SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
AMBASSADE DE SUISSE EN CHINE

Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine

Press review, if not selected: all SinOptic
  18-22.5.15, No. 573  
    Archiv / Archives
Table of contents

DPRK

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Foreign Policy

Common destiny, an option for long-term world peace (Xinhua)
2015-05-18
Proposing "a community of common destiny" for countries, regions and the entire human world, China has expressed its wish for peaceful development and presented its own strategy for win-win cooperation, according to a People's Daily article. The article, titled "Promise of a Better Future for the World," will be published, under the byline of Guo Jipingin, on Monday's People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC). According to the article, President Xi Jinping has mentioned "a community of common destiny" 62 times in public since the notion was first raised in a report approved by the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, expressing the hope of the Chinese people to build a better world on Earth together with people from other countries. "We should raise awareness about human beings sharing a community of common destiny. A country should accommodate the legitimate concerns of others when pursuing its own interests; and should promote common development of all countries when advancing its own development," the report said. "Make dialogues rather than confrontation, be friends but not allies," the article notes, adding that, in a framework of win-win cooperation and joint development, one country's development should compliment that of another, and thus bring positive influence on a wider scope to combat the risks and challenges in the world economy. Meanwhile, one will get his own moustache burned if he blows off others' candles, it warns. "In the current world, no country can realize its own security detached from world security, and no security can be based on other countries insecurity," it says, urging cooperation and sustainable development to eliminate safety risks. Calling for civilized dialogues based on equality instead of condescension and mutual appreciation instead of derogation, the article stresses that "a community of common destiny" showcases the promise that China's development will never be at the cost of other countries' benefits. China has established different forms of partnership with more than 70 countries and many regional organizations by 2014, and the friendly network is expanding. In the past 500 years since the New World was discovered, each time the changes of international orders were caged by the concerns of involved parties' own interests, and persistent peace was ever out of reach, it says. According to the article, dismissing "survival of the fittest" and wars and tyranny, China presents "a community of common destiny" that respects the basic values of human civilization. "Our fates rejoice and suffer together, and our dreams are interconnected," it says. "'A community of common destiny' offers the possibility that more than 200 countries and regions might walk toward long-term peace." ^ top ^

Flourishing Chinese enterprises witness enhanced Brazil ties (Global Times)
2015-05-18
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming trip to Brazil is expected to uplift economic and trade ties between the two nations, which have been on a stable growth track since the diplomatic ties were forged in 1974. Li's visit comes less than a year after Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the South American nation, during which more than 50 bilateral accords were signed. Brazil is China's largest trading partner in Latin America, while China has been Brazil's largest trading partner for six years in a row, with the total trade volume reaching 86.67 billion US dollars in 2014. Brazil is also China's top investment destination and second-largest destination for project contracting market in the region, with Chinese investment in Brazil totaling 18.94 billion US dollars by the end of last year. China has diversified its investment in the country. The Chinese enterprises that have entered the Brazilian market at an early stage have already yielded achievements. China's top air conditioner producer Gree was among the first Chinese enterprises to set up factories in Brazil's Manaus Free Trade Zone, an important industrial base in Manaus, capital city of Amazonas state. After 15 years of development, Gree has edged itself into the top three air conditioner producers in Brazil, with an annual capacity of over 300,000 sets and annual sales of 200 million dollars for its own brand alone. Huawei entered Brazil in 1996 and launched a subsidiary in 1999 in Sao Paulo. It has managed during the past two decades to become the biggest network equipment provider in Brazil, with total sales at 1.5 billion US dollars in 2014. Huawei has become widely known in Brazil with the penetration of its products ranging from smartphones, routers, to set-top boxes. Chinese construction machinery enterprises, including Sany Heavy Industry, Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group and Liugong Group, are also expanding rapidly in Brazil. Cranes of Chinese brand have a market share of 85 percent in Brazil, among which Sany cranes account for 37 percent. Chinese carmakers are also having more presence in the Brazilian market. Statistics show that among the 51 car brands in the Brazilian market, 12 are from China, including Chery, JAC, Geely, Lifan and Harbin Aviation. Besides, electric vehicles made by Chinese automaker BYD enjoy much popularity. BYD is planning to invest 100 million dollars to build a plant that could produce 500 to 2,000 electric buses a year. The automaker also has plans to add battery production lines if everything goes well. In the energy industry, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and China National Petroleum Corporation have been successful in their bids for mining in Brazil's deep-water reserves. In August 2013, China's state-owned energy and chemical company Sinochem signed a definitive agreement with Brazil's state oil company Petrobras to buy 35 percent stake of deep-water block BC-10 from the latter. In May 2013, the State Grid Corporation of China won a stake for seven power transmission projects in Brazil. In February 2014, China's State Grid also won rights to build power lines to the huge Belo Monte dam in Brazil's Amazon. Chinese financial services have also been brought into Brazil. In March 2013, China Development Bank opened a representative office in Rio de Janeiro, its first outlet in Latin America. The bank has issued over 20 billion dollars since 2009 and become the largest lender for Sino-Brazil economic cooperation. In 1998, the Bank of China, one of the four state-owned commercial banks in China, opened a representative office in Sao Paulo. In March 2009, the bank started business in Brazil, becoming the first bank to be authorized to operate in Latin America. In September 2013, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China opened its bureau in Sao Paulo, which has issued loans of over 300 million dollars. Last year, other financial enterprises such as China Construction Bank, Sinosure and China Unionpay have also entered the Brazilian market. Up to now, the number of Chinese enterprises operating in Brazil has surpassed 100 and is still increasing. With the rapid development of their business, these enterprises have become increasingly important in China-Brazil relations. ^ top ^

Xinhua to serve as bridge between Chinese, EU peoples (Xinhua)
2015-05-19
Visiting Xinhua News Agency President Cai Mingzhao on Monday said Xinhua will serve as a bridge connecting the two peoples of the European Union (EU) and China, and help push forward bilateral ties. He made the remarks at the College of Europe in the Belgian city of Bruges, while addressing the inauguration ceremony of a photo exhibition marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the EU. "My colleagues told me that in the Flemish language, Bruges means a bridge. Mass media is a bridge that connects people," Cai said. "Xinhua is willing to show Chinese people the true images of Europe through our objective, timely, and accurate reports, and also to show the Europeans the true development in China, and serve as a bridge between the two peoples," he said. Cai said the College of Europe was an important witness to the friendship between China and the EU. On April 1 last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at the College of Europe, pointing out that to move the China-EU relationship forward, the two sides need to know more about each other and need to build four bridges for peace, growth, reform and progress of civilization. In recent years, China-EU relations embarked on a fast-track of development and there is a pressing need to make the communication bridge built by mass media from both sides much broader, longer, and more convenient, he said. Jorg Monar, rector of the College of Europe, said at the ceremony that he believes Xinhua News Agency can play a major contribution to actually building bridges between China and the EU. Monar said during Xi's speech last year at the College of Europe, the Chinese president emphasized the needs and importance for Europeans to better understand China, and Xinhua could play a role in this regard through its news services. China's establishment of diplomatic relations with the European Economic Community 40 years ago added confidence in the future of the European communities as an international actor, he said. On May 6, 1975, China established diplomatic relations with the European Economic Community, a branch of the European Community, the predecessor of the EU, and set up the Chinese mission to the organization in Brussels that September. The establishment of the diplomatic ties helped the European communities establish their international position at that time, Monar said, adding that now the EU-China ties had gone beyond the domain of trade and economy, and expanded to comprehensive areas including security and political domains. The exhibition, grouping photos selected from the photo database of Xinhua News Agency, was co-organized by Xinhua and the College of Europe, and showcased moments of high-level visits, people-to-people exchanges and cultural events. Yang Yanyi, head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, also attended the photo exhibition. ^ top ^

China sends more relief equipment, staff to Nepal (Xinhua)
2015-05-19
The Chinese army will send more medical equipment and a team of senior medics to quake-hit Nepal, the military said in a statement on Monday. Two mobile hospitals with surgical, X-ray, ultrasound and sterilizing equipment are already en route to Nepal from Zham, a border pass connecting Nepal with China's Tibet, the statement said. Once the equipment has arrived, the team will be dispatched to Nepal to provide technical support and help train local medical staff. The combined death toll of two earthquakes that struck Nepal on April 25 and May 12 has topped 9,000, with some 20,000 others injured. Earlier reports said the Chinese government and military had mobilized more than 40 helicopters and airplanes to deliver 650 tons of tents, generators, water purification facilities, blankets and other emergency supplies to Nepal. ^ top ^

China reaffirms position on South China Sea (Xinhua)
2015-05-19
China on Monday reaffirmed its position on the South China Sea issue is "clear and consistent". Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei made the remarks in response to Vietnam's objection to China's two-month fishing moratorium in the sea areas under China's jurisdiction in the South China Sea. This year's fishing ban starts on May 16. Hong said China's relevant authorities have implemented fish moratorium for many years in the sea areas under China's jurisdiction. China's annual fishing ban is a normal administrative measure to protect marine resources, Hong said. ^ top ^

