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WB Chief: China Still a Developing Country

Xinhua, September 8, 2010 Adjust font size:

China is an important economic growth pole in the world, but it is still a developing country facing many challenges, World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick said Tuesday.

"China has scored amazing economic success for the past three decades, not only in terms of high growth rates, but also in poverty reduction and other areas," Zoellick told Xinhua in an exclusive interview ahead of his week-long visit to China scheduled for Sept. 9 to 15.

However, he said he believes China is still a developing country.

Tremendous changes have taken place in China over the past decades, but there are still many people in China's poor rural areas that don't even have access to electricity, he said.

World Bank economists estimated that China's remaining 208 million rural poor in 2005 accounted for the second largest national concentration of absolute poor in the world after India.

Commenting on the topic that China has surpassed Japan as the world's second largest economy in the second quarter of this year, he said many people outside China don't know there are still many poor people in China, and they need to "recognize China's conditions of being a developing country."

On China's challenges in the coming years, he said he thinks China needs to continue to pay attention to rebalancing development domestically in many sectors.

"This is not only a rebalancing of savings and consumption, but also urban and rural issues and related to that the possibility of increasing value-added production in China to support higher income and better living standards," he said.

In addition, the World Bank chief said China could try to address risks from spiking bank loans, the larger international economic environment, and environmental protection, among other things.

Zoellick's forthcoming visit would be his fourth official trip to China since he took office as the World Bank chief in July 2007, and one of the top priorities of the visit will be to attend activities to mark the 30th anniversary of the China-World Bank partnership.

He described this two-way collaboration as a "very fruitful one," adding that the World Bank is very proud of its partnership with China.

"What I think is most important about the China-World Bank relationship is that it is adjusted over time as China has changed," Zoellick said, adding that besides the long-time partnership and various cooperation projects, there has been a very helpful exchange of knowledge and learning.

The past three decades have been marked by China's extraordinary accomplishments and its evolving partnership with the World Bank, a partnership which reflects China's "broader role of stakeholder in the international system," he said.

"The notion of China as a 'responsible stakeholder' still applies now, and it evolves with time," he went on.

"China is a very important part of the global trading system, and China's developing experience is important. The outside world is looking to China to continue playing a constructive role," the World Bank chief said.

Zoellick, who introduced the notion of China as a "responsible stakeholder in the international community" in 2005, said the World Bank was about to deepen its partnership with China in areas such as micro-finance, knowledge sharing, and poverty alleviation.

"What the World Bank needs to do is to understand some of the priorities of the Chinese authorities and then try to customize projects and knowledge learning transfer," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency September 8, 2010)

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