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
  21.3-24.3.05, No. 55  
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Foreign Policy

Rice reaffirms US observes one-China policy
2005-03-21 China Daily
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a piano prodigy, may find her China tour like playing a complex piece of music, but if done properly the result will be harmonious. Talks with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday made a good start. Opinions on various topics, including the Taiwan question, Sino-US trade disputes, intellectual property rights protection, Korean Peninsula nuclear stand-off discussions and the World Trade Organization's Doha Round of market-opening talks, were exchanged frankly. Lingering in the background is the approval by China's top legislature of the Anti-Secession Law which opposes "Taiwan independence secessionists." In yesterday's separate meetings with Rice, both Hu and Wen stressed that the Anti-Secession Law aims to curb "Taiwan independence forces" and the law is conducive to stability and the development of relations between Taiwan and the mainland, and will also help maintain peace and development in the Asia-Pacific region. Both leaders said the "secessionist activities" of the "Taiwan independence forces" have posed the biggest threat to peace and stability across the Straits, expressing their hope that the US will understand, respect and support China's legislative action. ( ) Rice replied yesterday that it is in the US interest to maintain tranquillity across the Taiwan Straits and solve the Taiwan question peacefully, and that the United States will make efforts to that end. Rice said the US Government's position on pursuing the one-China policy and abiding by the three US-China joint communiques will not change, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman. ( ) Korean Peninsula Beijing, the host of the three rounds of the Six-Party Talks, reiterated yesterday that China will continue to push forward the Six-Party Talks based upon its long-consistent position of sticking to the direction of seeking a peaceful solution through dialogue, with the goal of denuclearizing the peninsula. Hu said China is willing to work with all concerned parties, including the United States, to resume the talks soon. Rice highly appreciated China's role in the Six-Party Talks which involved Beijing, Pyongyang, Washington, Seoul, Moscow and Tokyo, noting that the United States believes the Six-Party Talks is the best way to resolve the question. Rice arrived in Beijing yesterday afternoon. ( )

FM spokesman on Annan's UN reform plan
2005-03-23 People's Daily
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said Tuesday that China appreciates efforts made by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for promoting mulilateralism and democratization of international relations. Liu said in a regular press conference that China is studying the 63-page United Nations reform plan issued March 21 by Annan. The report is believed to cover the most wide-ranging changes of the world body since its creation in 1945. "The report has put forward many important proposals on peace, development, human rights and the UN reform," said the spokesman, adding that China will keep contacts and consultations with all relevant parties in a bid to speed up the reform process. The report, released in a speech to the 191-member UN General Assembly, proposed rich countries' responsibility to poverty reduction, a new human rights council to replace the existing one,a condemnation of all forms of terrorism and a series of measures on UN reforms. Liu said China has always supported the UN to enhance its capability in coping with various global threats and challenges through necessary and rational reforms. He stressed that reforms should give full play to democracy and on the basis of full consultation for the broad consensus among all UN members. The spokesman also said that the all-round and wide-ranging reforms should be guided by the UN Charter and fully take into consideration of and address concerns of developing countries. He particularly mentioned the issue to increase input in development for the realization of the UN millennium development goals.

Japan's bid for UNSC seat opposed
2005-03-24 China Daily
More than 400,000 people across the world have signed an online petition opposing Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council. Aiming to collect at least 1 million names, the signature drive was launched last month by several overseas and domestic groups critical of Japan's World War II past, according to a report on the website of the People's Daily, China's leading newspaper. Initiator of the campaign and spokesman for the US-based Alliance for Preserving the Truth of the Sino-Japanese War, Ding Yuan said on Tuesday that the group plans to present the petition to the United Nations General Assembly in New York this autumn. By March 20, the online campaign had received 401,556 signatures in Chinese, Korean and English, Ding said. People can download forms to sign signature from websites including global-alliance.net, sign.sjwar.org, china918.net, alpha-la.org/petition.asp, historicaljustice.org. On Monday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appeared to back Japan's claim for a permanent council seat as part of the most wide-ranging reforms to the world body since its creation in 1945. In a report entitled "In Larger Freedom," Annan said: "The Security Council must be broadly representative of the realities of power in today's world. "(The Security Council should) increase the involvement in decision-making of those who contribute most to the United Nations financially, militarily and diplomatically, specifically in terms of contributions to United Nations assessed budgets." Japan is one of the UN's larger financial contributors. In combination, Japan, the US and Germany provide as much as 20 per cent of the total UN budget. The Japanese Government has threatened to reduce its fees if attempts to secure a permanent seat on the Security Council fail. The governments of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea have both announced their opposition to Japan's bid for a permanent seat, saying Japan needs to make greater effort to win the trust of its neighbours and atone for past actions.