Fishing ban objection by Vietnam dismissed (China Daily)
2015-05-19
China has rejected an objection by Vietnam to a temporary fishing ban in the South China Sea imposed by Beijing, saying the move is aimed at protecting marine resources in an area under China's jurisdiction. China last week announced the temporary ban on fishing in parts of the sea between May 16 and Aug 1. "This is China's international responsibility and obligation," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a daily media briefing. Vietnam, which also claims part of the area, said on Saturday in a statement posted on its Foreign Ministry website that the ban violates international law and Vietnam's sovereignty and jurisdiction. Luo Yongkun, a researcher of Southeast Asian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said, "People will agree that the move respects... nature and is obviously good for the protection of fishery resources, thus benefiting countries in the region, including Vietnam. "If Vietnam insists on fishing during this period, it will undermine not only the region's ecology but also stability." China launched the annual fishing ban in 1999 "to promote sustainable development of the fishing industry in the South China Sea and to protect the fundamental interests of fishermen". The quarrel between the two countries comes as they seek to mend ties hit by a row in May of last year when Vietnam protested over China setting up an oil rig near the Xisha Islands. The rig's operations were disrupted by Vietnam, and it triggered anti-China demonstrations in the country that left at least four Chinese dead. Vietnam's Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong led a delegation to China last month - the highest-profile trip to China by a Vietnamese official since the conflict. He and President Xi Jinping witnessed the signing of a host of agreements and pledged to tackle maritime friction properly. Trong said both countries are carrying out reforms and need to improve cooperation and build a peaceful environment for development. Economic ties between Vietnam and China, its top trading partner, have continued to grow. Trade volume saw double-digit growth last year, reaching $58 billion, according to Vietnam. On Sunday, Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan told his Vietnamese counterpart Phung Quang Thanh that both countries have "the wisdom and capability to achieve success in tackling maritime issues". The meeting took place in Yunnan province. Chinese and Vietnamese troops conducted a joint patrol in a border area on Sunday. Zhuang Guotu, head of Xiamen University's School of International Relations, said: "The Vietnamese government should prevent its people from fishing in the area covered by the ban to safeguard the good atmosphere between the two nations." ^ top ^

China, Tajikistan to deepen law-enforcement cooperation (Xinhua)
2015-05-19
Chinese State Councilor and Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun met with a delegation of senior cadres from the Tajikistan Ministry of Internal Affairs on Tuesday. The delegation, headed by Deputy Internal Minister Abdullo Navjuvonov, has been attending law-enforcement training program in China since May 11. The training is an implementation of Chinese President Xi Jinping's proposal for pushing forward law-enforcement cooperation under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Guo said, calling on the two sides to make joint efforts in this regard. Guo hoped the two sides will improve cooperation, improve exchanges of law-enforcement experience and further pragmatic security cooperation so as to make contributions to regional security, stability and construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt. Navjuvonov said the Tajikistan side is willing to constantly deepen law-enforcement and security cooperation with China in various fields. ^ top ^

Chinese troops leave for peacekeeping mission in Lebanon (Xinhua)
2015-05-19
A Chinese team of 85 soldiers left for an eight-month long peacekeeping mission in Lebanon on Tuesday. The troops will clear mines, construct roads, provide humanitarian aid and help mark a temporary Lebanon-Israel border. This is the first group of the 14th peacekeeping force China is sending to Lebanon. The second team of 95 staff will leave on May 26. The peacekeeping staff were selected from a sapper corps in the fourteenth army group of the People's Liberation Army. The corps has fulfilled seven peacekeeping missions in Lebanon since 2006, and participated in disaster relief in the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake and the latest Nepal quake. ^ top ^

Li Keqiang arrives in Latin America with promise of US$50 billion in infrastructure investments (SCMP)
2015-05-20
Premier Li Keqiang began a three-day visit to Brazil on Monday armed with a promise of some US$50 billion in infrastructure investments as his hosts finalise preparations for next year's Rio Olympics. Li will hold talks on Tuesday with President Dilma Rousseff, for whom the investment bonanza will be a major boon as Brazil battles a fifth straight year of poor growth and spiraling inflation. Li will then head for Rio to see some of China's investment in the city, due to host South America's first ever Olympic Games in August 2016. Li will continue a Latin American trip designed to increase Chinese influence in the region by heading on Thursday to Colombia before visiting Peru and Chile. His tour comes days after Beijing signed accords worth US$25 billion with Russia and US$22 billion with India.
Chinese trade with Brazil has grown exponentially over the past decade, with the Asian giant becoming Brazil's main trading partner in 2009. Sino-Brazilian trade mushroomed from US$6.5 billion in 2003 to US$83.3 billion in 2012, although China is just the 12th largest investor in Brazil. “The trade agenda is very important, but at the moment the investment agenda is to a degree more important still,” Trade Minister Armando Monteiro said. Jose Graca Lima, head of Asian affairs at the Brazilian foreign ministry, said that a “second generation” of Chinese investment was under way. The first involved trade in raw materials and the focus now is on heavy industry and infrastructure. Brazilian growth rose prior to the current slowdown amid high Chinese commodity demand that has since dropped off. But Brazilian financial daily Valor quoted Chinese ambassador and former vice-foreign affairs minister Li Jinzhang as saying that the “overdependence on commodity trade could not continue and needed to be transformed” on a wider scale. Despite that comment, Li Keqiang earlier told Valor in an interview that, despite commodity price volatility, “healthy Chinese demand for these products will hold up long term”. One major mooted long-term infrastructure project is a proposed Chinese-financed US$10 billion rail link stretching some 3,500 km from the key Brazilian port of Santos to the Peruvian Pacific port of Ilo via Amazonia. Brazil has seen its reputation hit by a huge graft scandal at oil giant Petrobras, but the firm received a boost earlier this year when it signed a US$3.5 billion financing deal with the China Investment Bank. “China is fulfilling a desperately-needed role of investor in Latin America and the Caribbean. Brazil desperately needs investment,” said Charles Tang, chairman of the Rio-based Brazil-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “The US back yard is growing a Chinese back garden, not just in Brazil but all over Latin America. “We believe in the fundamentals of Brazil,” Tang said. Trade Minister Monteiro said Brazil hoped China would see it as an important production platform for industrial goods in the region and beyond, using Brazil as a fulcrum for serving wider markets. “Extending exports to China is something we want, but I do not know if we shall be able obtain significant results short term,” Monteiro said. “It would be a better strategy for China to produce in Brazil a range of goods that today we import and China exports, such as electronics.” Li's visit will feature trade delegations some 130-strong from both countries during his Brasilia stay. In Rio, he will attend the unveiling of Chinese-made trains for a new subway line to bolster public transport in time for the Olympics. ^ top ^

Nation denies report of canal agreement (China Daily)
2015-05-20
A report claiming that China and Thailand have signed an agreement concerning plans to build a major canal project has been denied. The Chinese government was not involved in any research or cooperation about building the Kra Isthmus Canal in Thailand, and no official statement has been made by the government relating to the project so far, the Chinese embassy in Bangkok said on Tuesday. The denial came after the widely circulated report said Chinese and Thai officials had signed a memorandum of understanding in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. The report said the 100-kilometer canal would link the South China Sea and the Andaman Sea through the Malay Peninsula in southern Thailand. The route would provide an alternative to the Strait of Malacca, a key shipping lane for world trade. The waterway would be 1,200 km shorter than the current route, the report added, and the project would take 10years to complete and involve investment of at least $28 billion. "We noticed the widely quoted report, but as far as we know, the Chinese government and related agencies were not involved with any research or cooperation over building the canal," said Yin Haihong, a spokeswoman for the Chinese embassy in Thailand. Debate over proposals to dig a canal across the Kra Isthmus has raged for centuries, as France first put forward the idea to King Narai (1633-1688). People still have strong views about the idea, both for and against. Pakdee Tanapura, deputy director of the economic section at the Thai-Chinese Cultural and Economic Association and a member of the National Committee for the Study of the Kra Canal Project, said the waterway could form part of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in the south of Thailand, according to a February report in The Nation, an English-language newspaper in Thailand. Pakdee said the canal could ease the increasing congestion in the Strait of Malacca, reduce global shipping times and boost Thailand and other economies in the region through job creation and increased investment, while easing unrest in the south by narrowing economic disparity. However, there are major concerns about possible damage to the environment caused by the construction of the canal, as well as by pollution produced by vessels using the waterway, said Huang Bin, head of the Chinese Department at the Kasikorn Research Center in Bangkok. "Major projects like the Kra Canal should be approved by the Council of Ministers of Thailand, "Huang said." If the project involves a large amount of foreign investment, it should be approved by the Thai Parliament. "But the canal was not even included in the government's eight-year infrastructure plan. The project is unlikely to start in the near future." Xu Liping, a senior researcher specializing in Southeast Asian affairs at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said digging the Kra Canal could benefit not only China, but also other East Asian countries such as Japan. Xu said a private Thai company began a feasibility study a decade ago, but the project faces challenges. If it goes ahead, it will have a major impact on the region. "Singapore would be less important for the United States, since the Strait of Malacca would no longer be the only passage connecting the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea," he added. "More consensus is needed among countries before the project finally kicks off." ^ top ^

