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Hu Pledges to Contribute to World Energy Security

President Hu Jintao pledged on Thursday to enhance dialogue and cooperation with all countries to jointly maintain world energy security and stability.

Delivering a speech entitled "An Open Mind for Win-Win Cooperation" at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in South Korea's southeastern port city of Busan, Hu said that energy is a global issue, intrinsically linked with world economic development.

"To achieve balanced and orderly growth in the world economy, the international community must handle the energy issue well," Hu said.

The Chinese president arrived in Busan on Thursday to attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting scheduled for Friday and Saturday. The main theme of this year's meeting is "Towards One Community: Meet the Challenge, Make the Change."

The three-day APEC CEO summit, which started here on Thursday morning, is an annual event that gives business leaders from the Asia-Pacific region the opportunity to participate in interactive discussions on regional and global economic and trade issues with APEC economic leaders, economists, policy makers and fellow business leaders.

The theme of this year's CEO summit is "Entrepreneurship and Prosperity: Building a Successful Partnership in the Asia-Pacific Region."

Since 2004, the surge of oil prices in the international market has affected world economic growth, growth in the developing countries in particular, Hu said.

The most critical thing is for all countries to work together for stability of the world energy market, and to fuel the sustained growth of the world economy with sufficient, safe, economical and clean energy resources, Hu added.

It is also important to take a long-term perspective, intensify energy development, deepen energy cooperation, increase energy efficiency, and facilitate the development and use of new energy resources, Hu said.

Hu also briefed the APEC business leaders on China's energy strategy.

"The core of China's energy strategy has been clearly defined. We will strengthen policy guidance for energy conservation and high efficiency, give priority to energy conservation and rely on domestic resources," Hu said.

"While focusing on developing coal resources, we will develop diverse energy resources, and put in place a system that supplies stable, economical and clean energy," he added.

The development of nuclear, wind and bio-power in China has just started, and there is great potential for future development, Hu noted.

Although China's demand for energy has increased due to its steady economic growth, its per capita consumption volume is not high, Hu pointed out.

In 2004, China's per capita primary energy consumption was the equivalent of 1.08 tons of oil, or 66 percent of the world average of 1.63 tons. In the same year, China's net import of crude oil was 117 million tons, accounting for 6.31 percent of crude oil traded worldwide.

From 1990 through 2004, China, on average, sustained an annual economic growth rate of 9.3 percent with about 5 percent increase in annual energy consumption.

"China is a major energy consumer. But it is also a major energy producer," Hu told the business leaders.

Since the 1990s, China has always met over 90 percent of its overall energy needs on its own. As a country with coal dominating its energy structure, China still has huge potential for domestic supply.

"We have rich coal reserves, and two-thirds of our hydropower resources remain untapped, Hu added.

Hu also briefed the APEC business leaders on China's energy conservation.

"We always work to combine energy development with conservation, and give top priority to conservation," he added.

China has made remarkable achievements in saving energy. In 2004, China's energy consumption per 10,000 RMB yuan (about US$1,200) GDP dropped by 45 percent compared with 1990.

Hu told the business leaders that China has introduced a mid- and long-term energy conservation program, with the objective of saving three percent of energy every year by 2020, or 1.4 billion tons of standard coal in total savings.

"We will rely on scientific and technological advancement, encourage the role of market mechanism and economic leverage, and build up our capability in energy saving, so as to improve energy conservation and efficiency across all fronts," Hu said.

Hu arrived in Busan on Thursday from the capital of Seoul as part of his a visit to South Korea.

Among the CEOs present at the summit are Citigroup chairman William Rhodes, Microsoft Vice President Craig Mundie and Chevron Managing Director Samuel Snyder, along with top executives from Toyota, China Unicom and Hong Kong's Li and Fung Ltd.

Since its inception in 1989, APEC has become a formidable regional forum acting as the primary regional vehicle for promoting open trade and practical economic and technical cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

APEC accounts for more than one-third of the world's population (2.6 billion people), about 60 percent of world GDP and nearly half of world trade.

It represents the most economically dynamic region in the world, having generated nearly 70 percent of global economic growth in its first 10 years.

APEC currently has 21 members: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, China's Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam. The chairmanship rotates among its members, with South Korea holding the chair this year.

(Xinhua News Agency November 18, 2005)

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