China appoints new vice foreign minister
2005-03-22 People's Daily
China's State Council has appointed Yang Jiechi as vice minister of Foreign Affairs to replace Zhou Wenzhong, who is removed from the post.

Chinese premier talks military cooperation with Russia army chief
2005-03-21 PLA Daily
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and visiting Russian army chief discussed Sino-Russian relationship and the cooperation between the two armed forces here Friday. The meeting with Premier Wen was the high note in Russian Chief of General Staff Yury Baluyevsky's trip to Beijing. It followed talks with senior Chinese military officers on a joint military exercise to be held later this year. Baluyevsky called the joint military exercise "a new way of cooperation between the two armed forces," which now have a close relationship that was unimaginable just a few years ago. Both Wen and Baluyevsky agree that China-Russia relations are at the best ever stage as the countries have removed all possible obstacles to the relationship. ( ) Russia and China have agreed on the make-up of the troop, arms and equipment and military methods involved in the training. "Russian paratroopers, marines and other forces will take part in the exercise," Baluyevsky said. The message about China-Russia military exercise first came with a memorandum of understanding between Chinese Vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission Guo Boxiong and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov last July. ( )

China, Britain to enhance peace-keeping cooperation
2005-03-22 Xinhuanet
A Chinese Foreign Ministry official said Monday that China will make "concerted efforts" with Britain to enhance peace-keeping cooperation. Chen Weixiong, counselor of the Foreign Ministry's Department of International Organizations and Conferences, made the remarks at the opening ceremony of a seminar on Sino-British peace-keeping actions. Chen said China and Britain had witnessed "fruitful and effective cooperation" in peace-keeping actions in recent years, and it was especially important for the two countries, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, to increase coordination and cooperation in peace-keeping activities and other UN programs. According to Chen, more than 65,000 peace keepers from over 100 countries are now working for 16 UN peace-keeping tasks. "UN peace-keeping missions face increasing demands and challenges," he said. In order to promote UN peace-keeping actions, Chen said all countries should "maintain dialogue and consultation to achieve positive results in reforms of peace-keeping actions, and should provide financial and personnel support for peace-keeping actions." British participants at the seminar said Britain and China enjoy the prospect of peace-keeping cooperation, which would help UN peace-keeping actions. During the two-day seminar, the second of its kind between China and Britain, officials from the two countries will exchange views and share experiences in peace-keeping theories and actions.

China, Azerbaijan to further economic ties
2005-03-21 PLA Daily
China and Azerbaijan agreed to further explore trade and economic cooperation potential and China is in favor of Azerbaijan's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) at an earlier date, according to a joint statement issued here on Saturday. The document says that the two countries will encourage their enterprises to expand cooperation in the fields such as oil and chemistry, light industry, machinery manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and telecommunication. It notes that China supports Azerbaijan to join the WTO and Azerbaijan recognizes China's full-market-economy status. The two countries will enhance cooperation in culture, education, science, tourism, sports, information, finance and environmental protection, it says. The statement says both sides will maintain and develop exchanges and cooperation in military fields. China and Azerbaijan spoke highly of their cooperation in the United Nations and other international or regional organizations, it says. According to the statement, Azerbaijan is against the "Taiwan independence" and supports China's efforts in reaching peaceful reunification and maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan straits and in the Asian-Pacific region, such as the anti-secession law adopted by the Chinese National People's Congress. The two sides agreed to jointly fight against terrorism, separatism, and extremism, smuggle of drug, commodity and human beings and other cross-border crimes, according to the statement. ( )

Moussa to visit China in April
2005-03-24 People's Daily
Arab League (AL) Secretary General Amr Moussa will pay an official visit to China on April 11-14, the Egyptian MENA news agency reported on Wednesday. Mohammad Fouad Serri, ambassador of the AL mission to China was quoted by MENA as saying that Moussa's visit will be the first of its kind since the establishment of the league in 1945, although Moussa had previously visited China when he was the Egyptian foreign minister. Moussa will meet with a number of top Chinese officials to exchange views on regional and international issues of common interest in light of the latest developments in the Arab region, said the ambassador. Moussa served as Egyptian foreign minister during the 1990s and began to lead the 22-member pan-Arab bloc since 2001.

