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Lee arrives in Hawaii for APEC summit




South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (third from R) speaks with other leaders of Pacific Rim economies during an APEC summit held in Japan's Yokohama in 2010

HONOLULU, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak arrived in Hawaii Friday to attend a summit of Pacific Rim economies aimed at discussing ways to spur the global economy, create jobs, reform regulations and improve energy efficiency and security.

   The summit of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, set for Sunday, comes as the world economy struggles to stave off negative impacts stemming from the eurozone debt crisis that has battered Greece and shows signs of spreading.

During the summit, Lee plans to call for greater international policy coordination to overcome low growth rates and high unemployment while stressing that growth and job creation should be sought through technological innovation, not protectionism.

   In particular, Lee plans to lead a session on deregulation with a speech in which he plans to present successful regulatory reform cases in South Korea. Officials said the host United States requested that Lee speak during the session.

   South Korea is considered a good example of deregulation. Last month's "Doing Business" report by the World Bank, which assessed a total of 183 countries, put South Korea in the eighth place this year, up from the 30th place in 2007, officials said.

   On energy issues, Lee plans to emphasize that technological gaps between developed and developing economies make it difficult to improve energy efficiency and call for narrowing such gaps, officials said.

   Lee also plans to tell other leaders that South Korea will carry out various projects as part of efforts to realize APEC's long-term goal of creating a regional free trade area, known as the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), officials said.

   One of the key issues at this year's summit is a free trade agreement, known as the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which has been under negotiation among the U.S. and eight other nations on the sidelines of the APEC forum. Japan was expected to announce its participation in the negotiations in Hawaii.

   Seoul appears to be negative about its participation in the TPP as it has already signed a free trade pact with the U.S. that has been awaiting approval from South Korea's National Assembly. The U.S. Congress approved it last month. Seoul and Washington hope the pact will go into effect as of Jan. 1.

   On the sidelines of the summit, Lee plans to hold a couple of one-on-one meetings with other leaders. But Lee is unlikely to meet bilaterally with either U.S. President Barack Obama or Chinese President Hu Jintao.

   APEC was formed in 1989 in response to growing regionalism in other parts of the globe. Its 21 member economies account for about 40 percent of the world's population, 56 percent of global gross domestic product and 46 percent of world trade.

   The forum is run by consensus, rather than binding agreements.

   Since 1993, the heads of state from member countries have been meeting annually. At the end of their summit, they usually pose for group photos dressed in the host country's traditional clothes.

   The summit has provided opportunities for bilateral talks among leaders on its margins.



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