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Chinese president attends G20 financial summit in London

CHINESE President Hu Jintao and other leaders of the Group of Twenty (G20) members gathered in London today for a summit to discuss how to tackle the financial crisis and stimulate an earlier world economic recovery.

At the meeting, the leaders will exchange views mainly on such subjects as enhancing the coordination of macroeconomic policies, strengthening international financial regulation and stabilizing global financial market, as well as reforming international financial institutions.

President Hu willl deliver a speech at the summit to elaborate China's opinions and proposals on these subjects, according to Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei.

On Tuesday, President Hu told Xinhua that with the impact of the global financial crisis on the real economy spreading and deepening, priorities should be given by various countries to adopting economic stimulus measures in line with their own situations and working hand in hand to promote growth and employment and improve the people's lives.

Efforts should also be made as soon as possible to stabilize the global financial market and earnestly give play to the role of finance in spurring the real economy to restore confidence of the people and businesses, Hu said.

He called for strengthening coordination among different nations on economic polices and joint efforts against trade and investment protectionism to help the world economy recover.

"The international financial system should undergo necessary reforms in an all-round, balanced, gradual and effective manner to prevent a similar crisis in the future," the president said.

China, as a responsible country, would work with all other parties attending the summit to help it yield "positive" and "practical" results, Hu said.

The Summit, which was held at the ExCel center in east London, brought together leaders of the G20, and representatives of international and regional groups, and financial institutions to work cooperatively to restore stability and stimulate global economic growth.

The London summit is a follow-up to a meeting of last November in Washington. At the Washington summit, leaders of G20 members agreed to enhance their cooperation and work together to restore global growth and achieve needed reforms in the world's financial system in face of the financial crisis.

According to the British government, the host of the meeting, the goals of the summit are to secure global economic recovery, agree on the contours of a strengthened financial system, and principles, priorities and process for reform of the international financial institutions.

At present, the financial crisis, which was triggered by the sub-prime mortgage crisis, has grown into a severe and widespread international financial crisis rarely seen in history.

The impact of the crisis on economies around the world is still deepening and its grave consequences will be felt more acutely in the days to come.

In an analysis prepared for the G20 meeting in London, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said despite major stimulus packages announced by advanced economies and several emerging markets, trade volumes have shrunk rapidly, while production and employment data suggest that global activity continues to contract in the first quarter of 2009.

Global activity is now projected to contract by 0.5 to 1 percent in 2009 on an annual average basis, the first of such fall in 60 years, the IMF said in the analysis published on March 19.

"Turning around global growth will depend critically on more concerted policy actions to stabilize financial conditions as well as sustained strong policy support to bolster demand," the IMF said.

But the new assessment of the world economy by the World Bank is even more pessimistic.

Speaking at a press conference on March 21, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said that the global economy is set to shrink by 1 to 2 percent this year.

"We haven't seen a figure like that globally since World War Two, which really means since the Great depression," he said.

In an article published in The Times on March 27, Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan said that to cope with the crisis, "a strong signal must be sent from the upcoming London summit that the international community is determined to act together to get through the time of hardship."

To overcome the current difficulties, the international community should enhance coordination on macroeconomic policies, he said.

"The international community should recognize that the trend toward economic globalization is irreversible and should take credible steps to reject all forms of trade and investment protectionism," Wang said.

He said that it should also press ahead with the reform of the international financial system with the focus on re-adjusting the governance structure of international financial institutions and increasing the representation and voice of developing countries.

"We firmly believe that as long as the international community works together, we will be able to prevail over this once-in-a-century financial crisis and embrace a better future," Wang said.

The G20 consists of China, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Britain, the United States, and the European Union.


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