PROVINCIAL leaders in Guangdong yesterday met senior Western executives at the inauguration of an international council which will seek ways to further boost economic development. The Governor of Guangdong, Lu Ruihua, assembled the foreign advisers at the first session of the International Consultative Conference on the Future Development of Guangdong Province, which will meet annually. Meeting the province's 18 appointed business and academic advisers, Mr Lu said the purpose of the council was to help Guangdong develop strategies to upgrade and optimise its industrial, science and technological capabilities. At an early morning reception, Guangdong Party Secretary Li Changchun thanked the advisers for their participation. Reiterating President Jiang Zemin's instructions for Guangdong to 'build on new strengths and scale new heights in economic development and be the leading province in the march towards modernisation', Mr Li called on the advisers to offer suggestions on how best to boost the province's growth. 'We are resolute on implementing strategies of export-oriented rejuvenation of Guangdong by means of science and education, and achieving sustainable development,' he said. Mr Li also said the Pearl River Delta, in particular, should take a leading position in the modernisation drive and serve as a role model for the rest of the province. No mention was made of the financial and political scandals that have rocked the province in recent months. Speaking on the sidelines of the meetings, BP Amoco managing director Chris Gibson Smith said he intended to raise questions as to exactly how Guangdong could develop 'a world-class industrial performance'. President of Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum, Maarten van den Bergh, said it was essential for Guangdong to consider how best to link research with commercial development. ING Group executive board member Alexander Rinnooy Kan stressed the importance of Guangdong's native entrepreneurial energy to help boost growth in high technology. On the collapse of Guangdong International Trust and Investment Corp, the province's leading window company that was declared bankrupt in January, Mr Rinnooy Kan said the incident would in the end force the Government to embrace greater openness. 'For us the moral of the story is this government realises the need to be transparent and clear with its commitments and obligations,' he said.