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
  20.3-24.3.06, No. 107  
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Foreign Policy

Putin's China tour fruitful: FM spokesman
2006-03-24 Xinhuanet
Russian President Putin's China visit was "fruitful", and can further strengthen the Sino-Russian strategic partnership of cooperation, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Tuesday. "During Putin's two-day state visit, China and Russia signed 22 agreements covering politics, diplomacy, energy, investment, finance and communications," Qin Gang told a regular press conference. Qin noted that the two sides also put forward some new ideas on bilateral cooperation, such as pledging to coordinate economic strategies and actively guiding and supporting local companies of the two countries to seek new opportunities for cooperation in each other's economic and regional development strategies. Qin said that Putin's visit to China was significant as this year marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Russia strategic partnership of cooperation and the fifth anniversary of the Sino-Russian treaty of friendship and cooperation. During his visit, Putin held talks and exchanged views with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common concern. The two presidents also signed China-Russia joint statement, attended the opening ceremony of the Year of Russia in China and addressed the high-level China-Russia economic forum. Putin also held meetings with top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao. Qin added that during Putin's visit, the two presidents initiated a series of activities for the Year of Russia in China, which is a pioneering project in the history of the two sides and has great significance in improving mutual understanding and promoting cooperation.

Chinese President to visit US in April
2006-03-24 People's Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao will pay a state visit to the United States in April, Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday in Beijing. "At the invitation of U.S. President George W. Bush, Hu will pay a state visit to the United States in mid or late April," Qin Gang told the regular press briefing. During his visit, Hu will exchange views with Bush on Sino-US relations and important international and regional issues of common concern, Qin said. China and the United States are making preparations for the visit and China will officially release the news on Hu's visit at a proper time, Qin said. Hu's visit is decided on the basis of the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries last year, Qin said. "The purpose is to enhance mutual trust, expand common understanding and advance the development of Sino-US constructive cooperation in 21st century."

Beijing urges talks after Tokyo delays aid
2006-03-24 SCMP
Tokyo has delayed approving new aid to China, citing rising tensions with its giant neighbour - upsetting Beijing, which appealed for talks to resolve the issue. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said Tokyo would not approve any more loans to China during the current fiscal year ending March 31, but might restart them next month if ties improved. It is the first time since Japan began providing development aid to China in 1979 that such a move has been taken. "We will put off making a decision this fiscal year," Mr Abe said. The government "needs some more time to adjust opinions, given the various situations surrounding current relations between Japan and China", he said. Tokyo would be "taking into account how Japan-China relations develop". Yesterday's announcement of a temporary suspension comes at an especially sensitive period in Sino-Japanese relations and analysts say it might be timed to give Japan better leverage in regional disputes, as well as pandering to nationalist sentiment in Japan. "It may give the impression that Japan is taking a more decisive stance against China," political analyst Shigenori Okazaki said. Mr Abe indicated Japan would still eventually provide the low-interest loans in the next financial year in line with an earlier agreement to phase out aid by mid-2008. "Our policy of giving yen loans with a view to build future-oriented Japan-China relations has not changed." In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang called for consultation. "The unilateral freezing of loans will not help resolve this issue," he told a regular news conference. "China's position on this issue remains unchanged. That is, the two sides should properly resolve this issue through consultation." Japan's total low-interest loans to the mainland - for development projects such as infrastructure construction - exceed 3 trillion yen. A Beijing scholar played down the importance of the move. "Now that China is developing fast in terms of economic growth and international trade, and the pace of Japan's development is slowing, it is understandable for it to stop development assistance to China," said Jiang Yuechun, of the China Institute of International Studies. Still, Professor Jiang admitted that the souring of Sino-Japanese relations would affect their trade co-operation. The call for consultation was a change for Beijing, which has refused talks with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi because of his visits to the Yasukuni war shrine that China sees as a symbol of past militarism.

