The 'family photo' of leaders participating during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is more than just a souvenir shot.

What seems to be just a normal photo opportunity, the "family photo" can actually help solve key issues in the region, such as reducing the level of tension over border issues, an economics professor said.

University of the Philippines Professor Cayetano Paderanga Jr. interpreted that the "family photo" of the leaders of the 21 APEC member economies symbolize the impact of the meeting.

“Just like the usual family photos that end up family reunions, we can’t underestimate the impact, the impact actually can be quite subtle but very important, this is when the new cousins get to meet the other cousins,” he said.

Paderanga said one of the inconcrete impacts may be a reduced level of tension, which has been quite high over the last two to three years, over territorial disputes.

“Let’s take a very good example, President Noy and Xi Jinping of China, everybody is watching what the chemistry is, because if the chemistry is good then that will be a signal that the tension in the border issues will go down,” he added.

But the economics professor said Xi's presence in the meeting alone already sends a message of a reduced tension between the Philippines and China.

“Just the fact that they are meeting, that in fact premier Xi Jinping came over is already a big [positive] message… and we also gave a very strong concession ‘look border issue is not on the agenda,’ and so he came, that’s already a very big reduction on the level of tension,” Paderanga said.

“And this [impact] will become multiplied when the government officials meet at the lower levels and then you start thinking about businessman much more comfortable talking to businessman coming from a country whose leader their leader doesn’t like,” he added.

WATCH: Paderanga speaks on reaping the gains of APEC meetings