Top China Official Calls For Better Asian Info Infrastructure

June 8, 2000

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Zhao Qizheng, director of the Information Office of the State Council of China, called Thursday for measures to prevent the economic growth gap from widening in Asia due to delays in introducing information technology.

Speaking at the Future of Asia conference in Tokyo, Zhao said it is urgently necessary to improve the Internet and other aspects of information infrastructure in the region.

Zhao also said that the globalization of the economy is an unstoppable trend. He emphasized that China will establish an open economy that can make the most of the networking era once it joins the World Trade Organization.

The two-day conference, sponsored by Nihon Keizai Shimbun Inc., runs through Friday.

Lee Kuan Yew, a senior minister of Singapore, said that China will become a very attractive investment target once it joins the WTO. He said China will become a strong rival for Southeast Asian countries in terms of attracting foreign investment.

Jeffrey L.S. Koo, chairman of the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce in Taiwan, said that China is the key for the development of East Asia. He said that China's problems are the result of the growing economic gap between inland areas and coastal regions, rising numbers of jobless people and an increased fiscal burden.

Rong-I Wu, president of the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, said the relationship between Taiwan and China is entering a new era.

Angang Hu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said it is necessary to strengthen the role of the Japanese yen in Asia.

(The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Friday morning edition)

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.