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
  25.10-29.10.04, No. 38  
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Foreign Policy

Chinese defense minister back to Beijing from four-nation visit
2004-10-29 People's Daily
Chinese Minister of National Defense Cao Gangchuan returned Friday, concluding his official good-will visit to France, Belgium, Switzerland and Brazil. During his visit, Cao, also vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission and state councilor, had discussions with government or military leaders of the four countries. The leaders exchanged views and reached broad agreement on bilateral relations, the international situation and regional security. Cao paid the visit at the invitation of French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, Belgian Defense Minister Andre Flahaut, Vice- president of the Swiss Confederation and Defense Minister Samuel Schmid, and Brazilian Defense Minister Jose Viegas Filho.

China urges end of sanctions against Cuba
2004-10-29 Xinhua News
The 40-year-old sanctions imposed by the US against Cuba is illegal and inhuman, China's deputy representative to the UN Zhang Yishan told the UN General Assembly on Thursday. Addressing the assembly after voting for a resolution demanding an immediate end to the most unpopular sanction with 178 other countries, Zhang recalled that similar resolutions have been adopted for 12 consecutive years, but the country concerned refused to comply. The resolution urged all countries to comply with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles enshrined in the international legal instruments, repeal or invalidate all the laws and measures with the "extraterritorial effects" that affect the sovereignty of other states. ( ) The US has claimed that the sanctions "are aimed at enhancing democracy, freedom and human rights in Cuba," said the Chinese envoy, but the reality is by attempting to use embargo and sanction to force another country to give up its independently chosen development road, and even to overthrow the existing government. Zhang said that the embargo and sanction have seriously " obstructed and constrained the Cuban people in their nation- building efforts to eradicate poverty, improve people's living standard, and promote economic and social development. ( )

China, Japan hold talks on E. China Sea dispute
2004-10-27 PLA Daily
Senior officials from China and Japan have wrapped up a first round of talks to resolve disputes over energy and territory in the East China Sea in Beijing. The Chinese Foreign Ministry says the meeting was constructive. The Director General of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's Asian Affairs Department, Cui Tiankai, and the Director General of the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Mitoji Yabunaka, represented the two sides at Monday's talks. Energy department officials from both sides also met. The Chinese delegation says progress was made. The one-day meeting follows a terse exchange between the two countries that began earlier this year. The row centered on resource exploration in disputed waters, where the two sides have yet to agree on a sea border. The meeting was a good beginning for both countries to begin their dialogue on how to solve this complicated issue. But there's still a long way to go before a final agreement is reached.

President Hu meets with Powell
2004-10-26 PLA Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao said here Monday that the regular contact and dialogue between China and the United States on bilateral relations and issues of common concern are of great significance to the development of Sino-US constructive cooperative relations. Hu made the remark in a meeting with visiting US Secretary of States Colin Powell. He expressed his appreciation for Powell's positive contributions to the improvement and development of Sino-US relations during his term as US Secretary of State. Powell extended US President George W. Bush's greeting to Hu and said Bush expected to meet Hu at the upcoming APEC meeting in November. Powell started his two-day China visit on Sunday afternoon. Beijing is the second lag of Powell's three-nation tour in Asia, after Japan. The US Secretary of State will also visit the Republic of Korea. to "Taiwan independence" and curbing risky activities of "Taiwan independence" forces are in the common interests of both China and the United States, and the Asian-Pacific countries, said Chinese President Hu Jintao here Monday.( ) Hu said the current situation across the Taiwan Straits is still very complicated and sensitive. The "Taiwan independence" forces' activities aiming at splitting the country remain the root of the cross-straits tension and the greatest threat to peace and stability in the region, said Hu. He said he appreciated the United States' reiteration for many times that it adheres to the one-China policy, abides by the three joint communiques and opposes "Taiwan independence". He said he hoped the US side to see clearly the nature and serious harm of the "Taiwan independence" forces and really turn its promises on the Taiwan question into concrete actions, which is crucial to safeguarding peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and in the Asian-Pacific region, and the sound and stable development of Sino-US relations. US Secretary of State Colin Powell emphasized, during his China tour, that the United States will unswervingly pursue the one-China policy and oppose any action aiming at "Taiwan independence". ( ) Regarding the bilateral relations, Powell said in the past four years, the US-China relationship has seen great development on the basis of mutual respect and cooperation, and the two countries have maintained close exchanges at many different levels. ( )

