Chinese President Hu Jintao expounded China's stance on APEC cooperation at the 13th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting which kicked off in South Korea's southeastern port city of Busan on Friday.
The economic leaders from the 21 APEC members attended the two-day meeting with the main theme of Toward One Community: Meet the Challenge, Make the Change. On top of its agenda are economic and trade cooperation, terrorism and avian influenza.
At the invitation of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, Hu delivered a speech entitled "Working Together in Closer Asia-Pacific Cooperation Toward a Harmonious Future, "presenting proposals and views on enhancing APEC cooperation.
He urged APEC to contribute to the steady growth of world and regional economy by giving full play to its own strength and implement policy measures.
Since the beginning of this year, the world economy has maintained strong momentum of growth, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, the Chinese president said.
"At the same time, some uncertainties in world and regional economic growth still exist and call for common response from us," Hu said.
Hu proposed that APEC members focus cooperation on the following three aspects:
-- Working together to effectively address the problems of uneven economic development in the world.
To address the problem of uneven economic development, all parties are required to abide by the principle of responsibility sharing, strengthen policy dialogue and coordination and take common actions, Hu said.
"The developed members should provide assistance to the developing members and help them accelerate development," he said .
Hu urged the APEC members to work together to create a fair, harmonious and open international economic environment so as to address the problems of uneven economic development in the world.
"Ways to resolve disagreements should be explored through dialogue and consultation, in accordance with universally-recognized international rules and in the spirit of mutual understanding and accommodation," Hu told APEC fellow economic leaders.
-- Building consensus to jointly promote the healthy development of the multilateral trading regime.
The multilateral trading regime is now at a critical junction, Hu said, adding the success of the WTO Doha Round bears on the future of international trade as well as the immediate interests of the peoples in the Asia-Pacific countries and the world at large.
"We should demonstrate sincerity, adopt a flexible and pragmatic approach, expand common ground, honor commitments and bridge differences in an effort to make the forthcoming 6th WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, China a success and promote the early and successful conclusion of the talks," Hu said.
The WTO Doha Round trade talks, first introduced at the fourth WTO biannual ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar in 2001, have been stalled due to deep differences between the developed and developing members on market access, agriculture subsides and tariff structures. The push by APEC economic leaders to keep the momentum is important because the region represents nearly half of the world trade.
"We should encourage free trade agreements that comply with WTO rules and push for coordinated development of bilateral and regional economic cooperation and the multilateral trading regime," said the Chinese president.
Hu also called on APEC to play an active role in guiding the orderly development of free trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region.
-- Strengthening coordination to take common action to address hot-button issue.
The surging international oil price has brought about negative impacts on the development of the world economy, that of the developing countries in particular, Hu said.
Frequent occurrences of natural disasters such as tsunami and hurricane have inflicted heavy losses on the disaster-hit countries. The constant outbreak of avian flu has caused serious damage to some countries in this region, he added.
"It requires our common action to effectively respond to these problems as their causes and impacts are transboundary," he said.
China hosted the APEC Workshop on the Development of Renewable Energy this year and will host the APEC Symposium on Emerging Infectious Diseases next year, Hu told other APEC economic leaders.
"China stands ready to cooperate closely with all parties to improve the capacity of this region to prevent and respond to emergencies," Hu pledged.
In his speech, the Chinese president said that to turn the Bogor Goals into reality will contribute to closing the economic gap between the APEC members and achieving common development and prosperity, thus having a bearing on APEC's future.
"The Bogor Goals we set in 1994 constitute a landmark in the building of the Asia-Pacific Community," Hu told other APEC economic leaders.
"We should not fail to see that not all trade barriers have been removed and that the evolving world economic situation poses new challenges to the development of the region," the Chinese president said.
The Bogor Goals, set in Bogor, Indonesia, in 1994, specify the APEC objectives for free and open trade and investment among industrialized members by 2010, and among developing members by 2020.
"To reach the Bogor Goals on schedule, we must consolidate what we have achieved so far and make new innovations on that basis to substantiate the content of cooperation, broaden cooperation channels and enhance cooperation quality," Hu said.
He added that, to that end, the APEC member economies need to balance the following three relationships:
-- The relationship between greater market liberalization and increased economic and technical cooperation.
As the two wheels of APEC cooperation, market liberalization and economic and technical cooperation are important means to stimulate regional economic development. They should reinforce each other and be given equal emphasis, said the Chinese president.
-- The relationship between strengthening economic cooperation and conducting security cooperation.
"We support APEC in doing what is necessary in the field of counter-terrorism to meet the actual need of safeguarding economic and trade safety in the Asia-Pacific," the Chinese president pledged.
"We are of the view that the relevant cooperation should support and supplement rather than disrupt or dilute the theme of economic cooperation and should fully accommodate concerns of all sides and properly handle related sensitive issue,"he added.
-- The relationship between implementing existing consensus and exploring new areas of cooperation.
"We must adapt ourselves to the changing economic environment in the region and the world at large to conduct cooperation on disaster reduction, health and anti-corruption and exploring new channels and areas for more trade and investment cooperation," Hu told his fellow APEC economic leaders.
"To keep up APEC's features and efficiency, we should stay focused on priorities without trying to do everything," Hu added.
He also urged the APEC members to uphold the principles of consensus and voluntarism and deepen their mutually beneficial cooperation to constantly add new vigor and vitality to the growth of APEC.
"China stands ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with other APEC members and make contribution to building a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity," Hu pledged.
Economic leaders from other APEC member economies expressed their views at the first-day session of the two-day gathering. On Friday's meeting, the APEC economic leaders exchanged views on economic and trade issues under the theme of "Advancing Freer Trade."
Following the meeting, Hu Jintao and other APEC economic leaders held a dialogue with members of the APEC Business Advisory Council on Friday to hear their recommendations on key issues, such as the WTO's stagnant Doha Round of free trade talks. The Chinese president answered questions ranging from APEC free trade, China-Chile free trade agreement, trade facilitation and avian influenza.
On Friday evening, the Chinese president and other APEC economic leaders visited an IT exhibition and attended the official dinner hosted by South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun.
On Saturday, Hu will leave for China after attending the second-day session of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting.
Since its inception in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies, 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, 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.
(Xinhua News Agency November 19, 2005)