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UPDATED: 21:02, March 18, 2005
China to continue aid to tsunami-affected countries: official
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China will continue to play an active role in the coordinated and harmonious international aids to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the tsunami-affected countries, an official said Friday in Manila.

The pledge was made by the Chinese delegation at the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-hosted High-level Coordination Meeting on Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Assistance to Tsunami-Affected Countries.

Ju Kuilin, Deputy Director General of International Department of Finance Ministry, told Xinhua that as international aids are being poured into the tsunami-hit countries, the urgent need has been recognized to enhance coordination and utilization of the donated resources in the rehabilitation and reconstruction.

"As we move from the disaster relief stage to reconstruction, which by nature is a medium to long term exercise, more concerted efforts in the affected countries and by the international community at large are needed," he said.

The Chinese government supports the leading role of the United Nations in coordinating the international relief, especially in mobilizing more humanitarian and financial support for the stricken countries, the director noted.

Apart from UN, the multi-development banks are also expected to play bigger roles with their financial and human resources strength, he added.

As the third biggest share holder of the ADB, China appreciated the region's bank for its swift action to set up the Asian Tsunami Fund, using its surplus and net income, and will do its due part to support this effort, Ju said.

According to the Chinese Finance Ministry, by the end of January, China had delivered to the tsunami-affected countries emergency grants and aid materials worth over 30 million US dollars, accounting for 51 percent of its pledged contribution.

Apart from that, the Chinese government has also sent close to 150 medical and relief workers to Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and assessment teams to Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

China has also pledged to launch information-sharing program with the countries, including digital earthquake monitoring network and technology platform for the earthquake and tsunami early warning system, he added.

Indonesian Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Alwi Shihab, who heads the country's delegation to the conference, said that his country appreciated the helpful and meaningful aids from China, especially in the school building and healthcare service.

"We would like to convey our gratitude to the Chinese government and people for their prompt response to the tsunami disaster in Indonesia," he said.

On the future aids that China would offer to the tsunami-hit countries, the Chinese official said that besides more donation to be contributed, the country would mobilize and encourage the private sectors to participate in the relief activities through reconstruction projects and material purchasing.

"As a developing country in the region, China is rich in experience and human resource in the reconstruction, which can be shared with the tsunami-hit countries with the similar developing level with China," he said.

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