Authorities of a district in Beijing plan to send cadres to work in government agencies in the United States. The plan was revealed yesterday as the government of Dongcheng district announced its talent development strategy for the next 20 years. The district government has been sending officials to work in South Korea and Hong Kong since 2003, but it is hoping to expand the programme to Western countries, especially the US, in the hope that these officials can advance their urban planning and management skills. 'We are trying to send officials to the US to work in government departments involving high technology and urban planning and management,' a Dongcheng organisation department official said. 'Now we are making efforts to reach the governments in the US. Usually, the officials will be sent overseas for one year and will retain their original posts.' Chen Dapeng, the head of foreign affairs in Dongcheng district, said they had sent three officials to work in the Chongro district government office in Seoul in the areas of urban planning and civil affairs. 'From this year, we will send two cadres to Seoul each year. They will take posts there for one year,' Chen was quoted as saying. The district government said it would spend 50 million yuan (HK$58.3 million) each year towards the advancement of its cadres, including sending some in batches to work in foreign government units or large enterprises, the Beijing Morning Post reported. By 2030, more than 20 per cent of the district's cadres will have gained such experiences. Such a programme may develop into a new trend in all levels of government on the mainland. An official of the Communist Party's organisation department was quoted as saying that it would be more helpful for Chinese officials to work in government offices instead of only studying or training at overseas universities. In recent years, as many as 40,000 cadres have been sent abroad to study at overseas colleges, which costs hundreds of billions of yuan each year. Liu Xutao, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said: 'It's always good to open windows to see out into the world. Working in foreign government units will be more helpful and direct for China's cadres to learn and understand further reform and deeper mechanisms underlying overseas successes. 'On the other hand, it's also good to let overseas officials or politicians understand and communicate with Chinese cadres. But it should not be promoted across the country. It already costs the taxpayers huge sums of money to train these cadres.'