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
  15.8-19.8.05, No. 76  
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Foreign Policy

Nation opposes 'Taiwan in UN' move
2005-08-17 China Daily
Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Wang Guangya expressed China's firm opposition to the request by several countries to consider the "Taiwan participation in the UN" issue at the upcoming session of the General Assembly. Wang branded the requests "a gross encroachment on China's internal affairs." In the letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday, Wang said that the UN is an intergovernmental organization composed of sovereign states. As a part of China, Taiwan is not eligible to participate in the UN and its specialized agencies. Chad and a very few other countries have addressed two letters to Annan, requesting the issue of "Taiwan participation in the United Nations" to be considered at the upcoming session of the General Assembly. They also requested the consideration of "a proactive role of the United Nations in maintaining peace in the Taiwan Straits." Criticizing such a move as a "brazen violation" of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and in defiance of General Assembly resolution 2758, Wang said the Chinese Government and people strongly condemned and opposed such a gross encroachment on China's internal affairs. "Taiwan is a part of China's territory and it has never been a country. There is only one China in the world, and China's sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division," Wang said in the letter. Though reunification is yet to be realized between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, that both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China has never altered, he added, saying it is also the principle the United Nations has consistently adhered to. ()

Estonian PM meets Chinese foreign minister
2005-08-17 PLA Daily
Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip met here Wednesday with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, with both sides vowing to strengthen cooperation in various fields. Relations between the two countries are developing smoothly and bilateral cooperation in various fields is full of vigor and vitality, said Ansip. He said he believed bilateral ties would improve further in the future. Ansip expressed the hope that China can make a use of Estonia's position as a transit port within the European Union (EU) in further developing economic and trade cooperation with Estonia. Li, for his part, said friendly cooperation between China and Estonia has made considerable progress and he is full of confidence over the prospects of the development of bilateral ties. China will continue to encourage enterprises of the two countries to conduct cooperation and enlarge mutual investments, said the Chinese official, who arrived in Tallinn Tuesday for a two-day visit to the Baltic country. China will also step up exchanges and cooperation with Estonia in such fields as culture, education and tourism and deepen China-Estonia cooperation within the framework of the EU and international organizations, including the United Nations, Li said. Also on Wednesday, Li held talks with his Estonian counterpart Ulmas Paet and exchanged views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern. Estonia is Li's first stop of an European tour which will also take him to Lithuania, Latvia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Cyprus.

Nation to further ties with AU, says Hu
2005-08-16 China Daily
China attaches importance to the role of the African Union (AU), and would like to strengthen co-operation with African countries, President Hu Jintao said yesterday at a meeting with Alpha Oumar Konare, chair of the Commission of the African Union. Hu said China is willing to increase consultation with the African Union in various fields such as regional affairs, peacekeeping operations and personnel training so as to promote peace and development in Africa. Hu said the establishment of the African Union marks a new stage in the process of African integration. Konare, the former president of Mali, said the two sides should further enhance friendly co-operation to deal with new changes in the international and African situation. In a separate meeting, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing told Konare yesterday that China is concerned about and supports the construction of the AU. "China is ready to join hands with the AU and African countries to further develop the China-Africa new-type strategic partnership featuring equality, mutual trust, co-operation for win-win results and close exchanges," said the foreign minister. ()

China and Kenya ink five pacts
2005-08-18 China Daily
China and Kenya, two distant developing nations, sealed five pacts yesterday aimed at further strengthening bilateral ties and opening up potential markets. Favourable loans, air services, co-operation in broadcasting, quality control and quarantine are the focus of the agreements. President Hu Jintao and his visiting Kenyan counterpart Mwai Kibaki witnessed the signing ceremony. Both sides vowed to make great efforts to further the long-term and mutually beneficial relations in the future. The five-day visit is Kibaki's first personal trip to China since he assumed office in 2002. Hu said China is willing to enhance trade co-operation with Kenya through communication, transport, electricity and infrastructure projects. New ways of co-operation would also be explored. Ties between the two countries do not stop at business. Hu also called for more frequent exchanges in culture, education, health and human resources. Hu noted co-operation between China and Africa has broad and bright prospects. China would work together with Kenya and other African countries to strengthen the new Sino-Africa partnership by holding the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation, he said. The Kenyan guest welcomed Hu's remarks, saying the two countries have enjoyed close friendship, and Kenya appreciated China's years of support and help. ()