 

Innenpolitik

China plans database of HIV/AIDS victims
2005-03-21 China Daily
China plans to set up a national database containing the records of its HIV/AIDS victims in a bid to get a better grip of the extent of the epidemic. The Ministry of Health had vowed to establish the database, with entries for every reported HIV/AIDS patient, the Xinhua news agency reported. "One question is that we are still blind about some vital aspects of HIV/AIDS control," said Wang Longde, vice-minister of health. China has an estimated 840,000 HIV carriers -- a figure disputed by many independent observers -- and the government has precise knowledge of only a small percentage even of that conservative number of patients. A mere 12.7 percent were registered with the health authorities, and disease control centers only had detailed records of 4.2 percent, according to Xinhua. The draft of China's first HIV/AIDS prevention and control regulation had almost been completed and would be given to the State Council for further discussion this May, the agency said. The regulation would mainly set out the rights and duties of regional governments and residents in controlling the deadly disease, according to Xinhua. To identify more HIV/AIDS cases, every province wouldl offer free, voluntary tests for the HIV virus this year, Wang said. In a sign of future policies, southwestern Yunnan province, one of the most seriously affected areas of the country, recently finished testing 410,000 high-risk people. While China is groping in the dark as it tries to cope with its looming AIDS disaster, it is also hampered by a lack of resources. Hao Yang, vice-director of the health ministry's Disease Control Department, told Xinhua there were only about 200 professional health workers engaged in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention at the moment. Many doctors who are employed in this field have not been well trained in taking care of HIV/AIDS patients, he said. The United Nations has predicted 10 million cases in China in five years' time if the epidemic goes unchecked. HIV/AIDS is already moving from high-risk groups to the general public in China, the coalition said. The primary transmission route in China is through drug injection, but the proportion of sexually transmitted HIV infections and mother-to-child transmissions has rapidly increased in recent years. Many others were infected through insanitary blood-buying schemes in the early 1990s.

China puts forward advice to eliminate racism
2005-03-22 People's Daily
China put forward three recommendations to eliminate racism at a high-level meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on Monday. "First, western countries must pay adequate attention to the problem of racism and take effective measures to root out racism," said La Yifan, alternative representative of the Chinese delegation to the 61th annual session of the principal UN human rights body. Western countries' inadequate recognition of the harm of racism and their lukewarm measures against it are the root causes for the present spread of racism, said the official. "Second, while helping the developing countries to reduce poverty and making an effort to narrow the gap between rich and poor, the international community should also strongly advocate for racial equality and harmony as well as dialogue between different civilization," he added. He also called on the United Nations to beef up its anti-racism work. "It had already adopted a series of measures in this regard, however, their impact and effectiveness had been hampered by various factors," he said. La pointed out that it was extremely disappointing and regrettable that nearly four years after the World Conference against Racism, instead of being checked, racism had manifested itself in ever-greater frequency and newer forms. It was constantly propagating itself, and without resolute counter measures, extreme forms of racism, such as new theories of racial superiority, neo-nazism and neo-fascism would once again move onto the front stage, bringing calamities to mankind, he said.

