The virtual 2020 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM) was held on Friday November 20 from 8:00 PM to 10:50 PM (Taipei time), the first time since APEC's founding in 1989 that the meeting was conducted via videoconferencing. Leader's Representative Morris Chang, founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd (TSMC), attended the entire meeting and successfully accomplished the assigned tasks.
The annual theme chosen by Malaysia, this year's APEC host, is Optimising Human Potential towards a Resilient Future of Shared Prosperity: Pivot, Prioritise, Progress. Malaysia invited each state to share their effective methods for decreasing the impact of COVID-19 on their economy and public health system, and provide suggestions for the direction of APEC’s efforts for the next 20 years.
This year's AELM announced the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 to guide APEC in its work over the next 20 years, in the hope that the Asia-Pacific region will continue to promote free and open trade and investment as well as deepen regional economic integration. Digital technology and innovation should also be utilized to accelerate digital transformation, bridge the digital divide, strengthen digital infrastructure and connectivity, and promote cross-border information flow to raise consumer and industry confidence in digital transactions. In addition to economics and trade, we hope that all Asia-Pacific nations will emphasize the health and wellbeing of their people, women's empowerment, micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) empowerment, human resource development, climate change, and the environment to appropriately adapt to emergency situations including crises, shocks and global infectious diseases. This will bring about more balanced, secure, sustainable, inclusive, and resilient economic growth.
The Kuala Lumpur Leaders' Declaration was also passed at the meeting, emphasizing unity in the Asia-Pacific region to successfully recover from the economic and trade difficulties brought on by the pandemic. All members pledged to protect the livelihood and health of their people; cooperate to ensure progress in trade and investment; maintain the flow of key supplies, services and personnel; use digital technology and innovation to accelerate economic recovery and advance inclusive economic participation; enhance the resilience of health systems and improve the quality of medical care; devote great efforts to developing affordable vaccines; and make food and energy security high priorities.
When Papua New Guinea hosted the APEC meetings in 2018, the members did not reach a consensus on the ideas that should be presented in the Leaders' Declaration. Soon before the 2019 APEC meetings were to begin in Chile, they were cancelled on short notice due to the domestic economic and social situations. So this year was the first time in three years that a Leaders' Declaration was announced, showing APEC's commitment to accelerating economic recovery and a spirit of unity in the post-pandemic era.
Taiwan is grateful for Malaysia's efforts, and their determination in hosting these events throughout the year despite the difficulties posed by the global pandemic. Taiwan will continue to cooperate with all APEC members and actively promote and work to reach the goals set out in the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 and Kuala Lumpur Leaders' Declaration.
After the 2020 APEC meetings and the AELM, Leader's Representative Chang will attend a press conference held at the Office of the President at 4:30 PM tomorrow. Accompanied by Minister without Portfolio John C. C. Deng (鄧振中), National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉), and Senior Official for APEC and Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of International Organization Director-General Bob L.J. Chen (陳龍錦), Leader's Representative Chang will share an overview of the APEC meetings with the Taiwanese people, and report the results achieved during the Ministerial Meetings and the AELM.