APEC LEADERS’ SUMMIT CLOUD BY TERRORISM, MARITIME DISPUTE CONCERNS
Manila, the Philippines, 6 Shafar 1437/1 November 2015 (MINA) – Asia-Pacific leaders on Wednesday gathered in the Philippines for an annual summit where concerns over terrorism and maritime disputes were expected to cloud the trade agenda.
Security was beefed up at the meeting venues after Islamist militants in the southern Philippines beheaded a Malaysian hostage on the eve of the opening of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit.
Armoured tanks, heavily armed security forces and thousands of police officers and soldiers guarded roads leading to the main summit Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) reported, quoting DPA news.
Philippine officials have said that leaders would discuss initiatives aimed at ensuring that the region’s strong economic growth benefits more people and causes less damage the environment.
But US President Barack Obama set the tone for the summit when he stressed the need to ensure security and freedom of navigation in disputed waters in the region, and to continue the fight against extremist violence.
On Tuesday, Abu Sayyaf militants beheaded a 39-year-old Malaysian hostage on Jolo island, 1,000 kilometres south of Manila, after negotiations for his release collapsed, the military said.
The victim, Bernard Ghen Ted Fen, had been in captiviy since May.
The military has ordered a news blackout on the beheading “in the view of the negative impact” it would have amid the Philippines’ hosting of the APEC leaders’ summit, a source said. (T/R07/R01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)