Africa Focus China's CREC to complete section of Ethiopia's key railway project (China Daily)
2015-05-20
The Sebeta/Addis Ababa-Adama- Mieso railway, which is a section of Ethiopia's key railway project of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway being built by the China Railway Group (CREC) is nearing completion. As the track-laying activity is approaching to completion, a grand ceremony was held on Monday in Adama town about 99 km south of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, where senior government officials, diplomats, Chinese and local staff of CREC as well as residents of Adama town celebrated the landmark chapter of the project. The Sebeta/Addis Ababa-Mieso railway project covers a total length of 329.145 km. The Ababa-Adama section is a double track with 115 km length while the Adama-Mieso is a single track covering 214.145 km. The standard-gauge railway, which is one section of the first Ethiopia's national railway network, has been contracted by CREC with a total cost of nearly two billion US dollars. With the designed speed of 120km/h, the electrified-railway connects Addis Ababa with important cities of Adama, Dire Dawa, and Djibouti Port, and is the main transporting corridor for imports and exports of Ethiopia and the inland of East Africa. Stating that the project is the first modern railway in Ethiopia, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the project is a blood-line of the country's economy. "In addition to its contribution to facilitation of transportation in the country, the project plays significant role in sharing experience and transfer of technology and skills from the Chinese to Ethiopians, which in the future will enable Ethiopian professionals carry out such infrastructure projects in the country on their own," he said. ^ top ^

Beijing concerned as US accuses 6 Chinese of economic spying (China Daily)
2015-05-21
Beijing has expressed deep concern about the latest economic espionage allegations targeting Chinese nationals in the United States, a case that observers say highlights growing economic friction between the two countries. China is seeking further details and will work to safeguard the rights and interests of its nationals, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Wednesday. Hong's remarks followed the announcement that the US has charged six Chinese nationals with stealing mobile phone technology from two US chipmakers where some of them worked. A 32-count criminal indictment says the six were acting on behalf of universities and companies controlled by the Chinese government. One of the suspects, Zhang Hao, 36, was visiting the US for a conference when he was arrested on Saturday in Los Angeles after arriving on a flight from China, the US Justice Department said on Tuesday. The other five are believed to be in China. US prosecutors say Zhang, a former employee of Massachusetts-based Skyworks Solutions and now a Tianjin University professor, and the others established a company, ROFS Microsystems, in Tianjin with secrets stolen from Skyworks and another US firm, Avago Technologies. Two other suspects, Pang Wei and Chen Jingpin, deny stealing technology, according to the indictment. Pang, 35, is a former employee of California-based Avago and a professor at Tianjin University. A publicity department official at the university, surnamed Song, said further details are being sought and a public response will be issued. This is the 11th case of alleged economic espionage brought in the US under a 1996 law, and the six suspects could face lengthy prison sentences if convicted. Teng Jianqun, an expert on US studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said the US is overly suspicious about the protection of intellectual property rights. Li Haidong, a professor of US studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said the two countries have seen growing friction in the economic sector, but these problems, along with others, have to be properly addressed to avoid disrupting the development of high-level ties. Last year, the US indicted five Chinese military officers for allegedly hacking information from US nuclear, metal and solar companies. The Defense Ministry in Beijing issued a denial and summoned the US military attache. Li Xiang in Tianjin contributed to this story. ^ top ^

FM: Chinese fishing in West Africa legal (Global Times)
2015-05-21
The Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry Wednesday refuted a recent accusation saying that Chinese companies were illegally fishing off the coast of West Africa and said the activities were in fact permitted by both China and West African countries. "It is learned that relevant fishing vessels are operating in the waters off West Africa with the approval of the Chinese government and the countries where they go fishing," Hong Lei, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday at a daily press briefing. Environmental campaign group Greenpeace said in a study Wednesday that Chinese companies, while fishing off the coast of West Africa, were at times sending incorrect location data, suggesting they were as far away as Mexico. It said it found 114 cases of illegal fishing by such vessels in over a period of eight years in the waters off Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone. The boats were mainly operating without licenses or in prohibited areas. "The tonnage registered on their certificates has been recognized by the relevant countries. They also have the fishing licenses issued by the governments of the relevant countries," Hong said. "Over the years, relevant companies have taken an active part in the economic and social development of the countries where they stay and contributed to the increase of tax revenues, jobs and incomes there," Hong said at the conference. The Chinese government always asks Chinese companies "going global" to do business in strict accordance with the law, fulfill their social obligations, especially when they conduct economic cooperation and trade with African countries, he added. The advocacy group said that 60 out of 114 cases involved vessels of the China National Fisheries Corporation (CNFC), a state-owned company charged with developing fishing in distant seas. CNFC did not respond to the accusation on Wednesday. ^ top ^

Beijing urges Myanmar to probe border blasts (Global Times)
2015-05-21
China has asked Myanmar to investigate the recent bombing incident which injured five people in a border village in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, the Chinese foreign affairs ministry said Wednesday. Hong Lei, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters at a daily press briefing on Wednesday that the Chinese government has demanded that Myanmar carry out a overall investigation on the bombing incident that happened on May 14. He said the Chinese government demanded the Myanmar side take effective measures to avoid similar incidents and urged the relevant parties to cool down the situation as soon as possible and restore peace and stability along the China-Myanmar border." "Myanmar's government said they will give the Chinese government a formal reply and China is awaiting it," Hong said. Two bombs from Myanmar fell in Lincang in the evening of May 14 and injured one Chinese and four Myanmese. Two of the five were seriously injured. The accident also damaged three cars and four houses, according to the People's Daily. The Myanmar government earlier denied responsibility and said the bombs were fired from the rebel army. This is the second time shells from Myanmar resulted in casualties across the border in two months. On March 13, five Chinese people were killed by stray bombs falling into Yunnan during fighting between Myanmar government forces and ethnic rebels. The Chinese air force has intensified its border patrol. Myanmar later apologized and said it is willing to offer compensation. China has demanded that Myanmar take greater measures to prevent the battle from spilling over to the Chinese border. ^ top ^

China's premier pledges to boost economic ties with Colombia (SCMP)
2015-05-22
Premier Li Keqiang vowed to deepen economic ties with Colombia during a visit to the Andean nation as part of his four-nation South American tour aimed at boosting trade and investment. Li is the highest-ranking official from China to visit Colombia since the two nations established diplomatic ties 35 years ago and his visit was hailed as historic by President Juan Manuel Santos. In their first meeting late on Thursday at the presidential palace, the two signed deals providing scholarships for 200 Colombians to study in China and mapping a development plan for the violent Colombian port city of Buenaventura where the US$17 billion in annual trade between the two countries is concentrated. Li, speaking to reporters following the meeting, said the two also discussed the possibility of initiating talks aimed at signing a free trade agreement. He also pledged US$8 million in aid to help Colombia maintain the peace in war-torn rural areas if the negotiations with leftist rebels to end a half-century conflict succeed. Colombia has one of the region's most dynamic economies, with growth that last year far outpaced that of three other countries — Brazil, Chile and Peru — to be visited by Li on his regional tour. But Colombia has lagged behind its South American neighbours in expanding trade with China. Li said in an article published in the Bogota newspaper El Tiempo that trade with Colombia was just 6 per cent of the Asian giant's overall trade with Latin America. Even so, China is Colombia's second-biggest trading partner, the buyer of 10 per cent of the country's exports last year. Li arrived from Brazil, where he pledged investments of US$53 billion over the next six years. ^ top ^

China's got talent: the 'financial diplomats' reshaping the country's role on global stage (SCMP)
2015-05-22
In the run-up to launching its regional initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China has taken pains to pledge that the bank will take a global approach to recruiting talent.
It will not insist on making political appointees nor rely solely on Chinese experts, officials have said. The statements, made to reassure the founding members, also demonstrate China's newfound confidence in its command of global financial expertise. More Chinese are now holding key positions at international financial institutions thanks to the country's decade-long effort in nurturing so-called “financial diplomats”. Beijing has built up a group of bankers and economists with the relevant experience and credentials to manage multinational financial institutions. This fresh talent pool can be tapped upon in its pursuit of its AIIB ambitions. Such talents are also helping China press its claims to a greater say in global institutions to match its increasing weight in the global economy – with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund already agreeing to recruit more Chinese. Among the top guns is the former Chinese vice-minister of finance Jin Liqun, who is hotly tipped to be appointed the first president of the AIIB. Jin's current role is Secretary General of the bank's Multilateral Interim Secretariat. The first mainland-born Chinese to gain a senior position at a global financial institution was Shengman Zhang when he was appointed the World Bank's executive director for China in 1994. He became the World Bank's managing director in 1997 and served in this position until 2005. In 2008, Taiwan-born Peking University professor of economics Justin Yifu Lin was appointed the World Bank's chief economist and senior vice-president. He was followed by the former Chinese central banker Zhu Min, who became the IMF's deputy managing director in 2011, one year after he served as a special adviser to the IMF's managing director. Beijing has for years been looking for such “financial diplomats”. Typically it seeks mainland-born Chinese who have graduated at a domestic university, pursued higher degrees from prestigious Western universities, and have experience working at multinational banks and international financial institutions. There is also a growing number of overseas-educated intellectuals who have returned to China hungry for opportunities to capitalise on their abilities.(…) China is still under represented at senior level in most international organisations such as the IMF and World Bank, according to Jianguang Shen, chief economist with Mizuho Securities who formerly worked with the IMF. But he added that China had sent hundreds of thousands of students to study abroad, and there was a huge number of people who could play key roles both now and in the foreseeable future. Matt Ferchen, who runs the China and the Developing World Programme at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy, said that as well as recent Chinese successes in senior leadership positions, lots of younger Chinese graduates in the US had been interning and working at the IMF, World Bank and other regional development banks, such as the Inter-American Development Bank, based in Washington. “Getting leadership positions at these institutions might contribute to China's image as being increasingly influential and willing to work within existing international financial institutions, but those younger people have their own ideas about global finance and development issues, and those are often quite distinct from the thinking or desires of Beijing,” Ferchen said. There are other US-educated Chinese professionals who have the potential to take senior positions at global institutions.(…) With such a supply being churned out, China will have the resources it needs to realise its ambitions. ^ top ^

