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Dignitaries arrive in San Francisco as APEC kicks off

The long-anticipated Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit kicked off in San Francisco Saturday, with dignitaries arriving in the city and security tightening around the Moscone Center where thousands of people will meet for the annual, week-long summit. 

Members of APEC represent more than 60% of the world’s economy. And as leaders from those 21 nations meet over the next six days, they’re planning to focus on trade, investment, innovation, as well as sustainable and inclusive growth. 

“I think we can all acknowledge around the region that if we have economic growth, but some communities are left behind, or not doing things in a sustainable way, then that’s not going to be a very effective way of moving forward,” said Matt Murray, the U.S. senior official for APEC. 

This week, security is extremely tight around the Moscone Center and surrounding blocks where world leaders will meet both in private and in public to further those goals. 

“We exchange a lot of information in APEC,” said Australian Ambassador Helen Stylianou. “There’s a lot of talking, and that’s a good thing, because that’s how we learn about each other’s economics and about challenges and about how we can cooperate better to grow all together.”

But outside, protests of APEC are expected on everything from wars to climate change to human rights. On Saturday, Wisconsin Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher — who chairs the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party — met with prominent Chinese dissidents in San Francisco to talk about issues related to the country. 

“When we have a high-level dialogue, like the one that’s happening later this week between Xi Jingping and President Joe Biden, human rights don’t get thrown in the gutter,” said Gallagher. “That we don’t deprioritize the issue of human rights and democracy so that we can get a photo op.” 

Biden is set to meet with the Chinese president Wednesday for talks on trade, Taiwan and managing U.S. and Chinese relations.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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