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Security builds ahead of APEC Sydney meeting that will focus on global warming, trade

Security builds ahead of APEC Sydney meeting that will focus on global warming, trade

Workers erected metal fences around Sydney's central business district Saturday ahead of a summit of Pacific-Rim leaders that will focus on climate change and the possibility of creating a Pacific-wide free-trade zone.
North Korea and Iraq also will be among the topics discussed on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, one of the largest gatherings of world powers _ and the largest international political meeting that Australia has ever hosted.
U.S. President George W. Bush is scheduled to arrive in Sydney on Tuesday and hold a series of one-on-one meetings over subsequent days with other leaders, including Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Chinese President Hu Jintao, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. A meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is also a possibility.
The leaders will hold their summit at the Sydney Opera house overlooking Sydney's scenic harbor Sept. 8-9.
To protect against terrorist attacks and planned demonstrations, workers are building a 3-meter (10-foot) high metal fence weighted down by concrete barriers that will close off part of downtown Sydney. Combat helicopters, fighter jets and navy ships will back up more than 5,000 police and troops on security patrols, officials said.
Police officers on Saturday were asking people who were taking photographs of the fence to show them images for security reasons.
Protest organizers hope to draw thousands to demonstrations against Bush and the Iraq war, as well as to push the leaders to take action on global warming.
"The issue is urgent. We're looking for a sign that these governments are taking climate change seriously," said Alex Bainbridge, a spokesman for a variety of groups organizing demonstrations.
Howard has said global warming will be a top priority at the APEC meeting. However, the group's 21 members _ which include China, the United States and Russia, the world's top three greenhouse gas emitters _ are not expected to announce any specific targets to cut carbon emissions.
Instead, they will likely adopt a statement calling for members to voluntarily make "measurable and verifiable contributions to meeting shared global goals," according to a draft obtained by environmental group Greenpeace and viewed by The Associated Press.
That approach is in keeping with the nonbinding nature of APEC, which was formed in 1989 as a consultative forum to promote regional trade. Still, observers say any consensus reached in Sydney could help chart the course for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, which expires in 2012.
Climate change rated barely a mention at last year's meeting. Its inclusion this time is an example of how APEC's agenda has rapidly expanded to include political, security, health and environmental issues.
On trade, APEC leaders will issue their ritual call for the successful conclusion of the Doha round of global trade talks, which have foundered amid bickering between rich and poor nations, largely over farm trade.
Trade ministers and leaders will also discuss a longer-term proposal to create a sprawling Pacific-wide free-trade zone, stretching from Chile to China and enveloping nearly half the world's trade. The idea has gained momentum since it was first floated three years ago as a possible alternative to the Doha talks.


Updated : 2021-04-18 23:59 GMT+08:00