Delegates from the United States, Canada and three other countries left on Saturday after a Russian envoy began his opening remarks at a meeting of trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Group in the Thai capital, officials said.
A Japanese official has said that Japanese Commerce Minister Koichi Hagiuda and his counterparts from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have left Bangkok to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.
New Zealand’s Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor has issued a statement saying he was “protesting against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has slowed the region’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and made it difficult for people in the region.” »: to bring food to their tables. He came out with good company. “
In Bangkok, a US official confirmed the departure, but gave no other details. He asked not to reveal his identity. There is a diplomatic sensitivity to talk about the incident, as the trial was held behind closed doors. Washington is represented at the meeting by US Trade Representative Catherine Thai.
“Pressure on Russia must continue.”
International Trade Minister Mary Ng is the Canadian representative in the talks, a media spokeswoman confirmed, adding that she was one of the delegates who left.
“Canada has already taken many steps to hold Russia accountable for its destructive incursions into Ukraine, including severe sanctions. [Russian President Vladimir] “Putin’s those who give him a chance, but we have to put pressure on him,” Ng spokeswoman Alice Hansen told CBC News.
Thailand is the host country for this year’s APEC Meetings, which includes 21 economies. The two-day meeting of trade ministers will end on Sunday.
The withdrawal came just as Russian Economy Minister Maxim Reshetnikov was due to deliver his opening speech, said a South Asian diplomat, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.
The delegates later returned
He said the delegates from the five protesting countries, their staffs, had left together, which seemed to be an obviously planned operation, and had returned after Reshetnikov finished his speech.
Western countries have imposed tough diplomatic and economic sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine, but many APEC member states, especially in Southeast Asia and Latin America, have refrained from doing so. The war in Ukraine has caused major trade problems as it has disrupted supply chains, especially in the food sector.
APEC was launched in 1989 to promote economic integration and trade growth among its members.
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