New Zealand, 23 July 2021 -(TDI): Hosted by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the Virtual APEC Summit contributed to her nation’s reputation and approach as a pragmatist and a coalition builder after her compassionate response to the Christchurch mosque attacks in 2019.
After the meeting, a joint statement had included the vague commitments to accelerate the production and distribution of vaccines and
China, Russia, and the United States (most powerful APEC members ) agreed that there should be temporary intellectual property waivers for COVID-19 vaccines. While Japan and South Korea did not agree.
“Inclusivity: that all countries in the region can participate”, one of New Zealand’s bedrock values, urges the consensus position of the 21 APEC economies to “support global vaccine sharing efforts, and encourage the voluntary transfer of vaccine production technologies on mutually agreed terms.”
Perhaps, it was a surprise that the APEC meeting was in effect a confidence-building exercise despite the escalating geopolitical conflict between China and the West. While the current spread of new variants, slow vaccine rollout, and current heightened tensions, hope instills that there are underlying commonalities that everyone can agree on.