The relationship between the World Bank and China is one of very close partnership and both sides can learn from each other in the course of developing their ties, World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn says.
In a recent exclusive interview with Chinese journalists prior to his Asian trip later this month which will also bring him to China, Wolfensohn said that in the early days of bilateral ties, the relationship between the two sides had been in the way of bringing to China the bank's experience in the other part of the world.
Since China's economy began to develop more energetically and the Chinese leadership became more sophisticated and experienced, the level of being a teacher with the student have been changed, he said.
"Many time I feel like a student, the (Chinese) government is the teacher. I would say now it is a very good partnership in which there is mutual respect," he said.
Wolfensohn begins his tour of China's mainland on May 23 following his visit to Hong Kong. This will be his first visit to China in five years and his second as the World Bank chief. "Like everybody else, I am very impressed by the achievements by the Chinese government. The greatest recognition I have is what they have done in reducing poverty, illiteracy, improvement of the health program. Nobody was not impressed by the achievements," he stressed.
He said he was particularly interested in the development in central and western regions of China. "So, there are things I want to look at, perhaps to learn something from what the Chinese government is doing."
In its long history of cooperation with China, the World Bank has financed 236 projects in China totaling more than 35 billion US dollars. Wolfensohn said such cooperation will continue although the Chinese government now needs much less financing from the bank.
But in the fields of information technology, environment, private sector investment, there are a number of issues the bank is looking to work closely with the Chinese government, he said. "I expect there are still many things we can do together in the coming years. So we are planning now a new phase of relations."
On China's role in the global economy, he said China is playing an increasing role. Although the Chinese economy is not a great financial power yet in terms of US dollars, it is one of very important economies in the world in terms of trade, the pace of development, purchasing power and the strength of the economy, he emphasized.
(eastday.com May 20, 2002)