Monitor: Comment on the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit

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WE CAN only have little hope for the Apec forum. Clinton is absent because of the crisis over Iraq. This is a pity as most of the countries in the region will obtain benefits if the US can help those that suffer from the financial turmoil. Some said his absence was because he saw little hope for this meeting, with member countries becoming defensive after the financial crisis. While most of the countries will focus on the prevention of speculative attacks, the US does not seem to be putting up any curbs on the hedge funds for its own interest. All these make it unlikely for the conference to arrive at constructive conclusions.

Sing Pao, China

THE POLITICAL instability in Malaysia and the absence of Clinton have undermined the significance of the meeting. No agreement on free trade has been reached: Japan has refused to sign on and Malaysia has recently introduced currency exchange curbs. Although protectionism should be abolished, countries in the region should put all their efforts to prevent the outbreak of a second round of financial crisis and to recover from the slump. Market liberalisation should give way and be considered later.

Sing Tao, China

THE LESSON of this summit will be that efforts are better concentrated on governing, which is by and large boring stuff, not on the glamour sound grabs and dramatic-sounding "action programmes". APEC has had enough of them. The fact of this summit is that programmes to assist recovery from the currency crises will be put in place. The pity of it is that this is likely to pass without adequate recognition.

The Age, Australia

APEC WILL have a difficult future. The meeting is being held under adverse conditions. The aim of Apec is to strengthen the economic and technological relationship between its members. Unfortunately this is not being achieved. Leaders of each country should stop arguing over political issues and focus on how to enforce co-operation and solve the problems together, in order to restore their economies.

Ming Pao, China

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