SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
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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
  12.9-16.9.05, No. 80  
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Foreign Policy

US President Bush to visit China in November
2005-09-15 China Daily
US President George W. Bush has accepted President Hu Jintao's invitation to visit China in November, a senior White House official said on Tuesday. Mike Green, the US national security council director for Asian affairs, told reporters the visit would take place after the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) meeting in the Republic of Korea, but did not give specific details of Bush's schedule. The two presidents held talks on Tuesday afternoon local time, immediately after Hu arrived in New York to attend the summit on the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations. China will jointly work with the United States to ease the trade frictions and to address bilateral trade imbalance through trade co-operation, Hu said. He said that he hopes the US side will ease its restrictions on exports to China, particularly its high-tech exports, and take corresponding active measures to enhance the trade balance between the two countries. The Chinese president pointed out that due to the rapid and large-scale development concerning the trade ties, the emergence of some frictions and disputes are inevitable. "A sound and steadily growing China-US relationship not only serves the interests of our two peoples, but also contributes to peace, stability and development in the world," Hu said. "The mutually beneficial and win-win co-operation is the mainstream of our relationship," which "on the whole, has been developing quite well," he said. Looking at crucial issues to Sino-US relations, Hu said China hopes "the United States will join the Chinese side in safeguarding peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and opposing so-called 'Taiwan independence.'" Bush said the US-China relationship is very important for the United States, and both he himself and the US Government attach great importance to it, and will strengthen consultation and co-operation in various fields with China. On the Taiwan question, Bush said the US side understands it is a highly sensitive issue and its one-China policy will not change. Bush also said he hoped the two countries will strengthen co-operation in the protection of intellectual property rights. () China will also increase its assistance to developing countries, especially African countries, by providing them with anti-malaria drugs and other medicines, and help them improve medical facilities and train medical personnel. China will help train 3,000 personnel of various professions for developing countries within the next three years so as to help these countries accelerate human resources development. President Hu also addressed the Security Council Summit yesterday. He called for an enhanced role of the UN Security Council in responding to terrorism and other non-traditional security threats. He also said that China stands for an enlarged Security Council based on a broad consensus and increasing representation of developing countries.

Hu signs trade pacts with Mexico's Fox
2005-09-13 China Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived Sunday in Mexico City on a state visit to further expand cooperation between China and Mexico. He signed several bilateral trade agreements with Mexico to boost trade between the two developing nations and said China welcomed more Mexican products into the Asian giant's growing market. AFP reported.Hu and Mexican President Vicente Fox also discussed reform of the United Nations and concerns in the Mexican textile industry over illegal Chinese imports. "China welcomes the presence of more and more Mexican products in our market," Hu said in a news conference during his first official trip to North America. Hu said he was willing to start talks with Mexico regarding cooperation and investment in agriculture, fishing, mining and light industry. Hu and Fox signed seven trade agreements, including Mexican grape and pear exports to China. Trade between the two countries is growing and approaches 15 billion dollars a year, but it heavily favors China, Fox said. Mexico's business community charges that the smuggling of Chinese products is putting 30 different industries at risk in Mexico. The Mexican textile industry claims that 58 percent of garments sold in Mexico are illegal and many come from China and other Asian nations. Fox said he and Hu shared a "broad consensus" on reform of the United Nations and the UN Security Council. Hu visited Canada before traveling here. He will attend a summit of world leaders at the United Nations that starts Wednesday.

Chinese president concludes Canada visit
2005-09-12 People's Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao left Toronto Sunday after a state visit to Canada. () Hu started his visit on Thursday, landing in Canada's capital city of Ottawa, where he met with Canadian Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson and lawmakers, and held talks with Prime Minister Paul Martin. During the talks between Hu and Martin on Friday, China and Canada agreed to build a strategic partnership aimed at promoting the long-term and steady development of bilateral relations. The two sides also agreed to make joint efforts to raise bilateral trade volume from 15.5 billion US dollars in 2004 to 30 billion US dollars by 2010. To realize the goals, Hu said both sides should further open their markets to expand bilateral trade; increase two-way investment in infrastructure, energy, environmental protection, agriculture and telecommunications in particular; strengthen cooperation in energy resources; and create better conditions to facilitate business activities of enterprises from both countries. Hu said the enhancement of Sino-Canadian friendly and cooperative relations constitutes an important component of Chinese foreign policy.China will work with Canada to push for new achievements in the development of bilateral ties. Martin said China is playing an increasingly important role in international affairs and China's development brings great opportunities for Canada. The Canadian government will work with the Chinese to deepen bilateral cooperation in politics, economy, trade, science, technology, energy resources, agriculture and international affairs, said Martin. Hu and Martin also witnessed the signing of a series of cooperation documents between the two sides concerning air transportation, railways, food security, quarantine, nuclear energy and health research. In Toronto, the business hub of Canada, Hu met with local officials and delivered a speech at a China-Canada trade forum dinner. Hu's visit to Canada, the first stop on his current North American tour, is the first visit here by a Chinese head of state in eight years. ()