Beijing unveils security plan for Olympics
2005-03-24 China Daily
Beijing, the host city for the 2008 Olympic Games, yesterday gave details of its Olympic security scheme, which will play an over-arching role in preparations for the sports gathering. The massive scheme involves the participation of almost all the security organizations around the city. This includes public security, national security and the armed police. Safety departments at various work units and even drivers of subway trains, buses and taxis will be involved, said Qiang Wei, Beijing's deputy Party secretary. He said Beijing would also work with the security organs of other countries - such as the United State, Germany, Britain, France and Russia - to enhance its defence against riots or terrorist attacks. Qiang, also head of the co-ordination team organizing Olympic security that was established last December, made the remarks at a rally yesterday, which marked the implementation of the city's Olympic security masterplan. But he did not reveal the budget for running the security scheme, which contains all-round protection in the air, on land and at sea for the Games. Athens, which hosted the Olympic Games last year, spent more than 1 billion euros (US$1.3 billion) on security. China's security programme could include security features similar to those used in Athens, which had a vast computer surveillance network with thousands of hidden cameras and microphones that analyzed dozens of languages. ( ) The city has already dispatched five groups, involving a total of 39 people, to Athens to learn about its experiences. ( ) Ma Zhenchuan, director of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, said apart from safety protection, providing a good service to participants was another priority task. Ma said his bureau would carry out a seven-year language training programme, which started in 2001 when Beijing was picked to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. He said Beijing police will encounter thousands of people who do not speak any Chinese during the 2008 Olympics. "We have published a textbook of 'Olympic Security English' which mainly focuses on the handling of every possible problem that may happen during our security work for the Games," said Ma, who is a deputy head of the co-ordination team organizing Olympic security. Ma said his team would set up two branches - the Olympic security command centre and the intelligence centre - by June this year.

 

Taiwan

Taiwan non-official organizations backs peaceful reunification
2005-03-22 PLA Daily
Five non-official Taiwan-based organizations have gathered in Taipei in support of the peaceful reunification across the Straits. The participants agreed that the international community holds a general consensus that China's territorial sovereignty should not be compromised. They also said "Taiwan independence" secessionist activities damage relations across the Straits and harm the general situation in Taiwan. Offering another opinion, they said independence advocates do not speak for the island's people. Head of the Association for Promotion of Peaceful Reunification, Guo Junci said the Anti-Secession Law was passed by China's National People's Congress to check "Taiwan independence" secessionist activities, seek peaceful reunification and protect the life and property of Taiwan compatriots. His association accepts the law. Head of New Nation Alliance, Xu Linong is urging Taiwan people not to believe the distorted publicity of Taiwan authorities, not to ignore the good will of the mainland, and not to take part in the demonstration against the Anti-Secession Law.

Burundi, Cuba, Bulgaria supports China's Anti-Secession Law
2005-03-21 PLA Daily
Burundi, Cuba and Bulgaria have expressed their support for China's Anti-Secession Law, adopted to prevent "Taiwan independence" and clarify Beijing's position on the question. In a statement on Friday, the Burundian government reaffirmed its position on the Taiwan issue, saying Burundi will stick to the one-China policy and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. The Burundian government and people support the adoption of the Anti-Secession Law by China's National People's Congress, which they believe will effectively check Taiwan's secessionist activities and ease tensions across the Taiwan Strait. Also on Friday, Cuba's parliament, the National Assembly of People's Power, voiced firm support for the Anti-Secession Law. It noted that it is a commonly accepted fact by both the United Nations and the international community that there is only one China in the world, which has served as the basis for the friendly relations developed between China and countries around the world. Under this condition and for the purpose of safeguarding the basic norms of international law, Cuba firmly backs the Anti-Secession Law, it added. Meanwhile, Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry said on Friday the country agrees to a Monday statement by the European Union that using peaceful means to solve the Taiwan question is the only possible way to maintain stability across the Taiwan Strait. It reiterated that Bulgaria accepts only one China, saying Taiwan is an inalienable part of the country and the government of the People's Republic of China is its sole legitimate government.

Putin reiterates support for China's stance on Taiwan issue
2005-03-21 PLA Daily
Russian President Vladimir Putin said here Friday that China has the right to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity and to realize national reunification. Both the former Soviet Union and Russia have all along supported China's efforts to maintain territorial integrity," Putin told reporters after his summit meeting with the leaders of France, Germany and Spain. "We understand the endeavor of the Chinese leadership in this regard. Our position remains unchanged," Putin said, commenting the Taiwan question and an anti-secession law adopted recently by China's parliament, the National People's Congress. As for the arms embargo of the European Union on China, Putin said Russia and the European countries should work together on exchanges with China on arms and other areas as it will facilitate high-tech cooperation among the countries.

