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
  28.2-4.3.05, No. 53  
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Foreign Policy

EU trade chief criticizes arms ban on China
2005-02-28 People's Daily
European Union's trade chief, Peter Mandelson has criticized a 15-year-old European arms embargo on China, saying it was high time to lift the ban given the rapidly developing relations between the two sides. Speaking in a press conference after the meeting with China's vice premier, Wu Yi and Commerce Minister Bo Xilai, the EU trade chief says maintaining the ban is not reasonable. The United States has voiced strong opposition to the lifting of the weapons embargo, saying European weapons sales to China could transfer hi-tech military know-how to China, thus breaking the military balance in Asia. To this, Mandelson believes the key question is not whether the ban stays or goes but what replaces it, adding that a clear and strong code of conduct for arms sales will do the job. Mandelson says talks with Chinese leaders also focused on deepening strategic relations between Europe and China. He says as members of the 148-nation WTO edge closer to a year-end summit in Hong Kong, they are trying to spur treaty talks that have been dragging on for more than four years. "We agree that an ambitious deal has to be wrapped up successfully by the end of 2006 or early 2007. We both agree on the need to accelerate negotiations, and we both want a balance of Doha deal," said Mandelson. On intellectual property rights, he notes both parties have agreed to set up a joint expert group to nail down enforcement of the IPR protection, which he believes is the major problem in China's IPR issues. When asked about the issue of granting China the market economy status, the top trade negotiator says China should take more efforts to meet the relevant criteria, and pledges the determination to move forward with China. This is Mandelson's first visit to China since he took office in November 2004.

Sino-Japanese minister-level dialogue planned
2005-02-28 China Daily
Senior Japanese and Chinese diplomats reaffirmed the need Saturday to soon hold minister-level dialogue, and agreed to work to set a date for a visit to China by Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura. Cui Tiankai, head of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's Asian Affairs Department and Kenichiro Sasae, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, reached the agreement in a meeting Saturday night. The talks were held after Sasae flew to Beijing in the evening from Seoul, where he met with senior South Korean and American diplomats to coordinate policy on the six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear program. Sasae, Japan's chief delegate to the talks, told reporters he did not discuss the North Korean issue with Cui, but said he will brief China on the results of the Seoul talks in a meeting Sunday with Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei. In the talks in Seoul, Japan, South Korea and the United States agreed to urge North Korea to return to the stalled six-way talks unconditionally and without delay. The three countries agreed to cooperate with each other to that end. The talks in Seoul were attended by Sasae, South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Song Min Soon and U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Christopher Hill. Song and Hill are their respective countries' chief delegates to the six-party talks. The gathering in Seoul was intended to coordinate policy after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told a Chinese envoy earlier this week Pyongyang might return to the six-country talks if certain conditions are met. Wang Jiarui, head of the China's International Liaison Department, met with Kim after North Korea declared Feb. 10 that it possesses nuclear weapons and that it was boycotting the six-nation talks indefinitely. The crisis over North Korea's nuclear arms program erupted in 2002, when the United States accused Pyongyang of operating a secret uranium enrichment program. The six countries -- China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States -- have held three rounds of talks since August 2003 to defuse the crisis. A fourth round set for the end of last September failed to materialize as North Korea refused to attend it, blaming the United States for taking what it called a "hostile" attitude toward the country.

FM urges Japan to be prudent with constitution revision
2005-03-03 People's Daily
Japan should take a prudent approach with constitution revision involving the war-renouncing Article 9, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao Tuesday. Liu made the remark at a routine news conference in response to a report that Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was to submit the first draft constitution revision in March. Japan's pacifist constitution enacted after the World War II forbids the possession of an army and the involvement in warfare. Yet, as a leading economic power in today's world, Japan's ambition to play an important role politically and militarily has flared up. The LDP aims to present the constitution revision for discussion at the 50th anniversary of its establishment in November, with the intent to revise the war-renouncing Article 9. "As Japan's neighbor, China sincerely hopes that Japan should conscientiously draw its lessons, give due considerations to the concerns of Asian countries which it had invaded in World War II. China hopes that it should be prudent in making any revision relating to the military security," said Liu, noting that Japan's "peaceful" development is in the fundamental interest of both the country itself and the whole region.

China to issue human rights record of the United States
2005-03-02 Xinhuanet
The Information Office of the State Council will issue on March 3 the Human Rights Record of theUnited States in 2004, in response to the Country Reports on HumanRights Practices issued by the United States, which irrationally condemns human rights in China. It will be the sixth Chinese report in response to the annual country reports on human rights by the United States in six consecutive years. The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2004, based on plenty of facts, is divided into six parts, uncovering the bad records of the United States concerning the invasions into other countries and the mistreatment of foreign inmates, as well as the bad records in the aspects of life, freedom and personal security of the US citizens, their political rights and freedom, economic, social and cultural rights, racial discrimination, conditions of women and children.

China opposes US's human rights reports: FM spokesman
2005-03-02 Xinhuanet
China is demanding the United States stop interfering with China's internal affairs, following the release of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in 2004. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao says China strongly opposes the issues raised in the report which irrationally condemns human rights in China. Liu Jianchao says the US has issued several reports of the kind, and they are not conducive to the improvement of Sino-US ties, or the strengthening of cooperation between the countries. He says the reports don't deepen understanding on the human right issue. The spokesman adds the best way to solve disagreements over the human rights issue is for the two sides to strengthen dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

