China aims for developed status by middle of next century
From DAVID WALLEN in Copenhagen
CHINESE Prime Minister Li Peng yesterday set out a timetable for the mainland's development, warning that it would take 'several generations' before the country could be totally lifted from poverty and backwardness.
He also told delegates at the Copenhagen summit that China was 'against any interference in the domestic affairs of any country under whatever pretext'.
'Our goal is to raise China to the average level of development commensurate with a modern state by the middle of the next century,' he said.
Mr Li described China as a 'developing country' and chronicled its successes over the past 16 years of reform and 'opening up'.
'At present, though, there are still 80 million people living below the poverty line; the Government is determined to resolve this problem by the end of the century,' he said.
'In the process of building up and perfecting a socialist market economy, we will firmly push both ethical culture and material progress, invigorate the development of democracy and legal system, maintain social stability and enhance national unity - all in the interest of comprehensive social progress.' In a clear reference to the recent row with the United States over copyright and intellectual property, Mr Li said each party in international dealings would obviously assert its own interests.
'But it should also take account of and make allowance for the interests of the other parties. We should advocate consultations on an equal footing and refrain from imposing one's terms on others.
'We should practise give and take rather than undercut each other.
'We call for mutually beneficial co-operation and oppose the all too frequent resource to sanctioning. Let us take a longer perspective and do not be swayed by myopic considerations,' he urged.
Mr Li said the rich countries of the world had reached development largely at the expense of the poor countries. He called on developed countries to go for a 'rational settlement of the issue of international debt. They should also help to allay the predicament of the developing countries in areas such as funds and technology and undertake greater responsibilities in promoting world social development.' He said that all nations had the right to choose their own social system, model of development and values.
Mr Li's presence in Copenhagen has led to several small demonstrations and concern expressed by a variety of non-governmental organisations over China's human rights record.
Denmark's leading serious newspaper, Politiken, featured a picture of Mr Li on its front page yesterday above the headline 'Criminals'. In a leader on 'Criminals in Copenhagen' it listed Mr Li 'best known for his role in the large-scale killing of peaceful students in Tiananmen Square'.