Next week, 21 state leaders from around the world will be in town, breathing the same air as us, for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM). The leaders of the member economies along with important members of their business sectors will convene to discuss the future of the region’s economic growth and prosperity.
The Philippine government has taken the necessary (and unnecessary) measures to ensure the success of this annual meeting and the safety of the more than 10,000 delegates and their state leaders. But just who are these leaders? We talk about 8 of them and what their visit can mean to the Philippines.
Xi Jinping was elected last 2013 as China’s President and the Communist Party’s chief for the next decade. He is known to be a zero-tolerance anti-corruption leader. The hallmark of his term is what he calls the “Chinese dream” which invites Chinese citizens “to dare to dream, work assiduously to fulfill the dreams and contribute to the revitalization of the nation.”
Two of Xi Jinping’s goals are to create a more assertive foreign policy regarding international relations and to modernize the military, thus the maneuvers towards territorial claims in the East China Sea and South China Sea.
Although they’re one of the Philippines’ leading partners in business and tourism, the two countries have been involved in an unsolved dispute for the ownership of the Spratly islands. As of now, there has not been any confirmation whether the disputed territories will be one of the topics that the state leaders will discuss.
Vladimir Putin is a black-belter in Judo, can pilot a fire-fighting jet, was a spy, and can drive an F1 race car. This makes him probably one of the most badass world leaders to date. Putin has been ranked by Forbes as the Most Powerful Person in the world, and his online comic series called “Superputin,” is proof of that.
Because he’s a known badass, controversy has peppered the Russian leader’s political career. In his third presidential term, Putin signed a law that bans US citizens from adopting Russian children, which received a lot of flak from citizens. Putin was also criticized for legalizing anti-gay laws like banning gay couples from adopting and propagandizing “nontraditional” relationships among minors.
Putin’s visit to Manila may result in an upgrade in the Philippine’s allegiance with the European superpower especially on the front of territorial dispute.
Michelle Bachelet is Chile’s first female president. She served from 2008 to 2010 and was elected for a second term in 2014. One of the highlights of Bachelet’s first term was when she handled the country’s economic status during the 2008 global financial crisis by saving billions of dollars from copper revenues.
Chile and the Philippines have observed 69 years of formal and diplomatic relations and the Philippines can learn a lot from the economic policies of Latin America’s richest country.
Park Geun Hye is South Korea’s first woman president and is dubbed as the “Queen of Elections” for her successful leadership of the Grand National Party during the 2004 General Elections. After winning the elections, Park said that she is “married” to her country and promised the citizens to become a “President for the people”
South Korea, unsurprisingly (just take a look around you in malls), is the country with the most visitors to come in the Philippines with a whopping 997,135 number of arrivals this year. The bilateral relations between the two countries have existed for 66 years now, and both have established a very crucial economic role.
Barack Obama once again steps onto Philippine soil. His attendance to the APEC Leaders’ Meeting next week will be his second visit to the country in two years, following his state visit last year for the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which is still being reviewed by the Supreme Court.
The APEC summit is one of the rare occasions when the leaders of the Philippines, USA and China, three of the principal participants of the South China Sea/Spratly Islands dispute, are together in one room but talks may or may not be covered in the summit.
At 52, Shinzo Abe is the youngest post-war minister of Japan. One achievement in Abe’s term is dubbed as “Abenomics” wherein he improved Japan’s economy by combining increased government spending with unprecedented monetary easing.
Sure, they colonized the country before, but the relationship with Japan is one of the Philippines’ most important diplomatic ties.
In the first two years of Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidency, Mexico’s automobile industry earned $19 billion worth of investments due to Nieto’s movements to strengthen the said industry. He has also done a great job in Mexico’s energy sector for deregulating it so international companies can have an easier access to the country’s resources.
Mexico is probably the country with the most in common with the Philippines culturally and historically. The Philippines and Mexico were both colonized by Spain, and the Philippines was even under the Mexican administration for a while. Nieto has also announced his intent to diversify and widen his nation’s exports and imports in Asia-Pacific regions.
Don’t try to hide it, you know the reason why APEC is going to be extra exciting this year is not just because of the economic strides or trade meetings, but also because Justin Trudeau will actually be coming here. The 43 year old bombshell of a prime minister has only been elected as Canada’s newest and second youngest prime minister just this month. He has made strides in social media for his unique choices of cabinet members— 50% are men, 50% are women, there’s an astronaut, a geologist, a Nobel Prize winner, a doctor, and a quadriplegic.
In 2012, then Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and PNoy agreed to cooperate on defense and trade, and committed to people-to-people exchanges between the Philippines and Canada. Harper said that the deal would, “enable the Philippines to acquire the equipment and expertise it needs to fulfill the country’s defense and security agenda.”
Moreover, the newly-elected Trudeau could be the edgiest, most forward-thinking leader attending this year’s AELM (or even in the world). We can’t wait to see how he’ll contribute to the summit.
Excited for the APEC Leaders’ Meeting next week? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!