Ending a three-day visit to China, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said Saturday that reviving Asian economic growth depends on regional cooperation and financial reform.
Jospin told a gathering of business leaders and academics in Hong Kong that Asian governments must take steps to create growth and jobs without sparking inflation and "avoid the temptation of turning inward.""The deteriorating international economic and financial situation stands as a challenge," Jospin said.
Jospin also said France's efforts to forge a "constructive dialogue" with China have led to improved human rights on the mainland.
Jospin pointed to the recent unprecedented visit by Mary Robinson, the U.N. human rights chief, and China's reforms of its court system and gradual steps toward adopting international judicial standards.
Those signs of progress aside, Chinese police continued a clampdown on democracy campaigners during Jospin's visit. At least four dissidents have been taken into custody since Wednesday, the eve of his arrival, although two have been released.
In Hong Kong, Jospin praised Beijing for not devaluing China's currency and Hong Kong for not scrapping the 15-year peg linking its currency to the U.S. dollar.
He also said increased regulation of financial institutions was needed if the region is to overcome the current economic recession.