25 yrs on, APEC to reshape Asia-Pacific in Beijing

Updated: 2014-11-07 22:19


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BEIJING - Nov 7 in 1989 is a day worth remembering. The Cold War was at its dying moment, and the Iron Curtain barricading the West and the East began its slow crumble.

On the same day, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was born in the beautiful garden city Canberra, as Australia, the United States, Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand together with six ASEAN countries closed the first ministerial meeting of APEC.

Today, with China hosting the APEC meetings for second time in 13 years, the organization continues helping peace and prosperity take root in Asia-Pacific as the world's center is shifting to the region.


The Asia-Pacific is not endowed with an ideal position to foster regional cooperation, with the vast Pacific Ocean perhaps the easiest barrier to overcome. The prominent problem lies in how to bring together 21 economies with divergent development levels, histories and social systems and let them speak their minds.

However, under the guidance of APEC, the region has evolved from a geographic concept into a global economic engine with a 2.8 billion population.

With 46 percent of global trade and more than half of its GDP, today's Asia-Pacific is an economic giant nobody could have dreamed of 25 years ago.

Some people poured scorn on the idea, seeing APEC as nothing more than a "talk shop." However, veteran researchers hold it undisputable that APEC has been "comprehensively pushing forward" integration and win-win development of the region.

"A complete set of top-down working mechanisms has been formed within APEC to make almost all commitments or appeals of top leaders to be implemented, especially after a summit mechanism was set up in 1993," Liu Chenyang, head of the APEC Study Center of Nankai University, told Xinhua.

From the Seoul meeting in 1991, which hammered out the forum's missions and goals, to the Bogor Goals set in Indonesia in 1994, from the Shanghai Accord adopted in 2001 to the consensus reached by all members on the prospect of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) in Vietnam in 2006, APEC has been driving regional integration forward with one milestone after another.

"Not everybody is happy with APEC, but it is something indispensable, as it is the only comprehensive economic and trade cooperation mechanism covering the whole Asia-Pacific region," Zhang Yunling, a veteran researcher on APEC at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told Xinhua.

"The agreements of APEC are not legally binding, but it plays a significant role in pushing forward Asia-Pacific integration through generating consensus," Zhang added.

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