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Xi Jinping, Kamala Harris and Other Asia-Pacific Leaders Convene in Bangkok for Economic Forum

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

Officials from 21 Asia-Pacific economies are gathering in Bangkok as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meeting kicks off Thursday.

Attendees for the group's first in-person summit in four years includes Chinese President Xi Jinping, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Many leaders also attended the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, earlier this week, where topics on the table included Russia's war on Ukraine, energy and food security issues as well as supply chain disruptions.

Thursday's meeting is part of a week of events, during which officials are expected to discuss the trade, supply chain for essential goods and vaccines, resuming travel, economic structural reform and promoting indigenous economy.

There's also a CEO summit, which runs from Wednesday to Friday, as well as an economic leaders meeting on Friday and Saturday.

Kamala Harris to reaffirm commitment to Southeast Asia, hold talks with Thai prime minister

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to reiterate Washington's commitment to Southeast Asia during her trip to Thailand and the Philippines, a senior administration official told reporters in a background briefing earlier this week.

The vice president is scheduled to deliver a speech at the APEC CEO summit on Friday, in which she will outline the White House's economic agenda for the region.

"The central message of her remarks will be that the United States has an enduring economic commitment to the Indo-Pacific, and there is no better partner for the economies and companies of the Indo-Pacific than the United States of America," the official said.

On Saturday, Harris will meet with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and discuss issues like the climate crisis, clean energy transition, as well as Myanmar.

— Lee Ying Shan

China's Xi Jinping and Japan's Fumio Kishida to hold first face-to-face talks

Chinese President Xi Jinping making a speech at the sixth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee in Beijing, capital of China. The session was held in Beijing from Nov. 8 to 11.
Ju Peng | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
Chinese President Xi Jinping making a speech at the sixth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee in Beijing, capital of China. The session was held in Beijing from Nov. 8 to 11.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will meet on the sidelines of the APEC summit.

China's foreign ministry said the two will exchange views on China-Japan relations, as well as international and regional issues of mutual interest.

"China and Japan are close neighbors and important countries in the region ... The two sides need to respond to the trend of the times, stay committed to peace and friendship, expand mutually-beneficial cooperation, manage differences well, and work together to build a China-Japan relationship that meets the call of the new era," China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Wednesday.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also expects to meet Xi on the sidelines of the forum, Reuters reported, citing a government spokesperson.

— Lee Ying Shan

Saudi-Thai cooperation on food and energy 'a good sign,' says APEC executive director

Saudi Arabia's commitment to energy investments in Thailand is a "good sign" for diplomatic relations between the two counties, APEC executive director Kasemsit Pathomsak told CNBC's Sri Jegarajah.

In May, state-backed Aramco signed a memorandum of understanding with Thailand's national oil company in efforts to strengthen energy cooperation with Thailand and boost its presence in the region. In the same month, the Saudi Arabian Investment Fund said it would use Thailand as a hub for investment in Southeast Asia.

"It's a good sign... to certainly reconnect at a time when both economies are sizable enough and there are a lot of synergies here to be had," said Pathomsak, pointing to food and energy as areas for potential cooperation.

The deals suggest further thawing of relations after the 30-year "Blue Diamond Affair," which involved theft of Saudi jewels and the deaths of Saudi diplomats in Thailand. In January, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha became the first Thai head of government to visit the kingdom since the dispute.

— Lee Ying Shan

Cambodia's Hun Sen tests positive for Covid, won't attend APEC

Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia
Ahn Young-Joon | AFP | Getty Images
Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen tested positive for Covid early this week and won't be joining the APEC summit in Bangkok.

The Cambodian leader announced Tuesday that he tested positive for Covid and had to cancel his meetings at Indonesia's G-20 summit to return home early.

— Lee Ying Shan

Biden to miss summit; Vice President Kamala Harris to represent U.S.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff (L) depart Joint Base Andrews en route to Thailand for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Nov. 16, 2022.
Haiyun Jiang | AFP | Getty Images
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff (L) depart Joint Base Andrews en route to Thailand for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Nov. 16, 2022.

U.S. President Joe Biden will not be attending the APEC leaders' meeting in Bangkok as he will be attending his granddaughter's wedding. Instead, Vice President Kamala Harris will represent the U.S.

"The Vice President will engage with Thai leaders and civil society representatives to reaffirm and strengthen the U.S.-Thai Alliance and to discuss our cooperation across a range of issues," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in an October statement.

Earlier this week, Biden attended the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, where leaders of major economies discussed Russia's war in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis, supply chain disruptions as well as energy and food security.

— Lee Ying Shan

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