APEC Meeting to Promote Regional Economy

Top leaders of the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum will gather in Shanghai from October 20-21 to look in-depth at the region's economy, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said Thursday in Beijing.

President Jiang Zemin is scheduled to discuss with leaders of APEC on how to improve the region's economic and human strengths and consider which direction APEC should go in the new millennium, said Zhu.

Ministerial and high-level official talks will form a prelude to the summit next month, including the October 17-18 ministerial conference in Shanghai which will focus on liberating trade and investment among members.

Zhu said Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and Foreign Trade Minister Shi Guangsheng will chair the meeting and a ministerial declaration will also be made when the meeting closes.

Jiang will preside over the informal meeting of leaders and this will be followed with a declaration of leadership, said Zhu.

In the regular news briefing Thursday, Zhu also rebuked reports in Washington Post and some other foreign media two days ago that said China attached conditions to its support and co-operation with the US to crack down on terrorism.

"That was absolutely a distortion. My words have been quoted out of context,'' said Zhu. "And it was an evil attention at a time when the global community is trying to fight against terrorism after the New York and Washington attacks.''

China has made clear its anti-terrorism stance, which was clearly stated in the phone conversation between President Jiang Zemin and leaders of other countries on September 18, he said.

President Jiang Zemin again traded ideas on such issues as combating terrorism and safeguarding world peace over the phone Thursday with his French counterpart Jacques Chirac. This is the second call in the past two days.

Jiang also held similar calls two days ago with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Zhu reiterated that China is ready to join the US and the global community on combating terrorism which has become a major threat to world peace and stability.

But he also cautioned again that any counter efforts should be made against a clear target and with reliable evidence. They should stop short of hurting innocent lives and respect international laws and the United Nations principles and charters.

Zhu did not offer details on whether a UN meeting will be convened to look at the issue of combating terrorism, but he said the role of the UN Security Council should be strengthened in such combative efforts.

In parallel to their fight against terrorism, top leaders will also prepare to set the APEC economy from depressed global trade at the yearly summit, the ninth in a row.

Zhu reaffirmed Thursday that US President George W. Bush will attend the summit as planned, a nod given during a phone discussion with Chinese President Jiang Zemin last Wednesday after the terrorist attacks.

Bush also plans to visit Beijing after the two-day conference.

Though Zhu did not specify what topics will top the meeting agenda when Bush meets Jiang in their first meeting as heads of state, official sources told China Daily that the economy will be the priority.

APEC members -- grouping 21 members perching along the Asia Pacific range -- are major players in the world economy.

China, in particular, has fared better than most of the economies in the global community in shaking off financial gloom. It grew at an impressive 7.9 per cent in the first half of this year.

(China Daily 09/21/2001)

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