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APEC Leaders Discuss Global Economy

  • RFE/RL

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he understands why U.S. President Barack Obama decided to skip the APEC summit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he understands why U.S. President Barack Obama decided to skip the APEC summit.

BALI, Indonesia -- Asia-Pacific leaders are discussing strengthening the regional economy at a summit in Indonesia.

U.S. President Barack Obama canceled his attendance at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on the resort island of Bali to deal with the U.S. government shutdown.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who is replacing Obama, told business leaders at a meeting on the sidelines of the summit that the United States remains committed to the region.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, speaking at a separate meeting, said global economic recovery will be a "long and tortuous process."

In the absence of the U.S. president, China -- the world's second-largest economy -- is taking center stage at the gathering.

Xi also said he was confident the Chinese economy will sustain its economic growth, despite a recent slowdown.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of risks to the global economic recovery.

"A number of changes have taken place in the world over the last year," Putin said. "The peak of the [economic] crisis is behind us. However, we cannot count on a fast recovery of the global economy. The current economic model is burdened with structural problems." He said these problems include the fact that the pace of growth pace is slowing down or stagnating in the Asian-Pacific region.

Addressing a forum of business executives, Putin urged foreign investors to invest in major Russian infrastructure projects, saying Russia would create necessary conditions for foreign companies.

Putin also said Obama's decision to skip the summit was "justified."

"We see what is happening in the U.S. domestic politics, and this is not an easy situation," Putin said. "I think the fact that the U.S. president did not come here is quite justified. I think that if I were in his situation, I would not come either. Any head of state would do that, probably."

Putin, who has often publicly disagreed with Obama on foreign policy issues, said he hoped the United States would overcome the crisis as soon as possible.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and Interfax
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