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Office of the President of the Republic of Korea

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Speeches and Remarks

Remarks by President Yoon Suk Yeol at the Session II of the APEC Leaders’ Meeting

2023.11.17

Leaders of the APEC member economies,

 

I believe these past three days of meetings and discussions have been very valuable. I would like to thank President Biden for the meticulous arrangements made for this gathering.

 

APEC has played a pivotal role at every decisive juncture in the global economy and should continue to do so in the future.

 

We should stand in closer solidarity and work together to build an inclusive and resilient economy to bring to fruition the Putrajaya Vision 2040, which we pledged to realize three years ago.

 

In this vein, I’d like to make three suggestions.

 

First, APEC should take the lead in putting the multilateral trading system back on track.

 

The multilateral trading system is a system based on rules.

 

It can function properly only when existing norms are faithfully followed and universally applicable norms are established in a timely manner whenever new fields emerge.

 

Just as the inaugural APEC summit in Seattle 30 years ago contributed to the early conclusion of the Uruguay Round, I believe APEC should again demonstrate leadership by facilitating the restoration of the multilateral trading system.

 

I look forward to meaningful progress in WTO reforms and plurilateral trade agreements, so that the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference, the MC-13 slated for next February, can signal a turning point in the revival of the multilateral trading system.

 

Next, APEC should cooperate on the enhancement of regional supply chain connectivity and the establishment of resilient supply chains.

 

Abruptly suspending routine transactions and taking other unpredictable measures are squarely counter to the spirit of multilateralism and free trade.

 

To date, APEC has been striving to address supply chain bottlenecks through its Supply-Chain Connectivity Framework Action Plan.

 

This plan has made customs clearance procedures more efficient and enhanced the transportation and logistics infrastructure, thereby helping to significantly lower the overall cost of doing business.

 

Trade and investment are most thriving in the Asia-Pacific. Consequently, the region is also highly vulnerable to supply chain disruptions.

 

Going forward, APEC should place a priority on strengthening supply chain resilience, for instance, by establishing an early warning system.

 

Lastly, APEC member economies, which produce over 60 percent of global GDP, should be very mindful of AI- and digital technology-related norms and governance.

 

In September this year, the Republic of Korea announced the Digital Bill of Rights, which sets forth the five guiding principles of freedom, fairness, safety, innovation and solidarity.

 

Digital technology, including AI, should only ever be used to expand the freedom and well-being of humanity, never to suppress them.

 

The Digital Bill of Rights contains the principle that everyone in society should be guaranteed access to opportunities to compete and innovate and be allowed to enjoy the benefits of digital technology equally.

 

The Republic of Korea plans to host an AI Global Forum sometime next year to discuss a detailed framework for establishing AI and digital governance.

 

I look forward to many member economies’ participating.

 

The Republic of Korea announced its Strategy for a Free, Peaceful and Prosperous Indo-Pacific Region last year.

 

I believe that the vision of the Republic of Korea that is contained in this strategy will also contribute to the realization of APEC’s Putrajaya Vision 2040.

 

As the chair of the 2025 APEC Leaders’ Meeting, the Republic of Korea will make thorough preparations for freedom, peace and prosperity in our Asia-Pacific region.

 

Thank you.