Representatives from five countries, including the US and Japan, walked out of an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting Saturday in protest of Russia’s war against Ukraine, accorroding to Kyodo News.

Trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific region and representatives of participating countries met in Thailand’s capital of Bangkok for the two-day conference.

The US, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand walked out of the meeting after Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov took the floor in the morning session.

It was the first APEC trade ministers’ meeting held in person in three years, as coronavirus pandemic restrictions have eased.

The ministers discussed promoting trade and investment in a post-COVID-19 era.

“We hope that the outcome of this year’s APEC trade ministers’ meeting will play an important role in helping to determine the policy direction for the recovery and stimulation of regional economic growth in various areas in the post-COVID-19,” said Thai Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.

The Thai government is hosting the meetings as APEC chairman in 2022.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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