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Whose Security Does APEC Want To Protect?

For immediate release: 26 October 2002

Whose Security Does APEC Want To Protect?

"APEC’s globalisation agenda and US notions of global security are a lethal combination. They are a recipe for greater insecurity, not less," says Auckland University Professor Jane Kelsey, reporting from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Kelsey says APEC ministers at the forum may be right when they say that “terrorism, in all its forms, is a threat to economic stability in APEC, as well as a threat to regional peace and security and a direct challenge to their vision of free, open and prosperous economies.”

"But their solution," says Kelsey, "does nothing to address the causes of insecurity or terrorism."

She says the ministers have committed themselves yet again to suppressing the financing of terrorism and at the same time ensuring that APEC achieves its free trade and investment goals. The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) warned that anti-terrorist measures must not disrupt trade, but "opportunistically" sought to maximize the opportunities from developing new surveillance technologies, strengthening energy security and streamlining transport systems.

"APEC refuses to question the link between economic globalization and people’s growing sense of insecurity. By hiding behind the “economic” nature of the forum, it also avoids confronting foreign policy questions that would make some APEC members feel very uncomfortable" she observes.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell with support from some ministers reportedly used an informal dinner to lobby governments to support the US hard-line resolution at the Security Council. At the formal ministerial press briefing Powell insisted that a more open global economy holds the key to "growth, opportunity and hope."

Kelsey says she heard a number of Mexican anti-APEC activists outside the forum ask what hope the United States offered to the millions of Iraqi children who are dying as a result of US sanctions and the thousands more who will become “collateral damage” in the forthcoming war. They also questioned how the US support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine gives hope to the Palestinian people.

Professor Kelsey says there are a number of very relevant questions that are being ignored by the forum.

Ends: text 347 words

ENDS

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