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Hu Urges APEC Members to Boost Economic Integration

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Sunday urged the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members to boost economic integration and strengthen human security in the region.

In an address to the 16th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting which ended in the Peruvian capital Lima on Sunday, Hu said the process of regional economic integration is developing continuously, featured by ever closer trade and economic links among the APEC members.

Hu arrived here on Wednesday for a state visit to Peru and the APEC summit.

"We should encourage and support this positive trend" by striving to achieve the Bogor Goals as scheduled and pushing forward the Doha Round of talks of the World Trade Organization, Hu said.

The issue of setting up a free trade area in the Asia-Pacific region had become a focus of attention recently, which reveals the desire of the APEC members to speed up the process of regional economic integration, President Hu said.

China is ready to work with other APEC members to continue pushing forward the process of regional economic integration in the Asia-Pacific and to conduct research on such issues as the prospect of an Asia-Pacific free trade area, He added.

On the issue of human security, the president called for increased cooperation among the APEC members in disaster prevention and reduction.

The APEC members should actively conduct policy dialogue, make further efforts to exchange experience and increase technical support, he stressed, adding that priority should be given to enhancing their ability in disaster monitoring, early warning, emergency response and post-disaster reconstruction.

Natural disasters had become a major threat to the Asia-Pacificregion, Hu said, citing the devastating earthquake and the severe snow disaster that China had experienced earlier this year and other catastrophes in other APEC members.

He also said China will offer its support for the idea of establishing a center for regional disaster management and coordination.

On climate change, Hu said China attaches great importance to the issue and hoped all parties would work together to take effective actions in this regard in line with the Bali Roadmap agreed last year.

China will actively participate in the negotiations and work with other parties to strive to achieve positive results at the talks, he said.

The APEC economic leaders' meeting, under the theme of "A New Commitment to Asia-Pacific Development," ended Sunday with a declaration highlighting the importance of reducing the gap between developed and developing member economies in face of the global financial crisis.

(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2008)

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