The mainland will safeguard national security while focusing on international scientific and technological co-operation, President Jiang Zemin said. 'China has signed agreements on scientific co-operation with governments of 95 countries and established scientific links with more than 150 countries and regions,' Mr Jiang said in an interview with the mainland's Science magazine. 'The Chinese Government will fully support the development of worldwide and cross-region co-operation networks of scientific research and hi-tech industries, such as setting up Sino-Israeli, Sino-Australian and China-Asia Pacific Economic forum scientific collaboration funds.' The President said scientific and technological co-operation should be reinforced with all countries regardless of ideological or ethnic differences. However, he emphasised that such co-operation should not cross the line of intervening in a country's politics and threatening its national security. 'The world we live in is a colourful and diverse one,' the President said. 'One should not expect to have one single universal political model.' Mr Jiang said the country's feudal history 'that closed the door to external exchanges between China and the rest of the world' had hindered scientific and technological advances, but claimed the barriers were rapidly being removed. Along with a renewed commitment to global scientific collaboration, Mr Jiang outlined strategies for the support of scientific research on the mainland, including reform of the nine-year compulsory education system. He pledged to introduce favourable policies to attract overseas Chinese scientific talent to return to the country. Rejuvenating the country through science and education has been one of Mr Jiang's most important political platforms as he strives to strengthen his standing as the party's top leader. Vice-Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanhua told experts attending the 21st Century Forum in Beijing that the globalisation of scientific and technological co-operation was threatening the security of national information and technology. 'Such a threat is particularly fatal for developing countries,' Xinhua quoted Mr Xu as saying, adding that 'China will move to provide protection for its intellectual property and technology and scientific development, to stop our technological achievements from being taken out of the country illegally'.