South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called Wednesday for enhancing the connectivity of the world economy in areas that include trade and supply chains, with the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum at its center.
Yoon issued the call during a keynote speech delivered at the APEC CEO Summit in San Francisco, shortly after he arrived in the city for the APEC leaders' summit.
"Today the world economy is once again faced with an enormous challenge. The strength of connection is weakening, and the strength of division is gaining force here and there," he said during the gathering at the Moscone Center.
Yoon said the war in Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas conflict and deepening technological hegemony, as well as resource weaponization, are accelerating the segmentation of the world economy into blocs, while supply chain risks highlighted by the pandemic are posing a "large threat" to nations in the Asia-Pacific region.
He also said that despite the infinite possibilities of the digital economy, data connectivity and the value it produces have yet to meet market expectations.
"In order for the world economy to once again restore its dynamism and continue sustainable growth, APEC must stand at the center to accelerate the connectivity of the world economy," he said, before outlining three types of connectivity.
First, he said, connectivity must be strengthened in trade, investment and supply chains, especially as supply chain risks are a matter of national security for states and of survival for businesses.
To do so, he proposed that APEC come up with support measures to help its member states and companies establish a supply chain response capability and share their past experiences of instituting early warning systems and taking other steps to overcome crises.
Yoon said the second type of connectivity that requires strengthening is in the digital sector and reaffirmed South Korea's commitment to actively participating in international discussions to establish digital rules.
Finally, Yoon called for expanding exchanges among the future generations of APEC member economies.
In particular, he said South Korea proposes a "Young Scientists Exchange Initiative" based on the success of the APEC Business Travel Card, which facilitates short-term business travel within the APEC region by streamlining entry procedures.
"It will guarantee free movement within the region of young people with a certain-level degree in science and who work in research and development," he said.
The APEC CEO Summit was attended by some 1,200 businesspeople and academics from within the APEC region, top business executives, including Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and leaders of APEC member economies, such as the United States, Vietnam and Peru. (Yonhap)
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