Expedition to Diaoyu Islands slated for May
2005-02-28 China Daily
HK community organizations plan to embark in May on another expedition to proclaim China's territorial rights to the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. Members of the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands Friday demanded the Japanese Government stop infringing upon China's sovereignty to the island chain. The latest expedition was prompted by an announcement by the Japanese Government that it will take over a lighthouse built by a Japanese right-wing group on the islands. Tokyo vowed to protect the lighthouse as Japan's state property. "We have seen that there is a rise of militarism in Japan. The Japanese Government has publicly supported the political group with big military ambitions to occupy the island," the committee's representative Lo Chau said. The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned Japan's latest move, saying that Tokyo's unilateral actions on the Diaoyu Islands were "illegal and invalid". "The Japanese troops committed massacres and other heinous crimes in China during World War II. Ahead of the 60th anniversary of China's victory against Japanese aggression in World War II, the Japanese Government should fulfil its historical responsibility to acknowledge the crimes," the committee member and legislator Albert Ho said. "Japan has taken advantage of the (current) tensions across Taiwan Straits in making a claim over the Diaoyu Islands. This is absolutely an act of shame and disgrace," Ho said. The committee will kick off a fund-raising activity at community level to collect donations to rent a vessel for the expedition between May and June. It will need HK$1-2 million to fund a seven-to-nine-day expedition. Though it has not decided on how many people will be sent on the expedition, the committee said it will liaise with overseas groups to join in the event. The committee said it plans to raise HK$5 million in the longer term, which will enable the organization to buy a vessel so it can set off on an expedition to the islands at any time. Meanwhile, David Chu, one of the Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC), said he will try to enlist support from 30 NPC deputies to launch a petition that asks the central government to assume a tougher stance in safeguarding the islands. Chu said he will raise the petition - either through a motion or a proposal - when the annual meeting of the NPC opens next week. "We want to show that Hong Kong citizens strongly oppose the Japanese invasion of our lands," Chu said. The petroleum-rich island group in the East China Sea, named Senkaku by Japan, lies between Japan's southern island of Okinawa and China's Taiwan Province. The islands are uninhabited but surrounded by rich fishing waters. Japan claimed the chain in 1895 though China said the islands have been Chinese for centuries. The United States administered the islands after World War II but turned over control of them to Japan in 1972.

New Zealand FM stresses one-China policy, cooperation with China
2005-03-01 People's Daily
New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Phil Goff stressed the one-China policy and New Zealand's cooperation with China during talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing Monday in Beijing. The one-China policy is a long-term policy pursued by the New Zealand government, Goff said. New Zealand supports China's efforts made to achieve peaceful reunification and opposes any action taken by the Taiwan authorities that will lead to "Taiwan independence" and ruin the peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and the Asia-Pacific region at large, he said. Goff is paying an official visit to China from Feb. 27 to 28 at the invitation of the Chinese Foreign Minister. Li expressed his appreciation of New Zealand's adherence to one-China policy, opposition to "Taiwan independence" and taking lead among the western developed countries in confirming China's full market economy status. He told the guest that the relationship between China and New Zealand has been progressing smoothly over recent years. The two sides witnessed constant high-level exchanges and positive results in the cooperation of all fields. China is ready to work together with New Zealand to actively implement the important common understandings on fully deepening bilateral cooperative relations reached by leaders of the two countries, and continue to keep strong momentum of high-level exchanges, build up political mutual trust, consolidate cooperation of mutual benefit, and strengthen communication and coordination in handling international and regional issues, Li said. Goff agreed Li's comments on the relations between China and New Zealand by saying that the two sides share extensive areas of cooperation and have witnessed fruitful results in this regard. New Zealand feels inspired by the negotiation on bilateral free trade agreement carried out by the two countries and deems it will help the two sides further display their own advantages and expand bilateral cooperation in economy and business. The two foreign ministers also exchanged views on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and other world and regional issues of common concern.

Vice president affirms growing relations with Belarus
2005-03-04 PLA Daily
Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong said here Wednesday China and Belarus have seen "satisfactory cooperation," and China will make joint efforts with Belarus to "further bilateral relations." Zeng made the remarks in meeting with the visiting Belarussian Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov. The two countries have developed friendship rapidly since the establishment of diplomatic relations, Zeng said. "The two countries cooperate by trusting each other in politics, meeting each other's needs in economy and coordinating in international affairs," Zeng said. China spoke highly of Belarus's adherence to one-China policy and its support in such issues as Taiwan, Tibet and human rights. Martynov reiterated Belarus' firm adherence to one-China policy and expressed the hope that the two countries will strengthen cooperation of mutual benefit in various fields. Martynov arrived in Beijing Wednesday morning on a four-day official visit to China as guest of Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. Besides Beijing, Martynov will also visit Shanghai, China's economic hub.

FM spokesman: No plan of changing Mideast envoy
2005-03-04 Xinhuanet
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said here Thursday China has no plan of changing its special envoy on the Middle East issue. Liu made the remark at a regular press conference as response to a journalist's question. He said Ambassador Wang Shijie, China's Mideast envoy, is an senior expert on the Middle East issue and his work has been thought and spoke highly of since his appointment. China appointed Wang its special envoy on the Middle East issuein September 2002, aiming to promote the appropriate solution of the region's peace process through peaceful means and responding to the pleas of leaders from the Arab world who repeatedly urged China to play a larger role in the Middle East issue.

 

Innenpolitik

Media prepares for NPC and CPPCC Sessions
2005-03-02 Xinhuanet
Journalists from both China and abroad are gearing up to cover the coming sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing, which are to open respectively on the thrid and fifth this month. The news centre for the two sessions is now open, with more than 2,200 journalists from China and foreign countries having registered to cover the event. "This year foreign journalists are paying great attention to the two sessions. Many more have registered to report the event. And nearly 100 press officers from foreign embassies in China have signed up to attend the sessions." said Sun Weide, an official with the centre. For foreign journalists, the coming sessions of the NPC and CPPCC are a good opportunity to learn about China. "Well our newspaper is a financial newspaper so we are mainly interested in the progress of China's economy." "So I think it's a good opportunity for people in Brazil to understand how the political system and the powers work together here in China, and how the system works." Officials at the news centre say registration of foreign journalists is still going on.

CPPCC delegates urged to help religious and ethnic groups
2005-03-02 Xinhuanet
Head of China's top political advisory body Jia Qinglin says delegates of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference should help the government in its work to support religions and ethnic groups. At a symposium on religion and minority nationality on Tuesday in Beijing, Jia Qinglin urged CPPCC delegates to maintain close ties with minority groups and listen to their suggestions and requests to better protect their legal interests. Jia Qinglin also noted he hopes the Chinese Committee of Religious Peace will cooperate closely with people with religious beliefs.

