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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
  26.9-30.9.05, No. 82  
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Foreign Policy

US, China clash over UN N. Korea statement
2005-09-30 China Daily
The United States and China were clashing at the UN nuclear watchdog over drafting a resolution welcoming North Korea's pledge to abandon atomic weapons, with Washington wanting to make it clear a light-water nuclear reactor is not about to be offered. "The United States now realizes that China is in the driver's seat in the six-party talks and wants to do things for North Korea," a diplomat close to the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told AFP. Another IAEA diplomat said: "China wants to be as loyal as possible to the six-party declaration made in Beijing," referring to the breakthrough earlier this month in negotiations joining North Korea, the United States, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. China wanted the resolution to mention a light-water nuclear reactor and other commitments made to the North in exchange for its decision, AP quoted diplomats, who requested anonymity in exchange for discussing the confidential details of the dispute over a North Korean resolution, as saying. The Chinese want all the commitments agreed to by the other nations to be listed in detail, said one of the diplomats. "But the others think this should be a resolution over North Korea and not over the six-party talks," the diplomat said, according to the AP report. The agreement reached at the six-party talks mentions the possibility of Pyongyang receiving light-water reactors to generate nuclear power. In talks at the IAEA's 139-nation general conference this week in Vienna, the United States does not want light-water reactors to be mentioned in the proposed resolution on North Korea, diplomats said. US spokesman Matthew Boland said: "Discussions are ongoing." He did not provide details. The IAEA conference ends Friday. The breakthrough agreement has led to bickering over how quickly Pyongyang should move on its promises and how quickly it will get promised incentives, especially the light-water reactors. North Korea had agreed in Beijing to a statement of principles on abandoning its atomic weapons in return for energy and security guarantees. North Korea said it would scrap its weapons, return to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and accept IAEA inspectors in return for security guarantees, economic benefits and energy aid. The statement said North Korea's demand for light-water reactors would be considered at an "appropriate" time. The North has since warned it would not dismantle its nuclear arsenal until the United States delivered light-water reactors to allow it to generate power, casting doubt over its commitment to the statement. ()

Chinese vice premier to visit North Korea
2005-09-30 China Daily
Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi will visit North Korea next week amid an ongoing international push to convince the north to give up nuclear weapons development, Chinese officials said. Wu will be in North Korea Oct. 8-11 and meet with "principal leaders," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, without providing more details. They "will exchange views on a lot of international issues of common interest," Qin said at a regular briefing. "The nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula is an issue of common interest for the two sides." Wu's delegation will include officials from the foreign ministry, the commerce ministry and the State Council, or Cabinet, Qin said. "We hope the visit of Vice Premier Wu Yi could further promote our friendship and cooperation," Qin said. ()

China, Russia hail bilateral cooperation
2005-09-27 People's Daily
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in Beijing Monday that "to further enhance Sino-Russian relationship is in compliance with the current situation and the development need of the two countries." Wen made the remarks during his meeting with Sergei Mironov, chairman of the Russian Federation Council. He said China and Russia have seen rapid development in their bilateral relationship as well as enhanced cooperation in recent years. "The China-Russia relationship has entered a new era of development since the two countries established a strategic partnership of cooperation and signed the Good-Neighborly Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation," he said. Wen pointed out that both China and Russia are in a critical stage of development under the context of changing and complicatedinternational situation, adding that to cement bilateral ties is conducive to world peace and prosperity." He hoped the two countries could promote the comprehensive cooperation from a strategic perspective, in a friendly and mutually-beneficial manner, and in accordance with the principles enshrined in the China-Russia Joint Declaration on the World Order in the 21st Century. ()

Chinese premier calls for closer cooperation with Gulf countries
2005-09-27 People's Daily
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in Beijing Tuesday that China hopes to enhance cooperation with Gulf countries to achieve common development. Expressing his appreciation of the friendly relations between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Wen told Fahad Bin Mahmoud Al-Said, Oman's Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers, that China hopes to further exchanges and cooperation with gulf countries to achieve common development. Wen said China and Oman are mutually complementary in economy and have great potential in furthering cooperation. He suggested the two countries continue cooperation in energy resources, project construction and personnel training and take measures to encourage two-way investment. Wen also hailed the China-Oman ties, saying that the trade and cultural exchanges between the two countries could be dated back to the 6th century. He said the Chinese government will continue to support Omani government's efforts in developing national economy and maintaining Gulf region's peace and stability. ()

China, India hold special representatives' meeting on boundary question
2005-09-29 People's Daily
Chinese and Indian special representatives held their six round of meeting on the boundary question of the two countries in Beijing from Monday to Wednesday. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the two sides had a conscientious exploration on the framework for the settlement of the China-India boundary question in a "friendly, cooperative and constructive" atmosphere. Both sides believed that sound momentum of the growth of China-India strategic and cooperative partnership has provided more favorable conditions for the settlement of the boundary question left over by history. Dai Bingguo, Chinese special representative for the China-India boundary question and vice foreign minister, and M. K. Narayanan, Indian special representative for the India-China boundary question and National Security Adviser of India, attended the meeting. The two sides held that the signing of the Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the Boundary Question Between China and India in April 2005 laid sound groundwork for the settlement of the boundary question. The two sides agreed to build on the previous achievements and proceed from overall interests of the bilateral relationship and the fundamental interests of the two peoples to actively pursue a framework for the boundary settlement in a constructive manner so as to promote an early and fair and reasonable settlement of the boundary question. ()

Asian-Pacific anti-corruption meeting opens in Beijing
2005-09-29 Xinhuanet
The Fifth Asian-Pacific Regional Anti-corruption Conference opened here Wednesday. Those attending the meeting were 188 representatives from 36 countries, regions and international organizations, as well as officials with the Chinese central government and the provincial departments of supervision. State Councilor Hua Jianmin delivered a speech at the conference. He said China's fight against corruption had made remarkable progress thanks to years of unremitting efforts. The endeavor of building up a clean government and deepening the fight against corruption ensured smooth economic development, pushed forward democracy and promoted social justice. He said the Chinese government paid great attention to governmental administrative reform and self-building. The government is building itself to be a law-ruled, responsible, clean and service-oriented government through transferring governmental functions, implementing democratic policy-making and innovating governmental management methods. He noted that the Chinese government will establish a corruption prevention and punishment system to further ensure the fulfilment of building an affluent society. ()

Tokyo talks planned on disputed waters
2005-09-28 China Daily
China and Japan will hold a second round of talks in Tokyo on Friday to discuss the disputed waters in the East China Sea, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said yesterday. China Daily has learned that Cui Tiankai, director of the Foreign Ministry's Asian Affairs Department, will lead a delegation at the meeting, which is likely to discuss jurisdiction over disputed waters and details of the area's joint development. "China hopes the two sides will properly resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation," ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular media briefing in Beijing. China appealed for dialogue last week as the Japanese Government discussed what measures to take after Chinese companies began oil and gas field exploration in the East China Sea. Qin insisted the operations were taking place in undisputed waters inside Chinese territory. Previous high-level meetings on the issue have led to little in the way of progress. According to international law, both countries have a right to claim 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) from their coastline. However, the width of the East China Sea is less than 400 nautical miles (740 kilometres), so the two sides' claims overlap. Japan claims a "demarcation line" equidistant from the shores of the two countries is the border. China says the border lies further east where the continental shelf ends. () The two-day sixth round of talks on border issues between China and India ended yesterday with no details issued by either side. "With the development and improvement of China-India relations, the atmosphere for resolving the border issue has improved," spokesman Qin said, adding that the two sides are sincere about seeking a solution. The two sides have agreed to hold the next round of talks in New Delhi.

FM refutes Japan PM's criticism of China
2005-09-30 People's Daily
China Thursday refuted Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's remarks that China's opposition to his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine is out of political reasons, saying his visits hurt the feelings of Chinese people. "People in Asian countries oppose Japanese leaders' visits to the Yasukuni Shrine because it enshrines class-A war criminals whose hands were blotted with the blood of people who suffered Japanese invasion," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a briefing in Beijing Thursday. In his interview with British newspaper The Times on Tuesday, Koizumi said China opposes his visits to the Yasukuni Shrine out of political reasons. "I would assume that China doesn't welcome a growth in Japan's political influence. They are opposed, for example, to Japan becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council because they want to check Japan's influence on the international stage," Koizumi told The Times in his official residence in Tokyo. "What Japanese prime minister's homage to war criminals means to people in the victimized countries is obvious," said Qin. Qin said the Yasukuni Shrine issue has become the crux to the current difficulties with relations between China and Japan. ()

 

Domestic Policy

Struggle against Taiwan independence stressed
2005-09-29 Xinhuanet
Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said here Thursday that the struggle against Taiwan separatists remains "arduous" and "complicated" despite new positive factors in the cross-Straits relations. "There are new positive factors beneficial to curb "Taiwan independence" separatist activities since this year, but we have to notice that Taiwan separatists have not stopped even for a moment their splittist activities," he said. He made the remarks at a reception marking the 56th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China which falls on Oct. 1. The reception was attended by Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong, Vice Premier Huang Ju and more than 4,200 people including representatives from all walks of life in Beijing, delegates from Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions as well as Taiwan and overseas compatriots. Jia said china will stick to the basic principles of "peaceful reunification" and "one country, two systems" to further cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation. China has firmly implemented these principles since the return of Hong Kong and Macao to it, which help ensure long-term prosperity, stability in the two special administrative regions. Jia said overseas Chinese and those who return to China are important forces for the reunification of the country. The Chinese government will protect their legitimate rights and interests according to law, better safeguard their fundamental interests and let domestic and overseas Chinese get united and contribute more to the country's reform and opening up as well as modernization, Jia said.

