The President of the Republic of Korea ROK/South Korea), Moon Jae-in addressed the APEC Summit. This year, the Summit, although virtual, is being hosted by New Zealand
Following is the complete text of his speech:
The Right Honorable Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Excellencies,
Kia Ora! It is a pleasure to see you.
New Zealand, in its capacity as Chair, has put forth, “Join, Work, Grow, Together” as this year’s theme for APEC, pointing to a clear direction we must take together. In the hope that the Asia Pacific region will step up cooperation for inclusive recovery and prosperity, let me emphasize three points.
First, for us to return to normal together, we need to intensify our cooperation. Korea has been energetically participating in APEC’s work to ensure equitable access to vaccines. Besides our contribution to COVAX, we have donated vaccines to other countries and have plans to extend assistance further. We are also dedicated to multilateral cooperation in healthcare. Korea provided some 120 countries the equivalent of US$180 million in diagnostic kits and other anti-epidemic supplies at no charge, and health-related ODA is being scaled up. The movement of people and goods, if facilitated, will accelerate a return to a better normal. I welcome our respective economies’ work toward mutual recognition of vaccine certificates, among other efforts, and propose developing concrete standards we can share.
Secondly, the open and fair trade order must be restored to build a more robust economic community. The Asia Pacific region, through free trade and investment, has been opening the way for shared benefits and prosperity. How swiftly we beat the pandemic and stabilize global supply chains also hinges on multilateralism as well as free trade that is rooted in mutually beneficial cooperation. Korea, one of the countries with the most FTAs, will soon ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and also work together toward APEC’s economic integration.
Free trade has been a driver of Korea’s growth, and we know better than anyone else the importance of safeguarding the global trading system. To ensure the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference delivers tangible results, I hope APEC leaders will strive to exert their collective leadership.
Moreover, by way of fully harnessing the opportunities presented by digital trade, let us open the doors to the era of the digital economy. Digital trade in the region increased from US$400 billion in 2016 to US$1 trillion last year with more than 27 percent in average annual growth. APEC launched the “Digital Innovation Fund” in 2019, taking the initiative in digital transformation. Complementing differences in history, culture, and the pace of economic development, APEC has been walking a path of shared prosperity. I hope it will again march forward as the premier digital trade platform.
Korea, after leading the launch of the “APEC Digital Innovation Fund,” is pursuing membership in the region’s Digital Economic Partnership Agreement and is actively involved in the discussion of digital trade rules. To protect consumer rights and privacy in e-commerce, we are also fully committed to joining relevant collaborative endeavors.
Third, our cooperation must also be inclusive. The global economy is showing signs of recovery, yet some countries and social groups are more disproportionately affected than others by COVID-19. The gap in recovery must be narrowed to enable sustainable development. As one of the pillars of our Korean New Deal, Korea is pushing forward the Human New Deal. We are striving to strengthen our employment and social safety nets and expand investment in people, mainly in the digital and green areas, as a way to achieve inclusive recovery. Korea will actively share its policy experiences from the Korean New Deal and endeavor to realize an APEC that grows together.
In tackling the climate crisis and achieving carbon neutrality, APEC must play a leading role. Korea boldly enhanced its 2030 NDC goal and joined the Global Methane Pledge to reduce its methane emissions. We are also vigorously contributing to climate finance. We plan to establish a US$5 million fund at the Global Green Growth Institute and double our contribution to the Green Climate Fund. Through the Climate Technology Centre and Network, we will step up our cooperation in the field of green technology. We will scale up Green New Deal ODA and continue our cooperation through the P4G’s public-private partnerships.
Today, APEC has made meaningful progress toward inclusive and sustainable development. The Implementation Plan for the Putrajaya Vision 2040 will make member economies more united than ever. On that note, I extend my gratitude to the New Zealand Chairmanship for demonstrating its able leadership.
The Chairs for 2023 and 2024, together with next year’s Chair Thailand, will be assuming grave responsibilities for ensuring the successful implementation of the Putrajaya Vision 2040. I would like to thank President Biden of the United States and President Castillo of Peru for volunteering for the Chairmanship. Toward regional integration and a sustainable future, Korea will always stand together every step of the way.