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Cooperation Between China, ADB Bears Fruit
Asian Development Bank (ABD) programs in China boast the highest quality among the bank's member economies, said ADB resident representative in China Bruce Murray.

He told Xinhua recently that cooperation between ADB and China was beneficial by any standard.

Since the People's Republic of China joined the ADB 15 years ago, the number of cooperative programs between China and ADB had grown from zero to 90 plus. The value of ADB loans to China each year had grown from over US$100 million to more than US$1 billion.

China has become the second largest borrower of ADB loans and the largest user of its technical assistance grants. By the end of 2001, it had received ADB loans worth a total of US$11.3 billion and US$196 million in technical assistance grants.

The cooperation between China and ADB attracted wide interest across all sectors of Chinese society. China's late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping visited the Nanpu Bridge, an ADB infrastructure project in Shanghai. Chinese President Jiang Zemin has visited the Yangpu Bridge, another ADB-funded project and many other ADB programs in China. Senior Chinese leaders and government ministries keep in close contact with ADB.

Chinese Minister of Finance Xiang Huaicheng said aid from ADB had directly contributed to easing the shortage of funds, attracting advanced technology and management expertise, eliminating the transport and energy bottleneck, promoting economic growth, reducing poverty and protecting the environment.

Statistics show that ADB programs in China were mostly in the infrastructure sector and located in central and western areas of the country. The distribution of the programs follows China's development strategy.

Over the past few years, cooperation between China and ADB has widened to include growth promotion, poverty reduction, environmental protection, the development of western areas, the private sector, government and business governance.

The Cangzhou section of the newly completed arterial superhighway between Beijing and Shanghai was constructed with ADB loan funding.

Roads to nearby villages complement the 220-kilometer section of the superhighway. These ADB-funded roads help reduce traveling time between local villages and cities by at least 50 percent.

Sun Wenquan, a farmer in Shidong village, Hebei province, said the roads helped open a door to prosperity for the villagers.

He said local farmers were growing far more vegetables and fruits than before and local weavers could easily transport their crafts to market. The cash income of the villagers had multiplied, Sun said.

As a result, the highway project was recognized as a model program by ADB for its efficiency.

Cooperative projects between China and ADB illustrated some of the best in quality and loan repayment, Murray said, adding that they have played vital roles in alleviating poverty and promoting development in Asia.

China had successfully reduced its numbers of poverty-stricken people from over 80 million to less than 30 million, and its economy had kept a development momentum going despite the global economic slowdown. Its success represented what the ADB was striving for.

Zhao Xiaoyu, ADB's Executive Director in China, said as ADB's third shareholder, China had actively participated in and played an important role in ADB's policy-making, operations and promoting regional economic cooperation in such areas as middle Asia, Mongolia and east Asia.

This year, ADB's 35th annual meeting will be held in Shanghai from May 10-12. This is the second annual meeting to be staged in China since the 22nd meeting was held in Beijing in 1989.

A record three thousand people are due to attend . ADB President Chino Tadao expressed satisfaction after seeing preparations.

An ADB official said China, as the most rapidly-developing country in Asia, would receive major ADB support. It will adjust its aid plan to China by pouring 70 percent of loans into the country's middle and western region and supporting privately-owned companies. He believes that cooperation between the two parties will become even more beneficial.

(Xinhua News Agency April 30, 2002)

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