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Wolfowitz: China no threat to the world
By Xu Binglan (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-17 16:00

Energy and astronauts

The World Bank is also keen to co-operate with China on other issues such as energy efficiency, Wolfowitz said.

As the largest developing economy, with growing market power, China could become a world leader in renewable energy, vehicle fuel economy, and energy efficiency in manufacturing and construction, he said.

"China is clearly up to the task," Wolfowitz said in a speech to students at Lanzhou University.

"The successful launch of two astronauts right here in Gansu Province proves that China can master the world's most advanced technology."

In the interview, Wolfowitz said it was reasonable for China to develop its own space program, even though the country still has a huge poor population.

"In the first place that's for Chinese people to decide," he said. "And you have to think of development as requiring a degree of balance."

He used the World Bank's strategy in education projects as an example.

The bank puts priority on primary education. "But you can't just have a country of people with six grade graduates, you need college graduates, you need university researchers. You need balanced growth," he said.

Paul Wolfowitz, 61, was known as a key neo-conservative hawk in the US Government and a key architect of the controversial war in Iraq.

US decision to nominate him as candidate for the World Bank's presidency led to opposition from some parts of the world. The nomination was approved by the bank's board after diplomatic efforts by the US and Wolfowitz himself.

Since taking office, however, Wolfowitz has worked to establish his image as a strong advocate of the World Bank's anti-poverty mission, rather than a tool for US values.

He lobbied hard for increased aid and debt relief for poor countries and reduction of trade barriers. He defied proposals by some to slash the bank's support to what they called "middle-income countries" such as China.

He traveled extensively to donor nations, to secure smooth co-operation, and to developing countries, to know local people's needs at first hand.

In Gansu, the soft-spoken man spent substantial time talking with farmers about their lives and expectations for their children. He also visited a village Mosque and recited by memory Arabic prayers from the Koran.

Responding to the question whether he would reorient the bank and turn it into an instrument to promote US-style democracy, he said there are issues -- such as the accountability of government -- which support economic development that some people might say are political. Development should be given a meaning in a broader context, he said.

"The mission of the World Bank is to reduce poverty and to promote economic development and that's really what I want to stress," Wolfowitz said.

"When it comes back to the test of whether we (the World Bank) are doing our job or not, it's whether we're promoting development, not whether we're promoting democracy."

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