New Zealand to host 2021 APEC summit online

The annual summit of Asia-Pacific leaders (APEC) will go virtual next year to avoid travel risks associated with the global coronavirus pandemic, 2021 hosts New Zealand said on Tuesday.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said his country is adopting a "pragmatic" approach as COVID-19 has seriously impacted how they conduct international diplomacy.

Given the current global environment, planning to have such a large volume of high-level visitors in New Zealand from late 2020 onwards is impractical, Peters said.

He said if New Zealand hosted an in-person APEC, there would be thousands of people entering the country from late 2020 onwards, some from COVID-19 hotspots. He added that New Zealand simply can’t guarantee these people will be able to enter the country without being quarantined.

The APEC summit was due to be held in Auckland in November 2021. More than 20,000 people were expected to visit New Zealand for the summit and its numerous lead-in meetings.

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