SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
AMBASSADE DE SUISSE EN CHINE

Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine
  2.10-6.10.06, No. 135  
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Foreign Policy

Japanese PM to pay official visit to China
2006-10-05 China Daily
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will pay an official visit to China on Sunday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao announced yesterday. "China and Japan have reached a consensus on overcoming the political obstacle to the bilateral relationship and promoting the sound development of a friendly and co-operative bilateral relationship," Liu said. Accordingly, Abe will pay an official visit to China from October 8 to 9 at the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, the spokesman said. Sino-Japanese relations soured over former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, where 14 Japanese class-A war criminals in World War II are honoured among the country's war dead. The leaders of the two countries halted reciprocal visits after Koizumi began paying homage at the shrine, a symbol of Japan's past militarism, in 2001. Abe won a landslide victory in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's presidential election on September 20, and was elected prime minister on September 26. He has pledged to improve relations with Japan's Asian neighbours, but refused to say whether or not he would visit the shrine as prime minister. But Abe said on Monday that on the subject of Japan's wartime history, he will follow the 1995 statement made by then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, who apologized and expressed remorse for Japan's colonial rule and atrocities before and during the war. Abe also said that Japan had accepted the results of the International Military Tribunal of the Far East, which convicted 14 Japanese wartime leaders and others as war criminals. Beijing has long urged Tokyo to remove "political obstacles" in Sino-Japanese relations. President Hu Jintao said last March in a meeting with the heads of seven Japan-China friendship organizations that the major obstacle in the China-Japan relationship was the Japanese leader's insistence on visiting the shrine. China will be Abe's first foreign trip as a prime minister. He is expected to meet President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing on Sunday before travelling to Seoul to meet the Republic of Korea (ROK) President Roh Moo-hyun the next day. Speaking in Japan's parliament on Tuesday, Abe said he would work to improve strained relations with China and ROK and endeavour to build "future-oriented relations." "China and the ROK are important neighbours, with whom Japan should strengthen dialogues and co-operation and establish future-oriented ties," Abe was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying. Observers said Abe's visit to China reflects the efforts of Japan's new cabinet to repair the frayed political relations, while China's invitation demonstrates its positive attitude towards improving Sino-Japanese relations. "I believe this would be a good beginning for the further improvement of China-Japan relations, although we can't expect the meeting will solve all the problems between the two countries," said Liu Jiangyong, a professor of Japan studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing. But he added it will take time to see whether Abe makes real efforts in improving the bilateral relations, as it remains uncertain whether he will visit the Yasukuni Shrine after his China visit. Jin Xide, a researcher of Sino-Japanese relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said he has noticed a change in Abe's words on his views of wartime history. "We hope Abe can make clear his attitude on visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, as his vagueness on this question brings a lot of uncertainties for China-Japan relations," Jin said.

ROK's Roh to visit China
2006-10-04 China Daily
Beijing -- President Roh Moo-hyun of the Republic of Korea (ROK) will pay a working visit to China on October 13 at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao announced Wednesday. This is the second time for Roh to visit China since he took office in 2003. Roh paid a state visit to China for the first time in July, 2003, during which China and the ROK agreed to build an all-round cooperative partnership. China and ROK have maintained smooth cooperation in politics, economy, trade, culture, education, science and technology, environment protection and the military fields. They have had good coordination in international and regional issues, observers said. The smooth cooperation between China and the ROK has made important contributions to regional peace and development, Chinese President Hu Jintao said upon his state visit to the ROK in November 2005, when the ROK recognized China's market economy status. China is the biggest trading partner of ROK and the No. 1 destination of investment made by ROK's entrepreneurs. The ROK is the fourth largest trading partner and third largest import source of China. Trade volume between China and the ROK exceeded US$100 billion in 2005. The two countries set the goal of increasing bilateral trade volume to US$200 billion by 2012. Statistics show that there are over 420 flights flying between China and the ROK every week. The ROK has become the biggest tourism source nation for China in 2005, and the bilateral tourism cooperation has huge potential, according to China's National Tourism Administration. Moreover, the two countries closely cooperate in the process of resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, making joint contribution to realizing denuclearization of the peninsula. Chinese President Hu Jintao said over phone talks with Roh last July that China highly values relations with the ROK and will work with the ROK to boost the development of China-ROK comprehensive cooperative partnership.

