheduled for January.
2:30 p.m. Nov. 17
Twenty-seven shuttle buses running between Manila’s airport, hotel and media centers for the APEC summit are all new vehicles imported from China, a top Chinese newspaper reports Tuesday in a story emphasizing trade and business ties between China and the Philippines. Chinese state media have accentuated China’s engagement with countries in the APEC bloc and its efforts to foster development.
2:00 p.m. Nov. 17
The draft APEC leaders statement seen by AP is warning that global growth remains fragile and that inequality is acting as a brake on economic development. (end)