SARS may force postponement of business meet in China

Thursday, 24 April 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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KATHMANDU: Asia's answer to the World Economic Forum, scheduled to be held in China in May, is likely to be postponed due to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The Boao Forum for Asia was set up to increase dialogue and coordination between Asian countries after the financial crisis of 1997. Heads of state, ministers, business community leaders and scholars attend the forum.

However, with China reporting 2,158 cases of SARS this week and with the panic it has triggered worldwide, a Nepalese daily quoted a government official as saying the forum's latest meet could be postponed.

Over 235 people are reported to have died worldwide from SARS, a killer pneumonia that has particularly affected China and some Southeast Asian nations.

Navin Bahadur Shrestha, a Nepal foreign ministry official at the China desk in Kathmandu, told the Himalayan Times his department received unofficial intimation that the meeting in Boao town would not be held in the second week of May as per schedule.

The May conference in China's Hainan province, the theme of which is "Asia Searching for Win-Win Development Through Cooperation", was to see participation from King Gyanendra of Nepal along with the heads of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.

Along with the king, Nepalese Prime Minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand was also to have participated in the conference.

The summit was conceptualised to start a forum for Asian countries, ranging from Japan to the Middle East.
Source: IANS
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