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World Bank president to visit China
Updated: 2005-10-08 10:10

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said here Friday that he is leaving Sunday on a two-week trip to Japan, China, Russia, Sweden and Finland, his first visit to these countries since taking office in June this year.

Telling a press briefing at the World Bank headquarters, Wolfowitz said he will also attend a meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Beijing, China.

Wolfowitz mentioned that China's gross national product increased by more than six times in the 20 years from 1984 to 2004. "It is stunning," he said.

"In the span of a few decades, East Asia has experienced the greatest increase in wealth for the largest number of people in the shortest time in the history of mankind," he said. "It is an incredible fact, and of course, without this growth in China, it wouldn't have happened."

He said that more than 400 million people in China have been able to escape extreme poverty in that 20-year time frame because of China's successful growth.

During his trip, Wolfowitz said he will stress the importance of a successful conclusion to the Doha Round of trade talks. Tradeis a key to help developing countries lift themselves out of poverty, he said.

Wolfowitz, 61, who was a former US deputy defense secretary, was unanimously confirmed as new president of the World Bank by the institution's Board of Executive Directors on March 31, 2005. His predecessor James Wolfensohn stepped down at the end of his second-five year term on May 31.

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