Little progress on third day of nuke talks
2005-09-16 Xinhuanet
The resumed Six-Party Talks on nuclear disarmament entered their third day yesterday, with major differences remaining. "We have to be aware that the difficulties we are facing now are ones on the path of progress. They can be overcome," Chinese delegation spokesman Liu Jianchao quoted Chinese chief representative Wu Dawei as saying However, China, host of the negotiations, urged all parties to continue to make constructive efforts to pave the way for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Liu told reporters yesterday evening after a chief delegate meeting. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) also stated its position to reporters yesterday, the first time since the resumption of the second phase of the talks. The DPRK and US delegations held a 90-minute bilateral meeting yesterday, the second meeting since the resumption of the talks. The DPRK delegation spokesman Hyun Hak-bong said negotiations are not making progress, blaming the lack of development on the differences between the two sides on the issue of the light-water reactor. Pyongyang insisted on its right to civilian nuclear programmes, especially a light-water reactor. But the US side rejected the demand, saying it is not on the table. Hyun said providing a light-water reactor is a matter of principle for building trust between the two sides, adding Pyongyang did not want to have an empty right to the peaceful use of nuclear power, but rather a concrete one. He said the DPRK has put the question of the light-water reactor on the table and hoped the United States would get rid of the policy that is against the principle of "words for words, action for action." However, Hyun said that his government still hopes to solve the nuclear issue peacefully through dialogue, and Pyongyang will hold a flexible attitude towards detailed questions. Pyongyang held a 20-minute talk on the sideline of the multi-lateral consultation with Japan yesterday. According to a source from the Japanese Embassy, Japan reiterated its stance to resolve various issues, including the abduction issue, on which Japan's position has not changed.

UN refuses to consider Taiwan's representation
2005-09-13 Xinhuanet
The General Committee of the UN General Assembly decided Tuesday at its 60th session not to include into the draft agenda the so-called "question of the representation of 23 million people of Taiwan in the UN" and "a proactive role of the United Nations in maintaining peace in the Taiwan Straits." The General Assembly has, for the 13th consecutive time, thwarted Taiwan's attempt to join the world inter-governmental body composed of sovereign states. The decision was announced by Jan Eliasson, president of the current session of the UN General Assembly, after a short debate on the issue, raised by Chad and a few other countries. Addressing the session, Zhang Yishan, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said the question of Taiwan is purely an internal affair of China, and should be settled jointly by the Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. "No foreign force has the right to interfere," Zhang added. He also stressed that the Anti-Secession Law is a law of peace aimed at preserving state sovereignty and territorial integrity, seeking peaceful reunification and preventing, to the greatest extent, unfortunate situation from happening between the two sides. "The Chinese government and people strongly urge Chad and a very few other countries to stop doing anything further to support the secessionist activities in the name of 'Taiwan independence' and hurt the feelings of the Chinese people," Zhang said. ()

China takes active part in UN peacekeeping operations
2005-09-14 People's Daily
China has consistently supported and actively participated in the peacekeeping operations of the United Nations (UN), said a Chinese senior military officer in Seoul Tuesday. Zhang Li, deputy director of the Peacekeeping Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defense, told more than 60 defense attaches from 43 foreign countries that China has deployed more than 4,000 military personnel in 14 UN peacekeeping operations since 1990. Until August this year, there were a total of 852 Chinese military peacekeepers working in nine UN peacekeeping missions all over the world and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) at the UN headquarters in New York, including 776 peacekeeping officers and soldiers serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia and over 70 military observers and officers in UN peacekeeping missions and the UN DPKO. When the first Chinese peacekeeping troops arrive in Sudan in the near future, China will have a total of 1,300 peacekeepers working in the ongoing UN peacekeeping operations, according to Zhang. Zhang said in the past 15 years, six Chinese servicemen lost their lives in UN peacekeeping operations. Over the past three years, Chinese army has also been active in expanding exchanges and cooperation with the UN DPKO and its foreign counterparts, Zhang said. China has sent more than 100 officers to take part in training and exchange activities organized by the UN DPKO as well as foreign countries and organizations. Meanwhile, more than ten experts from the UN DPKO have been invited to China for pre-deployment visits, Zhang noted. China has hosted or attended international seminars on peacekeeping affairs, Zhang said, noting that these exchanging activities play a positive role in expanding and improving the Chinese army's participation in the UN peacekeeping operations. Zhang Li made the presentation on the participation of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) in the UN peacekeeping operations to foreign defense attaches, with a purpose to promote exchanges between the PLA and the foreign defense attaches and to increase the defense attaches' knowledge of the PLA.

