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The framework of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum should continue to be one where less-developed members can discuss issues on an equal footing with their industrialized counterparts, visiting Chilean President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle said Sept. 3.

Speaking at a news conference to end his five-day trip to Japan, Frei noted that the APEC members differ in degree of economic development, and said he hopes the forum will remain one in which the interest of developing member nations would be protected. He added that priority should first be given to clarifying APEC’s objectives and forming a concrete program for reaching them before going further with debate on enlarging APEC membership, which currently stands at 18.

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