The United States will invite Russia to attend meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) bloc it will host next year while it chairs the regional grouping, a US official said on Monday during a media briefing in Singapore.
Established in 1989, APEC is a regional economic forum whose member economies – including seven of the 10 ASEAN nations, Australia, China, New Zealand, Russia, and the US – account for more than 60% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) and close to half of the global trade.
Matt Murray, a senior US official for APEC, said that Russia, which is a member of the 21-country bloc, will be invited as any other economy the United States will invite as good stewards of APEC.
He, however, has pointed out that in order to be part of APEC meetings and activities, all participants of the grouping’s meetings, including Russia, will have to abide by US laws, rules, and regulations
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, its relations with Washington have deteriorated to their worst in 60 years.
American representatives along with representatives from some other member countries walked out of an APEC meeting Thailand hosted in May in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
They left the meeting while Russian Economy Minister Maxim Reshetnikov was delivering remarks and later, at the close of the summit on Friday, APEC issued a joint ministerial statement condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Murray did not say if Russian President Vladimir Putin would attend next November’s APEC leaders’ meeting in San Francisco.
Despite the invitation from host Indonesia, which had resisted pressure from Western countries to disinvite Putin and even expel Russia from the bloc, the Russian President did not attend last month’s G20 summit in Bali.
Putin was represented at the meeting of the Group of 20 major economies by the First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov.