China increases preferential credit to ASEAN by five billion US dollars

      China on Saturday announced that it would raise the preferential part of the commercial credit it offers to Southeast Asian nations by five billion US dollars. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced at a summit with ASEAN dialogue partners that the perferential part of the 15-billion-U.S.-dollar credit would increase to 6.7 billion U.S. dollars. "We made the offer to demonstrate our support for China-ASEAN cooperation in infrastructure construction," Xinhua quoted him, as saying. China had unveiled the plan to offer 15 billion U.S. dollars of commercial credit to the ASEAN countries in April. The credit is to be provided in the next three to five years. To demonstrate its close ties with ASEAN, China also rolled out a plan to setup a China-ASEAN investment cooperation fund of 10 billion U.S. dollars to promote cooperation on infrastructure construction, energy and resources, information and communications. Jiabao said at the summit Saturday that the first one billion U.S. dollars of the fund was close to being in place. According to the agency, he also made a number of other proposals to advance cooperation with the ASEAN in fields such as the economy, finance, trade, environment, rural development and regional cooperation.

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