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President Hu Outlines Ideas on Improving APEC Process

Chinese President Hu Jintao made a three-point proposal in Bangkok Monday on improving the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) process.

"Along with the changes in the regional and international situation, people are thinking more and more about APEC's own future," Hu said in a speech delivered at the first-day session of the 11th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting.

"China has all along committed itself to Asia-Pacific economic cooperation and actively participated in APEC activities. The new Chinese government will, as always, support and facilitate the APEC process and keep up with cooperation of mutual benefit with other members," Hu said.

He proposed that APEC member economies consider three points for the development of the 21-member forum, which groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

First, Hu said, the APEC approach, which features respect for differences, equality, mutual benefit, voluntarism and consensus, should be upheld.

"Facts have proved that such an approach represents an effective vehicle and a right choice for regional cooperation, as it tallies with our region's diversity, accommodates the members' differing needs and helps members to balance their interests," the Chinese president said.

Secondly, APEC should embrace reform and innovation by willingly adapting itself to changing circumstances.

"An organization can maintain its vigor and grow from strength to strength only when it can keep pace with the times and innovate continuously," Hu said. "APEC should act proactively to adapt to new circumstances, take on new challenges, conduct necessary reforms and readjustments to itself and strive to make its activities more timely and relevant."

Thirdly, Hu said, APEC should gear its multi-faceted cooperation more to the business communities and the general public."

"We need to learn more about what they think and what they want and do our best to help them," Hu said.

On China's economic performance, Hu said that China has overcome the negative impact of the SARS outbreak and have sustained the momentum of sound growth.

"We are confident that, on balance, our targets for economic and social development this year will be met," Hu said.

He stressed that China's development will generate new opportunities for economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region and the whole world.

"We will continue to strengthen our friendship and cooperation with other countries and work for peace and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large," Hu said.

"China will forever be a force dedicated to world peace and common development," the Chinese leader said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 21, 2003)

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