Hu to visit Washington next month
2005-08-18 SCMP
President Hu Jintao will pay an official visit to Washington next month, the People's Daily said on its website yesterday, although no specific dates were announced. The trip would be President Hu's first to Washington as China's head of state. He last went to the US in 2002 as vice-president. Mr Hu hoped to promote "constructive co-operative relations" with the US on the basis of mutual respect, the newspaper said. The Foreign Ministry yesterday said it was too early to release details of the trip. Beijing has said US President George W. Bush is expected to visit China later this year. Mr Hu's planned trip comes as Beijing and Washington are trying to persuade North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons development.

Chinese premier raises five-point proposal to enhance Sino-Bangladeshi ties
2005-08-19 People's Daily
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao set forth a five-point proposal in Beijing on August 18 to enhance the relationship with Bangladesh during talks with visiting Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. The proposal includes using the 30th anniversary of Sino-Bangladeshi relations to realize common ground reached by the two countries in all fields; exploring new areas for cooperation; strengthening exchanges on high-tech and agriculture; expanding cultural and personnel exchanges; maintaining close cooperation on the reform of the United Nations, south-south cooperation and other major international and regional issues. Wen visited Bangladesh this April. He said China and Bangladesh declared to establish a comprehensive and cooperative partnership of long-term friendship, equality and mutual benefits this April. This further pushed forward the traditional friendship, he added. He went on to say that China and Bangladesh are developing countries facing the same challenges of development and sharing a common interest in international affairs. "Developing a comprehensive and cooperative partnership with Bangladesh is an important component part of China's good-neighborly policy," he said. Wen also expressed gratitude for the support of Bangladesh to China on the issues of Taiwan, Tibet, and human rights. On the situation in South Asia, Wen said, currently the countries in the region are comparatively stable, and the economy has developed. ()

Kyrgyz president meets Chinese envoy
2005-08-15 People's Daily
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev met in Bishkek on Sunday with Lu Yongxiang, a special envoy of Chinese President Hu Jintao, with both sides pledging to further improve bilateral cooperation. Lu, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, arrived here Saturday to attend Bakiyev's swearing-in ceremony on Sunday. At the meeting, Lu conveyed President Hu Jintao's heartfelt congratulations on Bakiyev's inauguration. The Chinese envoy said that China and Kyrgyzstan have long-standing friendship and that China attaches great importance to its ties with the Central Asia country. Bilateral relations have seen smooth developments and bilateral cooperation in various fields has yielded remarkable results since the two countries established diplomatic ties 13 years ago, Lu noted. Both countries are "good neighbors, good partners and good friends," and their effort to strengthen cooperation on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect conforms to their fundamental interests, Lu continued. China is willing to work with Kyrgyzstan to implement the common understandings reached by President Hu Jintao and President Bakiyev during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, in July and continuously push forward bilateral ties, the Chinese official said. ()

Chinese, Nepalese FMs hold talks
2005-08-15 Xinhuanet
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing held talks with his Nepalese counterpart Ramesh Nath Pandey here Monday, and conferred him on China-Nepal relations and international and regional issues of common concern. Li said since the establishment of diplomatic ties 50 years ago, China and Nepal have conducted close exchanges and cooperation in such fields as politics, economy and culture. The two countries understand and support each other in international and regional affairs. The Chinese government appreciates the Nepalese government's firm support for China on Tibet, Taiwan and human rights issues, Li said, adding that China will continue to support Nepal's endeavors at safeguarding its sovereignty and national stability. Pandey said Nepal and China enjoy traditional friendship. () He said the Nepalese government firmly pursues the one-China policy, and is willing to make joint efforts with China to promote the bilateral good-neighborly and mutual-beneficial cooperation upto a new high. After the talks, the two ministers signed a series of cooperation documents concerning economy and trade, cross-border pasture and mutual visa simplification. Pandey arrived here Sunday for an official visit as guest of Li Zhaoxing.