Singapore denies reports of joint military drill with Taiwan
2005-03-23 People's Daily
Singapore on Tuesday denied the press reports that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will hold joint military exercises with troops of China's Taiwan. There is no truth in Taiwan's media reports that the SAF is participating in a joint military exercise with Taiwan involving foreign military consultants, the Ministry of Defense said in a brief statement. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Singapore Foreign Ministry told Xinhua that the statement by the Defense Ministry is correct as it is the very ministry that should issue such a statement. It was reported by Taiwan's media that Singapore and Taiwan will hold their first joint military drill from late March to early April.

 

Economy

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Forecast: China to maintain around 8 percent GDP growth through 2010
2005-03-22 PLA Daily
A report released by the Development Research Center of China's State Council predicts China will maintain around 8 percent annual GDP growth rate from 2006 to 2010, China's 11th five-year plan period. "Calculated according to constant price of the year 2000, China's GDP would reach around 2.3 trillion US dollars at the end of 2010. The per capita GDP would reach around 1,700 dollars," says the report, submitted to the 2005 China Development Forum, a two-day forum that opened here Sunday. The report says from 2010 to 2020, China's annual GDP growth rate will slow down a bit to around 7 percent on the average. It says the major propeller of rapid economic growth in the period from 2006 to 2020 remains rapid capital formation, which will contribute to from 60 percent to 70 percent of the economic growth. Meanwhile, growth of total factor productivity, brought about by urbanization, investment in human capital, economic system reform and technological innovation, will make increasingly bigger contribution to economic growth. "Growth of total factor productivity is the key to maintaining sustained and relatively rapid economic growth in the future," the report says. The report mentions four major factors supporting China's economic growth in the future. First, China has formed relatively strong material and technological bases. The bottleneck of capital has been overcome in general. Second, China's industrial structure has experienced great change, with the international competitive power of its manufacturing industry having grown markedly. Third, China has a vast domestic market and great growth potential. Fourth, China is deepening reform and the investment environment will be improved constantly. According to the center, export by China's manufacturing industry accounted for 91.2 percent of China's export. Foreign direct investment in the sector made up 70 percent of total foreign investment in China.

Textile firms to take EU ruling to WTO
2005-03-23 China Daily
Chinese producers of polyester staple fibre (PSF) have urged the government to take an EU anti-dumping ruling to the World Trade Organization. Cao Xinyu, vice-chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles, the industrial association of the textile industry, said Tuesday that the chamber, as a representative of firms involved in the case, had made the application to the Ministry of Commerce. The moves comes after the European Commission -- the EU's executive -- slapped five-year-tariffs of up to 49.7 per cent on PFS from China. "The enterprises who believed they were unfairly treated in the case want to seek a solution to the dispute from the WTO," he said. The ministry is viewing the case and to decide whether to submit to the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body. If the ministry approves the application, it will be the first case independently filed by China to the WTO. ( ) Chinese companies are angry with the ruling as they believe the EU Commission took a cartel price to calculate the normal value, said Cao. As the European Union has refused to recognize China as a market economy, it does not take the costs of Chinese companies in anti-dumping cases and uses the costs of a "surrogate" country. In this case, the commission chose Wellman Inc in United States to establish a normal value after a verification visit. But Fu Donghui, a lawyer from the Allbright Law Offices, said Wellman was being sued for violating anti-trust laws in the United States and Canada. The US company, together with eight other companies, was sued of "conspiracy, and artificially fixing, raising, maintaining, or stabilizing PSF prices and having allocated portions of the PSF market and specific PSF customers among themselves." The prices provided by Wellman should be higher than the normal price, Fu said. And it is unfair to use Wellman's price, which is likely to be a cartel price, as a substitute price for an anti-dumping charge, he added. But the commission failed to offer a direct reply to Chinese companies' concerns. The commission launched an anti-dumping investigation against PSF from China and the United Arab Emirates in December 2003. Over 50 Chinese PSF manufacturing enterprises were involved in the case, with a value of US$25 million. Though the value of the case is not big, the commission's mistake is apparent and the companies are confident the decision will be revoked, said Fu. Cao said the Chinese textile firms want to get fairer treatment from foreign governments by taking the case to the WTO. ( ) Over 800 Chinese enterprises are involved in the case. Chinese textile companies are facing increasing anti-dumping investigations or possible safeguard measures since their export may rise following the removal of global textile quotas.