China appoints new ambassadors to Republic of Korea
2005-09-11Xinhuanet
Chinese President Hu Jintao has appointed Ning Fukui Chinese new ambassador to the Republic of Korea, replacing Li Bin. The appointment was made in accordance with a decision of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress.

 

Domestic Policy

CPC official meets Taiwan PFP chairman
2005-09-15 Xinhuanet
Jia Qinglin, member of the Standing Committee of the PoliticalBureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, met with James Soong, chairman of the Taiwan's People First Party (PFP), here on Thursday. Jia noted that positive factors in cross-Strait relations that are conducive to containing "Taiwan independence" activities have been on rise thanks to endeavors made by compatriots on both sides. The compatriots on Taiwan island became more willing to step up the communication and cooperation across the Strait and promote the peace and stability across the Strait. However, the risk that "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces seek to create a legal basis for "Taiwan independence" through amending the constitution still exists. The fight to oppose and contain "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces and activities remain severe and complex, he acknowledged. "Since May, the CPC, the KMT party and the PFP have vigorously implemented their consensus and have made substantial progress. The mainland is exerting itself to turn its promise into action," said Jia, who is also Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. The forum was held to implement the communique signed by Hu Jintao, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, and James Soong, chairman of the People First Party (PFP) in May. The forum was also a crucial step the two parties have taken to further increase their communication and dialogue, he said. James Soong said the Taiwanese had seen the sincerity and resolution of the CPC to promote peace and stability across the Strait through what it did recently. He urges the compatriots on both sides to use the Chinese wisdom to cope with problems cropping up in the cross-Strait relations. The compatriots on both sides should never allow the "Taiwan independence" secessionist force to undermine the cross-Strait relations, Soong said.

Warships on routine drill' in East China Sea
2005-09-16 SCMP
Beijing said yesterday that mainland warships seen near gas fields disputed with Japan in the East China Sea were conducting routine exercises, while declining to comment on a reported sighting of a spy plane. "From what I understand, [the ships] were conducting normal exercises," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. "As to whether a Chinese plane was in Japanese airspace, I'm not aware of what you're talking about." Japan said it had observed five Chinese warships, including a destroyer, near the gas field amid high tension between the two countries. The ships were seen just on China's side of what Japan considers the dividing line between the two countries' exclusive economic zones. China does not recognise the line. Kyodo also reported a Chinese spy plane was spotted twice last month over the East China Sea south of Japan's island of Kyushu.

Catholics regret over Vatican decision
2005-09-12 Xinhuanet
The Chinese Catholic Bishops College (CCBC) and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) yesterday expressed their regret over the Vatican's naming of Chinese bishops who are unable to attend the synod in Rome. "The act goes against the original good intention of the Pope and shows no respect for China's 5 million Catholics, bishops, the CCBC and CPCA, and also for the decision-making power of the two Chinese Catholic groups," said a spokesman for the CCBC and CPCA. Upon learning the news that Pope Benedict XVI intended to invite Chinese bishops to attend the synod, the two Chinese Catholic groups had regarded it as the Pope's willingness to recognize China's 5 million Catholics and bishops, as well as the CCBC and CPCA, and an active gesture to create conditions for the promotion of normalization of relations between China and Vatican, the spokesman said. "In view of the facts that China must prevent activities pursuing "Two Chinas" or "One China, one Taiwan" during the synod, and that some of the Chinese bishops invited find it hard to attend the synod on account of advanced age and poor health, we had asked the Chinese Government to deal with the matter through diplomatic channels," the spokesman said. However, the Vatican still announced the list of Chinese bishops who are actually unable to attend the synod. "The practice goes against the Pope's initial good intention. We regret it and can't understand it," said the spokesman, adding that "If the Holy See has deep sincerity to improve China-Vatican relations, we hope they take real actions, rather than put up new barriers."

