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Clinton seeks help to fight downturn
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Former US president Bill Clinton Tuesday urged China to contribute more to fight the global financial crisis, climate change and terrorism.

"China has much to contribute not only in meeting the challenges with the 1.3 billion people who live within its border, but in working with the rest of us to recover from the current financial difficulties and deal with the persistent problems of globalization which we all face," Clinton said at the opening of the two-day Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting in Hong Kong.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi addresses the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Hong Kong, November 2, 2008. Yang said China had already taken steps to fight the global financial crisis. [Edmond Tang]

The CGI focuses on a wide range of issues from education, energy and climate change to public health and economics, and is attended by some of the world's leading figures in these fields.

This year's CGI meeting is the first to be held outside the US since it began in 2005. The CGI has committed $46 billion for about 1,200 projects that would influence the lives of 200 million people in more than 150 countries.

The world faces many challenges, including diseases, shortage of food and water, and terrorism, which struck India devastatingly last week, he said, and urged private organizations to join hands with governments to deal with them.

"Our work was never more important because governments cannot solve all the problems alone," Clinton said. "We need partnership of the private sector and civil society."

Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said the financial crisis could not be tackled in a short time, and called for steps to be taken, especially by the US, to increase consumption and raise the value of assets.

"What they do in the next three to six months will decide whether there'll be a long or deep (recession), or a medium or shallow (one)," he said.

Lee urged China and India to reduce their energy consumption to slow the impact of global warming. "We have to do the best we can and hope the major consumers of energy, that is India and China, will come on board soon," he said.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said China has already taken steps to fight the financial crisis by announcing a $586 billion stimulus package and cutting the interest rate by 1.08 percent, the highest in 11 years.

China shares the responsibility of protecting the environment, he said, but called for the developed countries to provide more help to developing nations to fight global warming.

"We hope developed countries will continue to take the lead in reducing green house gas emissions and give as much help as possible to developing countries in terms of capital, equipment and technical know-how," he said.

Clinton will summarize the meeting's result today.

Congratulations for Hillary

Yang and the Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo congratulated Clinton on his wife Hillary being made the next US secretary of state. Yang congratulated Bill Clinton, and said he had already sent a congratulatory message to his wife. "We are looking forward to a very good working relationship with her," he said.

Clinton agreed to make public the names of the more than 200,000 people who have donated to the CGI to clear the way for his wife to become the top US diplomat.

(China Daily December 3, 2008)

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