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APEC Telecom Ministerial Meeting Ends Fruitfully
The 5th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting of Telecommunications and Information Industries (TELMIN5) concluded in Shanghai Thursday, with fruitful results embodied in two documents, namely, the Shanghai Declaration and the Program of Action.

The two documents, passed by all the delegates, highlighted the theme of TELMIN5 as to "leverage the digital opportunities for common progress."

The two-day meeting laid a solid foundation for future cooperation among APEC economies in the field of telecommunications and information.

The two documents highlight the spirit of "cooperation", as all the participants reached consensus that "sharing experiences" and "joining hands" will be the major ways to solve current problems.

At the meeting's opening ceremony, Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Bangguo said that the key step for APEC economies is to establish an effective mechanism for a sound environment for international cooperation.

He also expressed his hope that all APEC economies would "promote more in-depth, wide-ranging and effective cooperation", for which "China will make persistent efforts."

A three-party dialogue, as an important part of the meeting, brought officials, experts and entrepreneurs together to discuss the issue of the "digital divide."

Statistics show that, by the end of 2001, the telephone access rate in the better-off economies of North America and Australia was more than 50 percent, and some even surpassed 100 percent. By contrast, a quarter of the APEC economies have phone access rates at a mere 10 percent or lower.

Many participants believe that, as informatization is now a worldwide trend development, information and telecommunication are still an important impetus for the world economy, and also play an irreplaceable role in economic prosperity.

Concerted efforts and concrete measures should be taken to help developing countries facilitate infrastructure construction and information industry development, transcending the "digital divide" between rich and poor into "digital opportunities" for all.

TELMIN5 also included four plenary sessions, in which participants exchanged views on "information infrastructure", "policies and marketing administration", "information and Internet security" and "human resources training."

David Lim, Singaporean minister of information, communications and arts said that some industries, like information, telecommunications and the media, will blend with each other in the tide of information technology renovation, thus demanding that governments to take countermeasures.

In terms of network security, Chinese Minister of the Information Industry Wu Jichuan said that it is the duty of the government to ensure network and information security, and governmental departments should adopt effective measures in this regard.

The meeting added an attachment on information infrastructure security to the Shanghai Declaration.

Some participants advocated that developing economies should reform and restructure the information industry, make new policies, promote technological renovation, and facilitate infrastructure and personnel construction.

(Xinhua News Agency May 31, 2002)

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