Feb.27 - World Bank President Robert Zoellick says China's population will grow old before it gets wealthy, Beijing must proceed with reforms. Arnold Gay reports
NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4 BY 3 MATERIAL World Bank President Robert Zoellick says China will avoid a hard landing, but needs to reform its growth model. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WORLD BANK PRESIDENT ROBERT ZOELLICK SAYING: "But for a country of this size, of this importance, with the challenges are still ahead, a population that will grow old before it grows wealthy, I think it would be important that the next leadership team is able to proceed with the types of reforms discussed in this report." Zoellick was speaking in Beijing, at the release of a groundbreaking study on China to the year 2030, together with Chinese Finance Minister Xie Xueren. The report is a joint effort by the World Bank and the state council of China, and looks at the country's strategic choices, risks and opportunities over the next 18 years. It also offers recommendations on the future structure of China's growth model. Zoellick believes China's fast and stable economic growth can help the country avoid a hard landing and downturn, and will continue to be an important source of global growth. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WORLD BANK PRESIDENT ROBERT ZOELLICK SAYING: "And if anything, as I assess the world economy, as I'm often asked to do, I think China will likely be an ongoing source of growth. The potential crises I see are elsewhere." Zoellick had said earlier in Singapore, that prospects for global economic growth this year remain guardedly positive with much hanging on Europe stabilising after the Greek rescue deal, and with oil prices a wild card. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WORLD BANK PRESIDENT, ROBERT ZOELLICK, SAYING: "I think it buys time, I think, you know, it's too early to know. Partly it depends on the actions the Greeks have to take, I think that the debt adjustment was important, there's additional financial support. But I think the European Union has dealt with Greece as one element but the core elements are really going to be the success of the bigger countries such as Italy and Spain." The out-going World Bank President says he has no role in choosing his successor but made the point that Americans did not hold top posts at the United Nations, World Trade Organization, or International Monetary Fund. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WORLD BANK PRESIDENT, ROBERT ZOELLICK, SAYING: "I don't think it's a bad idea for America to share responsibility by heading some of these institutions, now traditionally it's been the World Bank that could change overtime. But I want the United States to feel a sense of responsibility to the international system, so in that sense if you get the right American candidate I think that could be good for the United States as well as for the Bank." Zoellick retires at the end of June, and the World Bank has invited its 187 member countries to put forward nominees. Arnold Gay, Reuters.