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China Confident About Millennium Development Goals Despite World Financial Turmoil

Chinese officials are confident that the United Nations Millennium Development Goals can still be reached despite global financial turmoil. New challenges to the goals will be discussed during high-level meetings at the U.N. next week. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

China's Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei on Friday acknowledged the world faces a grim economic situation.

He was referring to the tumbling of world markets earlier this week after a major shake-up of U.S. investment banks.

Markets have since rallied but investors are still shaken by the drop and concerns about cash flow.

Despite the financial squeeze, He told journalists he is confident that if countries work together they can still drastically reduce poverty.

He says he believes there should not be any effect on implementing the promises made in the Millennium Development Goals. He says, at the very least, for China there will not be any effect.

He was speaking at a news briefing about Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's first visit to the United Nations. Mr. Wen will present China's position on meeting the poverty reduction goals.

The Millennium Development Goals include raising the status of women and cutting extreme poverty and hunger in half by 2015.

Chinese officials at the briefing touted the country's efforts in reaching the goals.

Huang Yanxin is deputy policy director at China's Ministry of Agriculture.

Huang says China's achievements have accelerated the reduction of global poverty. He says China accounted for more than 70 percent of the poverty reduction worldwide.

China has received wide praise for lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty by opening up its once closed economy to trade and investment.

China has received less praise for the relatively small amounts of aid it gives to poorer developing nations.

Gao Yuanyuan is in charge of aid to foreign countries at China's Ministry of Commerce. She acknowledges China's efforts are small compared with developed nations, but says they still make a difference.

Gao says China's active efforts for developing countries have brought about economic and social progress. She says China has played an important role in facilitating the reduction of poverty in the world.

The U.N. says high prices, especially in food and oil, raise new challenges for reducing poverty. The current financial crisis could also discourage governments from making the necessary investments and donations.

The world body says donors need to increase development aid by $18 billion a year until 2010 if they are to meet the poverty reduction goal.