Harris calls North Korea's missile launch a 'brazen violation' as APEC leaders condemn act

This is CNBC's live blog covering the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a meeting with French nationals living in Thailand at the Peninsula hotel in Bangkok on November 17, 2022, on the sidelines of the APEC Summit. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)
Ludovic Marin | Afp | Getty Images

The APEC leaders' meeting begins Friday, as the world's economic leaders are expected to continue discussions of trade and sustainable economic growth.

APEC ministers on Thursday exchanged views on how the region can maintain momentum for open trade, investment and travel resumption despite disruptions, according to Thailand's Foreign Ministry.

Officials also signed agreements such as Japan and Thailand's Five-Year Joint Action Plan, as well as five documents strengthening economic and strategic partnerships between Thailand and Vietnam.

On the agenda is the last day of the CEO summit as well as an economic leaders meeting spanning Friday and Saturday.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and French President Emmanuel Macron are also expected to deliver keynote speeches later on.

'The United States is here to stay,' Kamala Harris tells APEC leaders

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris addresses the APEC CEO Summit during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok on November 18, 2022.
Jack Taylor | Afp | Getty Images

Kamala Harris pledged further economic commitment to the Asia-Pacific region, emphasizing that private sector collaboration is of utmost priority to the U.S.

"The United States is here to stay. Strengthening our economic relationships in the region and partnering with the private sector is a top priority for the United States," the U.S. vice president said during her keynote speech.

She also reinforced prior economic efforts in the region by the U.S., such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework earlier this year, as well as the Group of 7's mobilization of $600 billion infrastructure investment in the developing world.

Increasing the flow of trade and investments is also a part of the U.S. blueprint in further engaging the region.

"We will continue to work with our partners in this region to increase foreign direct investment, to increase the free flow of capital and to increase the already high level of goods and services that flow between the United States and the Indo-Pacific."

— Lee Ying Shan

Dynamic balance is best way for nations to avoid choosing between superpowers, says Macron

France's President Emmanuel Macron addresses the APEC CEO Summit during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok on November 18, 2022.
Ludovic Marin | Afp | Getty Images

A new equilibrium and stability at the regional level must be established to avoid new conflicts, French President Emmanuel Macron said at the APEC CEO Summit, emphasizing that a dynamic balance is key for nations to avoid being forced into choosing between superpowers.

The U.S.-China trade conflict "has put a lot of countries in a situation to choose. Are you on the U.S. or the China side? … But we need a single global order," he said.

He also pledged that France will work hard to be a reliable and consistent partner in the Indo-Pacific region, amid the current global challenges.

More than one-third of French exports to non-EU countries go to the Indo-Pacific region.

"What we need is to share strategy, to be very transparent and genuine to address these challenges and to cooperate. Because I'm sure that the only way to have a win-win game is to cooperate."

— Lee Ying Shan

APEC leaders hold emergency meeting over North Korea's missile launch

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris met with leaders of Canada, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia in Bangkok, where they condemned North Korea's latest missile launch.

Harris deemed the launch a "brazen violation" of U.N. Security resolutions, as well as an act which "destabilizes security in the region and unnecesseraily raises tensions."

South Korea "strongly condemns this brazen act ... We urge the DPRK to immediately cease all types of provocations and abide by relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions," said its prime minister Han Duck-soo.

North Korea fired its second intercontinental ballistic missile in the same month on Friday. It landed 200 kilometers off Japan.

Japan's defense minister Yasukazu Hamada said that based on calculations of its flight path, and depending on factors including how heavy the warhead is, "the ICBM-class ballistic missile launched today could have a range of over 15,000 km, in which case, all of the U.S. mainland would be included in its range," NBC reported. 

Other leaders who condemned the act were Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and his counterparts in Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

— Lee Ying Shan

Acer expects business to slide — layoffs are 'last resort,' says CEO

Taiwanese electronics company Acer expects business to continue sliding in the first half of 2023, but employee dismissals are a last resort, CEO Jason Chen told CNBC's Sri Jegarajah on the sidelines of APEC.

"We foresee the first half of 2023 will continue to slide, will continue to decline," Chen said, adding that he estimated the PC market will bottom in the middle of next year.

Acer recently posted a 20% decline in third quarter revenue compared to last year.

However, the CEO said the company is not plagued by issues of supply shortage, and that Acer is focused on depleting inventory as soon as possible.

"Layoffs [are] the last resort we have now," said Chen, who voiced he is more in favor of saving on operating expenses.

— Lee Ying Shan

Blinken says addressing Ukraine war consequences is key focus of APEC

Antony Blinken, United States Secretary of State speaks to the media during the APEC 2022 held at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QSNCC) in Bangkok. (Photo by Varuth Pongsapipatt/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Addressing the consequences of the Ukraine war on global economic challenges is a key focus of APEC's meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday.

"People in every APEC economy are struggling with the global economic challenges that have been exacerbated by Russia's war. Addressing those consequences together was a key focus of our meetings here in Bangkok," he told journalists.

The IMF previously issued warnings on the fragmentation of the global economy as a result of the war on Ukraine, and trimmed 2023 growth forecasts to 2.7% — predicting a slowdown from an expected 3.2% in 2022.

Blinken hailed Thailand's "exceptional leadership" in directing the APEC bloc through challenging times, as well as the country's efforts to ensure environmental sustainability is core at every discussion.

"The United States is committed to building on these and other areas of Thailand's leadership when we take over the presidency of APEC next year," he added. "Our focus will be on creating a resilient and sustainable future for all by building a region that is more interconnected, more innovative, and more inclusive."

— Lee Ying Shan

Diplomats make last push for Ukraine crisis at APEC meeting

After ASEAN and G-20 meetings, the possible spillover of the war in Ukraine into Europe's eastern flank looms large over the two-day APEC summit.

The meeting of world leaders in the Thai capital of Bangkok may be the last chance in a recent flurry of diplomatic efforts in the region to try and find consensus to forge a path toward peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

"How do we help bring all the parties in the conflict here to the table and try to find a solution? We need to get to that point as soon as we can," Kasemsit Pathosak, executive director of the APEC CEO Summit told CNBC.

Attendees for the group's first in-person summit in four years include Chinese President Xi Jinping, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Major stakeholders like U.S. President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin won't be there.

— Lee Ying Shan, Sri Jegarajah

China's Xi cautions against 'big power contest' in Asia-Pacific

China's president, Xi Jinping, warned in a written keynote speech Thursday against the weaponization of economic relations and turning the Asia-Pacific region into a power competition.

"Any attempt to politicize and weaponize economic and trade relations should also be rejected by all," said the president, who cautioned that the Asia-Pacific area should not become an "arena for big power contest."

His remarks come on the heels of the heightened rivalry between the U.S. and China for influence in the region.

The president added that China is committed to promoting the "stability and prosperity" of the area. He acknowledged how economies were contending with supply chain disruptions as well energy and food supply issues.

""Openness brings progress while closing the door can leave one behind. Any attempt to disrupt or even dismantle the industrial and supply chains formed in the Asia-Pacific over many years will only lead Asia-Pacific economic cooperation to a dead end."

— Lee Ying Shan