China, Russia end joint naval exercises (SCMP)
2015-05-22
Chinese and Russian naval forces on Thursday ended their joint military exercises in the Mediterranean, according to an online news briefing from the Chinese Defense Ministry. Military officials from both sides attended a closing ceremony in the southern Russian port city of Novorossiysk, summarizing results of the 11-day naval drills launched from May 11. "Naval forces of both countries made concerted efforts to explore new formats of joint exercises, and learn valuable experience from each other, which has made the drills a success," said Du Jingchen, deputy commander of the Navy of the People's Liberation Army of China and the drill director of the Chinese side. Du added that the round of drills further enhanced the abilities of both navies to conduct collective operations, and upgraded the methods of organizing joint naval exercises. Alexander Fedotenkov, deputy commander of the Russian Navy, spoke highly of the professionalism of both navies, saying that as the drills were conducted far from naval bases of the two countries, they demonstrated that Russia and China are capable of dealing with new threats and challenges at sea and safeguarding the strategic stability in every waters of world ocean. Fedotenkov reiterated that the joint drills were not aimed at any third party and carried out in an absolute peaceful manner. The "Joint Sea-2015" drills, involving six Russian and three Chinese ships, were staged in four phases, focusing on maritime defense, replenishment and escorting. It was the fourth since joint China-Russia sea drills began in 2012. ^ top ^

Beijing sets out its rights after reports of incursion (China Daily)
2015-05-22
China asserted its right to monitor airspace and waters near its islands in the South China Sea on Thursday in response to reports of an exchange between the Chinese navy and a US surveillance plane. The remarks came after a CNN news crew onboard a US air force P8-A Poseidon surveillance plane reported it witnessed an incident on Wednesday in which the Chinese navy warned the plane to leave the area eight times as it flew over a Chinese island.
It said the US crew responded that they were flying through international airspace, to which the Chinese dispatcher answered: "This is the Chinese navy. We urge you to leave." Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said he was not aware of the incident, but reiterated Beijing's indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and surrounding waters. "China has the right to monitor the relevant airspace and waters to protect the country's security and prevent accidents at sea," he added. He urged other countries to "abandon actions that may complicate and exaggerate controversies". Yin Zhuo, a senior expert on the Chinese navy, said the US armed forces always cite "freedom of navigation" when intruding into other countries' waters and airspace. Hong commented on remarks by US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken about China's land reclamation operations on its islands in the South China Sea, saying the work is in line with China's sovereignty and aims to provide a civilian service that will benefit other countries. Blinken said on Wednesday that the work risks provoking tension that could lead to conflict. Hong urged the US to abide by the principle of not taking sides over the South China Sea, and said its groundless remarks will "encourage repeated provocations from certain nations". Also on Thursday, Shen Jinke, a spokesman for the People's Liberation Army air force, said the aviation division has for the first time flown across the Miyako Strait, the open sea between Japan's Miyako and Okinawa islands, for deep-sea training in the West Pacific. Shen said the move is intended to improve the division's combat capability. He said the training zone is in international airspace at altitudes not used by civil aviation, and the exercise abides by international practices. The training was planned previously and is not targeted at any country. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Senior leader calls for support of development in ethnic minority areas (Xinhua)
2015-05-16
Senior Chinese leader Yu Zhengsheng on Saturday called for support of economic and social development in ethnic minority areas. Yu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, made the remarks in a seminar with ministerial-level officials in charge of ethnic work. Yu said supporting the development in ethnic minority areas is a basic guideline of the central authority. He said policies for the efforts should consider the differences of ethnics and regions, while those areas should emancipate the people's thoughts and comprehensively deepened reform. Yu said development in those areas should focus on promoting the people's livelihood and the unity among different ethnic groups. Education, employment, environmental protection and infrastructure construction should be strengthened so as to build a base for long-term development. Yu also called for work to facilitate exchanges among ethnic groups, building the common spiritual homeland and a community of the whole Chinese nation for all ethnic groups. ^ top ^

Dozens of top SOE bosses probed (China Daily)
2015-05-18
More than 100 senior executives at State-owned enterprises have been investigated over corruption allegations since the start of last year, with graft-busters continuing to focus on the energy industry. Nearly half of the 115 accused worked in the fields of energy, engineering, manufacturing and construction. The others were employed in industries including telecommunication, transportation, finance, the media, mining, publishing, liquor and tobacco. These are the findings of a survey published on Saturday by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country's top anti-graft body. More than half of the 115 were heads of SOEs, with one of the biggest "catches" being Wang Tianpu, president of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, Asia's largest oil refiner, who was investigated on April 27. Wang, 52, was appointed president of the company in March 2005. The State Council handed him a major punishment in January last year because of an explosion in November 2013 in a pipeline operated by his company in Shandong province. The blast killed 62 people and caused financial losses of 750 million yuan ($160.6 million). In the latest case to be made public, Liu Fuxiang, chief executive officer of Fuxin Mining Co, one of the largest coal producers in the northeast, was investigated for alleged serious violation of Party discipline and laws. Liu, 60, is also a member of the Party committee of Fuxin, Liaoning province. In November, 26 workers were killed and 52 others injured when a fire broke out at the company's Hengda coal mine after a mild earthquake jolted the region. This year, the disciplinary commission has stepped up efforts to root out corruption by - among other things - increasing inspections at major SOEs. Twenty-six SOEs were placed under investigation and 19 top managers held during the commission's first disciplinary inspection tour from late February to the end of April. Thirteen teams were sent to major corporations, with each team reviewing two companies. These included China National Petroleum Corp, China National Offshore Oil Corp, China Huaneng Group, State Grid Corp of China and China Mobile Communications Corp. The number of enterprises under scrutiny was almost double that of previous inspections. The central government has also targeted Chinese who have fled the country and are wanted on corruption charges. Most of those targeted in this campaign, dubbed Sky Net and launched in March, are senior executives of SOEs. The handful of economic fugitives who have returned to China include An Huimin, former general manager of a State-owned trading company in Tianjin, was brought back to Beijing on March 28 after three months on the run in Laos. ^ top ^

Sichuan county protests 'unfair' rail links (Global Times)
2015-05-18
Thousands of residents in Linshui county, in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, took to the streets on Saturday to demand a proposed regional railway pass through their county, amid long-term disputes over economic resources. The residents gathered in the morning and marched on the streets for several hours. Pictures online showed marchers holding signs saying "We want development, prosperity and a railway," "Do not abandon Linshui's 1 million residents," and "We want the railway to pass through our county." Police officers could be seen in the crowd. Local residents said that they direly need the planned railway linking Dazhou in Sichuan to Chongqing to pass through their county, as there is no railway station in Linshui. The march came after two different answers on the proposed route were given by local authorities. According to the Guangdong-based Nandu Daily, authorities in Guang'an city, which administers Linshui, said on their official website on May 7 that the proposed route will pass through Quxian county and Guang'an, following the "west line plan," in response to the question from a resident in Guang'an on April 30. The response also said that Guang'an will only accept the west line plan. This response triggered anger from residents in Dazhu and Linshui counties, as they had high hopes for a railway, after Dazhu authorities said in October 2014 that the railway would go through the two counties using an "east line plan," The Beijing News reported. Authorities in Dazhou replied on their official website on May 11, saying that the 205-kilometer railway will pass through Dazhu and Linshui counties, adding that preparations are underway for construction to begin in 2016. A resident in Linshui surnamed He told the Global Times Sunday that although the county is under the administration of Guang'an, a city which has already had many railways, Linshui has none. "Our county has many mechanical factories and we cannot develop without railways," said He, adding that Guang'an was trying to grab resources to facilitate its development. Authorities in Dazhou and Guang'an told the Nandu Daily that the route is still under study and will receive final approval from the State Council. "Guang'an is favored as it is the hometown of Deng Xiaoping. [Linshui's] population is twice that of Guang'an but we have no railways," said He. However, some Guang'an residents said that the railway will drive the economic development of the whole region and a route passing through their city would be a better choice. ^ top ^

China sees more disciplinary violations in April (China Daily)
2015-05-19
The disciplinary watchdog of the Communist Party of China (CPC) uncovered 2,508 cases of anti-graft rule violations in April, an increase of 1,931 cases from March, according to an announcement on Sunday. A total of 3,238 people involved have been punished, 1,849 of whom have been given Party or administrative punishments, said the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), noting increases in both categories from the previous month. The violations included illegal subsidies, lavish spending at weddings and funerals, use of public funds for banquets, with running private errands in official cars, 802 cases, the most frequent issue. In the first four months of 2015, disciplinary organs at all levels punished 10,125 people for violations of anti-graft rules, with 5,965 given Party or administrative punishment. According to the CCDI, monthly reports of violations are made by 31 provincial-level regions, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and 59 state organs. ^ top ^