China supports Brazilian candidate to run for the WTO chief
2005-03-24 Xinhuanet
China supports Brazil's Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Luiz Felipe Seixas Correa to run for director-general of the trade body, Chong Quan, China's Commerce Ministry spokesman said here Wednesday. It is the first time that China expresses its support to a candidate for WTO director-general. According to Chong, China has informed the decision when Commerce Minister Bo Xilai's met with visiting Brazilian Vice Foreign Minister Clodovaldo Hugueney Monday in Beijing. Bo said China believes Correa is capable of making contribution to the common interests of all WTO members while safeguarding the interests of the developing members for the realization of the goals set in the Doha Development Agenda. Correa is one of four candidates competing to succeed current WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi of Thailand, whose term expires on August 31. The other three are former European Union trade chief Pascal Lamy; Mauritian Foreign Minister Jaya Krishna Cuttaree; and Uruguayan former chairman of the WTO's Executive General Council Carlos Perez del Castillo. The WTO has laid out a clear timetable which it hopes will eventually throw up a consensus candidate without any need to go to a vote. On May 31, the WTO General Council will choose by consensus a successor. A disagreement about the appointment of the last director-general pitted developing members against developed members and caused deep animosity in the WTO, leaving it without a chair for months. A compromise, resulted in the incumbent Thai Panitchpakdi taking office for three years and the New Zealand's Mike Moore in office for three years before him. The usual term for a WTO director-general is four years.

Sino-Australian FTA study nears end
2005-03-22 China Daily
Vice-Minister of Commerce Ma Xiuhong revealed yesterday that a feasibility study on a possible Sino-Australian Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will soon reach its conclusion. Ma told a symposium on the FTA that such an agreement between the two countries would not only be mutually beneficial, but also "create new economic impetus." The study, which has been conducted for almost 18 months, will present a basis upon which both governments can consider the benefits and costs of such an agreement. But should FTA talks begin, Ma stressed that China wants particular attention to be paid to agriculture and services. "China's agricultural industry is far weaker than Australia's. China has 740 million farmers and the further opening of this sector is a sensitive issue," she said. She added that China's service sector is still adapting to the new industrial landscape resulting from the opening of the sector in line with China's promises to the World Trade Organization. The study, announced as part of the trade and economic framework signed by Australia and China in October 2003, was due for completion by October this year. Geoff Raby, deputy secretary of Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, expected the study to conclude by the end of this month. Upon its conclusion, the study's recommendations will be submitted to both governments. Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who will visit China in April, has said the nation will grant China market economy status if the FTA negotiations are launched. Australia-China Business Council Director Barry White said the FTA must have a significant and positive impact on Australia's agricultural exports to China. "China offers the most important growth opportunity for Australia exports for the foreseeable future," said White. Zhang Yunling, director of the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said it is reasonable to negotiate a FTA between China and Australia because the feasibility study has proved it will be mutually beneficial. Australia is China's biggest supplier of wool, wheat and cotton. In 2004, 80 per cent of China's wool imports, and 70 per cent of its dairy imports came from Australia, and cotton imports from Australia also increased threefold. China is Australia's leading supplier of computers, and its third-largest supplier of telecom equipment. Machinery, electrical goods and electronics account for 56.3 per cent of China's exports to Australia. "Such complementary benefits are built on a long-term base," Zhang added. More long-term resource supply contracts will be signed and more joint ventures will be undertaken in more areas, he said. Australia will find a special advantage in an expanding Chinese market, thanks to the nation's ever-increasing demand for raw materials, livestock and agricultural products, Zhang pointed out. The FTA will not only allow Australia improved access to the Chinese market, but will also give it wider opportunities to tap into the East Asian market, currently undergoing a process of integration, he said. Australia was China's ninth-largest trade partner in 2004, and China was Australia's third-largest trade partner last year. Bilateral trade rose more than 50 per cent year-on-year to US$20.39 billion last year. China's exports to Australia stood at US$8.84 billion, reflecting an increase of 41.1 per cent, while China's imports from the country reached US$11.55 billion, up 58.3 per cent year-on-year. Australia's neighbour New Zealand has already started FTA negotiations with China.

