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Shanghai's Golden Moment
Shanghai will seize the golden opportunity of hosting the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) 2001 meetings to propel further an economic development that has been on the upswing in the city for nearly a decade, Shanghai Mayor Xu Kuangdi told a press conference yesterday evening in Shanghai's brand-new International Media Center.

"Today Shanghai demonstrates its strongest ever vitality," said the mayor of Shanghai, the city of some 16 million people on China's east coast that is the country’s economic, trade and financial center. Xu's speech helped welcome to Shanghai some of the 3,000 press representatives from all over the world expected for the APEC meetings that begin today and end October 21 with a summit of heads of state including those of China, Russia and the United States.

Xu said that besides enhancing Shanghai's international profile as the host of the most influential economic cooperation organization in the Asia-Pacific region, the APEC meetings will enable Shanghai to act as a window to China in its reform and opening up to the rest of the world -- especially APEC senior officials, economic leaders, ministers, and the media. The opportunity will improve local trade and investment environment, strengthen its cooperation with APEC member economies, and push the sustained economic growth of the city.

According to Xu, hosting APEC also will help Shanghai serve as a bridge across the "digital divide" between developing and developed countries. To ensure a successful APEC meeting, Shanghai has integrated the most advanced digital information technology by investing nearly US$40 million into new construction of facilities, cable communications, and wide-band Internet access.

Xu also said that to achieve common prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, developing countries including China must push forward in education, science and technology as well as strengthen cooperation with developed economies to narrow the information technology divide between them.

Despite the negative impact of the September 11 attack on the United States and the slump in world economy, Xu said that Shanghai is expected to keep up double digit economic growth since 80 percent of its economy growth is based on domestic demand.

Xu reiterated that Shanghai's preparations for APEC 2001 included meticulous and careful measures to guarantee security and safety for all participants. More than 1,000 well-trained English-speaking local volunteers are also on hand for assistance.

Following the fourth senior officials meeting today will be over the next week a dual ministerial meeting, APEC CEO summit, APEC Business Advisory Council meeting, and the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting.

Founded in 1989, APEC stands as the highest level economic cooperation forum of the Asia-Pacific region, covering cooperative fields such as free trade and investment, economic and technical cooperation, dialogue on macro-economic policies.

The organization so far has 21 members -- Australia; Brunei; Canada; Chile; China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; the Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; the Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; the United States and Vietnam.

(china.org.cn by Guo Xiaohong 10/15/2001)

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