18 Apec leaders to attend meet
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18 Apec leaders to attend meet

China's president among those coming

Eighteen leaders of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) member countries have confirmed they will attend a summit in Bangkok on Nov 18-19, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said.

He was speaking after chairing a meeting of the national committee preparing for the summit. Topics discussed at the meeting included the reception, protocols, food, accommodation and security.

He said preparations will include rehearsals of various events, which could affect the public's routines. Some roads would have to be closed to allow the movement of delegates attending the summit.

The prime minister said 18 Apec countries had confirmed their leaders would attend personally, and four others were sending representatives. One country had yet confirm its attendance.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai said the Apec Summit in Thailand will be the first plenary session in three years where international leaders will be able to meet in person.

The 2019 summit which was supposed to be hosted by Chile was cancelled due to protests and the 2020 summit in Malaysia and the 2021 summit in New Zealand had to be held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Don said the summit will offer an opportunity to discuss measures to restore the global economy affected by the pandemic and solve disputes among countries.

He said that most attendees will be Apec country leaders while some countries will send representatives.

"All 21 member countries will take part in the meeting. Either their leaders or representatives will attend," Mr Don said. Chinese President Xi Jinping will be among those attending, Mr Don said.

He said that yesterday's meeting also discussed precautions against Covid-19, security arrangements and the handling of traffic flow.

Mr Don said the government has also invited special guests from three non-member countries: Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Mr Don said some member countries, such as Mexico and the United States, will send representatives to the summit while Russian President Vladimir Putin's attendance has yet to be confirmed.

Mr Don said that as the host country, the government has to ensure maximum security for foreign leaders and attendees.

He added that several countries have asked to hold bilateral talks with Thailand on the sidelines of the Apec meeting.

He insisted that even though the government's four-year term is nearing an end, this will not pose an obstacle to bilateral talks.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri yesterday said that attendees will meet in person during the Apec summit and related meetings. After the conclusion of the summit, Thailand will hand over the baton of hosting the next Apec meeting to the United States, he said.

Other highlights will include a meeting of the Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac) and the Apec CEO Summit scheduled to take place on Nov 16-18, bringing together the world's top CEOs, Apec leaders, policymakers and thought leaders from 21 member economies.

During the meeting, Gen Prayut will deliver an opening speech and Apec leaders will meet Abac to discuss a range of issues including efforts to strike a balance between economic cooperation and preserving the environment.

Abac said Thailand's role as the Apec host has received attention from foreign investors and businessmen.

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