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President Pledges Support to UN
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President Hu Jintao Tuesday pledged China's continuous support for the United Nations and its international authority.

In a meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Hu said China would also support UN reforms.

"We support the United Nations and the UN secretary-general to play an important role in international affairs," Hu was quoted by a foreign ministry spokesman as saying.

He said the UN, the most representative and authoritative inter-governmental organization, provides a vital arena for the practice of multilateralism and international collaboration.

A powerful United Nations can help guide the world on major issues of peace and development, he said, and the UN Charter should guide international relations.

Annan thanked Hu for the Chinese Government's long standing support both for the UN and himself.

He said China has growing influence on international affairs and has become a major force in the cause of world peace and development.

The country, he added, has achieved positive results in achieving the Millennium Development Goals set by the UN.

Annan said the UN reforms, aimed at better preparing the UN to meet modern threats and challenges, need the support of member countries, including China.

Annan Tuesday also said that China has played a "central role in the international community's response to threats against international peace and security."

He made the remarks after watching a training exercise by Chinese peacekeeping police at the China Peacekeeping CIVPOL (Civilian Police) Training Center in Langfang, Hebei Province.

He said peacekeepers from China have done an outstanding job and set up a high standard in peacekeeping operations in the past.

The world is looking for China to play a more direct part in peacekeeping and other operations mounted by the international community to bring an end to conflict and help war-torn countries rebuild their societies, he said.

The UN Security Council has authorized the deployment of another 30,000 uniformed personnel around the world, Annan said.

There are 50,000 already in the field.

Once an official in charge of UN peacekeeping operations, Annan said he is "always excited when meeting with fellow peace-keepers."

"Peace-keeping is a challenge, an exciting thing but it is also difficult," Annan said. "You are called upon to operate far away from home in different cultures, sometimes in different languages and try to work with the local population to bring peace."

Peacekeepers need patience and compassion, he said.

The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) is training more qualified peacekeeping police officers and plans to dispatch more personnel to UN missions, said China's Vice-Minister of Public Security Yang Huanning.

China will dispatch a formed police unit of riot police to Haiti on October 17, MPS officials said.

Zhao Xiaoxun, head of the contingent, said the contingent is trained and ready for what may await them in war-torn Haiti.

"My biggest hope is that all the members of the unit will return home safely after their six-month term ends," Zhao said.

To date, China has dispatched 297 peacekeeping police to East Timor, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Liberia, Afghanistan and Haiti. Of those, 92 are still working abroad.

After visiting the peacekeeping training center, the Secretary-General also visited a farm in Beijing and an HIV/AIDS testing center affiliated with the Chaoyang District Center for Disease Prevention and Control in Beijing. Annan inspected the test and monitoring facilities and chatted with Beijing HIV patients.

Annan lauds China's AIDS prevention and control efforts and urges the people to do away with discrimination against AIDS patients and help them treat the disease.
The UN chief extended his congratulations to the medical staff on the sport site for their superb work and said he was very pleased to see China was making tremendous efforts in the battle against AIDS.
Citing prevention and treatment of AIDS as a great cause, Annan said one of the most important aspects of the cause is that all people from all walks of life in society should be educated about the disease.
Fred Eckhard, the spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, said that although the rate of infection in China is relatively limited at present, it could become a scourge if not timely controlled.
Annan was very pleased to witness that China has been making efforts in the past two years, Eckhard acknowledged. The Chinese government has successfully launched a drive from the top to the grassroots level, raising national awareness of AIDS.
The latest official statistics, at the end of 2003, showed that China had about 840,000 HIV infected people.
Annan expressed the hope that all of China will do away with discrimination against AIDS carriers and encourage them to receive medical checks and get prompt, early treatment.

(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily, October 13, 2004)

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