Criminal penalties pondered for aborting females
2005-02-28 China Daily
Doctors performing selective abortions or exposing the gender of fetuses may face jail terms, say senior legislators worried about the country's gender imbalance. The lawmakers are also mulling changes to criminal law that target those practices. At a discussion on Saturday, members of the Standing Committee of National People's Congress (NPC) called for a new criminal law clause against selective abortion and fetal gender identification for non-medical purposes. "The gender imbalance will affect marriages for a certain period in the future and add to social instability," standing committee member Xu Zhihong said at the discussion. Selective abortion also harms the health of women and in the majority of cases tragically ends the life of female fetuses, said Xu, who is also president of Beijing University. China in history saw the birth of sons as preferable since they were viewed as being more able to provide for their families, or better able to support elderly parents or to carry on the family line. The belief lingers on in some rural areas where men do most manual work to support the family. The country's family planning policy allows most couples to have just one child. The persisting bias for boys by some people means they decide to abort an expected child if it is found to be a girl. Others give birth and leave their baby girls at the hospital or local orphanages. Though the practice of providing ultrasound scans and telling parents a child's sex is illegal, many corrupt clinics accept money and do so anyway. Some accept bribes and reveal the information to parents. The country's birth gender ratio has risen to about 117 boys to 100 girls, compared to 108 boys to 100 girls in 1982. The lawmakers are considering whether to upgrade the punishment - now just fines and some administrative measures - into criminal law sanctions. There is only a charge on people who have no medical certificate but conduct abortions. Some 10-plus NPC Standing Committee members are proposing to add a criminal article targeting on licensed doctors who reveal the sex of fetuses or conduct abortions for non-medical purposes. But some are adding a note of caution. "Revealing the sex of a fetus is against professional ethics but it alone is not up to the level of criminal offence," said Qiu Xinglong, a law professor of the Xiangtan University based in the central province of Hunan. He said the identification is punishable only when it leads to selective abortion. "Having a rule to deter abortion is no problem, but where to draw the lines is an issue lawmakers need to tread upon carefully."

China's regional ethnic autonomy immensely successful, says whitepaper
2005-02-28 Xinhuanet
The practice of more than half a century has proved that the system and practice of China's regional ethnic autonomy have been immensely successful, says a white paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council Monday. Regional ethnic autonomy is a correct solution to the issue of ethnic groups in China, and is in keeping with China's actual conditions and the common interests of all ethnic groups, says thewhite paper entitled Regional Autonomy for Ethnic Minorities in China. It says that in the process of reform, opening-up and national modernization, the state and the ethnic autonomous areas have adopted various measures to promote the economic and social development in the latter, but limited and influenced by historical, geographical and other conditions, the economic and social development level of western China, where the populations of ethnic minorities are more concentrated, is still low compared with the more developed eastern areas. Some remote areas, in particular, are still pretty backward, says the white paper. To build a well-off society in an all-round way in the new century, China has to make an effort to solve such issues as adherence to and improvement of regional ethnic autonomy, giving full play to the advantages of the system, and continuously raising the economic and social development level in ethnic minority areas. Acting in line with the actual conditions of China, the Chinesegovernment will adhere to the scientific concept of human-oriented,all-round, coordinated, sustainable development, further explore and strengthen specific forms of implementation of the system of regional ethnic autonomy, improve the supporting laws and regulations for the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy, continuously strengthen the material basis for implementation of the system of regional ethnic autonomy, and promote the all-round economic and social development of ethnic minorities and their areas. The white paper says that since the founding of New China, and especially since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policies, the people of various ethnic groups in the autonomous areas have exploited their own advantages, relied on their own efforts, worked with stamina and diligence, and continuously enhanced their self-development ability with energetic assistance and aid from the state and the more-developed areas. As a result of over half a century's efforts, in the ethnic autonomous areas the people's living conditions and environments have conspicuously improved, and the local economy and various public services have developed rapidly. Together with the people of the other parts of China, they share the achievements of development brought about by the modernization construction of the country, says the white paper.

President stresses unity of Chinese people
2005-03-01 Xinhuanet
Chinese President Hu Jintao underlined Friday the importance of the unity between domestic and overseas Chinese in promoting the country's further development, during a meeting of delegates of a national conference on overseas Chinese affairs. Hu, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC)Central Committee, urged CPC committees and governments at all levels to put overseas Chinese affairs on top agenda and "firmly implement relevant state policies in a bid to better safeguard their fundamental interests." There are tens of millions of Chinese, including Chinese nationals, residing in more than 100 countries and regions in the world, many of them are talented, have sound economic power and a special affiliation with China, Hu said. And the 30-million-odd returned overseas Chinese and their relatives, who are working in all walks of life in China, maintaininnumerable ties with Chinese residing abroad. Hu pointed out that work on overseas Chinese affairs may achieve a lot in "uniting these people to contribute to the building of a moderately affluent society," "curbing the "Taiwan independence attempts," as well as "enhancing friendly exchanges between the Chinese people and those in other countries in the world." Other senior leaders who were present at the occasion include Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) JiaQinglin, and Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong.

Anti-terrorism teams to protect ports
2005-03-03 China Daily
Anti-terror experts are expected to join the country's port inspectors to help safeguard national security and people's health, a leading quarantine official said yesterday in Beijing. "(China's) quarantine watchdogs at various levels have so far not found any suspected substance as having a real terrorist nature," said Ge Zhirong. "Nonetheless, we should be prepared for the worst." Ge, vice-minister of the State Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said his agency has paid more attention to fighting against terrorism, in response to the global situation in recent years. High on the 2005 agenda for the agency is establishing anti-terror expert teams at ports, Ge said at a press conference yesterday. "As required by the State Council, we have formulated a contingency plan to deal with public health emergencies, and to strengthen anti-terror work at ports and borders," he said. In fact, the State inspection and quarantine agency is a member of the nation's leading group for anti-terror tactics, the vice-minister said. The agency keeps an eye on suspicious biological and chemical items during its daily border inspections, Ge said. He revealed that inspectors handled 67 suspected items in Chinese ports in the six months following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. "We have organized a group of relevant experts from the agency to analyze terrorist acts taking place in foreign countries for any new methods they may be employing, and we then try to come up with counter-measures," he said. "Our ultimate goal is to ensure our country, ports and people are safe, and that people remain healthy." The vice-minister did not specify a timetable for the anti-terror teams at Chinese ports. He did however say that establishing such teams is a gradual process, and the intended result is that the team will be part of a national anti-terror co-ordination mechanism. Asked about international co-operation in this regard, Ge said many developed countries have offered to work with China in combating terrorism in ports and along borders. Also at yesterday's press conference, Ge said Chinese quarantine inspectors have so far not found any Sudan I, a potentially cancer-causing colourant, in foods produced and sold in China. Ge's agency banned imports of Sudan-I-tainted foods and began checking Chinese and foreign foods for the carcinogenic substance following the disclosure in late February that the red dye had contaminated hundreds of food items in the United Kingdom. The official also confirmed the highly contagious avian influenza or bird flu, now wrecking havoc in some of China's neighbours, has so far not surfaced in China. Looking ahead towards the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Ge said his agency is laying out detailed plans to contribute to the success of the event.

