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APEC 2020 Leaders Summit to be conducted virtually on 04th December – Malaysia Chair

Mohamed Azmin Ali, Malaysia’s minister of international trade and industry, interacts with his peers during an Apec trade ministers’ meeting in July. The leaders’ meeting will also be virtual, sources say. (Handout photo via AFP)

Malaysia moves meeting back to Dec 4 but abandons plan to have leaders meet in person

The annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum will be held online on Dec 4 due to the coronavirus pandemic, an Asian diplomatic source said Friday.

The summit was originally scheduled to be held on Nov 12 in Kuala Lumpur. But Malaysia, the current chair, decided to postpone it by about three weeks and hold it virtually, according to the source.

Leaders of the 21 member economies are expected to hold their meetings either during midday hours or in the evening Kuala Lumpur time, the source added.

Malaysia is expected to formally announce the date soon.

The host country’s original plan, drawn up before the pandemic, was for an in-person summit to be held in Kuala Lumpur and neighboring Putrajaya on Nov 12.

But as the pandemic has made international travel difficult with no end in sight to the global spread of the virus, officials later decided to host the gathering online, according to multiple sources familiar with the plan.

Still, one of the main challenges for Malaysia in organising a virtual summit would be how to accommodate leaders across all the time zones, one of the sources said.

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