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Wen: China to Meet Millennium Goals

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday that China would step up efforts to reduce poverty and fulfill its commitment to realizing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Addressing the UN summit on the MDGs, Wen said over the past 10 years since the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, the basic daily demands of a great number of people worldwide have been guaranteed.

He called on the international community to prioritize African development and poverty alleviation so as to fulfill the MDGs in the coming five years before the 2015 deadline.

Wen noted that achieving the MDGs remains a long, uphill journey, and that progress toward the MDGs is still uneven in different regions and fields. He promised that China will expand its efforts in foreign assistance.

"Many countries have yet to make visible headway in improving the health of women and children, achieving gender equality, and protecting the eco-environment," he said.

"A considerable number of developing countries have been hit hard by the global crisis, natural disasters and volatilities in the food and energy markets," the premier said.

Referring to China's efforts in foreign aid, Wen said China has always been sincere and selfless in providing various kinds of aid to other developing nations, and has promoted their economic advancement and people's well-being.

Wen announced that China will, on top of the pledged assistance, provide another 200 million U.S. dollars in aid to flood-hit Pakistan.

"From now on, China will further strengthen and improve its foreign assistance and contribute to its due share to an early realization of the MDGs throughout the world," Wen said.

He laid out a six-point proposal to step up China's foreign aid efforts, which includes improving the livelihood in developing countries,reducing and canceling debts for the least developed nations, deepening financial cooperation with developing nations, expanding economic and trade relations with developing countries, furthering cooperation with developing countries in agriculture and helping developing countries develop human resources.

The Chinese premier also expressed confidence that the MDGs could be achieved as scheduled in China.

Since 1978, the number of Chinese living in absolute poverty has been lowered by over 200 million, accounting for 75 percent of the total population lifted out of poverty in developing countries, Wen said.

China, with its large population, weak economic foundation and imbalances in development, is not yet a rich country. Its per capita GDP ranks about 100th in the world, Wen noted, adding that by the Chinese government's standard, tens of millions of Chinese people are still below the poverty line.

The government is formulating the 12th five-year plan for economic and social development and the program on poverty alleviation through development for the new decade, both of which will lay greater emphasis on poverty alleviation, Wen said.

The MDGs, forged at a UN summit in 2000, include eight ambitious goals such as cutting extreme poverty in the world by half, reducing infant and maternal mortality, establishing universal primary education and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

Wen arrived in New York Tuesday afternoon to attend a series of UN meetings.

Earlier on Wednesday, Wen attended a UN panel to discuss ways to enhance anti-AIDS efforts as part of a global campaign to meet the MDGs.

Initiated by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the panel was co-hosted by China, Nigeria and South Africa at the UN headquarters.

During the meeting, Wen and other world leaders illustrated the developing countries' determination to cope with HIV/AIDS and achieve the MDGs. They also called for further cooperation among developing countries and urged developed nations and the international community to honor their commitments.

Wen also appealed to the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS and other international institutions to step up coordination, mobilize resources and make good use of their professional expertise to help developing countries, sub-Saharan African countries in particular, improve HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

He also called on the international community to intensify cooperation on HIV/AIDS-related scientific research and the multinational medical institutions and pharmaceutical companies to make real efforts to lower the cost of HIV/AIDS treatment and drugs.

On the same day, Wen met celebrities from the US economic and financial community, and said China and the United States should positively carry out a large-scale economic and trade cooperation. The Chinese premier also said that political and strategic mutual trust between the two countries should be the precondition of such cooperation.

Wen said the RMB exchange rate isn't responsible for the mounting US trade deficits. The reason lies in the structure of Sino-US investment and trade, and both countries should carry out a large-scale trade investment cooperation based on equality, mutual trust and mutual benefit, he said.

During his three-day stay, Wen is also scheduled to attend the general debate of the 65th session of the UN General Assembly and a summit of the UN Security Council member states. He will also meet some world leaders, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

(Xinhua News Agency September 23, 2010)

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