China shuts down 47,000 illegally-run Internet bars in 2004
2005-03-03 People's Daily
Chinese authorities shut down 47,000 illegal Internet bars during a nationwide crackdown between February and December 2004, said sources with the Ministry of Culture. During the crackdown which was launched by several governmental ministries including culture, education and public security departments, 21,000 Internet bars have been barred from opening until they undergo an overhaul and 2,131 business licenses have been revoked, the culture ministry said. Internet bars without legal business licenses and those that have been admitting minors and engaged in dissemination of harmful cultural information have been the focus of the crackdown, which aims to create more wholesome and safer environment for minors in China. Government agencies have been striving to promote the development of chain Internet bars in a bid to phase out illegally operated businesses through market forces, according to the ministry.

BBC political debate to be broadcast from Shanghai
2005-03-03 Xinhuanet
The British Broadcasting Company's (BBC) flagship political debate programme, Question Time, will broadcast a special edition from Shanghai later this month. This is the first time such a programme produced by a mainstream Western media outlet has been filmed in China. The project has been given the go-ahead for March 10 by the Shanghai Municipal Foreign Affairs Office. Chinese Government spokesman Liu Jianchao, Wild Swans author Jung Chang, EU Commissioner Chris Patten, founder of the Chinese fashion brand Shang Tang, David Tang, and secretary-general of the Boao Forum and goodwill ambassador to the UN Industrial Development Organization, Long Yongtu, will serve on a panel on the night, answering questions before a live studio audience, the BBC said on its website. English-speaking people in Shanghai, residents or visitors, are being invited to apply to join the studio audience. They will be able to ask any questions they like on the most important political issues affecting China and its relations with Britain and the rest of the world. Question Time's webpage has been made accessible in China to facilitate audience participation. Questions to be raised could cover a wide range of issues such as motherland reunification, human rights and the growth of China's economy. There could also be questions on more global issues such as democracy in Iraq, the environment, or the rights and wrongs of the George W. Bush administration's policies. The news of the broadcast has received a warm response from the English-speaking population in Shanghai, and applications to take part in the programme have even come from outside the city, said sources close to the project. The number of applications received and the profiles of the applicants will be kept confidential, in line with the programme's rules. However, the audience will be carefully selected to reflect the broadest range of opinions possible. Question Time staff are considering holding a press event for local media in Shanghai to accompany the show, according to sources close to the project. The special edition of Question Time is part of the BBC's China Week, a themed week of news reports and programmes on China. Question Time routinely tours Britain, and has previously broadcast overseas editions.

 

Tibet

The daily life for 15-year-old 11th Panchen in Tibet
2005-03-04 China Daily
XIGAZE, Tibet: At 7 in the morning, we go to see the 11th Panchen Erdeni, 15, at his resident palace in the Tashilhungpo Monastery in Xigaze. The building is brightly lit. "He is taking a shower," says the monk who opened the door for us. Half an hour later, we find him neatly dressed, kowtowing to the statue of Sakyamuni, founder of Buddhism. Following this, he starts chanting the sutras: "Sutra of Paying Sacrifices" and "Laud to Master Tsongkhapa." He then recites the Mandala which means "presenting the universe to the master." With these done, he opens one of his recently studied rectangular sutra books and starts reciting the "Laud to Wisdom Buddha." According to masters, monks with the Gelug Sect must be good at these sutras so as to lay a solid foundation for future studies of Tantricism. Master Lhodain is charged with accompanying the 11th Panchen in study. Breakfast time At 8:30, the young Panchen eats his breakfast of fresh milk dregs, butter cakes (a dish much loved by Tibetan herders), roasted highland barley flour, rice porridge, eggs, steamed bread and pickles. Flanked by his sutra teacher Jamyang Gyatso and disciples (on the right), and his monk attendants (on the left), the 11th Panchen Erdeni sits in the chief place. Today the Panchen's parents have joined him, sitting next to their son to eat. Before starting to eat, the young master and others recite Queba, a prayer which is indispensable for Tibetans before eating. It means "presenting this delicious food to the deities." The young Panchen invites his sutra teacher Jamyang Gyatso to begin the meal and the teacher asks the attendant waiters to fill his bowl with tea and helps himself to zamba. It crosses my mind that this may be the first time the young student has eaten in front of strangers, and he appears somewhat uneasy. Very quickly, however, he adjusts to the unfamiliar intrusion and begins to tuck into his breakfast as he would on any other day. According to one attendant, the young master loves zamba and buttered tea. "He has maintained the habit for years," he said. "Lunch is relatively rich, comprising Tibetan dumplings, beef dumplings and some dishes unique to the Tashilhungpo Monastery such as dough stuffed with minced meat, steamed bread, and noodles. He does not like fizzy drinks." Busy studies By modern standards the courtyard of the new residence of the 11th Panchen is small, but it is comparatively well removed from the bustling street outside. After breakfast, the 11th Panchen, his sutra teacher and parents take a walk in the courtyard. Even during this apparent leisure time, the young master does not lose a chance to learn something from his sutra teacher. "The master is given a heavy study task," a monk waiter tells us. "But taking a walk after meals is indispensable for him." Classes begin at 9:30. The classroom is a rectangular room with one wall adorned with tangka paintings. A Tibetan cabinet nearby the door is piled with sutra texts. Across the room is a large window which despite its size fails to let in much light. Fortunately the sutra books contain large words. When sutra teacher Jamyang Gyatso sits in his teaching position, the 11th Panchen kowtows to him three times before taking his place in front of the sutra teacher. Eight monks assigned to study together with him also kowtow to the sutra teacher and sit on the floor by the young master. Each of them produces their "textbooks" and together recite sutra lines and listen to the sutra teacher's interpretation of the texts. Today, the sutra teacher lectures on one of the five-volume Buddhist scripture "Tripitaka." The young master listens attentively. The young master is also obliged to study Chinese and English. His Chinese level is that of a primary school graduate. English class begins at 10:30, with a teacher surnamed Xu. When the class begins, teacher and student exchange greetings in English and review the previous class. After this, the teacher reads a text, explaining the meaning of individual words and the overall passage. Then it is the turn of the 11th Panchen to read and answer questions in English. "I teach him half a day twice a week," the teacher said. "The master is clever and has a good memory. In addition, he studies diligently. He can chat with me in simple English. His pronunciation is good. "The textbook we use is the second volume used in middle schools." When English class is over, it is time for lunch, followed at 2 pm by free-time. According to attendants around the young master, he spends the time reviewing lessons, using his computer, and reading science fiction books and newspapers. Computer and hobbies The young master bought a laptop in 2002 which he uses for his Chinese and English homework. Later on, when a Tibetan programme is opened up, he studies the software attentively. "The master loves what you call high technology," said an attendant. "He is good with computers, photography and video recorders. Given his heavy study load, however, he does not have enough time using them." Afternoon class begins again at 3:30 pm, this time in the Sunlight Hall of the Tashilhungpo Monastery. The topic of study is debating the doctrines of Buddhist scriptures. The hall, huge in size, is old Tibetan style. Participants include eminent monks from various Zhacang schools of the monastery and monks, plus audiences. The young master is the first to raise questions. Garqen Lobsang Namgyi with the open school claps his hands in answer to the questions. The young master asks one question after another, doing his best to raise difficult questions his linguistic adversary cannot answer. After some time, they change positions and it is the young master's turn to face questioning. In the face of a monk 10 years his senior, the young master answered questions carefully. Debating doctrines of Buddhist scripture is one of the ways to test the fruits of study. It is considered a kind of exam, if either student cannot answer a question during debate, he will try to find the answer afterwards by consulting the sutras. "What he learns are basic courses," said the sutra teacher of the young master. "Now I ask him to study, recite and understand what he learns. If he can lay a good foundation, it will be easier for him to learn more difficult sutras in the future. "He has received more than 700 empowerment and is studying Buddhist logic and epistemology. He is diligent and clever." When we leave the Sunlight Hall for the residence palace of the young master, it is about dinner time. The evening meal is composed of mutton stewed with carrots, meat with mushrooms, vegetables and some pickles and is followed by another postprandial stroll around the courtyard during which the young master discusses the progress of this afternoon's debate. After 7:30 pm, when the young master has watched TV news, he does Tibetan, Chinese and English and calligraphy homework in preparation for the next day. According to one teacher charged with the young master's Tibetan study, he is clever and has even begun studying Sanskrit. "He has a good command of Tibetan grammar," the teacher says. At 9:15 pm, the young master and others once again recite sutras together. At 10:30 pm we bid farewell to the young Panchen, his teachers and attendants and leave the young master to his sutras, his bed and his continued studies.

