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APEC focus on economy, security

SANTIAGO, NOV. 21. Pacific Rim leaders held a second day of talks on Sunday on moves to shore up global security and get rid of trade barriers that prevent the international economy from growing.

Leaders of 21 economies with coasts along the Pacific Ocean were expected to close their two-day summit by endorsing new security measures to improve air and cargo safety, and World Trade Organization talks aimed at liberalising free trade for the 148 WTO member nations. The push to spur the WTO negotiations is seen as important because the members' economies represent nearly half of the planet's trade.

Support for changes

Meeting the Mexican President, Vicente Fox, on Sunday, the U.S. President George W. Bush, renewed his support for changes to U.S. immigration law that would allow undocumented labourers to work legally. But Mr. Bush stopped short of pledging that he would push for enacting of the nearly year-old proposal.

On Sunday evening, the Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, was to meet the Chinese President, Hu Jintao.

Ties between the two countries have been strained since a Chinese nuclear submarine entered Japanese waters just over a week ago.

Much of Mr. Bush's focus at the summit has been to win support to push North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons programme.

APEC started in 1989 to boost trade among Pacific Rim nations, but its focus has broadened to include security matters in recent years.

With terrorism increasing at a pace as rapid as world trade is growing, business and security have become inseparable, said the Canadian Prime Minister, Paul Martin.

AP

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