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President Kicks off Three-nation Tour

President Hu Jintao arrived in Bangkok on Friday to kick off a three-nation tour which will also include visits to Australia and New Zealand.

"China is willing to push the overall bilateral ties with Thailand, which are based on good neighborliness and mutual trust, to a higher level,'' Hu said in a speech at the airport.

In his meeting with Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit on Friday, Hu said China and Thailand are close neighbors and reliable partners who have forged a brotherhood based on mutual respect, sincere treatment and mutual assistance over the years.

The Thai King said he was pleased to see that bilateral ties across the board are closer and smoother than any time in the history.

Prior to Hu's visit, the Chinese government has sent two pandas to the Thailand for a decade-long exchange in celebration of the Thai King's birthday.

The Chinese president also met with Uthai Pimchaichon, president of National Assembly of Thailand on Friday. Both sides agreed that closer bilateral parliamentary exchanges are conducive to the enhancement of mutual understanding and traditional friendship between the two peoples.

Hu will also attend the 11th Economic Leaders' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Bangkok on October 20-21.

Officially launched in 1989, APEC is the premier forum facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

Hu is expected to meet US President George W. Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin, President of the Republic of Korea Roh Moo-hyun and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting.

The 21 member economies of APEC account for a combined GDP of US$19 trillion and 47 percent of world trade. Representing the most economically dynamic region in the world, APEC has generated nearly 70 percent of global economic growth in its first 10 years.

In 1994 at Bogor, Indonesia, leaders of the APEC member economies adopted the "Bogor Goals" of free and open trade and investment for developed economies by 2010 and for developing economies by 2020.

Thailand, host of the 2003 APEC summit, set the central theme for this year as "A World of Differences: Partnership for the Future.''

Bringing together individual strengths of all APEC members to raise regional economic prosperity and making a meaningful contribution towards the World Trade Organization process are the overarching goals of this year's APEC meeting.

As the APEC region moves towards the Bogor Goals the diversity of the APEC region has been identified as its strength for the future.

(China Daily October 18, 2003)

President Hu Kicks off Asia-Pacific Tour
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