Too early for talks on railway route, protesters told (China Daily)
2015-05-19
Protesters who took to the streets on Saturday to lobby for the planned Dazhou-Chongqing intercity railway to pass through their county have been told it is too early to discuss the route. The line is designed to link Dazhou in Sichuan province with neighboring Chongqing. According to a notice on the website of the Sichuan Development and Reform Commission on Monday, the line is "still being planned and has not been approved by the provincial and central governments". Only after it is approved by the State can the railway route be discussed, said the notice, and then Sichuan will seek suggestions from the public on places the railway should pass through. The notice was issued in response to the protest in Linshui, a county in Guang'an, on Saturday, when thousands of people took to the streets to voice their views to the Guang'an city government over the rail route. More than 30 policemen and staff members from local government departments, as well as 38 onlookers were injured. There are two options for the line. One passes through Quxian and Guang'an, the other through Dazhou and Linshui. The Guang'an government supports the first option, but residents in Linshui want the railway to boost economic development in their mountainous county. The protest was one of several battles waged over railway routes in recent years, said Wang Hong, an information officer in Guang'an. Dengzhou and Xinye are neighboring counties in Henan province. When the province planned the route of the Zhengzhou-Wanzhou High-Speed Railway last year, people in Xinye started a high-speed railway protection movement. Members drove to different parts of the county, using loudspeakers to chant slogans in support of their chosen station in the county. Residents in Dengzhou who worked outside their home county put up banners at railway stations in major cities appealing for a station to be built in their town. Finally, authorities in Henan compromised and set up a station between the two counties. In March, about 100,000 residents of Shaoyang, a less-developed city in Hunan province, chanted, "The mayor has to step down if the Shanghai-Kunming High-Speed Railway does not have a station in Shaoyang," according to xinhuanet.com. After both Shaoyang and its competitor Loudi, also a less-developed city in Hunan, lobbied fiercely, authorities agreed to set up a station in both cities. "The reason why people take to the streets and their local governments lobby to win support of governments at higher levels is that they saw thriving cities and counties with only waterways go into decline as they lacked modern transportation facilities such as the railway," said Wang Zhaomin. He is the executive deputy mayor of Xiangyang in Hubei province and his city managed to win a station on the Zhengzhou-Chongqing Railway last year, beating its neighbor and competitor Shiyang. Cao Jun, an official with the Chengdu Railway Administration in Sichuan, said authorities had to consider people's suggestions and the cost of construction when planning railway routes. ^ top ^

China slashes tax to promote green vehicles (Xinhua)
2015-05-19
China announced Monday that new energy cars and ships will be exempted from vehicle and vessel tax in a bid to save energy and combat pollution. Cars exempted include pure electric commercial cars, plug-in hybrid vehicles and fuel-cell commercial cars, according to a joint statement by the Ministry of Finance, State Administration of Taxation and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. In addition, vehicle and vessel tax will be halved for users of energy-saving cars and ships, said the statement. China's new energy vehicle production jumped threefold year on year to 25,400 in the first quarter of 2015 thanks to intense government promotion and support. In March, the Ministry of Transport set a target of 300,000 new energy vehicles on China's roads by 2020: 200,000 new energy buses and 100,000 new energy taxis and delivery vehicles. The Ministry of Commerce also announced earlier this year that China will continue to encourage the construction of charging facilities in cities and implement tax exemptions and subsidies for car purchases. ^ top ^

PLA Daily warns of Internet's revolutionary potential (Xinhua)
2015-05-20
The Chinese military's mouthpiece newspaper has warned of the possibility of "Western hostile forces" using the Internet to foment revolution in China. "The Internet has grown into an ideological battlefield, and whoever controls the tool will win the war," according to an editorial published in the People's Liberation Army(PLA) Daily on Wednesday. It stressed the need for cyber security measures to ensure "online ideological safety", euphemisms suggesting efforts to safeguard China's mainstream ideology. "Western hostile forces along with a small number of Chinese 'ideological traitors', have maliciously attacked the Communist Party of China, and smeared our founding leaders and heroes, with the help of the Internet," according to the paper. "Their fundamental objective is to confuse us with 'universal values', disturb us with 'constitutional democracy', and eventually overthrow our country through 'color revolution'," it added, using a term commonly applied to revolutionary movements that first developed in the former Soviet Union in the early 2000s. "Regime collapse that can occur overnight often starts from long-term ideological erosion," it warned. The paper said the military should not only safeguard national sovereignty and security on traditional battlefields, but also "protect ideological and political security on the invisible battleground of the Internet". ^ top ^

Xi asks newspaper to spread China voices (Xinhua)
2015-05-20
Chinese President Xi Jinping commended the overseas edition of the People's Daily for the achievements in spreading China's voice in the lead-up to its 30th anniversary, according to an official statement on Thursday. In an instruction to the newspaper, Xi expressed hopes that the paper tells China stories and spreads China voices in ways that better connect overseas readers, and to become bridges that build trust and dissolve misunderstanding. Liu Yunshan, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and Liu Qibao, head of the CPC Central Committee's Publicity Department also instructed the paper to innovate and to help boost China's overseas media influence. The overseas edition of the Peoples's Daily, with a target audience of overseas Chinese and Chinese-learning foreigners, has a circulation of 600,000 copies across 86 countries and regions. Its website registers a daily traffic of 13 million visits, and its mobile application has more than 2.5 million subscribers. ^ top ^

Chinese President Xi Jinping demands loyalty from state security agencies (SCMP)
2015-05-20
President Xi Jinping has demanded absolute loyalty from state security agencies in light of recent scandals that toppled some of the sector's highest profile figures. The remarks came during a meeting with several top national security agents in which Xi called for "firm faith" and "absolute loyalty" to the Communist Party in the face of threats to national security and social stability, Xinhua reported on Tuesday. National security agencies should enforce strict discipline and forge teams that were "determined, pure, trustworthy, devoted and competent", Xi said. Top intelligence official Ma Jian was placed under investigation in January on suspicion of discipline and legal violations by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in a widening of the anti-corruption campaign. He is closely linked to Ling Jihua, the ex-aide of former president Hu Jintao. Ling was himself brought under investigation last December also on corruption charges. Former security tsar Zhou Yongkang is another top official to have been snared in the anti-corruption campaign started by Xi, and some of Zhou's former associates have also been implicated. During Tuesday's meeting, Xi said China was being confronted with complicated and rapidly changing domestic and international environments. He said these environments contained huge uncertainties and risks, and security agencies faced tough tasks in safeguarding state security and social stability. The central leadership placed great importance on national security and the country would step up efforts to prevent and crack down on activities that compromised national security, Xi added. He called on all Communist Party and government departments to value, understand and support the work of the agencies. Meng Jianzhu, head of the party's Commission for Political and Legal Affairs, pledged that national security agencies would carry out Xi's instructions and follow the undivided leadership of the Communist Party's Central Committee. National security agencies are responsible for intelligence gathering and spying operations. ^ top ^

Air pollution is main complaint in reports to hotline last year (China Daily)
2015-05-20
The public submitted 1,463 pollution reports through the 12369 telephone hotline last year, and most were related to air pollution, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Tuesday. Five provinces in central and eastern regions - Henan, Shandong, Jiangsu, Hubei and Guangdong accounted for the highest number of reports, with 43 percent of the total nationwide. Henan province ranked No 1, the ministry reported. Nearly 78 percent of the pollution complaints were confirmed and addressed, according to the annual report on the environmental hotline released on Tuesday. Polluting companies were given deadlines to rectify problems in 465 cases and environmental protection bureaus shut down polluters in 133 cases. The public was encouraged to report pollution through the hotline in an effort to improve the supervision and control of health hazards. Air pollution remained the most common complaint, as it has for years, the ministry said, followed by water and noise pollution. The chemical industry, at 28 percent, received the most phone complaints. Companies in two industries - metal smelting and processing, and nonmetallic minerals - received the next highest number of complaints last year. These industries have occupied the top three spots for years, the annual report said. The number of public complaints made through the hotline may be a result of sharp contradictions between economic growth and environmental protection, and central and eastern regions have stronger economies, said Qin Tianbao, an environmental professor at Wuhan University in Hubei province. Improved public awareness of environmental protection in these regions may be another major reason, he said. Guo Yongqi, from the environmental group Green Activities in Jinan, Shandong province, said, "The hotline has been a useful tool against pollution." He said the group has used the hotline many times to report to the environmental protection authorities in Shandong, and some polluting companies have been punished, once within a day. The environmental hotline became better known after Chai Jing, a former TV anchor mentioned it in her environmental documentary Under the Dome, which was watched by millions in March. In the weekend after the documentary was released, the hotline in Beijing received more than 1,400 calls, an increase of 240 percent from the previous weekend. To encourage more public participation in the supervision of pollution, the ministry has set up several pilot cities this year to launch the hotline on instant messaging service platforms such as WeChat. ^ top ^

