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Quake-hit Chile, Haiti to Attend Shanghai World Expo as Scheduled

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Chile and Haiti will participate in the Shanghai World Expo, which opens on May 1, as scheduled though powerful earthquakes caused heavy casualties and damages in the two countries, a Chinese official said here Wednesday.

"As far as I know, the earthquakes have not affected their plans to participate in the World Expo," Wan Jifei, executive director of the Shanghai World Expo Executive Committee, told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, the top political advisory body.

Wan, also a member of the CPPCC National Committee, said the Shanghai World Expo Executive Committee has kept close contacts with Chile and Haiti after two separate deadly earthquake recently struck both countries.

The organizing committee will continue to support Chile and Haiti to ensure the opening of their pavilions as scheduled, Wan said.

Construction of the Chile Pavilion at the Expo 2010 Shanghai was completed last November and has begun decorations and exhibition layout.

Chile is the first Latin American country which confirmed its participation in Shanghai World Expo. It built a pavilion covering an area of 3,000 square meters.

Wan vowed to provide participants with quality and efficient service to overcome difficulty to ensure the completion of their pavilions ahead of the Expo's opening.

He admitted that a slow construction pace did exist in some foreign-built pavilions for the World Expo due to the buildings' "complexity" but did not specify their names.

"Even if a certain participant is behind others on the construction and exhibition arrangement, the World Expo will still open on May 1 and the overall event will not be affected," Wan said.

According to the organizing committee, 192 countries and 52 international organizations have confirmed their participation in the global exhibition that traditionally showcases the latest worldwide advances in architecture, engineering and technologies.

Organizers expect the six-month event, held in Shanghai from May 1 to October 1, would attract 70 million visitors, of which more than 5 percent will come from abroad.

(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2010)

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