SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (NBC, KYMA/KECY) - The long-anticipated Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit kicked off in San Francisco.
Dignitaries started arriving Saturday and security is tightening around the Moscone Center, where thousands of people from around the world are meeting for the annual summit.
The APEC members represent more than 60% of the world's economy, and when leaders from the 21 economies meet in San Francisco over the next six days, they'll focus on trade and investment, innovation and sustainable and inclusive growth.
"Because I think we all acknowledge around the region that if we have economic growth, but some communities are left behind, or not doing things in a sustainable way, then that's not going to be a very effective way of moving forward," said Matt Murray, APEC U.S. Senior Official.
Security is extremely tight around the Moscone Center and surrounding blocks where world leaders will meet in private and in public to share strategies and further those goals.
"We exchange a lot of information in APEC. There's a lot of talking, and that's a good thing because that's how we learn about each other's economies and about challenges and about how we can cooperate better to grow all together," said Helen Stylianou, Ambassador to Australia.
Issues with China
But outside of Moscone Center, protests are also expected, in conjunction with APEC, on everything from wars to climate change and human rights.
"We can't ignore the atrocities that the CCP is perpetrating," said Mike Gallager, a Republican Congressman from Wisconsin.
Gallagher, who chairs the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), met with prominent Chinese dissidents to talk about issues in China.
"When we have high-level dialogue, like the one that's happening later this week between Xi Jinping and uh Joe Biden, human rights don't get thrown into the gutter. That we don't deprioritize the issue of human rights and democracy so that we can get a photo op."Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.)
President Biden is set to meet with China's President Wednesday for talks on trade, Taiwan and managing U.S.-Chinese relations.