 

Domestic Policy

Petition system reform due after party plenum
2006-10-06 SCMP
The Communist Party, facing increased public discontent because of widespread corruption and social injustice, plans to make more channels available to citizens to air their grievances and seek redress against corrupt local officials. The existing xinfang petitioning system would be overhauled following a party leadership meeting beginning on Sunday in an effort to make it work more effectively, Xinhua reported yesterday. "The reform is necessitated by the initiative to build a harmonious society and can help eradicate elements that might cause social unrest," the agency said. The Sixth Plenum of the 16th Communist Party Central Committee will focus on the theme of constructing "a harmonious society", taken to mean greater social and economic equality. "The current petitioning system can be maddeningly ineffective," said Qing Lianbin, a professor at the Central Party School. "Local governments try to hide problems and maintain a nice, peaceful façade, so they set quotas to restrict the number of petitions every year." The xinfang system is supposed to give disgruntled citizens an opportunity to seek redress for official decisions from the highest levels of government. But the success rate of petitioners is tiny. The government's Petition Office received more than 10 million petitions last year but just two out of every thousand cases were resolved, a survey found. Professor Qing said top leaders had no choice but to reform the obsolete mechanism because they feared pent-up social anger could find more dangerous outlets. Proposals for more public hearings and more direct elections at the local level would be considered at the annual meeting, Xinhua said.

Shanghai protests intensify after fall of party boss
2006-10-05 SCMP
Shanghai has broken up at least two large protests in the past week after the sacking of the city's party secretary, Chen Liangyu, as residents seized the opportunity to air grievances over issues like property disputes and medical malpractice, activists said yesterday. Local officials have stressed the need to preserve "social stability" since Mr Chen's removal for corruption was announced on September 25. Under his administration, police kept a tight grip on public protests. In what was believed to be the largest protest, hundreds of residents of the southwest Minhang district blocked a section of a major road on Friday and Saturday in a dispute over their relocation to make way for expansion of the domestic Hongqiao airport. Residents claimed local officials had understated the size of their land and pocketed part of their compensation money. Earlier this week police detained four organisers of the protests, which residents had originally planned to hold for several days. Shanghai is planning to create a regional air transport hub through expansion of the city's two airports. Separately, about 30 haemophiliacs and their family members protested outside the main Shanghai government building in the heart of the city on September 28, activists said. They claimed they were infected with HIV from a tainted blood product sold by a Shanghai research institute in the 1990s. At least 100 riot police took away the protesters, injuring some, but no one was formally detained. Shanghai has agreed to set up a fund for local residents infected by the clotting agent but people from outside the city, who are not covered by the fund, have held a series of protests. Meanwhile, a long-running protest by pensioners over what they say are inadequate social security benefits led to scuffles with police on September 27, but authorities allowed the demonstration to take place. The demonstrators were Shanghai people sent to Xinjiang in the 1960s who claim that the level of their pensions and medical insurance is too low. Mr Chen is accused of being personally involved in diverting city social security funds into speculative projects, including real estate and a toll road.

