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September 16, 1999

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"Our 19 APEC members pledged to strengthen the world economy and advance our common prosperity. We took a strong stand for freedom and human rights in East Timor. We also stood for the proposition that we can best lift the world's fortune by having more free and fair trade. In November, we'll go to Seattle to launch a new world trade round, determined to make this APEC agenda the world's agenda."

President Bill Clinton
September 14, 1999

Today, President Clinton returned from his successful trip to New Zealand to participate in the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit The summit produced several key achievements, including activation of a peacekeeping force in East Timor; progress on trade talks with China; and suspension of North Korea's long-range missile program.

Important Progress Toward Stability in Asia. President Clinton's participation in the 3-day APEC conference yielded several key achievements:

  • Agreement with Indonesia to deploy an international peacekeeping force in East Timor. Negotiations led Indonesian President Habibie to accept an international security force to stabilize East Timor. The U.S. is expected to provide airlift, logistical, communications, and intelligence support for the Australian-led peacekeeping team, who will work to restore order and provide humanitarian assistance to 200,000 refugees.

  • Breakthrough in trade talks with China. President Clinton met with President Jiang Zemin of China and put U.S.-China relations on solid footing following the accidental embassy bombing in Belgrade. The two leaders agreed to resume negotiations for China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), which would increase American access to Chinese markets. They also held discussions on Taiwan, North Korea, and human rights issues.

  • Curtailment of North Korea's long-range missile program. North Korea vowed to refrain from testing any long-range ballistic missiles while negotiations with the U.S. continue. In return, President Clinton agreed to consider measures to ease sanctions and move toward normalizing economic relations with North Korea.

  • APEC endorsement of trade issues. The APEC leaders endorsed the upcoming WTO trade round on November 30 in Seattle which will include negotiations on:

    • opening global markets in areas such as agriculture, which would benefit US. farmers;
    • cutting or eliminating tariffs on a broad range of industrial products, materials, and services;
    • ending worldwide subsidies on farm exports; and
    • developing common banking standards for the APEC region

President Clinton's leadership was essential in achieving success in these agreements By working with his counterparts and emphasizing our common interests, the President demonstrated that the United States is committed to the security and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.

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