China making "patient", "on-going" efforts to resume six-party talks, China's FM says
2006-03-21 Xinhuanet
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said in Beijing Monday that China is making "patient" and "on-going" efforts for the resumption of the six-party talks. "China is now keeping contact and consultation with the parties concerned in a bid to restart the talks as soon as possible, " Li said in a written interview with the Russian media which was posted on the Foreign Ministry's official Website on Monday. Li said China will continue to promote peaceful negotiations no matter how difficult they are. He also urged the parties concerned to continue peaceful talks with flexible and pragmatic attitude, take action to enhance trust and make all out efforts to implement the joint statement. "This is significant for the peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and northeast Asia and serves the common interests of all parties," Li said. The six parties adopted a joint statement in September 2005 at the end of the fourth round of talks. The talks have been staled since the first phase of the fifth round of talks ended in November, 2005.

Hope still there for solving Iranian nuclear standoff, says Chinese FM
2006-03-22 People's Daily
There still remains hope for solving the Iranian nuclear standoff through negotiations, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in Beijing Tuesday. All parties concerned should continue to exercise "restraint and flexibility" so as to create favorable conditions for the solution of the issue, Qin said at a news briefing. It is China's persistent stance to properly resolve the issue through political negotiations and diplomatic efforts, which accord with the common interests of all permanent and non-permanent members of the UN Security Council. China hopes that more time could be given to political negotiations and diplomatic efforts and urges all parties concerned to accelerate the pace of negotiations, he added. Speaking of the efforts made by China and Russia in solving the issue, Qin said both countries participate, with a constructive attitude, in the solution of the nuclear-related issues in Iran and on the Korean peninsula. "Our aim is to eventually solve the issues through peaceful negotiations", he said. "This not only accords with the interests of both countries", but is also conducive to the peace and stability of the world and region as well, he said.

China donates equipment to Serbia-Montenegro
2006-03-23 People's Daily
China handed over on Wednesday equipment worth five million yuan (some 625,000 U.S. dollars) as a military aid to Serbia-Montenegro. In a ceremony at the Club of the Serbia-Montenegro Army in Belgrade, Chinese ambassador Li Guobang said that there are traditional friendship and close cooperation between China and Serbia-Montenegro, including exchange and cooperation between the two countries' defense ministries and armies. Li said that he hoped the donation would help the Serbia- Montenegro army during its reform and transition period. Zoran Stankovic, defense minister of Serbia-Montenegro, expressed his appreciation to China's donation and hoped for further development of bilateral friendly cooperation. In a sign of gratitude, Stankovic handed over a plaque and certificate to Ambassador Li. Under an agreement between the two ministries signed in March 2005, the Chinese Defense Ministry donated equipment worth five million yuan to its Serbia-Montenegro counterpart. The equipment consists of modern technical and electronic devices, including computers, laptops, digital cameras and camcorders.

FM spokesman: China hopes to strengthen co-op with UNHCR
2006-03-21 Xinhuanet
China hopes to strengthen cooperation with the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang said here Tuesday at a regular press briefing. Speaking of the ongoing visit to China by the High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Oliveira Guterres, Qin said, "We are confident that his visit will help promote mutual trust between China and the UNHCR." Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing met with Guterres on Tuesday and Guterres expressed the hope to strengthen exchange and cooperation with China on how to deal with refugee-related issues. Responding to question about the so-called DPRK refugees in China, Qin said they were not refugees since they entered China illegally. China always deals with this kind of problems in accordance with Chinese and international laws and humanitarian principles, Qin said. "We will continue to do so in the future," he said.

Vatican set to compromise with Beijing
2006-03-24 SCMP
The Holy See is ready to compromise with Beijing over how far religious freedom should be relaxed in exchange for re-establishing diplomatic relations, a top Vatican official said yesterday. "Naturally we want the bird to fly freely outside, but I will be satisfied at this moment if the cage is as big as this room instead of just a small one like now," the official told the South China Morning Post. The official also said that while mutual misunderstanding over the concept of religious freedom remain a problem, "I am very, very hopeful that positive developments will come". The official did not elaborate on a time frame for resumption of ties but said changes could happen suddenly. His comments echoed views expressed earlier by Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun on the eve of his formal elevation at the Vatican. But the leader of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong said the Vatican should not re-establish diplomatic relations with Beijing before the mainland relaxed its grip on religious freedom. The cardinal-designate also said he intended to brief the Pope on the latest situation in the Catholic Church in China when he meets the pontiff for the first time since the announcement of his elevation last month. Speaking during a break in a day-long meeting between cardinals and Pope Benedict in the Vatican, Cardinal Zen said he would raise the situation of China when he had the chance to speak. More than 100 cardinals and cardinals-designate were called to a special day of "reflection and prayer" ahead of today's ceremony to formally elevate 15 cardinals. Cardinal Zen said that while he would try his best to advise the Holy See on the best way to improve Sino-Vatican relations, he also hoped there would be more contact between the two sides at the church level to improve mutual understanding. Cardinal Zen said he hoped Beijing could be convinced that giving religious freedom to the people would benefit the state, as religion was a stabilising force in society. Asked whether he wished the Pope would name more Chinese cardinals in the future, Cardinal Zen said it was not possible at present because diplomatic relations had still not been established. "What is important is that there should first be religious freedom, then diplomatic relations." Cardinal Zen will today formally receive his "red hat" from the Pope.