Natural disaster toll no longer state secret
2005-09-12 Xinhuanet
China no longer regards the death tolls in natural disasters and related information as state secrets, reversing a practice that has lasted for decades, a government spokesman announced here Monday. "This is the first time we stand under a spotlight," said Shen Yongshe, spokesman for the National Administration for the Protection of State Secrets, "We hope this is a good start." The decision marks a major step taken by the government toward "administering according to law" and "building a transparent government," said Shen. He attributed the previous secrecy to "decisions made based on historical background," but declined to elaborate. Death from natural calamities used to be taboo among government officials. () In 2000, China passed a regulation defining the death toll in natural disasters as a "state secret." But the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, has driven the government to become more transparent. "In fact, China has begun to make public the death toll of major natural disasters and annual totals over the past a few years," said Zou Ming, a senior official of the Ministry of Civil Affairs. "It is beneficial to wake up both the public's and the government's awareness of disaster prevention and relief," he said. () "It is already a shared international practice to release the death tolls in natural calamities to the public, be it 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, or the Hurricane Katrina that slammed the United States," She said. "As a country with vast territories, China has also been haunted by various natural disasters," said Gao Jianguo, a researcher with China Seismological Bureau, citing that only in this summer, four consecutive strong typhoons have assaulted China's coastal provinces, the most recent, in Khanun, killing at least 14 people and leaving nine others missing by Monday at noon. "This makes the publication of disaster-related information rather vital, to prompt more efficient disaster-relieving work in the whole society," Gao said. As the Internet grows more popular, information is harder to be kept secret, said Liu Daoping, a local governor in southwest China's Sichuan Province, a place which frequently suffers from natural disasters. "The free flow of information poses great pressures to our local officials," Liu said, "Just like criticism from superiors; we have to deal with these things conscientiously." Chinese people today are getting more chances to peer into the government's secrets, ranging from state documents to personnel changes within the government, and enjoy their rights to be involved in state affairs. ()

Heart disease, cancer top killers in China
2005-09-15 China Daily
Heart disease, cancer and stroke are now the top killers of middle-aged people in China, fueled by high blood pressure and smoking, which have developed alongside the country's economy, according to one of the largest surveys of its kind, AP reported. China will help train 3,000 personnel of various professions for developing countries within the next three years so as to help these countries accelerate human resources development. The research into the major causes of death in adults found that over the past 45 years, China has undergone a huge health transition. Infectious disease has been replaced by the same chronic killers that plague the West. The findings from the study of nearly 170,000 Chinese men and women over age 40 showed that about two-thirds of the 20,033 people who died during that time were killed by heart disease, cancer or stroke. The conclusions were based on medical data collected in 1991 with follow up evaluations in 1999 and 2000. Of those deaths involving people in their 40s to mid-60s - prime working years - Chinese mortality rates from each of the three categories topped deaths among the same age group in the United States, according to the study. ()

60 suspects detained for illegal foreign currency transaction
2005-09-15 Xinhuanet
The Beijing police detained 60 suspects involving illegal foreign currency transactions, with cash worth 6 million yuan (about 750,000 US dollars) seized during a recent special action on September 12. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) made the announcement Thursday. Local SAFE department has joined forces in uncovering the illegal operation. Almost 800 bank accounts holding at least 12 million yuan got frozen during the action, the SAFE said.

Citizens urged to stop overseas gambling
2005-09-15 Xinhuanet
The Ministry of Public Security is requiring various levels of police departments to curb the surging trend among some Chinese citizens for cross-border gambling. In a recent circular, the ministry orders local public security departments not to issue tourist exit permits to Chinese citizens who are heading for neighbouring countries where local people have set up casinos. The circular was issued in light of the fact that some overseas gambling dens have reopened and continue to attract Chinese citizens in various ways, Xinhua reported. "Various levels of local social security departments must adopt more effective measures to prevent overseas gambling venues from establishing agencies in China, under the pretext of being entertainment companies, in order to attract Chinese citizens," the circular said. Agent organizations set up by foreign gambling houses on the mainland will be closed, according to the circular. Those responsible for organizing Chinese citizens to go overseas to take part in gambling will be punished according to Chinese laws. Sources with the ministry also said that they would work together with related departments to enforce the regulations, which forbid companies dispatching employees to overseas gambling and pornography companies. Employees that have worked at overseas gambling houses will be forbidden to leave China for the next one to five years. ()