'Special interest groups' under fire - Beijing to root out self-seekers and 'agents' it sees as undermining social equity
2006-10-05 SCMP
The mainland leadership will adopt measures to guard against and contain the rise of "special interest groups" that, with government departments or officials acting as their agents, seek personal gain at the expense of public interest and social harmony, Xinhua reported yesterday. The news came amid a recent flurry of high-level corruption scandals culminating in the sacking of powerful Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu , who is accused of colluding with unscrupulous businessmen to enrich associates and family members. Fighting official corruption and preventing officials from acting as the agents of special interest groups is expected to be one of the key points in a blueprint to be discussed and approved at an annual session of the Communist Party's central committee members at the weekend, according to Xinhua. Analysts said yesterday Xinhua's report highlighting the special interest groups was significant because President Hu Jintao was widening a nationwide anti-corruption campaign to remove political opposition and rally support for his policy agenda. At the four-day session starting on Sunday, Mr Hu is expected to flesh out and push through a document championing his call for "building a harmonious society". Xinhua yesterday began what appears to be a series of articles citing party academics and analysts praising the significance of the document, the content of which has not been released publicly. "[The session] is expected to raise to a new level the theme of building a harmonious society," Xinhua quoted Central Party School academic Yan Wenhan as saying. The document would be "the guideline programme" for the country's social and economic development for a relatively long period. Since 2004, President Hu has preached the need for harmony and social equity amid rising unrest and discontent over rampant official corruption and the mainland's widening wealth gap. Analysts said the meeting was expected to accelerate the shift in the Communist Party's priorities from focusing on economic growth to a greater emphasis on social equity, while promoting moderate and sustainable economic development. They said Beijing was under increasing pressure to look after those who had been left out of the country's "economic miracle". According to Xinhua, the average disposable income of the richest 10 per cent of families in China last year was more than eight times that of the poorest 10 per cent of households. Xinhua said the government was expected to provide greater social benefits and boost incomes for the disadvantaged. But the formation of "special interest groups" was hampering efforts to promote social equity and gave rise to rampant official corruption, it said. The groups bribed and colluded with government officials by taking advantage of legal loopholes or through government monopolies in electricity, transportation, telecommunications and energy, Xinhua said.

Congress powers grow but party still supreme - Long-awaited Supervision Law aims to keep local government and judicial authorities in check but doubts remain
2006-10-06 SCMP
Zhou Lacheng must have felt invincible. The former party secretary of Baxier village in Shanxi province managed to get a 20-year jail term for embezzlement and financial malpractice reduced to three years at a second court hearing. But dozens of villagers, dissatisfied with the lenient treatment, petitioned the Standing Committee of the Shanxi People's Congress and demanded the trial be reviewed. An investigation revealed Zhou was not only responsible for a range of crimes as village head, but had also bribed 108 local government and judicial officials to help lower his sentence. Zhou came crashing down to Earth on Wednesday last week when he found himself on trial for a third time in the Shanxi Higher People's Court. No verdict has been handed down yet but he is unlikely to get off lightly again. Such dramatic reversals in the fortunes of corrupt officials could become more common under the long-awaited Supervision Law passed by the National People's Congress Standing Committee in August, which will allow members of people's congress standing committees to supervise local governments, courts and prosecutors. Under the law - which comes into effect on January 1 - the standing committees of people's congresses at and above the county level will be authorised to repeal the decisions or resolutions made by lower-level people's congress standing committees. They will also be able to overturn inappropriate decisions or orders issued by governments at their own level. But some senior legislators have expressed concern that the law will not lead to effective supervision, even though it clearly sets out the supervisory powers of the people's congresses. Some legal experts are also concerned that the law will hinder rather than help the supervision of government and judicial bodies. Jiang Mingan , from the Peking University Law School, said as the nation was ruled by the Communist Party, the people's congresses would never be able to properly function as supervisors. "In China, under the separation of powers, the National People's Congress is the top body that safeguards people's rights," Professor Jiang said. "The governments are decision-making organs, the judiciary covers the prosecutors' offices, while courts and police are considered part of the executive branch. "However, the Communist Party and its party committees, as the ruling bodies, are above the NPC and maintain direct control over all branches. The party, its standing committee, and even party secretaries themselves, can directly intervene in government work and have strong decision-making powers. "Without forceful and effective supervision of the powers of local party officials - especially party secretaries - judicial bodies' functions and the implementation of laws will inevitably run wild.

