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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit Begins

Leaders of the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, have opened a two-day summit in South Korea to discuss economic and trade issues.

Security is tight in the southern port of Busan, where thousands of people have gathered today (Friday) to protest a variety of issues, including trade liberalization. Tens of thousands of security personnel have been mobilized.

During the annual summit, APEC members are expected to encourage members of the World Trade Organization to break a deadlock over agricultural subsidies.

The White House says President Bush plans to join other leaders in endorsing a statement calling for progress in WTO talks next month.

Other key topics to be discussed at the APEC summit are counter-terrorism, nonproliferation, energy security and bird flu.

Earlier today, the foreign ministers of China (Li Zhaoxing) and Chile (Ignacio Walker) signed a free-trade agreement. Details of the pact were not immediately available, but the free trade agreement is the first between China and a Latin American country.