"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Address by President Moon Jae-in at the 27th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting

[Date] November 20, 2020
[Notes] Unofficial Translation
[Full text]

Your Excellencies,

I am glad to see you all.

I am pleased to discuss our joint response to COVID-19 and post-2020 vision of APEC. I would like to extend my gratitude to the people of Malaysia and the Right Honorable Prime Minister Muhyiddin for preparing this meeting in these challenging times, with a view to promoting regional economic cooperation, solidarity, and inclusiveness.

In the 30 years since APEC first dreamed about the grand vision of "Realizing trade liberalization and an economic community in the Asia-Pacific region", it has developed into the world's largest regional forum for cooperation, accounting for 60% of global GDP and 50% of trading volume. COVID-19 changed many things, but we cannot let it change the dream that we have pursued together. To overcome this crisis, it is time for APEC to once again demonstrate the 'power of solidarity'.

In pursuit of greater regional economic cooperation and inclusiveness, I would like to make the following three proposals.

First, we must engage in active consultation to facilitate the essential movement of people such as business professionals. Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Korea has maintained constant exchange instead of closing its borders, thereby minimizing shocks to the economy. The future growth of the Asia-Pacific region with many open trading economies hinges upon an "expansionary equilibrium" where free trade can benefit everyone. Strengthening the multilateral trading system will advance the recovery of the regional economy. In this vein, the Republic of Korea will contribute to ensure the success of next year's 12th WTO Ministerial Conference aimed at discussing WTO reforms.

Second, to prevent the crisis from further widening inequality, we must strive to find ways to realize inclusive cooperation for an inclusive recovery. In response to COVID-19, Korea adopted the "Korean New Deal" as a new national development strategy, building on our employment and social safety net to promote digital, green and regional balance new deals.

To foster inclusiveness among countries, Korea has extended a total of 100 million dollars in humanitarian assistance and is sharing with the world medical supplies and the lessons learned from infectious disease control.

We support the World Health Organization's endeavors to guarantee equitable access to vaccines and are also participating in the COVAX facility. We will also work more closely with the International Vaccine Institute. I hope that the Case Studies on APEC's Inclusive Policies will be used to further promote inclusiveness, and that we will find a path to common prosperity.

Third, we must seek a balanced combination between "digital economy" and "green economy".

Korea is making efforts to reinforce "global value chains" through innovation that harnesses digital technology.

By tapping into the "APEC Digital Innovation Fund", Korea will vigorously carry out projects aimed at innovating the 5G ecosystem in the Asia-Pacific while protecting personal information and utilizing data. During this month of November, we are planning to hold two forums on building digital capacity of SMEs, and next year, a 'Workshop for Realizing the Role of the Digital Economy within GVCs'. I look forward to the active participation from the member economies.

Fellow leaders,

The APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 is a meaningful outcome that manifests our commitment to solidarity and cooperation. I highly regard that the Vision incorporates a balanced array of key agendas for a global economy in transition, such as free trade and investment, innovation and digital economy, and inclusive growth, and I pay my deepest respects to Malaysia for its able leadership.

I am confident that it will set the direction for promoting shared prosperity of the Asia-Pacific in the next two decades to come. Thank you.