Leaders from 21 Pacific Rim economies began their first session of the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 19th informal leadership meeting in Hawaii, the U.S. on Sunday to set a vision for regional economic integration and sustainable growth amid fragile world economic recovery. With the theme of \"Closely Linked to the Regional Economy\", the annual meeting is expected to focus on the Asia-Pacific regional economic growth, regional economic integration, green growth, energy security, regulatory cooperation and other issues. This year\'s APEC meeting convenes at a time when the global economic recovery is fraught with instability and uncertainty, and encounters growing risks and challenges. In face of the challenges, the leaders, over the course of a two-session meeting on Sunday, will ponder the future direction for regional economic integration and formulate a new economic growth strategy to sustain economic recovery and lay the foundation for future prosperity. APEC is the premier economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region. Founded in 1989, APEC has since grown to encompass 21 members, and represents the most economically dynamic region in the world, accounting for approximately 40 percent of the world\'s population, around 50 percent of the world\'s GDP and about 44 percent of world trade. APEC\'s 21 member economies are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, China\'s Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.