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US, China pledge aid to fight poverty, hunger

Xi Jinping, China’s president, said that his country will contribute $12 billion to the effort over the next 15 years.
Xi Jinping, China’s president, said that his country will contribute $12 billion to the effort over the next 15 years.Bryan R. Smith/Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — The United States and China have committed themselves to a new United Nations blueprint to eliminate poverty and hunger around the world.

Addressing a UN summit meeting on development, President Obama said Sunday that the goals of the 15-year plan are ambitious but he said they can be achieved if governments work together.

He said the agenda is ‘‘not charity but instead is one of the smartest investments we can make in our own future.’’

Obama told delegates that 800 million men, women, and children around the world scrape by on less than $1.25 a day, and billions of people are at risk of dying from preventable diseases.

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He called it a ‘‘moral outrage’’ that many children are just one mosquito bite away from death.

But Obama said recent progress, from declining hunger rates to more children enrolled in school, ‘‘gives us hope.’’

President Xi Jinping of China told the summit delegates on Saturday that his country will pledge $2 billion as an initial investment for development assistance to the poorest countries.

Xi said China would increase its funds to $12 billion over the next 15 years to help the United Nations reach a goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030. In making the pledge, China is “putting justice before interests,” he said.

Xi said that China would grant relief of debts owed by the least developed countries. He did not give a figure for the debt.

China has faced criticism for not taking more responsibility for reducing poverty. Western countries contend that China, the world’s second-largest economy, can afford to do more.

Some critics say China has used its development aid, particularly in Africa, for its own strategic objectives and economic needs, such as expanding access to oil and gas.