APEC summit members convene in Bali

Asia-Pacific leaders meet for annual economic summit, while US and Russia hold talks on sidelines.

Asia-Pacific leaders have convened for an annual economic summit in the shadow of global growth clouds that are darkening by the day as the United States struggled to shake off policy paralysis.

The US government shutdown has stopped US President Barack Obama from attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit held on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Monday.

That has worried US allies at a time when China is on the rise and Washington is trying to push through an ambitious 12-nation trade pact.

Obama’s enforced absence at both APEC and an East Asia summit straight afterwards in Brunei has left the stage clear for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has been touring the region and will address a parallel meeting of APEC business leaders on Monday.

On the sidelines of the conference on Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held the highest level talks between the two countries since agree to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons.

Kerry welcomed Syria’s “compliance” in quickly starting the process of destroying its chemical weapons arsenal and thanked Russia for its help.

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