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UPDATED: September 28, 2010 NO. 40 OCTOBER 7, 2010
Hitting the Mark
After making early progress, China remains committed to the UN Millennium Development Goals

PEACEFUL DEVELOPMENT: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivers a speech at the general debate of the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on September 23 (SHEN HONG)

At the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirmed China's determination to realize its commitment to the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

During his three-day stay from September 21-23, Wen attended a summit on the MDGs and a summit of Security Council member states, as well as the general debate. He also met world leaders, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. President Barack Obama.

Contributing to the MDGs

At the MDG summit, Wen expounded on China's efforts to realize the MDGs during the past 10 years. He said that China would step up efforts to reduce poverty and achieve the MDGs.

In 2000, world leaders agreed to establish, under the UN framework, eight goals in areas ranging from economic and social development to environmental protection, to be realized by 2015. According to the UN, China has made remarkable progress toward the MDGs and is expected to achieve all the goals on time.

China remains a developing country, but it will continue to make efforts for the common good of mankind, Wen said.

"China's development is an opportunity to the world and the world stands to gain from a China that is better off," the premier said. "History will continue to prove this."

Justin Yifu Lin, World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, believes among all the MDGs, there is one goal—the reduction of poverty by half from 1990-2015—that is likely to be achieved.

"The reason it is likely to be achieved, is because of the huge poverty reduction in China," he said in a lecture given at New York's Columbia University on September 23. "This achievement, I would like to say, was beyond anyone's expectation."

Li Tiecheng, Director of the UN Research Center of the Beijing Language and Culture University, said China has made great efforts to realize the MDGs through rapid economic development, and has provided all help possible to the economic and social development of other developing countries.

"This also helps these countries to realize the MDGs," said Li, according to a Xinhua report. "China's assistance is appreciated by beneficiary countries and applauded by the international community."

Zheng Qirong, Vice President of the China Foreign Affairs University, said this was the third consecutive year top Chinese leaders have participated in annual UN conferences. Their participation aimed to help strengthen the central role of the UN in international affairs.

"China has made great progress toward the MDGs," he said. "China's development is a major contribution to help the UN to achieve its MDGs by 2015. Its achievements also set a good example for the international community on realizing the MDGs."

China respects the UN's authority, he said, and it plays a constructive role in all aspects of UN affairs. Zheng predicted China, with its growing economic strength and increasing presence on the world stage, will contribute more to the UN.

Wen said that achieving the MDGs remains a long, uphill journey, and that progress toward the MDGs is still uneven in different regions, including China.

"We are clear-headed about our place and role in today's world," he said in a speech titled "Getting to Know the Real China" at the general debate of the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly on September 23.

Although China's total GDP is large, the per-capita figure is only one tenth that of developed countries, said Wen. In 2009, China's GDP was $4.6 trillion, the third largest in the world, but the country's per-capita GDP was only about $3,700, below 100th in the world.

"This is the real China," he said, pointing out that the country remains at the lower end of the global industrial chain, and still has 150 million people living below the poverty line established by the UN.

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