Accessibility links

China, Brazil Call for Increased Efforts in Fighting Poverty - 2004-05-26

China and Brazil have joined in calling for greater efforts to fight world poverty. The call came Wednesday at the World Bank Conference on Scaling Up Poverty Reduction, being held in Shanghai.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao says China will raise its contributions for alleviating poverty by pouring one hundred million dollars into development programs in Asia and Africa.

Mr. Wen and others at the conference say developed nations should take a greater role in eradicating poverty by providing more debt relief, and allowing developing nations greater access to markets. The Chinese prime minister says China will work to expand trade with other developing countries.

"China and other nations should work to guarantee that every country has an opportunity to develop," says Mr. Wen.

With millions of its own people living on less then a dollar a day, China has its own enormous problems of poverty and a widening gap between rich and poor. Still, World Bank officials praised the country for its efforts to lift millions out of poverty and its leaders' intentions to create a well-off society by the year 2020.

Also addressing the conference Wednesday was Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is on a six-day visit to China. He called hunger the "the worst weapon of mass destruction."

The speeches in Shanghai came after the governments of China and Brazil held a series of discussions this week on boosting trade and investment, which has been growing, due to China's surging demand for Brazilian soybeans, iron ore, and steel. Last year, China moved up one slot to become Brazil's number three trading partner after the United States and Argentina.

Speaking in Beijing Tuesday, the Brazilian president said his country will pursue a free trade agreement with Beijing in the near future.