Sino-Russian military drills demonstrate commitment to world peace: commanders
2005-08-18 People's Daily
The first Sino-Russia joint military exercises demonstrate the common will of the two armed forces to safeguard peace and stability in the region and the world at large, said the Chinese commander of the military drills Thursday in Vladivostok. The exercises, which are staged on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of World War II, neither aim at any third party nor concern the interests of any third country and will pose no threat to any country, said Liang Guanglie, chief of the general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, at the opening ceremony. The military exercises, code-named "Peace Mission 2005," began in the Russian Far East city of Vladivostok Thursday morning. The second and third stages of the drills will be held in the Shandong Peninsula and nearby offshore seawaters, east China. The 10,000 troops from the army, navy and air force of the two countries will focus on the maneuvers of strategic consultations and battle planning, transportation and deployment of troops, and combat practice during the eight-day exercises. Liang said the mission of the drills mainly aim to deepen Sino-Russian cooperation and coordination of the two armed forces in the areas of defense and security, and help strengthen the capability in jointly striking international terrorism, extremism and separatism. "China is a responsible country and the People's Liberation Army is a strong force for maintaining world peace...We are ready to develop friendly cooperation with the people and armed forces of all countries," he said. The exercises is a concrete step for further military cooperation between China and Russia under the new historical conditions and is of great significance to their strategic partnership of cooperation. ()

ASEAN+3 capital city police seek teamwork
2005-08-17 China Daily
Beijing police will work more closely with their counterparts abroad in the run up to the Olympic Games, a senior police officer said yesterday. Beijing police leaders yesterday met their ASEAN peers, as well as representatives from Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), to discuss how to combat terrorism, drug trafficking, illegal immigration and other security hazards. Ma Zhenchuan, director of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, said that in the face of growing cross-border threats, it was vital that countries quickly set up close and stable co-operation to safeguard regional peace and security. Ma made the remarks at the opening ceremony of a three-day workshop on exchanges and co-operation among police agencies from the capital cities of countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as China, Japan and the ROK. ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. Topics on the agenda of the closed-door workshop include terrorism, trans-national crimes such as drug trafficking and money laundering, management of foreign visitors, and urban traffic administration. Ma said that Olympic Games' safety will be the major task for the Beijing police over the next few years, adding that preparations for Olympic security are already in full swing. "The Olympic Games is an open international sports gala," said Ma. "We will team up with the world community, especially our foreign police counterparts, to safeguard the security of the 2008 Games." ()

 

Domestic Policy

Disaster relief continues in quake-hit areas in Yunnan
2005-08-14 Xinhuanet
More than 1,000 army men and militia men have joined in the disaster relief efforts in Wenshan County of southwest China's Yunnan Province which was hit by an earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale Saturday. As of 6 p.m. Sunday, they had evacuated more than 12,000 people and rescued more than 600 from dangerous sites. At the same time, they had helped build over 300 shelters for quake victims. The epicenter of the quake was determined to be at the juncture of three towns of Matang, Binglie and Hongdian in the county which is under the jurisdiction of the Zhuang-Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Wenshan. The earthquake has destroyed houses and damaged reservoirs, highways and telecommunication facilities.The quake left 26 people injured, according to the local government sources. The local government organized disaster-relief work and sent a large amount of tents and quilts to the disaster-afflicted areas, said Zhang Jihua, director of the prefecture's civil affairs bureau. In addition, the provincial government has appropriated 2 million yuan (240,000 US dollars) in emergency aid to the quake-hit areas, according to Duan Liyuan, deputy director of the provincial civil affairs department.

Worst floods in a decade hit Liaoning
2005-08-16 SCMP
Liaoning province has been inundated by its biggest floods in a decade, breaching the banks of the region's main rivers and killing at least 10 people. Weekend storms dumped up to 240mm of rain on the province. The resulting floods affected about 1.44 million people. Thirty-five people were missing by yesterday afternoon, 46 had received serious injuries, and direct economic losses from the deluge were estimated at 7.4 billion yuan. The high waters also invaded a crocodile park in Benxi city and liberated at least 16 of the reptiles, including one 300kg beast. Following Typhoon Matsa, which caused damage in a number of Liaoning cities, including Huludao , Dalian , Shenyang and Fushun , weekend thunderstorms added more water to already bursting rivers. The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Office said the biggest floods for a decade were recorded in the Liao, Taizi and Hun rivers. Shenyang student Wang Fangyi, 22, said the weekend storms were the biggest she had ever seen. "The floodwaters outside our campus reached our knees and buses on the road were like ships on the water," she said. The provincial weather bureau has forecast medium to heavy rainfall for Liaoning this week.