China, US agree six-party framework to continue
2004-10-26 PLA Daily
US Secretary of State Colin Powell said here Monday that China and the United States have agreed the six-party framework should continue. "What we agreed on today is the need for the six-party framework to continue," Powell told a news conference after meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao and other senior Chinese leaders. ( ) While praising China's "actively involved" efforts in pushing the talks, Powell said he was confident that the Chinese are totally committed to the six-party framework. "We reaffirmed our commitment today to the six-party talks and hoped the next round will be held in the recent future," he said. ( ) By June this year, China had hosted three rounds of the six-party talks to try to resolve the nuclear confrontation between the DPRK and the United States. But the fourth round scheduled for September failed to take place. ( )

Domestic Policy

Communication between China's central authorities, HK legislators strengthened
2004-10-23 Xinhua News
Secretary for Constitutional Affairs of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Stephen Lam said here Saturday that "we will continue to promote communication between central authorities and Hong Kong legislators." After attending a youth summit on constitutional development Saturday, Lam said that "in the last few months, we have acted very positively to promote communication between the central authorities and various political parties and groups in Hong Kong." In April, we arranged for the representatives of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and different legislators to meet and exchange views on matters related to constitutional development," he said. "We welcome the fact that, in August, various legislators took part in the celebration organized by the Garrison in Hong Kong. ( )

Death toll in coal mine blast rises to 79
2004-10-24 Xinhua News
The death toll in the coal mine explosion in central China's Henan Province has risen to 79. Some 70 people are still missing. Three of the 21 injured miners remain in serious condition. Around 450 people were in the mine in Xinmi city when the blast occurred Wednesday night, China Radio International reported Saturday. Three of the 21 injured miners remain in serious condition.

Income gap still wide in Shanghai
2004-10-26 Xinhua News
There is still a big gap between urban and rural spending in Shanghai. Figures from the Shanghai Statistics Bureau show that per capita spending in urban Shanghai reached 9,605 yuan (US$1,160) by the end of September, a 15.9 per cent increase year-on-year. Spending in rural Shanghai, however, was less than half that at 4,235 yuan (US$511). The per capita disposable income for urban people in Shanghai in the first nine months was 12,575 yuan (US$1,520), and 6,019 yuan (US$727) for rural ones, said Zhu Zhanghai, an official from the bureau. "The income growth among urban people was 13.3 per cent, and 9.6 per cent for rural ones," said Zhu Zhanghai. Food still made up a considerable part of urban spending. Shanghai saw a 12.9 per cent increase on food expenditures by the end of September, even though the soaring trend of food prices has been curbed to some extent," said Zhu Zhanghai. Compared with the overall consumer price growth of 2.3 per cent, food prices still grew 8.3 per cent.( ) The other major consumption items were transportation and communication, which increased by 47.3 per cent to 1,298 yuan (US$157) and education and culture, at 1,822 yuan (US$220), up 21.4 per cent. Shanghai still demonstrated strong economic performance in the first three quarters of this year. Shanghai's gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to 530.5 billion yuan (US$63.9 billion) for the nine-month period, up 14.2 per cent year-on-year. The growth rate was 2.4 percentage points higher than the year-earlier level," said Cai Xuchu, a spokesman for the statistics bureau, during a recent press conference. ( )