Xi stresses befriending non-CPC elites (Xinhua)
2015-05-20
Chinese President Xi Jinping has asked authorities to befriend and recruit more non-Communist Party of China (CPC) intellectuals and representatives, stressing their role in economic development and cleansing the Internet. To unite the non-CPC intellectuals is basic and strategically important work under the party's efforts to unite the nation and pool strength for realization of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, Xi said at a three-day meeting of the united front work, which closed on Wednesday in Beijing. High value should be placed on intellectuals in new economic and social organizations and they should exert their roles in development. Students studying abroad should also be encouraged to return home and serve the country in various ways, said the president. He called for officials to improve their work style and learn to make friends with non-CPC intellectuals in "doing ideological work". Xi asked them to establish regular contacts with outstanding intellectuals from new media organizations and strengthen interactions with them both online and in reality, encouraging them to make contributions to purifying the cyberspace. The president also called for expanding the selection and use of non-CPC representatives who consciously accept the leadership of the Party and have strong political abilities. Excellent non-CPC representatives should be guided to grasp the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Officials at all levels should take the lead to participate in important united front work activities and make more true friends from non-CPC communities. They should be sincere, modest and clean so that they can gain respect from non-CPC members and help them work together with the party, Xi added. ^ top ^

President Xi stresses localizing religions (Xinhua)
2015-05-20
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday stressed that the development of religions in China should be independent from foreign influence. "Active efforts should be made to incorporate religions in the socialist society," said Xi at a high-profile meeting on the united front work. He promised to fully implement the Party's policy of religious freedom and manage religious affairs in line with the law. The President called for a balanced attitude towards religions, taking account of the pros and cons. The country acknowledges the contribution of religious people and will encourage them to continue working for China's economic, social and cultural development as well as unity of ethnic groups and unification of the motherland, he said. ^ top ^

President Xi urges solidarity for national rejuvenation (Xinhua)
2015-05-21
President Xi Jinping has urged authorities to improve the united front work and pool strength for the realization of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. Xi made the remarks at a three-day meeting of the united front work, which closed on Wednesday in Beijing. Long-term unity has greatly contributed to China's economic development, social stability and national unification, according to Xi. It is fundamental to stick to the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in order to better deal with the united front work under new circumstances, Xi said. He urged authorities to support the healthy development of the private economy and unite to help people working in the sector. He also urged dealing well with affairs related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao and overseas Chinese. Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), attended the meeting. Yu told authorities to deal with uniformity and diversity, consolidating the mainstream while tolerating and encouraging dissent and different understandings. Multiparty cooperation: Xi said the multiparty cooperation and political consultation system led by the CPC is mainly demonstrated by the CPPCC, China's top political advisory body. The system should be improved to ensure that people from democratic parties or without party affiliation can fully participate in political affairs and conduct supervision. There should be more political discussion and consultation under the system to consensus and optimize decision-making, the president said. He also asked authorities to support the internal improvement of the democratic parties and enhance their abilities in leadership, participation in politics and cooperation with the CPC. Befriending non-CPC members: To unite the non-CPC intellectuals is basic and strategically important, Xi said.(…) The development of religions in China should be independent of foreign influence. He promised to fully implement the Party's policy of religious freedom and manage religious affairs in line with the law. The President called for a balanced attitude towards religion, taking account of the pros and cons. ^ top ^

Three officials under graft probe (Xinhua)
2015-05-21
Three local officials are being investigated for separate cases of alleged embezzlement or accepting bribes, the Supreme People's Procuratorate said on Thursday. The three are Zhang Guoqiu, a deputy department-level inspector in the city of Tongliao in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; Li Hongbo, director of the water affairs bureau in the southern island province of Hainan; and Yang Haoqiang, former vice director of Hainan's arts and sports bureau. ^ top ^

4.6-magnitude quake hits East China's Shandong (China Daily)
2015-05-22
A 4.6-magnitude earthquake jolted Wendeng city of East China's Shandong province at 12:05 am Friday (Beijing Time), the China Earthquake Networks Center said. The epicenter was monitored at 36.9 degrees north latitude and 121.9 degrees east longitude, with a depth of 10 kilometers, the center said in a statement. ^ top ^

More than half of Beijingers live outside the city (China Daily)
2015-05-22
Beijing Bureau of Statistics says that the city has seen a steady decline in the growth rate of permanent residents in the city in the past five years. Changes in major industries, relocation of certain non-administrative functions outside the capital, rise of living and commuting costs have been cited as the main factors for the decline. Around 57% of permanent residents in Beijing live between the third ring road and the sixth ring road. About half of them live in residential areas outside the fifth ring road in Beijing. Beijing had a permanent residential population of over 21.5 million people by the end of 2014, including more than 8.1 million permanent living migrants from other cities. The growth rate of migrants living permanently in Beijing has seen a rapid decline in recent years from 64.2% in the past three years to 43.5% in 2014.The report also says that the burden on the city center is gradually being transferred to the city's new development zones. But public services like schools, hospitals and other services are still concentrated in the city center. The uneven distribution of these public resources has led to congestion and environmental issues. ^ top ^

 

 

Hongkong

HK signature campaign gathers mass support for reform package (China Daily)
2015-05-19
More than 1.2 million eligible voters in Hong Kong signed their names during a citywide campaign to show support for the government's electoral reform package, the group that organized the campaign, Alliance for Peace and Democracy, said on Monday. The alliance said the high number of signatures indicates Hong Kong people's strong hope to see a one-man-one-vote Chief Executive election in 2017. The alliance is urging opposition lawmakers to vote according to mainstream public opinion and pass the reform plan with a sense of historic responsibility. Robert Chow Yung, the alliance's spokesman, told reporters that people in Hong Kong had come forward to join the "Sign for Universal Suffrage Movement" simply because they love peace, want better development and oppose deeds that are destructive to Hong Kong. Compared with figures in the last Legislative Council election in 2012, in which the pro-establishment camp obtained 800,000 votes while the opposition garnered 1 million, there is a big jump in support for the former. Chow said the results of the campaign indicated a widening support base for the pro-establishment camp in future elections, a trend of particular significance as voters head to the polls for district council elections in just six months and the Legislative Council election next year, he said. The opposition accused the reform plan, which was proposed by the Hong Kong government after a decision by the National People's Congress Standing Committee on Hong Kong's 2017 Election, of being a "fake universal suffrage" for filtering candidates and being institutionalized. Opposition lawmakers vowed to veto the package in pursuit of a "genuine democracy". If that happens in the final voting in June or July, Hong Kong will keep its election committee system, in which only 1,200 people from various constituencies can cast their vote to elect the city's Chief Executive. In the last citywide signature campaign last November, which called for a restoration of law and order and support for the police during the Occupy Central movement, the alliance had gathered 1.83 million signatures. The Occupy Central movement, which was intended to pressure the Central Government into granting an electoral system that "satisfies the international standards of universal suffrage" in Hong Kong's Chief Executive election in 2017, paralyzed some of Hong Kong's main roads from September to December Chan Yung, Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress and chairman of the New Territories Association of Societies, was one of the front-line organizers. He reported a number of disturbances by opposition members at some of the alliance's booths, including chanting slogans and stopping the alliance's volunteers from carrying out their work. On the other hand, Chan said, it was encouraging that many people who were passing by went out of their way to sign their names. Wong Kwan-yu, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers and executive member of the alliance, said the campaign was a platform for the city's "silent majority" to speak up and not be controlled by the "loud minority". ^ top ^

Senior security official meets HK police chief (Xinhua)
2015-05-19
Senior Chinese security official Meng Jianzhu highlighted long-term stability in the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) as he met with Hong Kong's new Police Commissioner Stephen Lo on Tuesday. Meng, head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, urged mainland and Hong Kong police to enhance exchanges and cooperation, and to jointly prevent cross-border crimes. Lo, who took office earlier this month, pledged to deepen collaboration between the police forces, while vowing to safeguard Hong Kong's rule of law and social stability. China's State Council appointed Lo as Hong Kong police chief on May 4. The decision was made in accordance with the Basic Law of the HKSAR and nomination by Leung Chun Ying, the HKSAR's chief executive, the State Council said in a statement. ^ top ^

