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China, ASEAN to Hold Special Meeting on Bird Flu

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said Tuesday that China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will hold a special meeting on dealing with avian influenza on March 2 in Beijing.

"Experts and officials of vice-ministerial level from relevant departments of the ten ASEAN nations will attend the meeting at the invitation of the Chinese side," Zhang said.

In addition, the ASEAN secretariat, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health will also participate in the meeting.

Since December of last year, avian influenza has swept parts of some Asian countries, including China. "We hope the meeting could promote international communication and cooperation on the fight against bird flu," Zhang said.

Zhang said the meeting will provide a forum for participants to exchange their experiences on the prevention and control of the disease and analyze the current epidemic condition in Asia.

Detailed preventative and control measures will also be worked out at the meeting, Zhang said, adding that the measures will include the initiative of a China-ASEAN public health cooperative fund as well as technical cooperation and personnel training in relevant fields.

A joint press statement will also be released at the China-ASEAN special meeting, she said.

(Xinhua News Agency February 24, 2004)

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