7,000 unsafe coal mines required to be closed down
2005-08-16 Xinhuanet
Li Yizhong, director of the National Bureau of Production Safety Supervision and Administration, ordered approximately 7,000 unsafe coal mines across the country to be closed down by the end of this year, the Shanghai Securities News reported on Tuesday. China now has 5,290 coal mines that have not applied for safe production licenses and 2,000 coal mines that have not passed examinations by regulators, Li was quoted as saying at a meeting on coal mine safe production. The coal mines, which are located in 26 provincial areas, must be closed down eternally with mining installments utterly demolished, he said. Whether Chinese coal production can be safe in the latter half of this year hinges on the fundamental solution of these unqualified and unauthorized coal mines, he said. Hundreds of small coal mines were ordered to be closed down or to suspend operations in the past two years for failing to meet official safety work standards. Many, however, have resumed operations without government approval.

Nationwide outbreak of anthrax denied
2005-08-18 Xinhuanet
The Ministry of Health Wednesday denied reports of a nationwide outbreak of anthrax, saying it is under monitoring as a regular infectious disease. "Starting monitoring in some regions does not mean anthrax is breaking out in these regions. We are monitoring other infectious diseases as well," said a media coordinator of the ministry's information office. The ministry on Tuesday issued a plan to monitor anthrax in the provinces of Gansu, Liaoning, Guizhou, Sichuan, Qinghai, Chongqing Municipality and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. In the last five years, 400 to 1,000 people were infected with anthrax each year, according to figures released by the ministry. In July, anthrax infection was reported in the provinces of Guizhou, Liaoning, Jilin and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, leaving one dead. All the cases had direct or indirect contact with infected dead cows and horses. Those outbreaks have been put under control.

Corrupt bank official prosecuted
2005-08-17 Xinhuanet
A court hearing was held for Yu Zhendong, former head of the Kaiping city branch of the Bank of China (BOC) in Guangdong Province, who was accused of embezzlement of public funds. Yu is the first corrupt Chinese official to have been repatriated to China after fleeing the Chinese mainland. He was handed over by the federal police of the United States to the custody of their Chinese counterpart at the Beijing International Airport in April last year. During the hearing, held at the Intermediate People's Court of Jiangmen City on Tuesday, the court was told that starting from 1992, Yu collaborated with Xu Chaofan, former chief of BOC Kaiping Branch and Xu Guojun, a manager, in embezzling 82.47 million US dollars from the united fund of the BOC. They used loopholes and then had the money remitted to their private companies overseas to cover corporate expenditures, share and exchange trading, expenses in their personal life and gambling. In the meantime, the three also collaborated in applying for loans with BOC Kaiping branch using the names of other enterprises and embezzled 132 million US dollars, 273 million yuan (about 33.7million US dollars) and 20 million Hong Kong dollars for operation of their private companies overseas. They also obtained 67.3 million Hong Kong dollars in illicit returns from private overseas companies. After being charged with embezzlement, Yu Zhendong, Xu Chaofan and Xu Guojun fled to Canada and the United States via Hong Kong in October 2001. During his stay in Hong Kong, Yu traded shares for cash and transferred all the remainder of the money he embezzled to the bank accounts of his relatives or casinos in the United States and Canada. Yu candidly confessed everything at Tuesday's hearing. The ruling of the court will be announced in the future, court sources said.