 

Domestic Policy

China's nuclear-power plants to increase
2006-03-26 People's Daily
China will witness rapid growth in the number of nuclear power stations after a 2005-20 blueprint for the energy sector was approved by a State Council meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday. Nuclear power stations will be integral to the country's energy strategy and will play a significant role in enhancing national strength and technology, participants at the meeting agreed. According to the blueprint, nuclear power is a strategic energy source and should be actively developed to meet the country's growing demand. The plan stresses that China should rely on self-innovation while ensuring safety; and appropriately make use of foreign technology and resources. China has six nuclear power stations with a capacity of 9 million kilowatts. Nuclear power accounts for 2 per cent of total power generation capacity. Sources at the China Atomic Information Network said that by 2020, the country will increase nuclear power generation capacity to 40 million kilowatts, or 4 per cent of the total. To reach the target, each year the country has to build a nuclear power station with a capacity of 1.8 million kilowatts, equivalent to that of the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station in Guangdong Province. The blueprint said the development of nuclear power will also help the country reach a balance among energy consumption, economic development and environmental protection. The State Council meeting also approved an urban planning (2005-20) scheme for Tianjin Municipality in North China with the development of the port city's Binhai New Area (BNA) as the focus. The new area is already the most profitable economic zone in the country. IT businesses there have notched up 12-per-cent profit margins, compared with an average of 5 per cent in the country, according to the Tianjin municipal government. With an area of 2,270 square kilometres and a population of 1.4 million, BNA is considered a growth engine for North China and is widely expected to match the economic miracle achieved by Shanghai's Pudong New Area.

Bird flu Infection suspected in woman's death
2006-03-24 China Daily
A woman may have died of bird flu virus in the first such case in Shanghai, the city's health bureau said yesterday. The 29-year-old migrant worker surnamed Li went to hospital on March 15 after she had cough, fever and breathing problems. Her condition worsened quickly and she died on Tuesday evening, according to a news release from the Shanghai Municipal Government News Office. There was no information on where she worked or was treated. The Shanghai Municipal Health Bureau tasked medical experts to ascertain the cause of death; and their conclusion was suspected bird flu infection. The bureau has reported the case to the Ministry of Health, which is sending an expert team for further tests. If the woman is confirmed to have died of bird flu, she would be the 11th human fatality in the country. The health authorities in Shanghai are closely monitoring those who had close contact with the woman; and no human infection has been reported. According to the department in charge of animal epidemic outbreaks in Shanghai, there has been no bird flu infection among poultry in the city. The authorities are keeping a close eye on poultry brought in from elsewhere as well as in markets. Experts have asked residents not to panic. Peng Jing, vice-director of the Shanghai Health Bureau, called on citizens to trust the government's ability to fight bird flu; and promised that the public would be kept informed on any development. Shanghai, which has an efficient public health network, successfully controlled the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003. To prevent and treat any human or poultry infections, the city has set up a special team, which comprises medical and animal-disease experts, and health officials. Prevention measures include vaccinating poultry, surveillance of farms and health checks for live poultry.

