Hu Jintao, China’s president, urged world leaders on Friday to learn from the global financial crisis and work towards the establishment of a new international financial order that is ”fair, just, inclusive and orderly”.

Mr Hu told the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru that the Asia Pacific was now an important driving force for global economic growth and would exert increasing influence in the world economy.

”At the same time, sound and steady growth of the region’s economy is threatened by the grim world economic situation, serious issues concerning energy and food security, rising trade protectionism and environmental degradation,” he said.

His comments on the growing importance of the Asia Pacific echoed the release this week of a key intelligence report which raised the prospect of the relative decline of the United States’ dominance in the coming years. The US’s National Intelligence Committee reported that the rise of China, India and others would mean that by 2025 the US will be one of a number of important actors on the world stage, albeit still the most powerful.

China was lauded at this year’s Apec summit for its response to the global economic crisis, including a Rmb4,000bn ($586bn) fiscal stimulus package over the next two years on infrastructure and social programmes.

Expectations about continued investment by China in Latin America are high. China already has a bilateral trade agreement with Chile and this week finalised negotiations for an agreement with resource-rich Peru and flagged up a possible deal with Costa Rica.

In a speech to Peru’s Congress earlier in the day, Mr Hu called for a new era of cooperation with Latin America.

He also met with Lien Chan, Taiwan’s former premier. Mr Lien, a proponent of reconciliation with China, is the most senior official to attend an international meeting on behalf of Taiwan.

Mr Hu said China would follow ”a new path of industrialisation with Chinese characteristics and transform the mode of growth”.

”Instead of relying mainly on investment and export we will adopt a coordinated approach that combines consumption, investment and export to boost the economy. And instead of relying heavily on higher consumption of material resources we will achieve development by making scientific and technological progress,” he said.

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