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Japanese and U.S. officials walk out of APEC meet to protest Russia

Representatives of five nations including Japan walked out of a meeting of trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region in protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Japanese officials said.

The two-day meeting in Bangkok of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum wrapped up Sunday, with promotion of trade and investment in a post-COVID-19 world high on the agenda.

The coordinated walkout, also involving the U.S., Australia, Canada and New Zealand, happened when Maksim Reshetnikov, Russia’s economic development minister, started delivering his remarks during a morning session, the Japanese officials said.

The delegations of the five countries left the room for about three minutes while the Russian minister spoke but returned to the table afterward, according to the officials.

As the 21 economies forming the group, also including China and Indonesia, remain apart in their responses to Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, participants did adopt a joint statement, which needs to be unanimously approved.

Instead, Thai Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, who heads the meeting, plans to issue the chair’s statement.

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