 

Taiwan

KMT envoy to embark on mainland visit
2005-03-01 China Daily
Taiwan's leading opposition party Kuomintang (KMT) plans to send a top party envoy to visit the mainland in a move to help ease cross-Straits tensions. KMT Chairman Lien Chan told a public gathering on Sunday that Chiang Ping-kun, one of the party's vice-chairmen, is expected to visit the mainland this month. "Chiang's visit will not only help cross-Straits relations, it will also be a historic moment for the KMT," Lien told Taiwanese reporters. He reportedly said details of the trip would be unveiled at a later date. The party sees the trip, the first of its kind in 56 years since the KMT fled to Taiwan at the end of the Chinese civil war, as a first step for future parleys by top party officials. "This would be an ice-breaking trip," KMT Chief Secretary Lin Feng-cheng told journalists. "There will be more... plans on the line, and hopefully Chairman Lien would be able to visit the mainland." During his visit, Chiang will pay homage at the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing and the Mausoleum of the 72 Martyrs in Guangzhou. The 80th anniversary of the death of Sun, founding father of Republic of China, falls on March 12. Meanwhile, Tseng Yung-chuan, director of the KMT's central policy committee, announced that another KMT delegation also is scheduled to visit the mainland in the near future to help promote regular charter flights across the Straits. The KMT is preparing for the visit, which may take place as early as this week, Tseng told the China News Service. The proposed visit is believed to be a positive response to Beijing's offer to expand cross-Straits charter flights to cover additional holidays. On Friday, the decision-making Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council proposed talks on launching cross-Straits charter flights for the Qingming Festival and other major traditional Chinese holidays as soon as possible. The call came in the wake of a historic non-stop cross-Straits charter programme for the 2005 Spring Festival, widely welcomed by business people who enjoyed the service. The KMT has been actively pushing for the establishment of regular non-stop charter flights between Taiwan and the mainland. In contrast, Taiwan authorities appeared cool to Beijing's proposal to operate additional cross-Straits chartered passenger flights during selected holidays. Chiu Tai-san, vice-chairman of the "mainland affairs council" on the island, reportedly said that his council needs first to conduct an overall assessment of the Lunar New Year charter flights.

Anti-secession law "won't" harm Straits ties
2005-03-03 China Daily
China has branded allegations that its proposed anti-secession law will damage cross-Straits relations as "groundless." Wu Jianmin, a spokesman for China's top advisory body, said the proposed law is designed "partially to promote cross-Straits relations and the prospect of a peaceful reunification." "You have not seen the (proposed) law. How can you say it will undermine cross-Straits relations?" Wu demanded of reporters at a press conference on the eve of the third session of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing. Chinese lawmakers, legal experts and CPPCC members are reported to have been calling for the drafting of an anti-secession law since 2001 but details have yet to be released to the public. "It (the proposed law) will help efforts to safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It will oppose Taiwan's secession from China," he said. Wu stressed the planned law is aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and is meant to check Taiwanese "independence moves," which are "a threat to peace." "Everybody longs for peace and stability, but at present the biggest threat to peace and stability in our region comes from Taiwan 'independence' forces, so this (proposed) law aims to contain pro-'independence' activities in Taiwan," claimed Wu, who also repeated recent remarks by Jia Qinglin, chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of then-president Jiang Zemin's speech on Taiwan issues made on January 30, 1995. According to Jia, the planned anti-secession law will be in compliance with the fundamental interests of the entire Chinese nation. The draft law was submitted for its first deliberation to the 13th session of the Standing Committee of the 10th People's National Congress (NPC) held late December. It is expected to undergo a final review and be passed at the full session of the NPC which starts on Saturday thus providing another legal base for China's national reunification cause. China's constitution has a constitutional basis for formulating the law against secession. Top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo, chairman of the NPC Standnig Comittee, in December described the enactment of the law as "extremely necessary" and "very timely." Personnel changes Turning to the recent decision by the CPPCC National Committee to induct 80 new members, including nine from Hong Kong and two from Macao, Wu said that having more people from the regions would be conducive to the strengthening of communications between the two special administrative regions and the central government. Asked whether the CPPCC National Committee would undergo any major personnel changes at the upcoming session, Wu said any such moves must go through certain democratic procedures, and therefore can't be predicted before the formal start of the session today. Wu said according to the proposals and suggestions received from CPPCC members, several vital topics are at the top of their agenda this year: To begin building a harmonious society and ensure social stability; To strengthen macro-control and ensure stable economic development; To renew efforts to increase support for the "three rurals," agriculture, rural economy and rural inhabitants and reduce rich-poor and regional gaps; To change the growth pattern and balance regional development; and To deepen reforms of the social security system and State-owned enterprises, and guide the private economy forward. The main functions of the CPPCC, a patriotic united front organization of the Chinese people, are to conduct political consultation, exercise democratic supervision and take part in the discussions and the handling of State affairs.

