|The "APEC in the 21st century Asia-Pacific" conference was jointly organised by the Foreign Ministry and UNDP's Viet Nam branch in Ha Noi. Viet Nam is expected to strengthen its participation and contribution to APEC, while continuing to integrate with the international economy. — VNA/VNS Photo Lam Khanh
HA NOI (VNS) — Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has said Viet Nam's policies are helping to foster economic integration in the Asia-Pacific, the ASEAN Community and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
The deputy PM made the affirmation in an opening address for the "APEC in the 21st century Asia-Pacific" conference, held in Ha Noi on November 15.
The conference, jointly organised by the Foreign Ministry and the UNDP's Viet Nam branch, is the highest level meeting of the forum to be hosted by Viet Nam this year, which coincides with the country's 15th year in the APEC community.
Former Deputy PM Vu Khoan, former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer and chief economist of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Nagesh Kumar were among other experts attending the event.
Minh also noted that the conference was taking place at an important time for APEC and the region, adding that the global financial crisis had significantly changed the economic and political landscape of the Asia-Pacific.
The official also said that although APEC had the potential to strengthen it's influence in the region, challenges still remained, particularly those in the implementation of the Bogor Goals, the reform process and contributions to regional and international issues.
APEC has seen a marked interest in member nations sharing economic interests and hardships imposed by downturns in the global economy.
The group had also facilitated peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity in the region, he affirmed.
At the conference, APEC members spoke highly of Viet Nam's positive and active contribution to APEC over the past 15 years.
They highlighted the outstanding outcomes of the 14th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Ha Noi in 2006, particularly the identification of the long term likelihood of an Asia-Pacific free trade area, the Ha Noi Action Plan to implement the Bogor Goals and general measures for APEC cooperation.
Viet Nam in its capacity as Chairman and Vice Chairman of APEC working groups, had contributed positively to promoting cooperation in the forum, according to participants.
The country is also considered an active member with over 70 initiatives in boosting trade liberalisation, SME development, human resources development, health, emergency response, search and rescue, anti-terrorism and aviation safety, according to the delegates.
The conference also proposed how to strengthen Viet Nam's participation and contribution to APEC while continuing to integrate with the international economy.
APEC member states pledged to collaborate with Viet Nam to organise the 6th APEC Ministerial Meeting on human resources development next year.
Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh also hosted a banquet in honour of the delegates on the occasion of Viet Nam's 15-year membership of APEC.
During the conference, Foreign Ministry leaders received Tan Jian, Head of China's APEC Senior Official Meeting, to exchange views on collaboration in organising APEC Year 2014 in China .
Representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Industry and Trade, and Planning and Investment discussed with Dr Aland Bollard, Executive Director of APEC Secretariat, the preparations for the APEC year and the 25th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Viet Nam in 2017. — VNS