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Highlights of Premier Wen Jiabao's remarks

BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met the press Friday after the annual session of the National People's Congress concluded.

Following are highlights of Wen's remarks:

On stimulus package

-- China's stimulus package plan was not fully understood by the world. "Rumors and misunderstanding set the world stock market on a roller coaster ride."

-- The 1.18 trillion yuan from the central government is totally new investment in China's two-year 4-trillion-yuan (585 billion U.S. dollars) stimulus package.

-- China has prepared plans to cope with even bigger difficulties amid the financial crisis and is ready to roll out new stimulus package at any time.

-- Apart from the 4-trillion-yuan package, China will cut tax by 600 billion yuan, raise the old-age pension for retirees, hike the salaries of 12 million teachers, increase farmers' income and provide more subsidies for them, and spend 850 billion yuan on reforming the health care sector within three years.

-- Confidence is still what China needs most to carry out its all-around economic stimulus package. "Confidence can produce courage and strength, only with which can we overcome difficulties."

On foreign reserve, currency

-- "We lent such huge fund to the United States and of course we're concerned about the security of our assets and, to speak truthfully, I am a little bit worried."

-- On the foreign reserves issue, the first consideration is the national interest. But "we also have to consider the stability of the overall international financial system, as the two factors are interlinked."

-- Wen says no country in the world has the right to put pressure on the devaluation or appreciation of the Chinese currency.

On increased contribution to IMF

-- Wen advocates that member countries of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should shoulder responsibilities jointly in accordance with their quotas.

-- Any country's increase of its contribution to the IMF should be considered in the light of their own situations and be based on the voluntary principle.

On support for Hong Kong, Macao

-- Within this year a supplement agreement to the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) will be signed, which will further increase the access to the mainland market for the services sector in Hong Kong.

-- Construction of the proposed bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macao, and Zhuhai will start before the end of this year.

-- "The motherland will always provide the strongest support for Hong Kong and Macao."

On the target of 8 percent economic growth this year

-- China faces difficulties in achieving the goal of 8 percent economic growth in 2009, but it is possible with "considerable efforts".

--"It is just like we need compass on a sailing vessel to know where we are heading for and when we will arrive at the destination."

-- China has three advantages to achieve the target: a huge and expansive market; a reservoir of labor resources and talents; a healthy and stable finance system thanks to reforms over the past decade.

On Tibet and Dalai Lama

-- Talks between the central government and the Dalai Lama may continue if he is sincere and really gives up his separatist attempt.

-- The Dalai Lama can change his course, but he can never deny what he has said in the past.

-- Tibet is an inalienable part of China and issues related to Tibet are China's internal affairs which should not be interfered by foreign countries.

-- Stability and development of Tibet has demonstrated that the Chinese central government has carried out correct policies in the region.

-- China hopes the French side would show its clear-cut attitude toward Tibet-related issues to help recover relations between China and France as quickly as possible.

On Taiwan issues

-- The economic ties between the mainland and Taiwan are almost "indiscerptible," and with such close ties, "We should step up cooperation to confront the financial crisis together."

-- "Although I am 67 years old, if it is possible, I would like to go to Taiwan. Even if I can no longer walk, I will crawl to Taiwan."

-- The mainland is willing to have consultations for Taiwan's participation in international organizations for the benefits of Taiwan compatriots.

On fiscal deficits

-- China's fiscal deficit is under control and the government's debt level is safe.

On employment, stability

-- Society remains stable despite a gloomy employment situation amid the global financial crisis.

-- To solve the problem of unemployment, the most important job is to improve support for small and medium-sized enterprises, which hire 90 percent of the labor force.

On political reform

-- China will actively advance reforms of its political system to develop socialist democracy, promote equity and justice and strengthen supervision on the government.

On G20 meeting

-- Assistance to developing countries, especially the least developed countries, should top the agenda of the upcoming G20 meeting in London.

-- As the largest developing country, China had exempted 46 least developed countries from more than 40 billion yuan worth of debts by 2008, and the country's assistance to developing countries had exceeded 200 billion yuan.

-- China will build more hospitals and schools in Africa, allow more African students to study in China, and send more medical staff and teachers there.



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