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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-323309 CQ China World Bank (L-O)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=03/17/05

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE= CQ CHINA-WORLD BANK NOMINEE (L ONLY)

NUMBER=2-323309

BYLINE=LUIS RAMIREZ

DATELINE=BEIJING

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

///// CLARIFIES IN PENULTIMATE GRAF THAT WORLD BANK'S LOANS TO CHINA TOTAL 366-BILLION DOLLARS /////

HEADLINE: China Gives Cautious Response to Wolfowitz Nomination as World Bank Head

INTRO: China, the World Bank's biggest customer, says it can work with whoever becomes the bank's next president. As VOA's Luis Ramirez in Beijing reports, Beijing officials gave a muted response to the nomination of the conservative Paul Wolfowitz to head the non-profit lending institution.

TEXT: Chinese officials did not join other world leaders and aid agencies in criticizing President Bush for picking Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank.

Political analysts had widely predicted Beijing might protest the choice, given remarks he has made in the past about China's rising profile in the world.

Mr. Wolfowitz angered Chinese officials in 2001 when he predicted China would reach superpower status in as little as 25 years' time. He said China could eventually emerge as a threat to the United States.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao refused to criticize or endorse Mr. Wolfowitz's selection, saying Beijing's only concern is that the World Bank continues its efforts to help developing countries.

/// LIU ACT UNDER TRANSLATOR ///

"No matter who becomes president of the World Bank, we will continue to work with this person in the future."

/// END ACT ///

The World Bank is dedicated to helping developing nations build their economies and cut poverty. Traditionally, the United States names the head of the bank, while the European Union names the head of the affiliated International Monetary Fund.

China is the bank's leading recipient. As of 2003, the bank had lent the country a total of more than 366-billion dollars for nearly 250 projects - making China's portfolio by far the biggest in the bank.

Mr. Wolfowitz's nomination is controversial in some countries, as he is a conservative seen as a prime architect of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which many governments opposed. He is a long-time Washington insider and has served in the State Department and Defense Department for much of the past 30 years. (SIGNED)

NEB/HK/LR/KPD/RAE



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