Beijing frees US citizen accused of spying for Taiwan
2005-09-13 SCMP
A US citizen freed after being held in China for almost 100 days on suspicion of spying said his release was probably due to President Hu Jintao's forthcoming visit to the United States. Xie Chunren, 56, who was born in China, was arrested on May 31 while on honeymoon in Sichuan. Police told him they suspected him of being involved in activities endangering national security, allegations he denied in repeated interrogations. "They asked me so many questions. I just said, `No, I didn't do anything,'" Mr Xie said at his home in New Jersey. "If there was a case, if I really did something, I don't think they would have released me." He was freed on September 4, the day before Mr Hu left on a trip to Canada, Mexico and the United States, and arrived home on Friday. He said he would have been detained for months were it not for Mr Hu's visit. Mr Xie said he was first held in hotels in the Sichuan capital, Chengdu , with two guards in his room at all times, and then moved to a building outside the city that he said was not a jail. He stayed there for more than 90 days. Beijing maintains he confessed that, under instructions from Taiwanese spy agencies, he had engaged in activities that threatened national security. "Given that Xie's crimes were relatively minor and his attitude in admitting them was good, the Chengdu National Security Bureau removed the residential surveillance on September 4," a Foreign Ministry official said. He said he had been forced to sign an agreement promising not to reveal the type of questions asked during his detention. ()

 

Taiwan

Taipei ties blamed for rebuff of Holy See
2005-09-14 SCMP
China's state-controlled Catholic Church has blamed the Vatican's recognition of Taiwan for its decision to reject an invitation from the Pope to send bishops to a synod in Rome. Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association vice-president Liu Bainian said yesterday that accepting the invitations would harm the image of the church on the mainland. "The Vatican still keeps the so-called foreign relations with Taiwan, so we must prevent the situation that there would be `two Chinas' or `one Taiwan, one China' from happening in the synod. "That would make the image of the Chinese Catholic Church very bad before the Chinese people." He also said the bishops were too old to travel, while repeating earlier criticism of the Vatican for publicising the issue after asking that it be dealt with diplomatically. "We express regret and can't understand this," Mr Liu said. Pope Benedict invited three bishops from the state-controlled church, which is not recognised by the Vatican, to attend a synod of bishops on October 2. ()

Summit to boost cross-strait ties
2005-09-15 SCMP
Taiwanese opposition politician James Soong Chu-yu travelled to the mainland via Macau yesterday to attend a conference in Shanghai, which the two sides have billed as a forum for boosting economic ties. The forum was the result of a meeting in May between Mr Soong, head of the People First Party, and President Hu Jintao. The continued exchanges with Taiwan's opposition camp are being seen as part of Beijing's strategy to isolate the pro-independence ruling party led by Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, who Beijing says has been obstructing cross-strait relations. Officials said the conference would focus on issues such as charter flights between the mainland and the island, and agricultural exports from Taiwan. Mr Soong will deliver a speech, as will Jia Qinglin, a Politburo Standing Committee member and deputy head of the Central Leading Group for Taiwan Affairs. "It will help cross-strait relations improve in a peaceful and stable way, and Shanghai is well-prepared to welcome guests from Taiwan," Shanghai government spokeswoman Jiao Yang said. ()

 

Economy

India and China to reopen direct trade links
2005-09-12 The world's two most populous countries India and China are working to set up their first direct trade link since a 1962 border war by reopening a section of the famed Silk Road, Indian officials said. The point of contact is the 15,000-feet (4,545 metre) Nathu La pass on the border between India's Sikkim and China's Tibet where hundreds of Indian workers are repairing roads and building customs facilities, Sikkim government spokesman B.B. Gurung told AFP on Sunday. "As per plans, border trading is to begin from October 2 with the reopening of the traditional Silk Road," Gurung said. "Infrastructure development and construction of roads leading to Nathu La is going on at a brisk pace and everything should be complete before the deadline." The trading post, 52 kilometres (33 miles) east of the Sikkim capital Gangtok, is the clearest sign yet of rapproachment between the two countries which still dispute much of their 4,000-kilometre (2,400-mile) border that stretches from Kashmir in the west to India's far-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. Nathu La was a major trading point between the two countries before the 1962 war. It was also one of the main arteries of the Silk Road which historically linked China via Central Asia to Europe. The initial trade is expected to be much the same as in the Silk Road days with Chinese silk, yak tails, and raw wool likely to hit Indian markets via the small village of Sherathang, about five kilometres from the Nathu La pass, traders said. India expects to export farm products, textiles, watches, shoes, canned food, tobacco, rice, and dried fruit. The prospect of border trading has generated much interest in Sikkim where unemployment is high. ()