Taiwan urged to back '1992 Consensus'
2005-02-28 China Daily
Taiwan affairs officials yesterday urged Taiwan authorities to recognize the "1992 Consensus" as a step to solving the major problem in cross-Straits relations. "The current problem in cross-Straits relations lies in the fact that the Taiwan authorities do not recognize the one-China principle and deny the 1992 Consensus," said a spokesman at the cabinet-level Taiwan Affairs Office, who asked his name not be used. The "1992 Consensus" refers to an agreement reached by the two sides in 1992 in Hong Kong, in which each side agreed to its own interpretation of the one-China principle. The spokesman made the remarks yesterday when commenting on Thursday meetings held between Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian and James Soong, chairman of the Taiwan opposition People First Party (PFP). Chen and Soong released a joint statement after their meeting, which included a 10-point agreement. Chen promised "not to declare independence, to change the name of the country's official name... to promote a referendum on independence or reunification which will alter the (cross-Straits) status quo." They also agreed that the "constitutional reforms" Chen is pushing for will not touch on the "state sovereignty." "We hope the Taiwan authorities will return to recognizing the '1992 Consensus,' take some practical measures to stop separatist activities and push cross-Straits ties so as to bring benefits to compatriots of the two sides," the spokesman told reporters. The spokesman reiterated the mainland's one-China stance and said that keeping the peace and stability of cross-Straits relations and taking gradual steps to achieve reunification of the sides is "our basic goal and direction" for dealing with the relationship. "We have confidence, sincerity and patience to increase communication and mutual understanding with our Taiwan compatriots through enhancing exchanges and promoting co-operation," he said.

Access widened for Taiwan farm goods
2005-03-02 China Daily
Taiwanese farmers have been lured by the central government's preferential policies aimed at giving the mainland greater access to the island's agricultural products. The action is widely hailed as "a kind and sincere move in the interest of Taiwanese farmers," by the leaders of Taiwan's major farmers' associations. Last week, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, the Commerce Ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture pledged to grant wider market access to Taiwan's agricultural goods. They also extended invitations to Taiwan's individual farmers and agricultural enterprises to invest in the mainland's agricultural sector. The generous offer undoubtedly has great appeal to hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese farmers, who have suffered from declining sales of their products due to limited demand on the island. "The mainland's pledge to boost cross-Straits agricultural co-operation has been exciting news for Taiwanese farmers," Koo Yuan-chun, president of the Taiwan Provincial Farmers' Association, was quoted as saying by China News Service. "Closer exchanges between main-land and Taiwanese agricultural industries, which are highly com-plementary, will achieve mutual success." Koo revealed that the mainland has agreed to allow 12 kinds of Taiwanese fruits, including betelnuts, bananas and mangos, to enjoy tax-free treatment when sold in Beijing and Shanghai. Taiwan's exports of farm produce to the mainland reached US$116 million in 2004, accounting for only 1 per cent of the mainland's total. The figure is miserably low, given the mainland's growing demand for top-grade agricultural products from the island, said Song Xiaoming, general manager of the China National Seed Group Corporation. Taiwan's agricultural products such as fruits, flowers and vegetables sell well in the mainland's top-end markets, Song said. "The mainland does not have restrictions, or a so-called technical barrier, on imports of Taiwan's agricultural products at all," said Song, whose company is the mainland's largest seed firm. "So it is high time for the island to seize the opportunity to take up the mainland market ahead of its competitors such as Thailand and Indonesia." Other Southeast Asian countries are also eyeing the potential mainland market. Song, however, stressed that Taipei's decades-old ban on direct trade, transport and postal links across the Straits has been a major hurdle to the sale of Taiwan's agricultural products on the mainland. Most farm produce from the island usually has to be exported to the mainland through entrepot trade, creating high business costs and risks. "For instance, it is now extremely difficult for Taiwanese farmers to export some fruits with a short shelf life to the mainland due to the time used while being detoured through a third location," Song said. "Export of Taiwan's agricultural products to the mainland will remain difficult unless Taiwan's authorities abandon their passive attitude towards cross-Straits agricultural trade and move to establish direct cross-Straits transport links at an early date," Song said.

 

Economy

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Hu to address global forum
2005-03-02 China Daily
President Hu Jintao will deliver the keynote address at the upcoming 2005 FORTUNE Global Forum in Beijing, its organizers announced yesterday. Qian Xiaoqian, vice-minister of the State Council Information Office, told the press that more than 200 Chinese government ministers, high-level scholars and top entrepreneurs will attend the international event, which is scheduled for May 16-18. More than 300 overseas participants will be present at the forum, including business leaders from around the world and corporations such as HSBC, General Motors, Samsung, Qualcomm, Disney, e-Bay and Infosys. Qian's office is collaborating with US-based FORTUNE magazine to hold the forum this year. Sources from the organizing committee revealed that the forum, themed "China and the New Asian Century," will go beyond economic numbers and take a balanced look at the deeper story behind China's economic development. The programme consists of a mix of plenary sessions, workshops and events providing an in-depth look at the opportunities and challenges of multinational corporations and countries as they do business throughout Asia. The 2005 FORTUNE Global Forum will be the ninth of its kind and the third held in China, with Shanghai and Hong Kong having been hosts in 1999 and 2001 respectively. "We are very happy with the progress we are making in preparing for the forum, thanks especially to the enthusiastic commitment shown by China's top leaders," said Rik Kirkland, managing director of FORTUNE Magazine. "The forum is shaping up to be the biggest event in China this year. President Hu's participation shows that the FORTUNE Global Forum enjoys China's support at the highest level," Kirkland said. According to Wang Hui, director of the Beijing Municipal Information Office, the forum will be held at landmark venues across Beijing.