Key figure at China Southern Airlines arrested for corruption
2005-08-16 Xinhuanet
China Southern Airlines Co Ltd has removed Peng Anfa from its board after he was arrested on suspicion of corruption. China Southern, one of the country's top three airlines, said on Sunday night that all its board members agreed on the decision, which is subject to examination and approval at an upcoming stockholders' meeting. Peng, 47, had been deputy general manager of China Southern Airlines Group, which holds the majority of shares in China Southern, since September 2002. He was primarily in charge of the group's finance department. Peng is suspected of taking bribes, and was taken away by officials of the Central Disciplinary Commission of the Communist Party of China for interrogation in early July. He was formally arrested last week, according to a woman surnamed Huang at the company's political work department. In June, Chen Liming, former director of the group's finance department, was also taken away by the commission for interrogation. It is reported that China Southern Airlines Group entrusted the recently shut-down Shanghai-based Hantang Securities to carry out financial operations involving 1.10 billion yuan (US$135.64 million). Hantang Securities was closed down for malpractice and is now in liquidation. Following Peng's arrest, China Southern issued a notice saying that his alleged misconduct has nothing to do with the company and will not influence its operations. Investors, however, are not so sure and the company's share price has dipped, closing yesterday at 2.76 yuan (34 cents) on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, down from an opening of 2.80 yuan (35 cents). In February, the price was 5.02 yuan (62 cents).

Chinese Premier emphasizes protecting rights of women and children
2005-08-17 People's Daily
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has asked relevant departments to protect the legitimate rights and interests of women and children and further improve their conditions, noting their situations are indicators of social progress. "Although China has made tremendous progress in the development of women and children since it began the reform and opening up policy, it still has much to do in protecting the rights and interest of women and children and in truly realizing the equality of men and women," Wen said at a national meeting on women and children held in Beijing Monday through Tuesday. According to statistics of the Ministry of Health, medical facilities for children and women in rural areas are inadequate. Of the rural children who died of illness, half did not receive medical treatment or only received treatment in clinics. Wen ordered various levels of the government to attach importance to protecting the rights and interests of women and children and solve outstanding issues, including the employment of women, educational opportunities for all children and abduction and trafficking in women and children. He said the situation of women and children should be made an important index of economic and social development and government work. The development of women and children should be included in the 11th five-year (2006-2010) plan. All positive factors of the society, including trade unions and other non-governmental organizations, said Wen, should be mobilized to jointly progress in this field. ()

Some ice creams not worth licking
2005-08-15 China Daily
As the sweltering summer heat continues unabated, an ice-cream or frozen lolly might seem hugely tempting. But be careful. According to an official sample survey conducted by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, about half of the ice creams or frozen lollies on sale are sub-standard. After examining 76 ice cream products made by 71 manufacturers in 13 provinces and municipalities, the administration announced that the overall approval rate for ice cream products in China is only 52.6 per cent. According to the survey, large ice cream producers usually have a better production record. Big manufactures including Wall's, Nestle, Mengniu, Yili, Sanyuan, Wufeng and Hongbailai were among the list of trustworthy producers posted by the administration. There were a number of potential problems, the first of which was misleading labels. Thirty-one products have a problem with their labels. Some producers failed to mark the production date, while others failed to inform customers that the product contained food additives or sweeteners. Second was the problem of excessive microbes. Nineteen products had excessive coli forms. One product even contained 24.4 times the accepted standard. This is mainly due to poor sanitary conditions during production. The third problem was the improper make-up of ingredients. Ten products' fat content failed to meet the standard. Finally, there was the problem of excessive sweetening. It was discovered that some profit-driven ice cream producers use artificial sweeteners as a substitute for sugar in order to reduce production costs. As sugar is more expensive than artificial sweetener, these enterprises disregarded the country's regulations on the use of excessive sweeteners. According to the previous six official sample surveys in recent years, the approval rate of China's ice cream products has been around 60 per cent.

