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Leaders unite on terror, N. Korea

Leaders spent much time discussing the prickly issue of N. Korea's nuclear ambitions and the war on terror.
Leaders spent much time discussing the prickly issue of N. Korea's nuclear ambitions and the war on terror.

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APEC summit ends with vows on North Korea, terrorism, WMDs and free trade deals.
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• Key points: Joint declaration 
• Special report: APEC 2003 

Interactive: Bush's Pacific visit 
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.
• Analysis: What are the options?
• Six-nation talks: Where they stand
• Interactive: N. Korea military might
• Timeline: Nuclear development
• Interactive: The nuclear club
• Satellite image: Nuclear facility
• Special report: Nuclear crisis
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
International Trade
Arms Control
North Korea

BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit has closed with a vow from leaders to get even tougher on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Wrapping up their two-day summit in Bangkok, heads from the 21-member APEC grouping also urged a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear crisis.

Though a joint declaration from leaders made no direct reference to North Korea and its nuclear program, summit chairman Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said in a verbal statement that APEC was "committed to peace and stability on the (Korean) peninsula and supported the continuation of six-party talks" to end the nuclear impasse.

"We seek a peaceful resolution through dialogue while addressing all concerns of parties including the security concerns expressed by the DPRK (North Korea)," Thaksin said.

"We are committed to the maintenance of peace and stability on the peninsula and support continuation of the six-party talks and look forward to concrete and verifiable progress toward a complete and permanent nuclear weapons-free Korean peninsula."

North Korea, which test fired a missile on Monday, has demanded a nonaggression treaty with Washington before it would begin to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

Though the U.S. has insisted it would not attack North Korea, U.S. President George W. Bush ruled out such a treaty on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Bangkok. But he held open the possibility of giving Pyongyang assurances it would not be attacked.

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

The issue of North Korea's nuclear program as well as the global war on terrorism dominated an agenda usually focused on economic and trade issues.

APEC leaders promised to intensify their efforts to fight global terrorism, Thaksin said.

"We agreed that transnational terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction pose direct and profound challenges to APEC's vision of free, open and prosperous economies," APEC leaders said in the joint declaration read out by Thaksin.

APEC leaders vowed to eliminate weapons of mass destruction "by strengthening international non-proliferation regimes, adopting and enforcing effective export controls, and taking other legitimate and appropriate measures against proliferation".

Trade talks

The high importance given to North Korea and terrorism overshadowed key economic commitments made at the two-day summit.

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.

Included in developments at the summit was an agreement to give World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations another try. The multilateral talks floundered in Mexico last month over the issue of agricultural subsidies.

"We agreed to re-energize the negotiation process ... recognizing that flexibility and political will are urgently needed to move the negotiations toward a successful conclusion," the declaration said.

Amid a host of bilateral trade deals signed by APEC members during the WTO standstill, the leaders said they were also committed to advancing free trade "in a coordinated manner among multilateral, regional and bilateral frameworks so that they are complementary and mutually enforcing." (Push to revive talks)

In a key development on the financial front ahead of the summit's opening, China 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.

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