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Wolfowitz to Visit World Bank Projects

The World Bank's new President Paul Wolfowitz will start his trip to China this week, his first visit to the country since taking office in June.

During the October 12-18 visit, Wolfowitz will meet Chinese farmers during trips to see some of the bank's poverty-alleviation projects.

However, this will not be Wolfowitz's first ever visit to China.

He first visited in 1983, as an assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs under the administration of US President Ronald Reagan.

He made his last visit to China in 2000, when he was in his last year as professor and dean of the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University. In 2001, he became the United States' deputy secretary of defence.

In a press briefing in Washington last week, Wolfowitz commended China for its growth and achievements in poverty reduction.

"The success story of China is a very important one to understand. It is a very important one in this institution to help other countries that want to learn from China's example," he said.

But he also said the country has much to do in fighting poverty.

"If you go to Shanghai, you go to Beijing, and maybe especially Guangzhou, you see incredible progress," he said.

"If you go to some other places, like western China, it's a different story."

By the international benchmark of living on US$1per day, China still has nearly 100 million living in poverty, World Bank economists say.

Wolfowitz will start his China visit in the rural areas of Gansu, a less developed province in northwest China, where he will visit projects for tuberculosis control, basic education improvement and environmental protection.

He will be attending the annual meeting of the Group-20's finance ministers and central bank governors during October 15-16 in Xianghe, a town near Beijing.

After the conference, he will visit some projects financed by the bank and other development agencies in Hebei, the province that surrounds Beijing.

During his stay in China, Wolfowitz will also meet senior Chinese officials, resident officials of United Nations agencies and other development organizations.

(China Daily October 10, 2005)

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