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APEC Leaders Push Free-Trade, Bird Flu Cooperation


Asian and Pacific leaders put their full weight behind efforts to expand global trade as they concluded their annual summit in South Korea. They issued a call for new compromises and strategies to liberalize trade.

The leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group, which includes some of the world's biggest exporting powerhouses, made it clear Saturday they want a global push to expand trade. Summit host South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun announced the leader's stand.

Mr. Roh says the leaders expect progress at next month's World Trade Organization talks.

WTO members backed wide-ranging free trade goals four years ago, but implementation has been stalled. The WTO meeting in December is considered crucial to meeting those goals.

Although trade dominated the annual APEC summit in Busan, the 21 leaders also agreed cooperate to fight bird flu, find ways to ease the damage caused by natural disasters and to reduce the threat of terrorism.

Mr. Roh also said the APEC leaders support diplomatic efforts aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons programs.

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