China continues to face electricity shortage in 2005
2005-02-28 Xinhuanet
An industry group has predicted China will continue to face electricity shortage in 2005, estimated at 20 million to 25 million kwh, despite rapid growth ofelectricity generating capacity. "The tension will be eased a lot compared with the situation in 2004," said Wang Yonggan, secretary-general of the China Electricity Council (CEC), an association of Chinese electricity businesses. According to Wang, the installed electricity generating capacity is supposed to rise 70 million kw, or 15.88 percent, to 510.7 million kw in 2005. On the other hand, the demand is expected to rise 13 percent. Wang said not all the installed generating units would operate at full capacity due to tight supply of coal, oil, water and the influence of bad weather and natural calamities. An analysis report of the CEC indicates the electricity shortage will be most severely felt in the economically developed east China this year, with the gap estimated at around 11 million kwh. The extent will be much lesser in north China, central China,south China, northeast China and northwest China. CEC statistics show China's electricity consumption reached 2.17 trillion kwh in 2004, up 14.9 percent over the previous year.

Foreign firms enter China's bidding for nuke power tech, equipment
2005-03-01 People's Daily
Foreign companies have formed into three united bodies in order to garner contracts in construction of two new nuke power plants along the country's southern and eastern coast. China National Nuclear Corporation disclosed on Monday the three united bodies were Westinghouse Consortium of the United States, tomStroyExport of Russia and Framatome of France as the country's open bidding came to a close for importing third-generation nuclear power technologies and related equipment in building both Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant in east China's Zhejiang Province and Yangjiang Nuclear Power Plant in south China's Guangdong Province. The bidding was offered last September by three Chinese companies including China National Nuclear Corporation and China National Technical Import and Export Corporation. But for the time being, it is still unknown which united body gets what contracts. With the approval of China's State Council, the country's highest governing body, the two projected nuke power plants will be installed with two pressurized water reactors of 1 million kilowatts each in first phase construction, but will eventually be expanded to six generating units each. The four pressurized water reactors of the two nuke plants are planned to be completed and begin power generation by 2011. Completion of the two new nuclear power plants will enormously alleviate power shortage in the country's southern and eastern regions where industries and processing trade are highly developed.

Greenpeace hails China's energy law
2005-03-03 China Daily
BEIJING - China has passed its first ever renewable energy law, drawing praise from environmental campaigner Greenpeace which said it had the potential to become a world leader in sustainable development. China's top legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, approved the law Monday as the nation battles acute energy shortages and heavy pollution brought on by its rapid economic development. The law, which takes effect next year, requires power grid operators to purchase resources from registered renewable energy producers, the China Daily said. It also encourages oil distribution companies to sell biological liquid fuel, and offers financial incentives, such as a national fund to foster renewable energy development, and tax preferences for renewable energy projects. The aim is to build up non-fossil energy sources such as wind, solar and thermal power. "The development and use of renewable energy has special importance because China is a developing country with severe energy shortages," said Standing Committee member Li Congjun. Greenpeace applauded the legislation. "China could and should be a world leader in renewable energy development," said Yu Jie, Greenpeace energy policy advisor in Beijing. "This law has been long anticipated by the global renewable energy industry. "If the definition of renewables and the details are right then the international community will get behind China and support its ambition to become an international clean energy powerhouse." At the Bonn conference on renewable energy last June, China pledged to increase its installed renewable energy generating capacity to about 60 gigawatts by 2010, about 10 percent of total power capacity. The amount of renewable energy it currently generates is less than one percent of the total.

Development of non-public economy enters new phase
2005-03-01 People's Daily
The non-public economy has entered a new phase in China. Three symbols for the new phase First, the party and country's theories, guidelines, policies and systems about the non-public economy have been formed basically, and they will be further developed and improved. In the period following the 15th party congress, especially the 16th party congress, the CPC central committee and the State Council has proposed a series of policies. "Vigorously develop and guide development of non-public economy", "Do away with laws regulations and policies that restrict development of non-public economy, remove institutional obstacles, ease control on market entry, allow non-public economy to enter industries that laws do not prohibit, such as infrastructure, public utility, and other industries. The non-public economy should enjoy equal treatments with other enterprises in investment, tax, use of land and foreign trade"; "create conditions for development of non-public economy, create legal environment, policy environment and market environment featuring fair competition and equal treatment." The opinions on encouraging and guiding development of non-public economy released by the State Council has proposed important measures to boost the non-public economy in seven aspects. Second, a pattern in which the public economy and the non-public economy promote with each other has basically been formed. The non-public economy has become an important driving force for the Chinese economy. Since the opening-up, the non-public economy has been growing at a rate several-fold higher than the national economy. The proportion of the non-public economy in the GDP has exceeded 1/3. At present, the added value and sales revenue of privately-run industry represent 40 percent of the gross volume respectively; and the gross sales volume and gross retail volume of the privately-run industry account for over 60 percent in the gross amount. The proportion of the non-public economy, plus foreign economy, have surpassed 50 percent in the GDP. The non-public economy has become a main channel for employment and reemployment. The private enterprises have offered five to six million new jobs annually since 1990s, representing 3/4 of all newly created jobs in cities and townships. Currently majority of employees in cities and townships are working in private enterprises and foreign enterprises. Third, fundamental changes have taken place in quality of the non-public economy of China, in particular in the private enterprises. The added value and sales revenue of privately-run industry have amounted to 12. 8 percent and 13.8 percent of that of the enterprises of certain scales respectively; if the enterprises below certain scales are taken into account, the added value and sales revenue of privately-run industry will amount to 40 percent of the gross amount. Six trends in development of non-public economy The non-public economy has begun expansion in industries like heavy chemical, infrastructure and public utilities. Statistics say the proportion of non-public economy has exceeded 50 percent in 27 industries. In some industry the figure is even higher than 70 percent. A batch of capital and technology-intensive large groups have been formed. The top 500 private enterprises in China posses assets of 1.29 bln yuan and sales revenue of 1.41 bln yuan on average. In organizational forms, the non-public economy has developed towards corporate enterprise with multi-investors. The number of limited liability company has reached 1.74 mln in 2002. In terms of industrial layout, the non-public economy was mainly located in towns and counties in the past. The private enterprises were small in size and their operation was dispersed. In recent years, a group of large and specialized industrial blocs have been formed in certain regions. In terms of location, the non-public economy first developed in coastal regions and its proportion was high their. But its growth in middle and west regions is speeding up. In recent year, the growth rate of the non-public economy in middle and west China has outpaced that of the whole country. In most regions the proportion of non-public economy in GDP has exceeded 1/3. The non-public economy basically operates in domestic market before, but it has gradually headed to develop at international market. With the state's control of right to import and export being loosened, a large number of private enterprises have switched to engage in international trade.

