Putin, Hu warn on global economy
China and Russia sounded the alarm about the state of the global economy at a summit today and urged Asian-Pacific countries to protect themselves by forging deeper regional economic ties.
Chinese president Hu Jintao said Beijing would do all it could to strengthen the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) and boost prospects of a global recovery by rebalancing its economy, Asia's biggest.
Russian president Vladimir Putin said trade barriers must be smashed down. He is hosting the event on a small island linked to the Pacific port of Vladivostok by a spectacular new bridge, a symbol of Moscow's pivotal turn to Asia away from debt-stricken Europe.
"It's important to build bridges, not walls. We must continue striving for greater integration," Mr Putin told APEC leaders seated at a round table in a room with a view of the $1 billion cable-stayed bridge, the largest of its kind.
"The global economic recovery is faltering. We can overcome the negative trends only by increasing the volume of trade in goods and services and enhancing the flow of capital."
China's Mr Hu told business leaders before the summit the world economy was being hampered by "destabilising factors and uncertainties" and the crisis that hit in 2008-09 was far from over.
Beijing would play its role, he said, in strengthening the recovery.
"We will work to maintain the balance between keeping steady and robust growth, adjusting the economic structure and managing inflation expectations," he said.
Mr Hu spelled out plans for China, whose economic growth has slowed as Europe's debt crisis worsened, to pump $157 billion into infrastructure investments in agriculture, energy, railways and roads.
Mr Hu, who steps down as China's leader in the autumn after a Communist Party congress, promised continuity and stability for the economy.
Mr Putin, who has just begun a new six-year term as president, said yesterday Russia would be a stable energy supplier and a gateway to Europe for Asian countries, and also pledged to develop his country's transportation network.
Gazprom, Russia's state-controlled gas export monopoly, signed an agreement with Japan to develop plans for a $7 billion liquefied natural gas plant on Russia's Pacific coast, underscoring Moscow's eastward shift.