Huge funds earmarked for tree planting in vicinity of Three Gorges Reservoir
2004-10-26 Xinhua News
The central government of China and the government of southwestern Chongqing Municipality will make a total investment of 769 million yuan (about 93 million US dollars) in three years from 2004 to 2007 to build a tree belt along the banks of the Three Gorges Reservoir. The afforestation project is expected to significantly reduce the amount of sand washed into the reservoir, purify the water of the reservoir and enrich tourism to the reservoir, according to the 41st executive meeting of the Chongqing municipal government held on Tuesday. According to the programming of the State Development and Reform Commission, the afforestation project will cover 179,600 hectares in 22 districts and counties of Chongqing Municipality. Atotal of 88,200 hectares of trees will be planted on sloping farmland, barren hills and other areas where trees can grow. ( )

Shanghai holds anti-terror exercise
2004-10-28 Xinhua News
The city of Shanghai held its first comprehensive anti-terrorist drill in an industrial park in Minhang District yesterday afternoon. Government officials watched over the exercise, which involved more than 400 people from at least 11 departments. ( ) After receiving the alert, the joint headquarters immediately offered instructions to departments dealing with the crisis, including fire control brigades, medical facilities and the environmental protection bureau. Following the city's terrorism response plan, government forces managed to curb the spread of the deadly gas and solve the hostage crisis. Officials said the drill, which lasted about 90 minutes, achieved its desired results. Liu Yungeng, director of the Shanghai Anti-terrorist Coordination Office, stated it is essential for the city to take firm precautionary measures against terrorism. Only by doing so can we ensure the city's security and establish a harmonious society," he said. The local government is trying hard to merge various social resources to set up an emergency response system that can meet the safety demands of extremely large cities like Shanghai. In August, police at the city's Wusong Entry-Exit Frontier Inspection Station held a 30-minute anti-terrorist drill in which a suspected terrorist boarded a foreign container ship. Armed immigration police grappled with the man as he tried to jump into the river to escape.

Taiwan

One-China policy key to talks with Taipei
2004-10-28 PLA Daily
Beijing Wednesday ruled out new talks with Taipei despite a call from US Secretary of State Colin Powell to reopen cross-Straits dialogue. Zhang Mingqing, spokesman with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said there is no basis for reopening bilateral talks unless Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian abandons his separatist push. He added that the resumption of any cross-Straits talks must be based on the precondition of the one-China principle, which holds both Taiwan and the mainland are part of China. The official brushed aside Taipei's allegation that the precondition set by Beijing has hindered the resumption of cross-Straits negotiation. "What would we talk about if there was no (basis of the) one-China principle between both sides of the Taiwan Straits?" ( ) During a one-day visit to Beijing on Monday, Powell urged Chinese leaders to be "open minded" and renew cross-Straits negotiation. Talks were first started in 1992 but broke off in 1999 after former Taiwan "president" Lee Teng-hui redefined bilateral ties as "special state to state." ( ) Chen Shui-bian ongoing plan to adopt a new "constitution" for the island by 2008 is widely considered a step tantamount to a declaration of formal independence. Zhang noted that Chen's relentless pursuit of "Taiwan independence'' has greatly endangered peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and his call for peace talks is nothing but a "phony olive branch." At the press briefing Wednesday, the spokesman welcomed Powell's comments denying Taiwan is an independent nation and suggesting that the island should unify with the Chinese mainland. "Mr. Powell's comments are consistent with the long-standing one-China policy of the United States," Zhang said. Washington officially recognizes Beijing and acknowledges the Chinese position that Taiwan is a part of China, but maintains unofficial relations with Taipei. "There is only one China. Taiwan is not independent. It does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation, and that remains our policy, our firm policy," Powell told Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television in Beijing. ( ) Taiwanese officials have sought to downplay the impact of his comments. In Taipei, Chen Shui-bian told visiting former South Korean President Kim Young-sam on Tuesday that Taiwan is "definitely a sovereign and independent country."

 

Patrick Dreher
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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