Capital airport gets 500m-euro loan for expansion
2005-09-15 Xinhuanet
The Ministry of Finance, China Import and Export Bank and Beijing Capital Airport signed an agreement Thursday for the airport's expansion project to get a European investment bank funding of 500 million euro (625 million US dollars). This is a key project of Sino-European economic and technological cooperation as well as the biggest single loan provided by foreign governments and international financial organizations. The airport expansion is a key project for Beijing Olympics in 2008, with a total investment of 19.45 billion yuan (3.4 billion US dollars). The expansion will be finished before 2007 and the new airport will be put into operation in 2008.

Chinese cars no immediate threat to Europe
2005-09-14 China Daily - The Chinese "dragon" is coming to Europe, one of the new affordable cars made in China by manufacturers who honed their skills working for western car makers. Now the wheels have turned but analysts see no immediate threat from this new Asian competitor. AFP reported. Far from the usual auto show-stoppers like the luxury Mercedes sedan or Porsche sportcar, three Chinese car makers are set to be the alternative stars of the 2005 Frankfurt Auto Show, which officially opens Tuesday. The Chinese line-up includes Geely with five models, featuring a sportscar dubbed CD for "China Dragon". Importer Landwind is unveiling a four-wheel drive vehicle by Jiangling, a joint venture with Ford in China, and Brilliance, a Chinese venture with BMW, is showcasing its sedan Zhonghua, which should be on sale in Germany by the end of the year starting at 18,000 euros (21,000 dollars). The three Chinese companies are "the second cut," unlike the big manufacturers such as Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), noted Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR). But this third wave of Asian car makers is just getting revved up. A German journalist in Automobile News Europe drove home a warning to western automakers not to "underestimate" the Chinese competition as they did in the past with the Japanese and the Koreans. Many European consumers need "cars to simply go from point A to point B. That's exactly what the Chinese cars arriving in Europe offer," Jens Dralle wrote in an recent article. The demand in Europe for inexpensive cars has grown as buying power has declined, evidenced by the success of the Logan made by Renault's Dacia division in Romania, which sells for about 8,000 euros. Still, automobiles "made in China" will have to prove their worth before making a breakthrough in the European market. ()

 

North Korea

Nuclear energy a Pyongyang pipe dream: experts
2005-09-16 SCMP
For North Korea, a peaceful nuclear programme is its right as part of "ceaseless and dynamic" plans to improve its economy. But nuclear experts and regional powers regard the plan as little more than an expensive dream. Meanwhile, six-party talks on ending North Korea's nuclear-weapons programmes are deadlocked after just three days, says the US top negotiator, Christopher Hill. "We're in a bit of a standoff at this point," the US assistant secretary of state said. The impasse is over Pyongyang's demand for a civilian nuclear project, with power generated by relatively proliferation-resistant light-water reactors. Two light-water reactors were offered as a reward under a 1994 agreement with the United States to give up weapons development brokered by the administration of former president Bill Clinton. Construction was halted in 2002 with the outbreak of the latest nuclear standoff, when US officials said North Korea had admitted to secretly pursuing a nuclear-weapons programme. North Korea does not have the money or expertise to build the reactors on its own but even if Pyongyang received outside help, it could not connect them to its power grid because the surge would overwhelm the system, observers say. "North Korea has no money, no technology and no modern power grid," said Kim Kyoung-sool, a South Korean economist who specialises in North Korean energy policy. Mr Kim said it cost up to US$3 billion to build a modern nuclear power plant with a standard capacity of about 1,000 megawatts. North Korea's gross domestic income was an estimated US$20.8 billion last year, leaving it little room for ambitious projects. North Korea's electricity output is estimated at slightly more than 2,000MW. It suffers from chronic power shortages that mean two-thirds of its factories sit idle. Mr Hill has dismissed Pyongyang's demand for the light-water reactor. "One gets the impression that this is not so much an economic-development issue or an energy issue but rather a political issue and an issue relating to the idea that they want to have a sort of trophy project," he said yesterday. Still, North Korea's delegation claimed yesterday in its first public comments at the talks that getting a reactor would help reassure it that Washington has the "political will to get rid of its hostile policy towards us and peacefully coexist". "Providing a light-water reactor is a matter of principle for building trust," North Korean spokesman Hyun Hak-bong said. ()

 

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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