More H5N1 samples to be sent worldwide
2006-03-24 SCMP
A new batch of Chinese avian flu virus samples will within weeks be delivered worldwide to laboratories designated by the World Health Organization (WHO), China Daily has learned. The batch, as agreed between the Chinese Government and the WHO at the end of 2005, will consist of 20 samples, much more than the five samples delivered in 2004. "China has done a very, very good job," said Shigeru Omi, regional director of WHO Western Pacific, when he announced the new shipment at a two-day conference in Beijing that ended yesterday. According to Julie Hall, co-ordinator of communicable disease surveillance and response at the WHO Beijing office, regular sharing of information among all countries, the global health body and other international organizations is an effective weapon to fight the disease, whose virus is fast mutating. Such sharing of information is vital for research, including developing a vaccine against a possible pandemic. Because there have been regular outbreaks among poultry as well as human infections in China, samples, laboratory results and knowledge of field practices would be useful for the rest of the world, she added. The scheduled delivery, however, will contain only virus samples from bird flu outbreaks in poultry, as was the case in 2004. All samples of the avian flu virus are kept under tight surveillance at the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China. Mao Qun'an, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, told China Daily that China had provided two virus samples from human infections in December 2005, after the cases were first reported in the country in October.

Online dissident jailed for 10 years
2006-03-17 SCMP
A Chinese dissident was sentenced on Friday to 10 years in prison for posting an essay on the internet saying that people have the right to violently overthrow tyranny, a human rights group said. Ren Zhiyuan pleaded not guilty to charges of "subversion of state power," a vague term that Communist authorities use when prosecuting activists they say are critical of the government or potentially dangerous. Ren was tried last September in the eastern province of Shandong. The Jining Municipal Intermediate People's Court on Friday confirmed the sentence. Such long sentences are rarely imposed, but dissidents have been jailed for more than a dozen years. Ren has the option of appealing. Ren, a secondary school teacher, was detained in May last year while on a trip to Jiangsu province because of an article he posted on the Internet called "The Road to Democracy," the New York-based Human Rights in China said. "He expressed the opinion that the people have the right to overthrow tyranny by violent means," the group said. Ren was also suspected of planning to establish an organisation called the "Mainland Democracy Frontline," it said but did not give any other details.

 

Taiwan

Taiwan's Ma vows to maintain status quo
2006-03-23 China Daily
Taiwan's main opposition leader and potential "presidential" front-runner vowed on Wednesday to uphold the status quo with mainland, rejecting both independence and early reunification. Ma Ying-jeou, chairman of the Nationalist Party and mayor of Taipei, said if his party wins the "presidency" in the 2008 election, he would reopen talks with the mainland on mutually accepted terms. "We will not pursue Taiwan's de jure independence, nor will we pursue the policy of immediate unification," Ma told Reuters Television in an interview in Washington. "This is a policy that really fits the needs of the United States, Japan, Chinese mainland and the Taiwanese people," said the 55-year-old Ma, seen by many as the opposition's best bet for victory in the 2008 polls. Taiwan's relations with mainland have been strained since February when pro-independence Taiwanese leader Chen Shui-bian scrapped the "National Unification Council," a dormant but politically significant body aimed at one day reuniting mainland and Taiwan. Ma's Nationalist Party, also known as the Kuomintang, favors closer ties with Chinese mainland and has criticized Chen's move. In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, Ma vowed to resume talks that have been frozen since before the election in 2000 of Chen, whose Democratic Progressive Party champions an independent Taiwan identity. "If the Kuomintang is able to come back to power in 2008, we certainly will resume the interrupted negotiations based on the 1992 consensus, namely one China, different interpretations, this has been accepted by mainland," Ma said, referring to a formula agreed 14 years ago in Singapore. The United States recognizes the "one-China" policy, but in a deliberately ambiguous piece of foreign policy it is also obliged by law to help Taiwan defend itself. U.S. President George W. Bush has offered what would be the biggest arms sales to Taiwan in more than a decade. But the Nationalist-led opposition, which controls a slim majority in parliament, has repeatedly blocked the deal. Ma was cautious when asked about the stalemate over the package of advanced weaponry offered by Washington in 2001, "We support reasonable purchase of arms from the United States, we need adequate defense capability (and) we want to demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves," he said.