Silence is golden when dealing with the Gang of Four - Ringleaders arrested 30 years ago, but official media is unlikely to highlight it
2006-10-06 SCMP
Thirty years ago to the day, the fate of modern China was decided in an outburst of cloak-and-dagger drama - a fact likely to be ignored by the official media on the anniversary, analysts say. The momentous event on October 6, 1976, was the arrest of the Gang of Four, a now-vilified group of radicals who wielded enormous influence in the decade after the Cultural Revolution started in 1966. "Most people associate them with probably the most undesirable and nightmarish period in the history of the People's Republic of China," Joseph Cheng, a China watcher at City University of Hong Kong, said. "They think of the fact that they had so much power and were able to create so much havoc and disturbance." The best-known member of the Gang of Four was Mao Zedong's wife Jiang Qing , aided by propaganda specialist Zhang Chunqiao , labour activist Wang Hongwen and literary critic Yao Wenyuan . Despite their elevated status during the Cultural Revolution - a decade of turmoil and extreme leftist activism - all four were well aware of how much their power and authority depended on Mao, the founder of communist China. [...] "Basically, many people have forgotten about the Gang of Four. The young people don't quite know who the Gang of Four were," Professor Cheng said. It is likely that China's population will not be significantly enlightened by reports in today's state-run media. Throughout the year, newspaper and TV have omitted covering sensitive anniversaries, including Mao's death and the beginning and end of the Cultural Revolution. It reflects a general unwillingness to permit objective reflection on history, according to Liu Xiaomeng, a historian at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the nation's top think-tank. "The current leadership has not entirely come to terms with this history," he said. "This has caused serious misunderstanding about the period among ordinary Chinese. It's very sad for the people." During the widely publicised trial of the Gang of Four, the apparatus pulled all the levers to make the defendants come across as the only real culprits of the Cultural Revolution. Although historians have known all along this was not true, it has had some resonance with the public. "The Gang of Four became a synonym of all the barbaric acts that took place under a system of extreme authoritarianism, and in this sense, the influence of the Gang of Four has not completely disappeared," Mr Liu said. "Even though China's economy has made great strides, systemic contradictions still haven't been solved and we still don't have true democracy, while the process of modernisation is not entirely guaranteed."

Calls made for more public holidays
2006-10-03 China Daily
There are already three "Golden Weeks" in the Chinese calendar, but plans are afoot to add more. The State Council, China's cabinet, is preparing to debate adding three more traditional festivals to the list of statutory national holidays, a Chinese lawmaker has said. The move would be controversial, with some experts unsure of the need for more holidays, and other lawmakers calling for the Golden Weeks to be scrapped altogether. Ji Baocheng, president of the Beijing-based Renmin University and one of the people behind the change, was quoted as saying that the move will involve Qingming Festival (or Tomb-Sweeping Day), Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival. Pressure for the change has come from deputies of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, and members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. They have put forward motions on the change for three consecutive years. Ji, an NPC deputy, said he recently received a response from the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, notifying him that the cabinet has already authorized research into the change. "These traditional festivals have rich cultural connotations and have played important roles in carrying on the traditional customs from generation to generation. They still function as an adhesive for Chinese people of different ethnic groups," Ji was quoted as saying by the China News Agency. But some sociologists do not agree, arguing that Chinese people already have enough holidays and it is not necessary to turn these traditional festivals into official holidays. "To add more holidays is a significant issue that concerns the whole nation. It will unavoidably affect some industries," said Professor Chen Changwen of Sichuan University. The country currently has four official national holidays: Spring Festival, Labour Day (May 1), National Day (October 1) and New Year's Day, adding up to 10 days off work in total.

Nation on alert against bird flu outbreak
2006-10-06 Xinhuanet
China's vice agricultural minister on Thursday ordered local officials to stay vigilant for possible bird flu as the season began to change. "The autumn and winter are the prime period for bird flu outbreak, officials should be aware of the stern situation and should not underestimate the difficulties in virus control," said Yin Chengjie, the vice minister of agriculture. Addressing a televised workshop on bird flu control, Yin said the virus prevention situation in China is still "serious" despite the generally stable situation at present. The transport of live fowls might spread the virus, migrant birds would possibly trigger new outbreak, and we still have shortfalls in prevention that urgently needs to be overcome, Yin said. "We should not underestimate the harms bird flu cause to the people' life," Yin said, ordering the local governments to enhance virus immunization before Oct. 20. The ministry Wednesday reported a new outbreak of bird flu that has killed about 1,000 domestic poultry in a village in the country's northwestern Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. It is the second case of bird flue outbreak for the week, following another found in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Sept. 27, which killed 985 chickens.