Beijing official rules out any changes to 2017 election reform framework (SCMP)
2015-05-21
Basic Law Committee vice-chairman tells group of 150 from Hong Kong there is no room for any compromise on framework for 2017 election: There is "no room for amendment" to Beijing's framework on political reform and in the Hong Kong government's reform package, Basic Law Committee vice-chairman Zhang Rongshun said yesterday. But former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen doubted if Zhang's views fully represent the position of the nation's top legislature which set the framework. Zhang is the first Beijing official to rule out the possibility of any compromise after the Hong Kong government unveiled its electoral blueprint last month. The proposal is based on Beijing's decision last August, which ruled that when Hong Kong elects its leader by "one man, one vote" for the first time in 2017, it must choose from two or three candidates approved by the majority of a 1,200-member nominating committee. All pan-democrat lawmakers vowed to veto the package, saying it deprives voters of a "genuine" choice of candidates. But academics such as University of Hong Kong law professor Albert Chen Hung-yee and dissident pan-democrats have suggested amendments to break the political impasse. However, after addressing about 150 Hong Kong businessmen, professionals and district councillors behind closed doors yesterday, Zhang said their efforts were in vain. "Regarding [Beijing's] August 31 decision and the universal suffrage proposal, you have been asking every day, but the answer is certain and definite: there is no room for amendment," he said. Zhang said Chen's proposal to include a "none of the above", or blank vote, option on the ballot paper, so voters can express dissatisfaction about the nominating process, was negative. "There is a culture in Hong Kong that is not [aiming] at achieving something actively, but rather … trying to make something fail," Zhang said. "With a blank-vote system, when chief executive candidates are running and getting ready to be elected, some other people can be focusing on telling people not to vote or to cast blank votes." On Tuesday, Zhang was quoted as saying corporate voting could not be abolished in the proposed nominating committee. He confirmed yesterday that was not the way to make the committee more democratic, as he believed it was "democratic [as long as] it allows different trades to elect" their representatives on the committee. But Tang said Zhang should come up with a rationale for opposing conversion of corporate votes into ballots cast by directors if he thought it would violate the Standing Committee's decision. Executive councillor Cheng Yiu-tong said that during yesterday's seminar, Zhang told them Beijing was not worried about a pan-democrat ruling Hong Kong, but that he could be calling for an end to China's "one-party dictatorship" as the city's leader. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Cross-Straits ties uncertain as KMT seeks 2016 candidate (Global Times)
2015-05-18
Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) party is struggling to find a promising "presidential" candidate for the forthcoming 2016 elections after its party chief vowed to stand by his pledge not to run. Analysts believe the KMT politicians' reluctance to run will deepen the disintegration within the party and give rise to growing uncertainty about the future of cross-Straits relations. Eric Chu Li-luan, KMT chairman, announced Saturday that he will not be running for "president," leaving KMT without a viable candidate against opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen. Chu made the pledge not to run in June last year when he was running for reelection as New Taipei city mayor. He succeeded Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou as chairman in January after the party suffered a stunning defeat in the island's local "nine-in-one elections" in December 2014, winning only six of 22 seats for city and county heads. The elections are seen as a barometer for 2016 vote on the regional leadership election. "I have to be honest and credible," Chu said, adding that his most important goal is to unite the party so it can get "back on its feet." Chu's comments came after Vice Chairman Wu Den-yih and head of Taiwan's legislative body Wang Jin-pyng both indicated that they would not run for the island's leader. "Given the crushing defeat in the nine-in-one elections, those three candidates are worried about their chances to win the election, which will tarnish their own image and have an adverse impact on their future political life," Chiu Yi, former KMT legislator, told the Global Times. However, Chu dismissed criticism that he was not running because he feared defeat, and said he would step down as KMT chairman next year regardless of the election outcome. "As KMT chairman, Chu is responsible to find the most suitable candidate. If that fails, he himself has decent qualities and should not dodge responsibility," Ma was quoted as saying by the Central News Agency on Saturday. Chu's announcement dealt another blow to the faltering confidence in the KMT. Wang Jianming, a research fellow at the Institute of Taiwan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that the KMT would be much less united and infighting would increase within the party when its leader withdraws. "Their reluctance will only bolster the morale in the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)," Chiu said. In February, DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen filed her candidacy in the party primary for the 2016 leadership election. A poll conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research showed on Thursday that 40 percent of 1,004 respondents said they would vote for Tsai while 28 percent for Wang Jin-pyng, with the rest choosing to abstain or refusing to comment. Even if the KMT joins hands with the People First Party (PFP) to nominate PFP chairman James Soong Chu-yu as their candidate, Tsai would still have 45.8 percent support, 13.5 percentage points more than Soong, the survey showed. "If the DPP, which opposes the 1992 Consensus, wins the election, cross-Straits relations will most likely be strained," Wang warned. The 1992 Consensus refers to the "One China Principle" recognized by both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan after a meeting in 1992. "There will be less official exchanges. The economic and trade links will also be affected," Chiu added. Ma must step down in May 2016 after serving the maximum two terms. Three KMT members filed their candidacy before the Saturday deadline. These are the deputy head of the Taiwan "legislature" Hung Hsiu-chu, former health "minister" Yaung Chih-liang and chief secretary of Dayuan township in Taoyuan county Huang Po-shou. However, none of the candidates is prominent enough to compete with the DPP chairwoman and their chances of winning are slim, analysts said. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China, UAE oil firms sign 330 mln USD worth oilfield development project (Xinhua)
2015-05-18
A subsidiary of China's oil and gas giant signed on Sunday a contract worth 330 million U.S. dollars with an onshore petroleum firm in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirate (UAE), for a development project at the UAE's southern Mender oilfield. The joint project between China Petroleum Engineering and Construction Corporation (CPECC) and Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) will help boost ADCO's daily crude production from 1.4 million barrels to 1.8 million by 2017. Hou Haojie, general manager of CPECC, said the Mender project, which follows CPECC's successful work on programs to develop the emirate's crude pipeline and Asab oilfield, has demonstrated his company's growing market reputation and strong global competitiveness. He also hoped that the two companies could work closely on the Mender project, and expand their cooperation in the future. The Mender oilfield sits in a desert area more than 300 km south of Abu Dubai, one of the country's seven emirates, and also capital of the UAE. It has a production capacity of about 20,000 barrels on a daily basis. According to the contract, the Chinese company will be responsible to build oil gathering stations, pipelines, power transmission lines, as well as sewage systems. The CPECC is affiliated with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China's largest oil and gas producer and supplier, and has a history of working its counterparts in the UAE. Back in late 2008, it won a contract worth 3.29 billion dollars in a partnership with UAE's state-run international petroleum investment company on the Abu Dhabi crude oil pipeline project, also known as the Habshan-Fujairah pipeline. The project, which became fully operational in July 2012, aims to secure supply of crude oil, and reduce oil transportation through the Straits of Hormuz, one of the world's most strategic waterways for global crude trade. ^ top ^

China sets economic reform priorities for 2015 (Xinhua)
2015-05-19
China's State Council, the cabinet, on Monday unveiled this year's priorities for economic reforms. The reforms -- to streamline administration and deregulate power to lower levels, promote the yuan's convertibility under the capital account, and launch a trial scheme to connect the Shenzhen and Hong Kong stock exchanges -- aim to add new impetus to the country's development, the State Council said in a statement on the government website. The central government promised to implement existed reform policies and roll out new pro-growth measures this year to stimulate the market and seek new growth potential. China's economic growth in the first quarter of this year slowed to 7 percent, the lowest level since the financial crisis, which prompted policy makers to accelerate an economic overhaul. In the statement, the government vowed to cut red tape, loosen control on market access and investment, and improve pricing mechanisms for public services including medicine and natural gas. Specifically, the government said that it will promote public-private partnerships to attract private capital into infrastructure construction and public enterprises. The government will push reforms of state-owned enterprises in key industries including electricity by reorganizing and consolidating them to improve efficiency, and it will support private firms to make the market less monopolistic. In terms of budget and taxation, the central government plans to step up the establishment of a normative mechanism for local authorities to raise funds and a system to assess risks in their debts and sound early warnings. It also pledged to continue to implement taxation reform, expanding value-added tax to the construction, property and finance sectors and adjusting resource tax, personal income tax and environmental protection tax. In the financial sector, China will speed up the development of private banks and small financial institutions, and issue a guideline to ensure healthy development of Internet finance. The country will also open up its financial sector and build a financial mechanism that better benefits the real economy, according to the statement. The state council said the government will further liberalize interest rates, make the yuan more flexible against other currencies and promote the use of renminbi in cross-border settlement. Reforms on urbanization, widening funding channels for city construction, improving the current rigid household registration system, and accelerating reforms on rural land to boost agriculture were all also identified as priorities. The government promised more opening up measures, including transforming trade structures, better management of foreign investment, encouraging industrial capacity cooperation, replicating successful free trade zones elsewhere and promoting the Belt and Road Initiative. In addition, China will make more effort to protect the environment through energy conservation, emission cuts and stricter regulation, the statement said. ^ top ^

China unveils ambitious plan for 'Made in China' upgrade within 10 years (SCMP)
2015-05-22
China has unveiled an ambitious plan to revamp and upgrade its manufacturing sector to bring it up to par with that of industrialised nations in 10 years. By 2025, Chinese manufacturers are expected to have boosted their productivity immensely through innovation, creating a batch of globally competitive multinational companies that are both resource-efficient and environmentally friendly, according to the "Made in China 2025" plan the State Council released on Tuesday. "Manufacturing is the way out for China as it seeks a new economic driver and a new global competitive edge," it stated. The plan comes as the country's economy slows and its low-end manufacturing sector loses steam amid rising labour costs, shrinking export demands, and tighter resource and environmental constraints. The document highlights 10 focus areas to build a high-end manufacturing sector. These comprise new information technology, numerical control tools and robotics; aerospace equipment; ocean-engineering equipment and hi-tech ships; railway equipment; energy-saving and new-energy vehicles; power equipment; new materials; biological medicine and medical devices; and agricultural machinery. China is to become a global manufacturing power by 2049, as a strong manufacturing base is crucial for national security, according to the document. "The transformation is an essential task for the government under the macroeconomic environment," ANZ Banking senior economist Raymond Yeung Yue-ting said. "The industry upgrade will boost people's income and drive domestic consumption." Industry and Information Technology Minister Miao Wei said the country did not have the core technology for some industries and a holistic plan was needed for a breakthrough, financial news portal Caixin reported. Last year, China spent more than US$210 billion importing chips. This was more than the amount it spent buying crude oil. But Miao said the development of high-end integrated circuits was hindered because of restrictions some Western nations imposed on exporting their components to China. The plan highlights innovation as a way to build a high-end manufacturing sector, aiming to set up 15 national manufacturing innovation centres by 2020, and 40 by 2025. China will aim to make breakthroughs in key technologies, including improving homegrown computer chips' adaptability, enhancing mobile communications technology, and producing multipurpose robotics. It will also research and develop wide-body aircraft and encourage international cooperation on making heavy-lift helicopters, the document stated. ANZ Banking's Yeung said whether the ambitious revamp-and-upgrade plan would work depended on the government's supporting policies. "It's important to have more policies in place to encourage more private investment and introduction of foreign technologies," Yeung said. China has made some headway in boosting its high-end manufacturing sector in recent years, such as in building high-speed railways. But it has also faced setbacks as the country battles choking bureaucracy and deep-rooted corruption. ^ top ^