Thousands tell Chen to halt Beijing provocation
2006-03-20 SCMP
More than 20,000 opposition supporters took to the streets of Taipei yesterday, demanding that President Chen Shui-bian stop provoking Beijing and instead focus on improving public well-being. The demonstration came a week after a similar protest by Kuomintang and a day after Mr Chen's independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party held a huge rally denouncing Beijing for what it called attempts to annex Taiwan. Waving blue and orange banners, the protesters at yesterday's rally in front of the Presidential Office chanted: "Against corruption, against inability and against Taiwan independence." They demanded the Chen government improve the economy and stop provoking Beijing and ensure cross-strait peace was kept. "Taiwanese people care about their rice bowls, livelihood and survival, not unification or independence issues. They can live without unification and independence," KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou, also Taipei mayor, said at the rally. Mr Ma criticised Mr Chen for shutting down the National Unification Council, dedicated to the eventual reunification of Taiwan and the mainland. Mr Chen announced in late February that the council had "ceased to function", move observers saw as an attempt to appease independence supporters. He has admitted that he originally wanted to abolish the council, but settled on the term "cease to function" under pressure from the US. Mr Ma said that if Mr Chen "really had guts", he would have scrapped the council. Yesterday's march coincided with the second anniversary of the election-eve shooting of the president and Vice-President Annette Lu Hsiu-lien, an incident the opposition has claimed was staged by Mr Chen to swing the sympathy vote and win re-election in 2004. Mr Chen and Ms Lu were shot while campaigning. They were slightly injured, with one bullet grazing Mr Chen's stomach and another hitting Ms Lu's knee. Police later identified a dead man as the likely suspect and closed the case. James Soong Chu-yu, head of the People First Party that organised yesterday's protest, demanded that a new investigation be carried out to get to the bottom of the incident. He said Mr Chen would always live in the shadow of being suspected of having staged the shooting if he refused to launch a new investigation. Mr Soong also criticised Mr Chen for pushing a huge arms deal with the US to counter the mainland, regardless of the economic hard times in Taiwan. An effigy of Mr Chen dressed as a Nazi officer, with a red line grazing its stomach, was displayed treading on a stuffed cow at the rally, signifying that Mr Chen is a dictator who only cares about battling with the mainland, not the financial plight of the public.

 

Economy

Concern voiced over US trade policies
2006-03-24 China Daily
Chinese Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Sun Zhenyu voiced China's concerns on Wednesday over US trade policies and urged the United States to respond to these concerns. "While we have full confidence in further developing bilateral economic and trade relations, China holds some concerns about US trade policies," Sun told a WTO review which is looking at US trade policies over the past two years. He said China's major concerns include the "twin deficits" of trade and finance, fulfilment of transparency obligations, fair implementation of anti-dumping measures and foreign investment restrictions in the service sector. According to the ambassador, the United States, the most frequent user of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, is always quick to demand compliance from others when WTO rulings are in its favour, but fails to meet WTO "prompt compliance" requirements when rulings are against its interests. He also accused the US of undermining the world trading system by using national security concerns "in an excessive way" to get around the rules, saying that this had significantly affected the flow of international trade operations and foreign direct investment (FDI). "Recently the US exerted pressure and imposed restrictions on incoming FDI, on account of national security, which prevents foreign companies from seeking mergers and acquisitions within the country. These restrictions have dealt heavy blows to members' confidence in the business environment of the US," he said. "By interpreting and applying WTO national security clauses in an excessive way, it has again seriously undermined the credibility of the multilateral trade regime, over which China is highly concerned," he stressed. The ambassador pointed out that it was not wise for the US to restrict the export of high-tech products to China, as it had deprived many American high-tech enterprises of the opportunity to do business with China. "This policy not only harmed the interests of American exporters, but made trade deficit situations even worse between the two countries." The ambassador also criticized the frequent use of anti-dumping measures by the US, noting that quite a number of those practices were not consistent with WTO anti-dumping rules. He also urged the US to assume greater responsibility in pushing forward the Doha round of global trade negotiations, which is expected to conclude by the end of this year but still faces huge challenges. The US should make further steps forward in cutting domestic support for agriculture, thereby making due contributions to the progress of the Doha round negotiations, he said. All WTO members undergo periodic reviews of their trade policies by the Geneva-based trade body, and China was not the only one to express concerns over the US trade policy, especially its use of national security concerns as a reason to block trade deals. The European Union, the United States' biggest trading partner, noted that there was a need to strike "a better balance" between security concerns and avoiding "unnecessary and costly burdens" to legitimate business, in a statement to the WTO.