 

Economy

China: EU's anti-dumping duties 'lack legal basis'
2006-10-06 China Daily
China said on Thursday, October 5, it was "dissatisfied" with the approval of anti-dumping duties on Chinese shoes by European Union (EU) countries. The EU states agreed on Wednesday to impose tariffs on Chinese and Vietnamese shoe imports for two years" to prevent cheap imports from flooding local markets." But Ministry of Commerce spokesman Chong Quan said the filing, the investigation and the ruling of the case has legal defects that run contrary to World Trade Organization rules and the EU's own anti-dumping laws. "The latest EU anti-dumping measures against Chinese shoe imports lack legal and factual basis and will damage the legitimate rights of Chinese shoe enterprises," Chong said. "Chinese enterprises and the shoe-making industry are dissatisfied with the EU decision." Chong added that China would monitor and assess the situation, and reserve the right to take responsive measures. From tomorrow, the EU will levy an extra charge of 16.5 per cent for shoes from China and 10 per cent from Viet Nam. Eleven per cent of the shoes sold in Europe, including children's footwear, are from those two countries. The European Commission said the ruling could add 1.40 euros (US$1.80) to the price of Chinese shoes, whose average retail price is 35 euros (US$44.80), if importers and retailers pass the increase on to customers. European business and consumer groups criticized the EU's decision, saying it will harm both consumers and business. "This is a sad day for Europe," said a joint statement from EuroCommerce and the European Consumers' Organization, two organizations that represent European retail, wholesale and international trade sectors and consumers. "The decision to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese and Vietnamese shoes is anti-consumer, anti-trade and anti-competitive. "Despite best efforts and an extremely competitive retail market in the EU, no company can digest the new duties without increasing prices in the shops." It added that the new anti-dumping duties shelter uncompetitive producers, do not create one job, make consumers poorer and hurt companies. They also worsen the EU-China trade relationship, it said. "Europe's future is in innovative value-added products, not in old-fashioned protectionism," the statement said. The Foreign Trade Association (FTA), which has trading companies as members in nearly all European countries, also attacked the decision. "This is a major disappointment for European retailers and a serious blow to European consumers," FTA Secretary-General Jan Eggert said in a release. "The measures that will now be imposed will not benefit the European manufacturing industry but could very likely lead to job losses to retailers and importers and an increase in consumer prices." The decision was approved by a slight margin at a meeting of permanent representatives of the 25 EU nations in Brussels. Nine countries voted in favour and 12 were against, with four countries abstaining. Under EU law, abstentions in such cases count as in favour of the proposal as they do not oppose it. The FTA expressed reservations over the way the decision was made, calling the voting system "a peculiarity." "This type of wheeling and dealing involved in implementing European Commission legislation such as anti-dumping duties must stop," Eggert said. "This decision will affect millions of ordinary consumers across the European Union. The way in which it has been taken is an illustration of just how necessary the current review of the Anti-Dumping Regulation is, and I hope, for the benefit of those consumers, that the Commission considers our views seriously." The deal was approved after France revised a European Commission proposal that would have left the tariff rates in place for five years. Half of the 2.5 billion pairs of shoes sold in the EU last year came from China. The extra charges affect about 174 million pairs.

