President Truong Tan Sang (1st, right) talks with leaders of countries joining Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the sidelines of APEC 23. (Photo: VNA)

Manila (VNA) – Boosting regional cooperation is high on the agenda of the 23rd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC 23), which opened in Manila, the Philippines, on November 18.

The APEC 23, themed “Building inclusive economies, building a better world”, also gave priority to fostering small- and medium-sized enterprises’ participation in regional and global markets, investing in human capital development, and building sustainable and resilient communities.

At the APEC CEO Summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for strengthening regional connectivity and speeding up the construction of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

“To steer the giant ship of the Asia-Pacific in the right direction”, all economies must press ahead with reforms and innovation, build an open economy, implement the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and promote connectivity, Xi said in his keynote speech.

APEC leaders took a historic step forward by kicking off the FTAAP process at APEC 22 in Beijing last year, he noted, urging the members to accelerate the realiszation of the FTAAP and take regional economic integration forward.

Also on the sidelines of APEC 23, US ​ met with his Filipino counterpart Benigno Aquino.

The two leaders agreed on the need for bold steps to ease tensions, including pledging to halt further reclamation and militarization of disputed areas in the East Sea.

Obama reiterated that disputes should be resolved peacefully based on international law.-VNA