At the end of the day, all 21 leaders were smiling during the "family photo" session.
But, during the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Saturday, with its theme of "Creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future," sharp divisions among the leaders were apparent; open and free trade versus protectionism -- the latter strongly supported by U.S. President Donald Trump.
The leaders ultimately adopted a communique that stated their commitment to fight protectionism by the year 2020 and to promote free trade and closer regional ties, largely brushing aside Trump's "America First" policy.
Nevertheless, President Trump's views were still refected in the so-called Danang Declaration, which committed member states to fighting both “unfair trade practices” and “market distorting subsidies."
The statement pointed out five policy goals for the APEC member nations -- innovative growth, inclusive and sustainable employment; new momentum for regional economic integration; boosting the competitive edge and innovation of SMEs, sustainable agriculture and food security in the face of climate change AND creating a shared future for the region.
According to the Blue House, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has played a key role at the forum in building that consensus.
He trumpeted open, innovative, and equitable growth, and he called for the swift pursuit of regional economic integration, throwing his support behind a regional trade deal known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP.
He also introduced his country's key economic policy initiative of "People-oriented, sustainable growth."
The South Korean leader asserted that such an initiative backed by a regional economic integration body -- such as the FTAAP, Free Trade Agreement of the Asia Pacific and the RCEP -- is the only way for the entire region to prosper and create more quality jobs in the digital age, the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Hwang Hojun, Arirang News.