* Hu echoes Putin with concerns on global economy
* Russia hosts APEC summit in Vladivostok
* Leaders to discuss food security, trade
By Timothy Heritage
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept 8 China sounded the
alarm about the state of the global economy on Saturday and
urged countries gathering at an Asia-Pacific summit to protect
themselves by forging deeper regional economic ties.
Chinese President Hu Jintao said his country would play a
role in helping deepen cooperation between the 21 members of the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) by rebalancing its
economy to improve the chances of a global economic recovery.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had also expressed concern
about the world economy on Friday, and particularly about
Europe's debt crisis, as he prepared to host the annual APEC
summit in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok.
"The world economy today is recovering slowly, and there are
still some destabilising factors and uncertainties. The
underlying impact of the international financial crisis is far
from over," Hu told businessmen in a speech before the summit.
"We will work to maintain the balance between keeping steady
and robust growth, adjusting the economic structure and managing
inflation expectations. We will boost domestic demand and
maintain steady and robust growth as well as basic price
stability," he said.
Hu said China was addressing problems such as creating jobs
since its economic growth slowed. But China's economy remains
dominant in Asia and it is key to Russia's decision to look
eastwards as it seeks to develop its own economy.
Hu also announced a $157 billion government spending drive
to boost infrastructure in agriculture, energy, railways and
roads as well as pledging his country's support for greater
"We should improve and explore new mechanisms for
infrastructure investment and financing, and encourage
participation in infrastructure development by various actors,"
Hu steps down as China's top leader in the autumn after a
Communist Party congress, but he promised continuity and
stability for the economy.
Putin, who has just begun a new six-year term as president,
said for his part on Friday that Russia would be a stable energy
supplier and a gateway to Europe for Asian countries, and also
pledged to develop his country's transport network.
Russia sees the weekend summit as a chance to make a pivotal
shift away from Europe, increasing political and economic links
with countries in Asia that are showing relatively strong
economic growth as Europe struggles with its debt crisis.
APEC, which also includes the United States, Japan, South
Korea, Indonesia and Canada, groups countries around the Pacific
Rim which account for 40 percent of the world's population, 54
percent of its economic output and 44 percent of trade.
Boosting trade and growth is vital for APEC as a whole as it
tries to remove trade barriers that hinder investment.
Putin limped slightly as he greeted other leaders at the
summit on Russky Island, linked to mainland Vladivostok by a
spectacular new bridge that cost $1 billion, but aides said he
had merely pulled a muscle.
Underlining Putin's good health, a spokesman said he had a
"very active lifestyle."
Discussions at the two-day meeting will focus on food
security and trade liberalisation. An agreement was reached
before the summit to slash import duties on technologies that
can promote economic growth without endangering the environment.
Ministers agreed on a list of 54 green technologies that
will be subject to import duties of 5 percent or less from 2015,
following through on a commitment made by leaders at the last
APEC summit in Honolulu a year ago.
According to summit documents seen by Reuters, the list
includes equipment used in generating power from renewable
energy sources such as the sun, wind and biomass; treating waste
water; recycling and environmental monitoring.
Breakthroughs are not expected on other trade issues at the
summit, which U.S. President Barack Obama is missing. He has
been attending the Democratic Party convention and Washington is
being represented by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton also called for trade liberalisation and balanced
economies in a speech to businessmen, saying "a balanced and
stable economy is a challenge too sweeping and complex for
countries to approach in isolation."
APEC is a consensus-based group that includes developed
economies such as the United States and much smaller, developing