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More Efforts for 2008 Games Pledged
Chinese President Hu Jintao Monday pledged more efforts to strengthen public health, emergency response and security systems in China ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games.

Hu made the remarks during a meeting with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge in Lausanne shortly before leaving for Kazakhstan for a State visit.

Hu stayed in Lausanne to attend an enlarged dialogue meeting of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations that included leaders from developing countries in the French town of Evian on Sunday.

According to a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hu told Rogge that the recent outbreak of SARS in Beijing has not affected site construction and preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games.

He promised the Chinese Government would do its utmost to support the work of the Organizing Committee for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and further co-operate with the IOC to stage "the best'' Olympic Games.

Rogge was quoted as praising the work of Beijing Olympic officials as outstanding and efficient.

An Olympic Games in the most populous country bears great significance on the development of sports in the world, said Rogge, who also expressed his confidence in the future success of the even.

The Chinese President Monday reaffirmed the nation's position of standing with developing countries and promoting further co-operation with them at a breakfast with leaders of developing countries participating in the Evian event.

China is a developing country and the nation has always regarded it as the basis of its foreign policy to enhance co-operation with developing countries, Hu said.

During a separate meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad on Sunday local time, Hu said the new leadership of China will continue to attach importance to developing co-operative ties with Malaysia, a pledge responded positively by Mahathir.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said the two leaders stressed the role of the United Nations in resolving international issues, describing it as irreplaceable.

Hu also met renowned physicist Samuel Chao Chung Ting Monday.

After listening to Ting's briefing on his research work, Hu invited the 1976 Nobel Prize winner to visit China and give lectures, according to the spokesman.

Hu arrived in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, Monday evening on the start of a two-day official visit to the central Asian country.

The climax of his trip will be Tuesday's meetings with a series of senior Kazak leaders, including President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Premier Imangali Tasmagambetov.

Hu said in a statement on arrival that he would discuss bilateral ties and issues of common concern with his Kazak counterpart.

"In a changing international situation, the further development of Sino-Kazak relations is not only in the fundamental interests of both countries but also contributes to peace and stability in the region and the world at large,'' Hu said.

China and Kazakhstan have boosted co-operation in economic and security fields over the past ten years.

It is expected that the two countries will discuss energy issues and the "three forces'' of terrorism, separatism and extremism during Hu's visit.

Several Sino-Kazak documents will be signed later Tuesday.

Xing Guangcheng, general secretary of the Chinese Association for East European, Russia and Central Asian Studies, said the increasing political trust between the two sides could be best reflected by solving border issues, improving economic relations and trade, working together in the Shanghai Co-operation Organization, and jointly cracking down on the "three forces.''

Bilateral trade has grown smoothly in recent years and hit a record US$1.5 billion last year.

The sides have developed and operated the Uzen oil field and the Aktyubinsk oil and gas field in Kazakhstan since 1998.

Both countries are considering the possibility of jointly laying an oil pipeline from western Kazakhstan to China. The project would cost estimated US$3 billion - US$3.5 billion. The pipeline would extend for about 3,000 kilometers and handle at least 20 million tons of oil a year.

An official source in Beijing revealed that the two countries are expected to sign a general agreement on the project during Hu's stay in Kazakhstan.

(China Daily June 3, 2003)

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