Pacific Rim leaders have expressed their strong concern over North Korea’s nuclear test. But the declaration was only verbal and was given behind closed doors, underscoring the sensitivities involved. A joint declaration had been one of the priorities of US President George W Bush on his first foreign trip after the defeat of his Republican party in mid-terms elections at home.
Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper said: “We are firmly committed with the rest of the international community to the United Nations resolution and we are proceeding with the implementation of those resolutions.” Meanwhile Russia and the United States have signed a deal on bilateral terms for Moscow’s entry to the World Trade Organisation. It removes the last obstacle in Russia’s 13-year quest to join the WTO.
Trade dominated the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation, with leaders saying they were ready to end a deadlock on world trade talks and move beyond their current position on farming subsidies. As President Bush headed to Indonesia, thousands of people gathered in the capital Jakarta, protesting his visit. His arrival in the world’s most populous Muslim country comes amid mounting anger of US policy in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan.