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CHINA'S PRESIDENT INSISTS FLOODING WON'T HAVE MAJOR IMPACT ON ECONOMY

President Jiang Zemin said Tuesday the floods that have devastated vast regions of China will not have a significant impact on the nation's growing economy.

Jiang spoke during a two-hour conversation with current and former members of the AP board of directors and senior news executives who are on a fact-finding tour of China.

The floods, he said, have affected 250 million people.

The Chinese government has raised its estimate of the death toll from the floods from more than 2,000 to "not expected to surpass 4,000."

Jiang said crops are growing well and life goes on as usual in areas just beyond the flooding. He said he didn't think the floods would have a significant negative impact on China's economic growth, which is projected at 8 percent, a slight drop from last year's 8.8 percent.

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