Fish farmers using toxic dye because it is cheap, easy to get
2005-08-18 SCMP
Mainland experts have admitted a carcinogenic industrial dye, malachite green, has long been widely used in fish farms to protect eels, soft-shelled turtles and other animals from fungal infection. Liu Haixin, of the Fujian Fisheries Research Institute's testing department, said fish farms regularly used malachite green as a disinfectant to kill fungi. "That's because malachite green, which is actually an industrial dye, is quite cheap, at about 30 yuan a kilogram, and easy to access," he said. "[The use of the chemical] was not noticed because Japan and the EU did not test for this specific chemical until recently." The risks the chemical poses to human health were identified in the 1990s, and the central government banned it in 2002. Early last year, the Ministry of Agriculture released laboratory guidelines on determining the levels of malachite green in fish. Japanese quarantine authorities can detect malachite green residue of 5 parts per billion in seafood, while EU tests can pick up as little as 2 parts per billion. EU inspectors can also test for the presence of leucomalachite green, a chemical metabolised from malachite green in aquatic animals. Soon after the Japanese government declared it would test eels imported from China for the carcinogen, the mainland's Ministry of Agriculture issued an emergency notice on July 7 announcing a crackdown. Germany also issued an alert on July 21 after the compound was detected in frozen eels originating from the mainland. On August 7, South Korea said its National Fisheries Product Quality Inspection Service tested 25 shipments of live eels from the mainland and detected the dye in four shipments, amounting to 10 tonnes, Korea's Chosun.com reported. The South Korean announcement followed a preliminary investigation of 291 tonnes of spiced and sushi eel late last month in which malachite green residue was detected in 32 of 38 shipments. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare then demanded import trade companies conduct tests themselves, while some supermarkets took eel imported from China off their shelves.

 

Tibet

Tibetan bird flu outbreak 'brought under control'
2005-08-14 People's Daily
An outbreak of the deadly H5N1-type bird flu has been brought under control in the Tibet Autonomous Region. The outbreak, at a chicken farm in the suburbs of Lhasa, the region's capital, killed 133 birds, there were no human infections. "China National Bird Flu Reference Laboratory confirmed on August 10 that the H5N1 strain of avian influenza had been found at a chicken farm in Duodi Township, Chengguan District of Lhasa," an official with the regional government said on Friday. The regional Bureau of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry official, who declined to be identified, said 133 infected birds died of the virus early this month, prompting the culling of 2,608 birds at the farm. Regional authorities put strict measures in place to prevent the spread of the disease. "The outbreak has been brought under control," the official said in a telephone interview, adding that animal health experts are investigating how the birds became infected. No similar cases have been reported in other parts of the plateau region, bureau sources said. In accordance with requirements for preventing and limiting the highly infectious H5N1 strain of bird flu, the autonomous region has adopted measures such as emergency inoculation of all fowl within 5 kilometres of the suspected outbreak. Monitoring of all breeding farms in Lhasa has been tightened, and a daily epidemic reporting mechanism put in place. Up to now, vaccinations for waterfowl have been distributed across Tibet except in Ngari Prefecture, according to the bureau sources. The Ministry of Agriculture said it had informed the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the world animal health body OIE of the outbreak earlier this week. It is the second report of the H5N1 virus in China this year following one in May in Qinghai Province. China successfully brought 50 cases of bird flu under control last year.

 

Taiwan

Mainland's rise a threat, warns Chen
2005-08-15 SCMP
Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian yesterday criticised the school of thought that holds the mainland is undergoing a "peaceful rise", saying that without democracy it could become a serious threat to the world. "I am perfectly aware of the great importance attached by international society to the increasing economic clout of China, but I want to remind you that this theory about China's rise is not only built on the attractiveness of the vast mainland market." Mr Chen said it was also built on the mainland's ability to continuously expand its military power, and to suppress social and economic disorder. Speaking at the inauguration of the non-governmental Democratic Pacific Union in Taipei, Mr Chen called for international attention to focus on the mainland's military build-up, including the estimated 700 ballistic missiles it has aimed at Taiwan. He also criticised Beijing for enacting the Anti-Secession Law, which authorises the mainland to use its military force against the island if it starts to move towards formal independence. Mr Chen said the law cast doubt on claims Beijing was undergoing a peaceful rise. He cited a recent Pentagon report that said the mainland's military expansion threatened not only Taiwan but also the United States, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and other Pacific nations. "No one wants to see the collapse of China, because international society cannot afford the price of China's collapse," he said, adding it was therefore important that Pacific Rim countries co-operated to ensure that China's rise was a "positive force" rather than a threat to the region. He said lessons from the Second World War could serve as a reminder that peace was precious, and consultation and dialogue were the right way to settle disputes. Taiwanese Vice-President Annette Lu Hsiu-lien, founder of the Democratic Pacific Union, also told the inauguration of the union that the mainland had become a threat to Pacific Rim nations. "The mainland, which was invaded by Japan, has now not only become a threat to Taiwan but also to each corner of the Pacific Rim." Ms Lu said it was significant that the formation of the non-governmental body came on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the end of the war. ()

