Connect with us


Regional tensions, Paris attacks hang over APEC summit



Regional tensions, Paris attacks hang over APEC summit | Thaiger


– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Regional tensions, Paris attacks hang over APEC summit
Phuket Gazette / Reuters

PHUKET: Regional tensions over the South China Sea and security concerns after the attack by Islamist
militants on Paris could eclipse efforts by Pacific-rim leaders this week to boost trade and growth across a region of around 3 billion people.

Market uncertainty, protectionist pressures and the need for difficult reform as trade growth slows will nevertheless be on the minds of close to 20 leaders attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Manila.

The Philippines went on high alert following the strike on France’s capital, ramping up security in Manila to ensure the safety of thousands of delegates. Traffic snarled across the city of 12 million on Monday as police closed off many roads leading to meeting venues where ministers held preparatory talks ahead of the Nov 18-19 summit.

Philippines officials say there has been no intelligence suggesting there might be an attack on the Manila summit, which will be attended by U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but about 30,000 police and soldiers have been deployed to guard it.

“There are no credible threats, I can assure you that,” said national police spokesman Wilben Mayor. “But, in general, we have intensified intelligence operations and beefed up security.”

Obama and other world leaders are to arrive in Manila from Tuesday, many after attending the G20 leaders summit in Turkey, where the Paris attacks overshadowed the agenda.

“Traditionally the G20 has been a forum primarily to discuss economic issues facing the glob … (but) the sky has been darkened by the horrific attacks that took place in Paris,” Obama said in a statement on Sunday.

Even before Friday’s assault by gunmen and bombers that left at least 129 dead in Paris, there had been concern that APEC’s agenda of enhancing economic integration would be undermined by other issues, not least feuding over the South China Sea.

The Philippines has vowed to be a “good host” by keeping off the summit agenda a subject that has whipped up tension between China and the United States in recent weeks, but said it could come up at a concluding retreat of leaders on Thursday.

“We have no control over what the other economic leaders would be raising during the leaders’ retreat,” foreign affairs spokesman Charles Jose said on Friday, relaying a message that the Philippines’ foreign minister gave to his Chinese counterpart at a meeting last week.

“What is happening now in the South China Sea is causing instability and undermining peace and stability that could have an impact on the development and economic prosperity of the countries in the region,” he added.


Beijing, which claims almost the entire energy-rich South China Sea through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes yearly, has stepped up land reclamation and construction in disputed islands and reefs there. Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei also claim parts of the waterway.

A week before the summit, U.S. B-52 strategic bombers flew near Chinese artificial islands, signalling Washington’s determination to challenge Beijing over the disputed sea.

Obama will likely discuss the friction over the South China Sea and military relations when he meets with Philippine President Benigno Aquino on the sidelines of the summit, said Philip Goldberg, U.S. ambassador to the Philippines.

Aquino and Japan’s Abe are also expected to agree on a deal paving the way for Tokyo to supply Manila with used military equipment, possibly including aircraft that could be deployed to
patrol the disputed South China Sea, sources said. The deal will mark the first time Japan has agreed to directly donate military equipment to another country.

Manila and Hanoi are due to sign a strategic partnership deal governing how their navies will work together.

Such developments could upset China, which said last week it was up to Manila to repair damaged bilateral ties. Beijing has insisted on using a bilateral track to resolve the dispute.


The APEC meeting will be the first for newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But the leaders of two other G20 countries, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Indonesia’s Joko Widodo, are not attending, both citing domestic issues for staying away.

It will be a chance for leaders of the 12-member Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to meet for the first time since they sealed a deal to eliminate trade barriers and enable free trade.

APEC, which accounts for 60 percent of global output and nearly half of world trade, is aiming for a larger free-trade area for its 21 economies by 2025, but a re-emergence in some states of protectionism as growth stutters could be a hindrance.

“A slowdown in trade growth is weighing on Asia-Pacific economies, coming after a quarter century of high trade growth that fuelled the region’s development and transformed it into an engine for the global economy,” the APEC Secretariat said in a statement on Sunday.

— Phuket Gazette Editors


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Press Room9 hours ago

Best island boat tours from Phuket – must-visit islands and unforgettable experiences you should not miss out on

Thailand11 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Foreigners anger Chiang Mai locals for kissing in temple

World11 hours ago

Former Coventry footballer seriously ill in Thai hospital

Crime11 hours ago

Weapons used by jealous Thai man to murder and chop up lover found

Guides11 hours ago

Foodie Zone: Should you try Keto diet? 2022

Chiang Mai11 hours ago

River in Chiang Mai overflows, floods spread

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand12 hours ago

3-year jail term for carrying crops, fruit & veg into Japan

Thailand12 hours ago

Bank repossesses the wrong house in central Thailand

Thailand12 hours ago

Innocent man jailed 7 months for 15.8 million baht theft demands justice

Weather12 hours ago

Thailand’s cold season expected to hit in late October

Thailand13 hours ago

ฺThai boxer blackmails 20 women into sending nude pics

World13 hours ago

South Korea gives North Korea a warning

Visa14 hours ago

Philippines offers attractive alternative to Thailand’s 10 year LTR visa

Phuket14 hours ago

Thousands join Chinese ceremony at Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Bang Sue’s Central Vaccination Centre officially closed

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11