APEC trade ministers condemn Putin’s attack on Ukraine

By Melissa Coade

May 25, 2022

Penny Wong-Anthony Albanese
Penny Wong and Anthony Albanese at the Japan Quad meeting. (The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images

The impact of Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine has been condemned by trade ministers from Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the United States.

The group’s grave concerns about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ukraine were underscored in a joint statement from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members on Monday.

The group of seven ministers said its goal of inclusive and sustainable economic growth demanded that international laws be honoured. For the Asia-Pacific, a rules-based international order was needed for a ‘open, dynamic and resilient region’, they added. 

“We condemn in the strongest terms, the unprovoked war of aggression by Russia against Ukraine,” they said.

The trade ministers also expressed concerns about the threat the war posed to food and energy security in the world.

“Russia’s actions [sic] have further destabilised the global economy and global supply chains as well as undermined our ability to recover from COVID-19,” the APEC ministers said.

“We express our concern regarding volatility in energy markets and underscore the need to promote energy resilience, access, and security in the region.”

The ministers said the flow-on effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine had unbalanced the world’s food supplies and was further impacting the poorest people. 

“A well-functioning food system is critical to our people’s health and wellbeing and to the success of our economies.

“A rise in food insecurity, due to Russia’s invasion, is being felt around the world, and disproportionately by the most vulnerable,” the ministers said. 

Meanwhile, Australia’s new prime minister Anthony Albanese met with Joe Biden in Japan, where he reaffirmed his government’s alliance with the US. 

“We play a very important role, in terms of national security for us, but for our region as well,” Albanese said of the US-Australia alliance.

“I look forward to really strengthening our relationship.” 

Albanese flew to Tokyo for the Quad Leaders summit on Monday. He said he planned to meet with Biden in the US before the next Quad meeting to be hosted in Australia in 2023. 

“I look forward to welcoming president Biden, prime minister Modi and prime minister Kishida to Australia next year.

“There’s a real opportunity for Australia to send a message to the world that the government has changed, our values haven’t, in terms of support for democracy and engagement with important partners here at the Quad,” Albanese said.


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