Japan and China laid out competing visions of how to create a European Union-style trade bloc in Asia at a regional summit here Sunday, with China pushing for stronger ties with its trading partners in Southeast Asia while Japan held open the door for the U.S. to play a role in a proposed East Asia regional trade group.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama were careful not to clash too visibly at the two-day meeting in this Thai seaside town.

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The leaders supported each other’s efforts to strengthen economic ties in the region, which is recovering from the global economic slump much faster than Europe and the U.S. Both agreed that an EU-style union was a long-term objective to reduce Asia’s dependence on U.S. consumers rather than an immediate goal, with Japanese diplomatic officials saying the final entity could be as many as 20 years away.

via Asian Nations Push Ideas for Trade – WSJ.com.

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