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Security to top APEC declaration

Bangkok's Chao Phraya River
A rarely staged royal barge procession was held for APEC leaders.

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APEC countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China (and Hong Kong), Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
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BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- Leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit were set to take a stand on global security as the meet reconvenes for its second and final day.

Pacific rim leaders are expected to announce a joint statement Tuesday urging a peaceful resolution of the dispute over North Korea's nuclear program.

The communiqué was also to include restrictions and controls on shoulder-launched missiles, CNN Bangkok Bureau chief Tom Mintier reported.

In addition, APEC leaders have agreed to give World Trade Organization Talks (WTO) another try. The multilateral talks floundered in Mexico last month over the issue of agricultural subsidies.

The 21 leaders are also expected to promise to intensify their efforts to fight global terrorism.

The summit usually focuses on economic and trade issues but at the insistence of U.S. President George W. Bush, security issues have dominated this year's round of talks.

Some leaders have voiced concerns the summit had drifted from its stated agenda but China's President Hu Jintao argued economic development and security went hand -in-hand.

"For some time, terrorist attacks have gone on unabated in the Asia-Pacific region, undermining the economic and social development of a number of countries," Hu told the summit on Monday, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

North Korea was not on the official agenda but Bush has held talks on the sidelines of the summit to seek ways of resolving the year-old nuclear weapons crisis.

A missile test by the North on Monday added a sense of urgency to his message. (Full story)

Bush and his South Korean counterpart Roh Moo-hyun issued a call to North Korea for the early resumption of talks aimed at ending the standoff.

"The two presidents shared the view that it is desirable to hold the next round of the talks at an early date and to make concrete progress," they said in a joint statement. (Full story)

Six-nation talks, involving the U.S. , North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia were held in Beijing in August but despite an initial pledge to meet again, further discussions have yet to be scheduled.

Observers say that so far, Bush seems to be getting his way at the summit. In an initial communiqué issued as the meet got underway Monday, summit participants agreed to join forces against terrorist groups.

The president is sharing with his fellow APEC leaders some "expanded ideas of the kinds of security assurances that we might be able to offer North Korea that would persuade them that nuclear weapons are not what they should be pursuing," U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told a conference of business executives held in conjunction with the summit.

In developments on the financial front ahead of the summit's opening, China has refused to give ground in a currency argument with Washington.

The United States opposes China's policy of keeping its currency deflated compared to the U.S. dollar, making Chinese goods less expensive than American products.

Chinese President Hu Jintao said his government would study ways of floating the yuan but also defended the undervalued currency as being beneficial to Chinese and world trade. (Currency float)

Hu also matched calls by Bush and other Western leaders to revive world trade talks that stalled last month in Cancun, Mexico, saying a fair and open trading system promotes steady economic expansion around the world.

"I hope all parties will demonstrate their political will, take a flexible and pragmatic approach," Hu said.

APEC's official goals are broad -- a free trade and investment zone for developed members by 2010 and all members by 2020 -- and critics say its membership is too geographically sprawling and diverse to allow for proper focus and accomplishment.

Its members account for more than 2.5 billion people and about half the world's GDP and trade. APEC operates on the basis of nonbinding commitments.

APEC leaders will close their two-day session Tuesday, held under extremely tight security in the Thai capital, Bangkok.


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