29 Jan 2009

China, Russia blame US for economic crisis

4:00 pm on 29 January 2009

The leaders of China and Russia have blamed the United States for causing the global economic crisis on a gloomy first day of the World Economic Forum.

About 2,500 global political leaders and business people are attending the forum at the Swis ski resort of Davos, including New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for a new attitude by US President Barack Obama.

Mr Putin said the entire existing banking system had failed, while Mr Wen said a blind pursuit of profit had caused the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

They admitted their countries had been hit hard, but were in good positions to weather what Mr Putin described as "a perfect storm of historic proportions".

Pointedly, he called on the new administraton of Mr Obama to cooperative constructively.

The entire existing banking system had failed, Mr Putin said. Among his suggestions for change was a new system to stabilise energy prices, plus a warning against excessive nationalisation.