Beijing makes a perfect FORTUNE forum
2005-03-23 China Daily
Beijing is the "most ideal city" to host the 2005 FORTUNE Global Forum because it is the capital city of one of the oldest cultures in the world and, with the 2008 Olympics coming, the timing is perfect, said I. Peter Wolff, senior vice-president international, Office of Global Public Policy at Time Warner Inc. FORTUNE's Global Forum is held once every two years. This year will mark the third occasion China has hosted the event the first was in Shanghai in 1999 and the second in Hong Kong in 2001. "There are people outside our company who have questioned us for favouring China in such a manner," said Wolff. But it becomes "stunningly apparent" that the choices of the host cities are correct and are a testament to the importance of the galloping Chinese economy. ( ) This year's forum will run from May 16 through May 18. He attributed a recent spate of business conferences in China to the success of FORTUNE's previous endeavours. "People saw how successful we were and copied our model," he said. FORTUNE, known for its listing of the 500 biggest companies in the world, is glad that more and more Chinese companies are making the list, said Wolff. Asked about a competitor currently making the headlines with its list of China's richest people and the wealthiest Chinese entertainers, but lagging somewhat on the conference business front, Wolff said that he would rather FORTUNE does not come up with China-specific lists. "We'd like to include China in our global list," he explained. Time Warner, FORTUNE's parent company, is launching a multi-prong offence in the China market. Besides the very successful flagship magazine and the related conference business, its film units are exploring co-productions and exhibitions with Chinese partners. "I'm satisfied with the way things are going. Everything is on schedule and the surprises are more positive than negative," Wolff enthused.

China raises gasoline price by 7%
2005-03-24 China Daily
China has raised its retail benchmark rate for gasoline by about 7 percent in response to surging crude oil prices on the international market, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said. But the NDRC said it was keeping diesel fuel prices unchanged. The official Xinhua news agency said the ex-refinery rate for gasoline has been raised by 300 yuan (US$45.78) per ton, effective today, but an NDRC official said the price is actually a benchmark that is used for setting prices for various types of gasoline. The new rate for gasoline is 4,609 yuan per metric ton, with diesel prices remaining at 3,832 yuan per ton, according to industry sources. This is the first time this year that NDRC, which oversees the country's industrial policies and sets utility prices, has raised gasoline prices. It last raised prices in August last year. Industry officials said they expect the rate hike to boost state refiners' margins but do little to slow robust demand. Following the NDRC directive, the country's largest oil producer China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Asia's top refiner China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec), have also marked up gasoline sales prices at their outlets nationwide. In Beijing, for example, gasoline prices have now gone up by 0.23-0.27 yuan per liter, with 93-octane gasoline now priced at 3.92 yuan, against 3.66 yuan and that of 90-octane rising to 3.67 yuan from 3.42 yuan. Prices in other cities have also gone up accordingly. The NDRC had already raised jet fuel ex-refinery prices by 12 percent to 4,140 yuan last week due to surging international crude rates. The commission marked up jet fuel rates twice last year - raising it to 3,310 yuan per ton from 2,929 yuan in March and to 3,710 in August

 

Nordkorea

US misleads allies on DPRK's nuclear export: paper
2005-03-21 People's Daily
The United States has misled its Asian allies that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) had exported nuclear material to Libya, The Washington Post reported Sunday. In an attempt to increase pressure on Pyongyang, the Bush administration told its Asian allies in briefings early this year that the DPRK had exported nuclear material to Libya, the Post said. The new charge was believed to be significant and represented the first allegation that the DPRK was helping to create a new nuclear weapon state. However, it is not what US intelligence reported, the paper quoted two US intelligence officials as saying. The DPRK had supplied uranium hexafluoride - which can be enriched to weapons-grade uranium - to Pakistan, a key US ally in the war on terrorism, and it was Pakistan that sold the material to Libya, said the US intelligence officials with knowledge of thetransaction. The US government had no evidence that the DPRK knew of the second transaction, they added. The transaction between the DPRK and Pakistan would not have been news to the US allies, which have known of such transfers foryears and viewed them as a business between sovereign states, the officials said. The Bush administration's approach has left its allies increasingly doubtful as they began to learn that the briefings omitted essential details about the transactions, and the DPRK responded to public reports last month about the briefings by withdrawing from the six-party talks, the paper said. In an effort to repair the damage, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is traveling through East Asia this weekend trying to get the six-nation talks back on track, the paper said. The revelation of the so-called nuclear material transactions between the DPRK and Libya followed a series of controversies overthe Bush administration's use of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. It also reminds the fact that despite US assertion prior to its invasion of Iraq that the Arab country had weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to the United States, no "smoking gun" has so far been found since the end of the Iraq war about 22 months ago. The White House declined to offer an official to comment by name about the new details concerning Pakistan, the Post said. However, a prepared response attributed to a senior administration official said that the US government "has provided allies with an accurate account of North Korea's nuclear proliferation activities."