Shoemakers to appeal against EU tariffs
2006-03-24 China Daily
The European Union (EU) yesterday adopted provisional anti-dumping duties on Chinese leather shoes even as shoemakers were preparing to fight dumping charges. The European Commission said in a statement on its website that it had identified "clear evidence of disguised subsidies and unfair state intervention to the leather footwear sector in China and Viet Nam." The tariffs, proposed by EU trade chief Peter Mandelson, are to be phased in from April 7, starting at 4 per cent and rising to 19.4 per cent for Chinese shoes. "These anti-dumping measures will correct the injury caused to European leather shoe producers. It is important that we act against unfair trade," the statement said. The EU will continue its investigation to decide whether the duties should remain in place for up to five years. Chinese leather shoemakers had been preparing to appeal to the EU to press their claim that exports did not harm the European shoemaking industry, said Wu Zhenchang, chairman of Chuangxin Footwear in South China's Guangdong Province. Last month, he helped set up a coalition of Chinese shoemakers to counteract the European dumping charges. "A number of domestic enterprises will jointly put forward their case and we hope to get a favourable outcome at the final rulings in about six months," he told China Daily yesterday. Till then, even the EU's current measures would be a big blow to firms which mainly export leather shoes to the European economic bloc, he said. Wu said he understood provisional duties were unavoidable but was more worried about a possible chain reaction from the EU rulings. He expects EU importers to transfer orders for leather shoes to other countries and move non-leather shoe orders to China, which could bring about a significant increase in China's exports of other categories. "We fear that will enlarge the scale of the EU's anti-dumping measures," he said. An industry expert who did not want to be named said the ruling would largely hurt the domestic shoe-making sector, in particular companies which have established brands. She explained that high-tech sports and children's shoes exempted from the penalties were processed in China for foreign brands, while Chinese brands were concentrated in the leather-shoe sector. There was no response from the Chinese Government on the EU decision last night. Vice-Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng said recently that if the EU imposed anti-dumping duties on shoes, China might take up the matter with the World Trade Organization. The duties on some leather footwear would add as much as 10 euros (US$12) to the price of each pair of shoes. Around half of the 2.5 billion pairs of shoes imported by the EU last year were from China.

Japan move to suspend loans 'does not help ties'
2006-03-24 China Daily
Japan should have consulted China before freezing loans, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. Tokyo's unilateral decision to suspend an agreement on yen loans contributes little to the improvement of chilly bilateral ties, ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular news conference in Beijing. "Such an agreement (on loans) is mutually beneficial," Qin said. "It is not charity given by one country to another." A Japanese diplomat announced yesterday that the government was freezing loans to China at least till the end of this month because of worsening relations between the two nations. Also yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe told a news conference in Tokyo that Japan would not lend any more to China during the current fiscal year, which ends on March 31, but may start releasing the loans next month if the situation improves. Relations between China and Japan have soured because of various issues including Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, a symbol of Japan's past militarism, and the dispute over gas exploration rights in the East China Sea. "We should have exchanges and consultations over differences and problems; and properly resolve those issues," Qin said. "As for Japan's loan to China, we think this issue should also be resolved in line with this principle." At the news briefing, Qin also opposed a Japanese proposal to revamp UN funding which would impose higher dues on some of the permanent members of the Security Council. Japan's suggestion on membership dues is an attempt to use the so-called funding-responsibility concept to reject the widely-accepted funding-ability principle, Qin said. The proposal links "power" in the council to "membership dues" and tries to pave the way for its permanent membership in the council by means of "money for power," he said. "It violates the basic principle of equality in sovereignty that is stated in the UN Charter and seriously damages the interests of developing countries," Qin said. Earlier this month, Japan submitted a proposal to the world body asking each permanent member to pay at least 3 to 5 per cent of the UN budget. The proposal has also faced opposition from Russia and the United States. China makes an important contribution to the UN as the No 9 payer, Qin 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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