President Hu Jintao told cadres in the northeast provinces - Heilongjiang , Jilin and Liaoning - that their region had an 'excellent opportunity' to stage a comeback. Mr Hu, who just ended a three-day visit to Jilin, told the cadres they can turn their sluggish economies around if they make rational decisions based on sound market principles. Once hailed as the 'elder sons of the People's Republic', the three provinces have slumped during the past decade and been overtaken as the nation's growth engines by coastal provinces such as Jiangsu and Guangdong. But Mr Hu reminded officials in Jilin that all was not lost. 'The decision by the [Communist] Party central leadership to revitalise the northeast offers you a highly valuable opportunity,' Xinhua quoted Mr Hu as saying. '[You] must seize this opportunity.' He also reminded cadres to place top priority on the public interest when formulating policy.