Pak: DPRK ready to return to nuclear talks
2005-03-22 China Daily
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is ready to return to the negotiating table to resume nuclear talks if the conditions are right, visiting DPRK Premier Pak Bong Ju said Tuesday. Starting his first official visit to China after taking office in 2003, Pak's tour comes a day after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice left Beijing after her 24-hour stop. "DPRK's stance of maintaining a nuclear-free peninsula as well as to resolve the nuclear issue through peaceful means and talks remains unchanged," said Pak at a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao. "DPRK neither opposes nor will abandon the six-party talks," he stressed. "The DPRK will participate in the six-party talks as soon as the time is right." ( ) "The six-party talks are in the interests of all parties and should continue," Wen said. He urged all sides to show flexibility, sincerity and patience. The DPRK appreciates China's efforts for realizing a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, Pak said. China has hosted three inconclusive rounds of talks involving the DPRK, the Republic of Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia; but a fourth round planned for late 2004 never materialized. Meanwhile, the DPRK said on Monday that it has increased its nuclear arsenal to help prevent a US attack. "We've taken serious steps to boost our nuclear arsenal and we are also prepared to mobilize all of our military force against any provocative moves by the enemy," the Seoul-based Yonhap quoted the DPRK's state KCNA news agency as saying. The statement came as Rice said on Monday in Washington the Asian allies of the US would have to find new ways of dealing with the DPRK if it continues to shun nuclear disarmament talks. Although she has also said the nuclear stand-off "cannot go on forever," Rice has repeatedly emphasized the United States has no plans to attack the DPRK. Last month, the DPRK officially declared for the first time that it had nuclear weapons; it also announced it was pulling out of the six-party talks. After their meeting the two leaders also appeared at the signing ceremony of two deals on the promotion of investment and environmental protection. Pak will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao Wednesday. Showing great interest in China's economic reforms, Pak plans to visit some factories and plants in Beijing, Shanghai and Liaoning Province during his week-long visit, diplomatic sources said. Yesterday he toured a telecommunications workshop in Beijing, officials said. Pak visited China in 2004 accompanying DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Il.

China, DPRK vow to further ties
2005-03-23 People's Daily
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his DPRK counterpart Pak Bong Ju vowed to further the countries' "friendly cooperative ties," including economic cooperation and coordination on major issues, during talks on Tuesday. Relations between China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) have seen "sound progress" with the direct care from the two countries' leaders, Wen told Pak in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. China and DPRK "maintained frequent high-level exchange, expanded economic and trade cooperation along with increasingly active exchanges in other fields," Wen said. "In a spirit of inheriting tradition, facing the future, continuing good neighborliness and enhancing cooperation, China will further implement the consensus reached by the two countries' leaders, enhance communication and coordination on major issues and deepen economic and trade cooperation to push forward the friendly and cooperation ties between them," Wen said. Pak said the DPRK-China relations were growing soundly and cooperation in all fields vigorous, which served as a vital basis for the their future cooperation. The Chinese government and people offered sincere help for promoting DPRK's economic progress and for improving the people's living standard in terms of both spirit and material, Pak said. He said the DPRK people "were encouraged by and appreciated" that. "To continuously consolidate and develop the friendly ties between DPRK and China" is the "unswerving policy" of the DPRK, he said, adding that the DPRK hoped the friendly ties would gain "much more progress" in the new century. ( )

 

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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