Jiang Zemin
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Hu expounds on green policy shift

Jiang Zemin
Ting Shi

President calls for more balanced growth

President Hu Jintao yesterday expounded on his core domestic policies in front of hundreds of welcoming overseas Chinese on his third day in Australia.

The central leadership would make more efforts to steer the world's fourth-biggest economy onto a healthier development road, Mr Hu told Chinese embassy staff and members of local Chinese communities in the Australian capital Canberra.

A more balanced model, which takes into account environmental protection and social justice, is a key policy shift made by Mr Hu from his predecessor Jiang Zemin's focus on breakneck growth and is likely to feature high in his keynote speech to the Communist Party's 17th National Congress on October 15.

'Macro-economic controls need to be strengthened in order to prevent the current relatively fast economic growth from running away,' Mr Hu said. 'More structural adjustments need to be put in place to fine tune the economic development direction. We should pay more attention to protect natural resources and the ecological environment.'

Mr Hu listed the 'main challenges' facing the mainland economy as rapid industrial and investment growth, a big trade surplus and a tough outlook in cutting energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

On his second trip to Australia since he took over as party chief five years ago, Mr Hu spent more than an hour yesterday morning visiting a sheep farm outside Canberra.

Wearing a long black coat, the normally reserved president watched with great enthusiasm as a shearer clipped a merino sheep at Bywong station. Mr Hu also had morning tea with Ian Cusack, the owner of the station, and his wife and six children, before leaving in a navy scarf made from wool at the station.

Australia is the world's biggest wool exporter and China is its biggest customer, buying about US$1.3 billion worth - or more than 60 per cent of its total clip - each year.

China is the second largest trading partner of Australia, while Australia is China's ninth.