China's e-commerce to go abroad: NDRC (Xinhua)
2015-05-22
China will promote its e-commerce to the world and expand business in new sectors, said a senior official with the country's top economic planner on Tuesday. Lin Nianxiu, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, made the remarks while responding to the latest guideline to fuel e-commerce. The State Council, China's cabinet, on May 7 released a guideline on e-commerce development, to foster new growth drivers amid the economic slowdown. The government pledged to create a favorable environment for e-commerce by cutting red tape, easing market access and lowering taxation. Li said China's e-commerce sector needs to start more businesses in rural areas, promote networking and service-oriented management in manufacturing and rapidly upgrade traditional commerce. New e-commerce businesses are encouraged in online payment, financing, insurance and funds as well as more e-commerce services like car rental and medical diagnosis, Li said. He also suggested direct yuan-denominated investment in foreign countries should be supported. The e-commerce industry has experienced a boom in recent years that helped stimulate consumption and investment, and the government is pinning its hopes on the sector to create jobs and facilitate the ongoing process of industrial upgrading. Stimulated by the rapidly expanding e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba and JD.com, online retail trade volume grew 49.7 percent year on year to 2.8 trillion yuan ($458.28 billion) in 2014, according to an earlier report by the China E-Commerce Research Center. ^ top ^

AIIB to accept non-Asian states on directors' board: Philippines official (SCMP)
2015-05-22
Move gives small shareholders a voice in the institution, says Philippines' finance chief: Beijing is proposing to include non-Asian countries on the board of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in a move interpreted by some nations as giving small shareholders a voice in the institution, the Philippines' finance chief said yesterday. The AIIB's planned governance mechanism includes a provision that prevents any country from having more than one seat on the 12-member directors board, Cesar Purisima said. His comments came as founding members of the Beijing-backed bank began a three-day meeting in Singapore to discuss operational policies and other issues for setting up the institution. "There is a provision splitting the 12 members into nine regional and three non-regional," Purisima said. "That helps the smaller countries. I'm seeing features that make it more inclusive." China says it will not hold veto power in the AIIB, unlike the World Bank where the United States has a limited veto. Founding members will initially pay up to one-fifth of the AIIB'S US$50 billion authorised capital, which will eventually be raised to US$100 billion. Peter Garber, a senior adviser in Deutsche Bank's global markets research, said a multilateral bank may help overcome governance problems China has faced on some bilateral loans. But competition from multilateral institutions and other bilateral lenders such as Japan could be a challenge. AIIB "is starting up in a world [with] lots of suppliers of capital, as we see with the sudden entry of Japan, so it may not be so easy to find projects," Garber said. Apart from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, plans are also underway for a development bank by the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Japan's Jiji Press on Tuesday said Tokyo would announce a US$100 billion plan to invest in roads, bridges, railways and other projects in Asia. ^ top ^

Positive signs emerge for economy during Q2 (China Daily)
2015-05-22
Industrial restructuring, growth in services good indicators of improving conditions, say experts Positive signs have started to emerge in China's economy since the second quarter, suggesting deepened industrial restructuring amid rapid growth in the high-tech and Internet industries, according to economists. The government's reform policies have started to show effects in reshaping the economic engine to depend on consumption and services, rather than the traditional investment-driven model, they said. The country's GDP growth, which is likely to slip below 7 percent during the April-to-June period, may rebound in the third quarter, according to Wang Jun, a senior economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a government think tank. "Stable growth of the service sector is expected to offset the downward momentum in the manufacturing industry and support the overall GDP, as well as provide sufficient job opportunities, which will help China transform its growth pattern without a sharp slowdown," said Wang. During the first three months, the year-on-year growth in the services sector was about 8 percent, compared with 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2014, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The faster development of the service industry contributed 56.8 percent to the GDP growth in the first quarter, up from 51.7 percent in 2014. Besides, new driving forces are emerging, including high-tech and Internet-based businesses, Wang said. In April, the high-tech industry clocked growth in excess of 10 percent from a year earlier, compared with the overall industrial output growth rate of 5.9 percent, the NBS data showed. During the first quarter, operating revenue of the country's Internet-related services business rose by 26.9 percent year-on-year, much higher than the 2 percent average industrial income growth. Xia Bin, a consultant to the State Council, said that China is likely to achieve its full-year employment growth target as the government is encouraging more startups and technological innovation. According to the official data, job opportunities increased by 7.5 percent in the first quarter. Fielding Chen, an economist with Bloomberg LP, said: "There are signs that the economic rebalancing is bearing fruit in some parts of the country." Chen cited Zhejiang province as an example. Zhejiang, which is the home to Internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and China's e-business hub, "stands out as one of the country's few bright spots", he said. It was the only province where growth accelerated at a much faster pace in the first quarter. Zhejiang's GDP expanded by 8.2 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, from 7.6 percent in 2014. "This was mostly due to the services sector, which contributed 5.3 percentage points to the first-quarter growth. The software and information sector posted 27.6 percent year-on-year growth in revenue, while online sales increased by 28.6 percent," said Chen. "As China works toward rebalancing its economy, the success of Zhejiang may point to the direction of future growth," he said. The recent policy adjustments also helped stabilize China's economy. The central bank cut benchmark interest rates by another 25 basis points on May 10, the third time in six months, guiding the subsequent visible decline in money market rates. The Ministry of Finance, the central bank and the China Banking Regulatory Commission also jointly confirmed that direct debt placement between local governments and creditors will be allowed, aiming to increase liquidity and relieve the debt burden. All the measures, with more supportive policies to be released in the coming months, will continue to take effect to maintain the growth rate at around 7 percent this year, economists said. ^ top ^

 

DPRK

DPRK says already in phase of nuclear-weapons miniaturization (Xinhua)
2015-05-21
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has entered the phase of miniaturization and diversification of nuclear weapons for quite some time, said an official statement released Wednesday. The news release, from the Policy Department of the National Defense Commission, referred to the May 8 test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile. The trial, it said, is an important effort to strengthen the defense capability of the country's army in line with the policy of "simultaneously developing two fronts" -- economic growth and national defense. The launch has proved that the development of the DPRK's strategic strike means has reached a new and higher level, said the statement, adding that the country's long-range rockets are now able to ensure attacks of the highest accuracy. The statement also blasted the United States, Japan and South Korea for their claim that Pyongyang's test-firing of the submarine-launched ballistic missile is a threat and provocation, saying it is the DPRK's right to beef up its defense ability. On May 9, the official KCNA news agency reported that the DPRK successfully test-fired a strategic ballistic missile from a submarine. Pyongyang said the launch fully met the requirements of latest military science and technology. South Korean President Park Geun-hye claimed that the DPRK's development of the submarine-launched ballistic missile is a serious challenge undermining stability in East Asia as well as on the Korean Peninsula. US Secretary of State John Kerry, who had just finished a two-day visit to Seoul, said the launch was very provocative and in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions banning the DPRK from conducting any ballistic missile launches. ^ top ^

Top negotiators of S.Korea, U.S., Japan to gather for DPRK nuke talks (Xinhua)
2015-05-22
Top nuclear envoys of South Korea, the United States and Japan will meet in Seoul for two days from May 26 to discuss the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) 's nuclear program, Seoul's foreign ministry said Friday. The negotiators, who respectively represent their countries in the six-party talks to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, would share assessments of recent situations and threats from the DPRK, the South Korean foreign ministry said in a statement. The senior diplomats would also have in-depth consultations on various ways to make substantive progress in the DPRK's nuclear issues at all levels, including deterrence, pressure and dialogue, the ministry said. The negotiators would involve Hwang Joon-kook, South Korea's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs along with Sung Kim, U.S. special representative for the DPRK policy and Junichi Ihara, Japan's director-general of the country's foreign ministry's Asian and Oceanian affairs bureau. The aid-for-disarmament talks, including South Korea, the DPRK, China, the United States, Russia and Japan, were initiated in Beijing in August 2003 but have stalled since December 2008. ^ top ^

 

Mrs. Anna Roduit
Embassy of Switzerland
 

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
 
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