Apec summit: President Hu's pledge on China economic growth

Chinese President Hu Jintao acknowledges applause from delegates after delivering his speech during the Apec summit President Hu said the underlying impact of the international financial crisis is far from over

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Chinese President Hu Jintao has promised to maintain economic growth to support a global recovery, at the start of an Asia-Pacific summit in the Russian port city of Vladivostok.

China would pursue steady policies and seek to boost domestic demand, he said.

He was speaking ahead of the start of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit.

All countries in the region, he said, shared a responsibility to maintain peace and stability.

"The world economy today is recovering slowly, and there are still some destabilising factors and uncertainties," President Hu told businessmen in a speech before the summit.

"The underlying impact of the international financial crisis is far from over.

"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."

Free trade calls

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged countries in the region to lift more barriers to free trade in the Pacific. American officials say they would welcome a more active Russian role in the region.

"Fostering a balanced and stable economy is a challenge too sweeping and complex for countries to approach in isolation," Mrs Clinton said.

"If we do this right, globalisation can become a race to the top, with rising standards of living and more broadly shared prosperity."

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is hosting the summit, has expressed concern about the world economy, and particularly Europe's debt crisis.

"The recovery of the global economy is faltering. We can only overcome negative trends by enhancing the volume of trade... enhancing the flow of capital. It is important to follow the fundamental principles of open markets and free trade," he said.

"The priority goal is to fight protectionism in all its forms. It is important to build bridges not walls."

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she was leaving the talks early to return home after her father died.

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