Probe of Taiwan election shooting ends, doubts remain
2005-08-18 People's Daily
Taiwanese investigators announced on August 17 they have ended a probe into last year's election-eve shooting with the conclusion that the shooting was not directed and staged by the campaigners, incumbent leaders Chen Shui-bian and Lu Hsiu-lien, themselves. The announcement noted that as suspect Chen Yi-hsiung had been dead; he would not be prosecuted, according to sources in Taiwan. Two major political parties, the Kuomintang (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP), nevertheless, described the conclusion as "very absurd and hasty" and vowed to keep working to unearth the truth. KMT Chairman Lien Chan said the "March 19 shooting incident" was very absurd. In whatever circumstances, efforts must continue to uncover the truth for the sake of the people and history. An assistant to PFP Chairman James Soong quoted Soong as saying that he personally "cannot accept" such "hasty conclusion" of the case. Parliament members of the KMT and PFP also said they cannot accept the probe's hasty conclusion and would instead continue to push for the formation of the second special investigation committee to probe the truth of the incident. Chen and Lu of the Democratic Progressive Party were riding in an open Jeep when they were shot while campaigning in the southern city of Tainan, which resulted in bizarre slight injuries to Chen and his running mate Lu. The next day, Chen and Lu defeated their opponents, KMT Chairman Lien Chan and PFP Chairman James Soong, by a razor-thin margin. The opposition protested against the election results, claiming the shooting was a conspiracy to gain sympathy votes and boost Chen's re-election chances. ()

 

Economy

China, US start talks to end textile conflict
2005-08-17 Xinhuanet
China and the United States started talks on a comprehensive textile trade agreement in San Francisco yesterday. The two-day talks are expected to centre on the seven categories on which the US imposed quotas in late May this year, according to information published by the US Trade Representative Office. Chinese textile enterprises are expecting an agreement over the issue to remove the largest uncertainty in trade with the US. But experts said the outcome could be limited because of the level of the talks. The Ministry of Commerce said last week that the ongoing round of talks was still technical. The two sides failed to reach an agreement at the two previous rounds of talks in June and July. But the meeting could help reach consensus on some specifics if not on a comprehensive deal, said Zhao Yumin, an expert with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Co-operation, a think tank of the ministry. So far, around 20 categories of Chinese textile and apparel products are covered by the US curbs and investigations. However, some US textile importers and retailers have criticized Washington for imposing limits on Chinese textile products. US experts say America's annual clothing bill could rise US$6 billion - or US$20 for each US consumer - if China agrees to restrain textile exports. Since a three-decade system of clothing and textile quotas expired January 1, there has been an increase in clothing and textile imports entering the US from China. Shipments are up 58 per cent so far this year, a rise that has played a big part in pushing the cost of clothing down at an annual rate of 5.9 per cent for the three months ending in June. In another development, some European Union (EU) countries, including Germany, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, are pressing the European Commission to relax its quotas on China's textile and apparel products. In June the EU negotiated a comprehensive arrangement with China that covered 10 categories and allowed growth in shipments of 8.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent annually through 2007. German Economy Minister Wolfgang Clement Wednesday urged the EU executive to act quickly to solve problems caused by restrictions on Chinese textile imports that have left thousands of items of clothing blocked by customs.

