Asia Pacific leaders urge ramped-up terror fight

The annual 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gathering hosted this year by the Philippines.

Manila: Asia Pacific leaders called on Thursday for more global cooperation in the struggle against terrorism, as a wave of deadly attacks claimed by the Islamic State group dominated the final day of a regional trade summit.

The annual 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gathering -- hosted this year by the Philippines -- is meant to forge trade unity but often finds itself sidetracked by other events.

This week US President Barack Obama has sought to bolster allies locked in a territorial row with China over the South China Sea, which is home to some of the world's most important shipping lanes.

The spectre of terrorism has also hung heavily over the gathering, with France, Russia and Lebanon all reeling from devastating assaults on their citizens that the Islamic State group says it carried out.

"We strongly condemn all acts, methods and practices of terrorism in all their forms and manifestations," the leaders, which included Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping, said in an end-of-summit declaration.

"We will not allow terrorism to threaten the fundamental values that underpin our free and open economies.

"We stress the urgent need for increased international cooperation and solidarity in the fight against terrorism."

Earlier in the day Xi spoke out to condemn the murder of a Chinese hostage by the Islamic State, which also claimed to have killed a Norwegian.

"Terrorism is the common enemy of human beings," Xi said, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The Islamic State group was also a top concern when Obama met newly-elected Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the summit.

Trudeau, who has vowed to pull out Canada's fighter jets from Iraq and Syria, said his country would remain "a strong member of the coalition" against IS.

Obama, meanwhile, reiterated his demand that Syria's civil war would only end if Russia-backed Bashar al-Assad left power.

"I do not foresee a situation in which we can end the civil war in Syria while Assad remains in power," he told reporters after meeting Trudeau.

The populous and economically vibrant Asia Pacific region has largely been spared attacks by the Syria and Iraq based IS group.

But some APEC members, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, fear their nationals fighting for the group might one day return and wreak havoc at home.

The lead up to Wednesday and today's summit talks were also dominated by sparring between Washington and Beijing over the South China Sea issue.

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