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APEC leaders must now add substance to vision for growth | Updated: 2017-11-12 22:12

Despite the lackluster global economic recovery, the Asia-Pacific has remained the world's most economically dynamic region and the main engine of global growth.

However, the world is undergoing major developments, transformation and adjustment, and the Asia-Pacific is no exception. It too faces challenges and destabilizing factors, as well as opportunities.

That is why Saturday's pledge by the leaders of the 21 economies in the Asia-Pacific to promote innovative and inclusive growth and jointly foster a shared future for the region is both welcome and uplifting.

The shared statement they delivered after their meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, builds confidence they recognize, as President Xi Jinping said in his speech at the opening session, that the APEC economies have a stake in each other's success and need to develop a stronger sense of community,

That Xi has attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation annual leaders' meeting for five consecutive years demonstrates the importance China attaches to the APEC framework and the contribution it is making to foster a spirit of harmony and practical cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.

In his speech, Xi promised all parties will be better able to share the opportunities of China's development as it continues to open up, and called on the APEC economies to enrich their partnerships and join hands to boost interconnected development and achieve common prosperity.

While those countries still pursuing the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal in the wake of the withdrawal by the United States said they had made progress on a new agreement at the meeting, Xi again focused on the bigger picture and a more inclusive vision, saying the APEC economies should “take determined steps toward a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific in line with the agreed road map”.

Pursuing shared, open, innovative, sustained and coordinated development would also foster new comprehensive and cooperative thinking on common challenges and security threats, and help foster the community spirit that would ensure stability and peace in the region. So it is to be hoped the region's leaders will be able to galvanize efforts to comprehensively and systematically advance the all-encompassing regional trade deal as they agreed.

In a series of separate meetings on the sidelines with the leaders of some of China's neighbors, Xi sought to build bridges and urged them to make constructive efforts to work with China to resolve their differences and establish healthy and stable ties.

The future of the region will be shaped by the choices made now. To ensure a bright future for all, the Asia-Pacific economies need to deliver on their optimism that they can set a strategic, aspirational and action-oriented vision for the future, by respecting each other, working together for an open and inclusive regional economy, and resolutely committing to settle their disputes and resolve their differences through dialogue.

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