Typhoon Damrey lashes Hainan, killing at least 7
2005-09-27 SCMP
Typhoon Damrey pounded Hainan yesterday, leaving at least seven people dead and knocking out power in what officials said was the strongest storm to hit the island for more than 30 years. Packing winds up to 198km/h, Damrey made landfall at 4am after authorities ordered the evacuation of thousands of people in the hope of avoiding a catastrophe. Six of the victims were elderly people aged above 70, mostly killed under collapsed buildings or by trees felled by heavy winds, the China News Service reported. "Across Hainan, more than 210,000 people were evacuated to safety, including 60,000 fishermen," the report said. Experts warned that rice and rubber crops could sustain heavy damage because the typhoon hit near harvesting season. Banana crops, which are now maturing, would also be affected. The typhoon was the strongest to hit Hainan since 1973, Cai Qinbao, deputy director of the Hainan Provincial Meteorological Station, was quoted as saying. ()

Beijing unveils flu pandemic plan
2005-09-29 SCMP
Beijing has announced a colour-coded emergency plan meant to prevent or deal with a flu pandemic, amid growing fears that a "superflu" could mutate from bird flu. According to the plan, the Ministry of Health will set up an anti-influenza leading work group and establish surveillance networks, laboratories and a database specifically for flu and bird flu. The plan, released on the ministry's website yesterday, warns that the mainland needs to improve its vaccine production. "The foundation of medical services and public health is relatively weak and our surveillance system is not perfect," it said. "Our capability to produce vaccines and drugs is also backward. "If we do not make sufficient preparation ahead of a flu pandemic, there will be social and public panic and it will deal a heavy blow to our economic activities and social life and incite social unrest." Scientists have expressed worries about the vaccine production capacity in developing countries because it normally takes two to six months after a pandemic starts to produce the vaccine. The plan has four levels of alert - blue, yellow, orange, and red - which cover different stages, from the discovery of a new sub-type of flu virus to human-to-human transmission and a pandemic. The ministry said China had historically been the first area hit by a number of flu pandemics. ()

Retail prices of 22 medicines reduced
2005-09-29 China Daily
Retail prices of 22 kinds of medicine were reduced yesterday by Chinese authorities, but pharmaceutical industry observers say the move will do little to make healthcare more affordable. The price reduction was announced by the National Development and Reform Commission, the department that oversees the macro-adjustment of the economy. The average reduction in price of the medicines, which are widely used in hospitals, was 40 per cent. According to the present sales volume of the medicines, the reduction totals around 4 billion yuan (US$490 million). However, many officials and experts believe the campaign, as well as others in past years, cannot solve the long-standing problem of over priced medicines. Currently, people have to buy medicines at too high a price, generally dozens of times more than they cost to produce. The reason for this is obvious in China: The price set when the medicine leaves the factory is already inflated, and becomes ever more so as it reaches consumers. In the past eight years, China has held at least 16 such reduction campaigns involving more than 1,500 kinds of medicine. "History tells us that a medicine whose price is cut will eventually die in the market," said a Ministry of Health official who declined to be identified.

Chinese State Council to open official website
2005-09-29 Xinhuanet
The website of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, or the central government of the People's Republic of China, www.gov.cn, will open on a trial basis on October 1, a spokesman for the council's General Office announced here Thursday. The website, with simplified and traditional Chinese versions first, will provide the governmental affairs information and data and on-line services of the Chinese central and local governments and their subordinate departments, he said. It is expected to have 12 columns, including "China Today," "China's General Survey," "Government Institutions," "Laws and Regulations", "Opening of Administrative Affairs", "News Release" and "On-line Services." The establishment of the website is aimed at intensifying the communication among the government, enterprises and individual citizens, the spokesman said.

