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February 18, 2010

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China urged to lead Asian nations out of poverty

CHINA, with its huge resources and success in reducing poverty, should lead developing Asian countries in attaining the Asia-Pacific region's Millennium Development Goals, a senior official of the United Nations Development Program told reporters in Manila yesterday.

"China is the champion of the Millennium Development Goals," Ajay Chhibber, the UN program's regional director for Asia and the Pacific, told a briefing in Manila.

China has been on track in attaining most of its millennium development targets, including slashing its poverty rate from 60 percent to 16 percent in 2005, reducing malnutrition, halting the spread of HIV and AIDS and providing universal primary education.

China also allocated a quarter of its fiscal stimulus package to social protection programs such as allocating for low-rent housing and improving rural living standards.

The UN official noted that China has set "very important positive example" to other countries that have yet to fulfil their millennium development goals.

But more than that, China, owing to its substantial resources, can also help other developing countries attain their targets.

This is especially crucial now, Chhibber said, because the global meltdown threatens the recent gains that Asian countries have posted in attaining their millennium development goals.

A joint report released yesterday warned that the global economic crisis could trap an additional 21 million people in the Asia-Pacific region in extreme poverty.

The report warned that those people might live on less than US$1.25 a day.


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