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Wen says achieving MDGs remain long, uphill journey, promises to expand China's foreign aid

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday that achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) remain a long and uphill journey, promising that China will expand its efforts in foreign assistance.

Addressing the UN summit on MDGs, Wen said we must not lose sight of the fact that progress toward the MDGs is still uneven in different regions and fields.

"Many countries have yet to make visible headway in improving the health of women and children, achieving gender equality, and protecting the eco-environment," he noted.

"A considerable number of developing countries have been hit hard by global crisis, natural disasters and volatilities in the food and energy markets," he said.

Referring to China's efforts in foreign aid, Wen said China has always been sincere and selfless in providing various aids to developing nations alike, and has promoted their economic advancement and people's well-being.

Wen announced that China will, on top of the pledged assistance, provide another 200 million U.S. dollars in aid to flood-hit Pakistan.

"From now on, China will further strengthen and improve its foreign assistance and contribute to its due share to an early realization of the MDGs throughout the world," Wen said.

He laid out a six-point proposal to step up China's foreign aid efforts.

First and the most important, improving the livelihood in developing countries.

In the coming five years, China plans to build for the developing nations 200 schools, send 3,000 medical experts, train for them 5,000 medical staff, offer medical equipment and medicine for 100 hospitals. China will also donate 14 million U.S. dollars to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in the following three years.

Second, reducing and canceling the debts for the least developed nations. The Chinese government, by the end of 2009, has exempted 25.6 billion yuan of debt for the heavily indebted poor countries and the least developed ones.

Third, deepening financial cooperation with developing nations. China will continue to extend financing support of a certain scale to developing nations in the form of concessional loans and preferential export buyer's credit.

Fourth, expanding economic and trade relations with developing countries. Since July, 2010, China has already given zero-tariff treatment to the exports from 33 LDCs under more than 4,700 tariff items, covering the vast majority of the products from these countries.

Fifth, furthering cooperation with developing countries in agriculture. In the next five years, China will dispatch 3,000 agricultural experts and technicians to the developing countries and help those countries train 5,000 people in China. The cooperation will also cover agricultural planning, hybrid rice, aquaculture, farmland water conservacy and agricultural machinery.

Sixth, helping developing countries develop human resources. In the next five years, China will help them train an additional 80,000 professionals in various fields for developing countries.

It will increase the number of scholarships and mid-career master's degree programs for people from developing countries. It will also help them train 3,000 school principals and teachers in China.

Arriving in New York on Tuesday for a three-day visit, Wen will also attend the general debate of the 65th session of the UN General Assembly, and a summit of the UN Security Council member states.

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