China's foreign direct investment drops
2005-08-16 China Daily
Foreign direct investment in China fell 3.4 percent to $33.1 billion in the first seven months of this year compared with the same period last year, the Ministry of Commerce reported Monday. However, pledged foreign direct investment in January-July rose 19.2 percent from a year earlier, to $98.6 billion, the ministry said. After years of rapid growth, increase in foreign investment in China has moderated, prompting a debate over whether the slowdown might hurt economic growth given the country's heavy reliance on investment from abroad to build up its export-oriented industries. But promised investment remains strong, and with the economy growing at a rate of more than 9 percent for the past two years, the issue has drawn little attention. China attracted $60.6 billion in foreign investment in 2004, up 13 percent from 2003, second only to the United States. The top sources of foreign investment were Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Taiwan, Singapore and Germany. Also on Monday, the government reported that China's industrial output rose 16.1 percent in July from the same month in 2004 to 581.1 billion yuan ($72 billion). The growth rate was slower than June's 16.8 percent rise. The fastest growth was in heavy industrial and energy-related sectors. Output of automobiles rose 27.8 percent; output of crude iron grew 30.7 percent; crude steel output rose 28.6 percent; and rolled steel output was up 28 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said. ()

Mainland scrambles to help Taiwan airlines
2005-08-18 China Daily
The General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) will handle applications by Taiwanese airlines to fly through mainland airspace as soon as possible, a senior official said yesterday. "It will take some time (to process the applications) but related work will be completed very soon," said Pu Zhaozhou, director of the CAAC's Office of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs. In an exclusive interview with China Daily, the director explained that some technical problems have to be solved through talks between civil aviation experts from across the Straits before approval is granted. "Most of the problems concern the flight routes applied for by Taiwanese airlines," Pu said. "Some flight routes may differ from the existing ones over the mainland airspace. If they do, we must try to find a solution." The announcement marks the first time Beijing has officially elaborated on the issue. Taiwan's "premier" Frank Hsieh announced on August 3 that the island will allow its airlines to use mainland airspace to reduce flying time and cut fuel costs. On Monday, Taiwan's "ministry of transportation and communications" formally announced Taiwanese carriers could apply to the Civil Aeronautics Administration under the "ministry" and the CAAC from the following day. Taiwanese airlines now avoid mainland airspace on flights to Europe and South Asia by passing either north over Russia or south over Southeast Asia. Taipei has banned its carriers from flying over the mainland since 1949 because of stated security concerns. Pu, however, stressed yesterday that the mainland's policy of welcoming Taiwanese airlines to fly over mainland airspace remains unchanged. ()

 

North Korea

DPRK hints at compromise on nuke talks
2005-08-14 China Daily
PYONGYANG -- North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator says Pyongyang may be willing to offer proof that it does not have a uranium-based weapons program, which the United States claims it does, CNN reported. The apparently conciliatory gesture from Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Kwan comes ahead of a planned resumption of six-party talks at the end of the month aimed at getting North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program. North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States have been taking part in those talks. One of the most contentious issues at the negotiations has been Washington's claim that North Korea has a secret uranium weapons program in addition to its declared plutonium one. In a rare interview with CNN in the North Korean capital, Kim repeated Pyongyang's denial that it has a uranium-based program. But in a hint to the United States that North Korea is willing to compromise, he said the issue was open to negotiation. "We don't have any uranium-based weapons program, but in the future if there is any kind of evidence that needs to be clarified we will be fully prepared to do so." he said. Kim also said North Korea wants to pursue a peaceful nuclear program and is willing to adopt "strict supervision" of its nuclear facilities. "As we resolve the nuclear issue we are willing to return to the NPT (nuclear non-proliferation treaty) and fully abide by IAEA (U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards. Pyongyang ordered U.N. nuclear inspectors out of the country in December 2002, and pulled out of the NPT the following month. "If someone is concerned with regard to our possible nuclear activities which could lead up to the manufacture of nuclear weapons out of the operations of a light-water nuclear reactor, then we can leave the operations under strict supervision," Kim said. "The U.S. itself can have direct participation or the U.S. can pick a nation that they trust." However, Kim said his country would not bend on the key issue that has stalled the talks -- it will not obey any directive to abandon all of its nuclear programs, including one for nuclear energy. "We would like to pursue peaceful nuclear energy power generation and this is a quite urgent issue that faces our nation," Kim said. "And this is a very appropriate policy in light of the economic situation of our country. That is why we cannot make a concession in this field." Kim said that Pyongyang was looking carefully at what appears to be the Bush administration's recent conciliatory tone and said he would bring a sincere and business-like attitude to the next round of talks. But he warned that any U.S. attempt to promote a change of regime in North Korea was destined to fail. ()

 

Julie Kong
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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