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China Outlines SAARC Cooperation
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Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, currently visiting New Delhi, today announced five proposals for cooperation between China and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).


"The Chinese government supports the objectives and priority areas of SAARC," Li said at the 14th SAARC summit opening ceremony.


"China respects the positions of SAARC's member countries and will follow the principles of equality and mutual trust across all areas of exchange and practical cooperation. This will allow China to contribute with SAARC to peace and development in South Asia," he said.


China's proposals include establishing a joint poverty alleviation mechanism to complete research on models of poverty alleviation, exploring the possibility of regular China-SAARC meetings to collaborate on disaster relief.


China also extends an invitation to all SAARC countries to attend multilateral human resources training programs in China, and will aim to launch bilateral training programs for all SAARC countries.


Li also announced that the central government would encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in SAARC countries and ensure smooth bilateral development of the infrastructure and energy sectors.


China will further invite a delegation of senior South Asian diplomats to visit China this year and help move along plans for a China-SAARC seminar.


During the two-day summit held in New Delhi, the eight SAARC member states will discuss major peace and development issues including the regional fight against terrorism, poverty alleviation and intra-regional free trade.


SAARC, comprising of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, was established in 1985 back in 1985. It has granted observer status to China, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.


(Xinhua News Agency April 3, 2007)

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