 

Nordkorea

Chinese, ROK FMs talk over phone on six-party talks
2005-03-02 PLA Daily
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and his counterpart of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Ban Ki-moon agreed in a phone conversation Monday afternoon to step up concerted efforts for the progress of the six-party talks. Ban briefed Li on recent efforts ROK has made to resume the six-party talks, according to sources with the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Chief negotiators of the ROK, the United States and Japan to the six-party talks discussed the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue in Seoul this February. Li told Ban about the support of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for the resumption of the six-party talks. SCO, a regional organization grouping China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, held a meeting of foreign ministers in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, last Friday. Both Li and Ban agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation, and work together to drive the process of the six-party talks. Three rounds of the six-party talks, which involved China, ROK, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the United States, Russia and Japan, have been held in Beijing since August 2003, serving as a channel for all concerned parties to solve the nuclear issue through dialogue and cooperation.

Official: New dynamic in N. Korea nuke talks
2005-03-04 China Daily
China's top nuclear negotiator said Wednesday there was a new dynamic in talks to end North Korea's nuclear ambitions. Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei was speaking as he met South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon in Seoul, part of intensive efforts by regional powers to coax Pyongyang back to the table. "Since there is a new change to the situation now, (Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing) sent me to exchange views with the South Koreans," the Chinese envoy said. A Seoul official briefing South Korean reporters said the change referred to an apparent softening of North Korean rhetoric regarding its refusal to return to talks. North Korea said publicly for the first time on Feb. 10 it had atomic weapons and was suspending indefinitely participation in the six-way disarmament talks with South Korea, China, Russia, the United States and Japan. "South Korea and China have come to the recognition that what North Korea spoke about during Wang Jiarui's visit to the North was not preconditions but the necessary atmosphere in reopening the talks at an early time," the official was quoted as saying by South Korea's Yonhap news agency. Wang is the head of Chinese Communist Party's international liaison department. He met North Korean leader Kim Jong-il last week during a visit to Pyongyang. North Korea issued a statement Wednesday demanding an apology from the United States for labeling it as one of the "outposts of tyranny." But the foreign ministry memorandum also said it would return to the talks "any time" if the United States took a sincere attitude and created the right conditions. The United States accused Pyongyang of using a perceived threat from Washington to stall talks, saying President Bush has said he has no intention of attacking North Korea. "One of North Korea's excuses for not returning to the talks is an alleged 'hostile U.S. policy,"' U.S. ambassador Jackie Sanders said in the text of a speech delivered to the U.N. nuclear watchdog's (IAEA) board of governors Wednesday. "The president of the United States has said that we have no intention of attacking or invading North Korea," she said. "We are ready to return to the six-party talks at an early date without preconditions, and hope North Korea will reconsider its Feb. 10 statement and do the same," Sanders said. NEW URGENCY Kim also told Wang that his country would return to the talks under the right conditions and his comments were regarded as a retreat from the Feb. 10 announcement. Wu held talks Wednesday with Ban and Deputy Minister Song Min-soon, Seoul's top negotiator for the nuclear talks. "There is an urgent sense in our minds that, through cooperation between South Korea and China, we should resolve this issue at an early time," Ban told Wu. Earlier, Ban had said the countries would do everything diplomatically possible to bring the North back to the table. "There will be comprehensive discussions on what is necessary to create the atmosphere, and how we can send the message to North Korea," Ban told reporters. He said the North had been set no deadline to resume negotiations, but he urged Pyongyang to make a strategic move in its own interest by returning to dialogue soon. Three inconclusive rounds of he six-way talks have been held. A fourth round planned for late last year never materialized. Song will visit Moscow next week for consultations with Russia, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit Asia later this month for discussions that would move the six-party process forward, Ban said. China has been hosting the six-party process. South Korea, Japan and the United States have urged China to use its influence with the North to get things moving again. The three allies said the six-party format could be used to discuss a wide array of issues of concern to Pyongyang. One issue is its demand for direct talks with the United States, something that the three negotiators suggested could take place on the sidelines of the broader talks -- as has happened before.

US: Pyongyang no reason not to return to six-party talks
2005-03-03 Xinhuanet
The United States said on Wednesday that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has no reason not to return to the six-party talks designed to solve nuclear disputes on the Korean peninsula. "From our point of view there's no good reason why all states, including North Korea, shouldn't return to the six-party talks as soon as possible," Adam Ereli, deputy spokesman of the State Department said at a news briefing. Ereli reiterated that the United States has no intention of attacking or invading the DPRK, apparently rejecting Pyongyang's accusation of "hostile policy" by Washington. Military threats or military activity are not helpful and "doesn't serve a useful purpose," Ereli said, "And I think it's notconsistent with the spirit of the six-party talks." The six-party talks, attended by the DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Japan and China, began in August 2003. By June 2004, it has held three rounds of talks in Beijing. The DPRK refused to attend the fourth round scheduled for last September, citing hostile US policy.

US has no intention to invade DPRK: US top nuclear negotiator
2005-03-04 People's Daily
The US top nuclear negotiator reiterated Thursday that the United States does not intend to invade the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and is ready to meet Pyongyang over the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. The United States has absolutely no intentions of invading DPRK,said Christopher Hill, US ambassador to South Korea and US head delegate to the six-party nuclear talks, in a discussion session at the Asian Leadership Conference being held in Seoul. "I would say we are very much ready (to talk to DPRK)," Hill was quoted by South Korean Yonhap News Agency as saying. The US ambassador also said his country would be ready to discuss any of the DPRK's demands for its abandoning of the nuclear weapons program if and when the DPRK returns to the stalled talks, reported Yonhap. "Certainly the United States believes the six-party process is absolutely the best way to deal with this problem," he said. Since August 2003, China, the United States, the DPRK, Russia, South Korea and Japan have held three rounds of talks in Beijing aimed at peacefully resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang refused to attend the fourth round scheduled for last September, citing hostile US policy. The DPRK announced on Feb. 10, 2005 that it was suspending participation in the six-party nuclear talks indefinitely and for the first time admitted possessing nuclear arms for self-defense.

N. Korea asks apology from S.Korea
2005-03-02 Xinhuanet
North Korea is demanding an apology from South Korea after a South Korean soldier fired a bullet last night (Monday) at a military post in North Korea, at the eastern part of the inter-Korean border. North Korea says those responsible should be punished. North Korea's Korean Central News Agency carried an article today (Tuesday), saying a bullet was fired at a North Korean military post from a South Korean guard post in Yanggu, about 175 kilometers northeast of Seoul, at around 8 o'clock last night (Monday). The article warns if South Korea committed similar acts, the North Korean army will take strong countermeasures. However, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the bullet was fired accidentally during a safety check of rifles.

 

Susanne Schuetz
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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