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China  Announces $10 Billion Asian Infrastructure Investment


Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has announced a new $10 billion Asian infrastructure investment fund and said China's stimulus package was already paying off.

He also called Saturday for a more diversified monetary system and responsible oversight.

In his opening remarks at the Boao Forum on Asia, Mr. Wen said the China-ASEAN Fund on Investment Cooperation would support infrastructure development in the region.

He cautioned that world economic recovery could be a "long and torturous process" and that "the basic trend of the world economic recession is not reversed."

But Mr. Wen stressed the importance of confidence among world leaders, calling it "more valuable than gold" and said that hope was also important, like a "beacon."

He said his country's economy is running "better than expected" thanks to the government's $580 billion stimulus plan and attempts to increase domestic demand.

He cited a rise in consumer spending, industrial output, and investment, and said 2.7 million jobs had been created in the first quarter of 2009.

Only days ago, China announced a sluggish 6.1 percent growth rate in the first quarter, the country's slowest in a decade.

At that time, Mr. Wen said China still faced significant challenges due to the decrease in exports.

China has been questioning the U.S. financial system and the reliance on the U.S. dollar as the main international currency. In recent months he has expressed concern over the security of Chinese investments held in U.S. dollars. In his opening remarks, he did not mention the United States but again called for diversifying the international monetary system.

The Boao Forum brings together leaders from Asia and around the world and aims to promote regional economic integration. The conference is being held in southern China.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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