 

Economy

China actively promotes ASEAN+ 3 cooperation
2005-09-29 People's Daily
China attaches importance to the economic cooperation among the 10-member ASEAN and its three dialogue partners -- China, Japan and South Korea, and is ready to promote such cooperation for the regional prosperity, Chinese vice commerce minister Yu Guangzhou said Thursday in Vientiane. China treasures the economic and trade cooperation with members of ASEAN+3 on the basic principles of equal consultation, win-win relation, gradual development, openness and harmonization, Yu said after the 8th AEM (ASEAN Economic Ministers) Plus 3 Consultation and Consultation with the East Asia Business Council (EABC). "China is ready to further promote the economic cooperation of East Asia and contribute to the regional economic development and common prosperity of East Asian countries," he said. According to Yu, China put forth at the meeting a new cooperative project titled "A Seminar for Senior International Engineering Project Management for ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Countries," which has won support from other delegates. China has actively initiated joint projects, including ones on practical technical training, environmental protection and e- commerce training, he said, adding the country is also taking the lead in the Joint Expert Group of feasibility study on the East Asia Free Trade Area (EAFTA). Recognizing the necessity of the region's better response to soaring oil price and oil supply disruption, the ministers during the consultation suggested cooperation on a range of issues, including energy efficiency and conservation, diversification of energy supply and use of alternative and renewable energy, effective and clean use of resources, oil stockpiling system development and energy-related statistics development. ()

No US-China textile deal; more talks in Oct.
2005-09-30 China Daily
The United States and China failed to reach a comprehensive textile agreement in a third round of talks this week but will resume negotiations in October, U.S. trade officials said on Thursday. "We were able to make progress, particularly with product coverage and quota levels, but we did not reach an agreement with the Chinese, "lead U.S. textile negotiator David Spooner said in a statement announcing that the talks ended Wednesday night. "We will be meeting with the Chinese again next month and will be consulting with them soon on the location and exact date of the next round of negotiations," Spooner said. According to insiders, the differences mainly focus on the duration of the pact, the base figure for determining exports and the growth rate. The United States wants to calculate annual growth based on the 2004 figure but China would not accept the proposal because textile trade that year was skewed under a regime of international quotas, said Zhou Shjian, an expert on WTO issues. China's textile exports to the United States totalled US$17.8 billion in 2004, while the figure was US$13.1 billion for the first six months of this year. The US also wants to restrain annual growth below 7.5 per cent while China wants significantly more, about 15 per cent, Zhou added. The United States wants a deal that runs through 2008 while China prefers an agreement that lasts through 2007, like the one reached with the European Union. () While US industry lobbyists asked for more curbs, US retailers would like to see an increase in imports.In another development, the EU commissioner in charge of taxation and customs issues said yesterday that the European Union's new agreement to cap Chinese textile imports was the best deal possible. Europe renegotiated import limits with China this month. The new terms set in September adjust restrictions on Chinese clothing, and restrict China's planned export growth from 10 per cent to 5-7.5 per cent. "It was the maximum we could have extracted from China in terms of an agreed limitation of their exports," Laszlo Kovacs told the European Parliament. Kovacs said China was entitled to enjoy the benefits of the global economy in a way that avoided trade disruptions.

China not to widen band of RMB exchange rate against USD
2005-09-26 People's Daily
The People's Bank of China, the central bank, on Sunday announced that it has no plan to raise the float range of Renminbi exchange rate against US dollars. After China abruptly allowed its currency, the yuan, to appreciate by a modest 2 percent on July 21, the trading price between US dollars and yuan can be fluctuated within 0.3 percent on the inter-bank foreign exchange market, and the trading price between non-US dollars and yuan can be fluctuated within 1.5 percent. On Friday, the central bank announced in a circular to raise the float range of Renminbi exchange rate against non-US dollars from previous 1.5 percent to 3 percent. The float range of yuan's exchange rate against US dollar, which now stands at 0.3 percent, is appropriate, said a spokesman with the central bank on Sunday. Yuan's float range against non-US dollar currencies has long been higher than that against US dollars, said the spokesman. Before the exchange rate reform, the float range of Renminbi exchange rate against euro was 10 percent while that against Japanese yen was 1 percent. Meanwhile that against US dollar was only 0.3 percent, the spokesman said. The trading of US dollars plays a dominant role in China's inter-bank foreign exchange market, which leads to the narrower fluctuation range of yuan's exchange rate against US dollars, he said. Experience from international foreign exchange markets shows that currencies with larger turnovers have narrower float ranges, he said. ()

 

North Korea

Date for UN food factories to close
2005-09-26 SCMP
The UN relief agency delivering food in North Korea said it plans to shut its reprocessing factories there in November, complying with the country's request that emergency aid be halted. The World Food Programme, which has helped feed the North's 22 million people for a decade, said in a report it would "halt production of fortified foods in all 19 WFP-supported factories". "The decision follows last week's request by [North Korean] authorities that all food distributions and monitoring activities under the current emergency operation be completed by the end of November," the report said. The agency said 2,100 workers would be affected. Since starting emergency aid in 1995, the WFP has distributed about 4 million tonnes of food worth US$1.5 billion in the North. The WFP stressed the North Korean government had not asked it to leave. Richard Ragan, WFP chief in Pyongyang, said North Koreans "claim they have enough food coming in from other sources", indicating this included aid from South Korea and increased trade with China.

 

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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