Government plans to curb illegal land grabs
2006-10-02 China Daily
China has established a new system to keep track of land use in a bid to curb runaway investment and protect the interests of farmers. The State Council, China's cabinet, has authorized the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) to supervise and overhaul land use and management by local governments, Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan told a national conference on land control. The cabinet also decided to set up a national office to oversee land use, as well as nine regional bureaux, said the official. "A major problem this year in land management is the excessive expansion of low-cost industrial land," said Gan Zangchun, the newly-appointed deputy state superintendent-general of land. China recorded an economic growth of 10.9 per cent in the first half of this year on the back of a 30-per cent growth in fixed assets investment, the highest figures in recent years. The government and many land experts believe that illegal land supply is a leading cause of the runaway investment, reports said. A survey of 16 cities by the MLR last year showed that nearly 50 per cent of the new land under development was acquired illegally. What's worse, the figure was as high as 90 per cent in some cities. To stop the trend, the State Council released an urgent notice on controlling land supply in September. The new rules warn local leaders that they will be penalized if they fail to stop or investigate illegal land sales in areas under their jurisdiction, he said. Officials who sell land for lower than the minimum price will be prosecuted according to the new rules, Gan said. Reining in local governments is a major target of the new policy, because "local governments are actually behind almost all the major cases of illegal land use," said Zhang Xinbao, an MLR official in charge of supervision, in a previous interview. Thanks to land control measures in recent years, the total supply of land in 2005 has dropped 17.9 per cent year-on-year, Gan said. "At the same time, China's economic increase has remained above 9 per cent year-on-year. This shows the nation's economic development pattern has begun to change (in a positive way)," he noted. Another focal point of the new system is to seek better protection of the interests of farmers whose land is sold by local governments, said the official. "Farmers are the group who will benefit most from the new policy," Gan said. Revenues from land sales must first be used to pay for the resettlement of farmers and compensation for their loss of crops, according to the new rules. "And more money will be invested in infrastructure in rural areas, as well as for city residents with low incomes in the future." The notice made clear for the first time that if the sale price of any piece of land is not enough to cover the cost of resettling farmers, local governments must pay from its pool of land sale revenues. Local governments should make sure that farmers who have lost their land are properly trained for new jobs and provided with new means to support themselves in a sustainable way, the notice said. China faces the extremely difficult task of retaining 120 million hectares of arable land by 2010, officials said. Statistics indicated that the nation's farmland area stood at 122 million hectares last year, 8 million hectares less than 10 years ago.

 

North Korea

China calls for calm over nuke issue
2006-10-04 Xinhuanet
China urged North Korea on Wednesday to act with calm and restraint, the day after the country announced that it planned to carry out a nuclear test. "We hope that North Korea will exercise necessary calm and restraint over the nuclear test issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a statement on Wednesday. The Chinese spokesman also urged other countries not to deepen tensions. "We also hope that all parties will make the necessary efforts to peacefully resolve their mutual concerns through dialogue and consultation, and not take actions that escalate tensions," Liu said. China's statement came after North Korea said on Tuesday it would conduct its first-ever nuclear test, blaming a US "threat of nuclear war and sanctions" for forcing its hand. Pyongyang's announcement caused alarm in many capitals. The United States, France and Japan pressed for a UN response while South Korea expressed grave concern at this latest behaviour from its neighbour. Meanwhile, China's UN ambassador Wang Guangya also appealed for restraint in the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons, calling six-nation talks the "best channel" to resolve tensions. "This is a sensitive issue, so I urge all sides to exercise restraint," Wang said. "The best channel is still the six-party talks." UN chief Kofi Annan joined the Security Council Tuesday in voicing "deep concern" over North Korea's plan to test a nuclear weapon, with the United States urging a coherent response. Japan's UN ambassador Kenzo Oshima, the council president for October, said the 15-member body would meet early Wednesday to come up with a "firm, appropriate response" to what he called a "very serious matter". North Korea gave no date for the planned test, but the shock announcement raised grave concerns around the world three months after North Korea's missile launches. Through his spokesman, Annan said he shared "the global concern" over the North Korean nuclear weapon test, which if carried out, "would bring universal condemnation and will not help DPRK (Pyongyang) achieve the goals expressed in its statement, particularly with regard to strengthening its security." Diplomatic efforts have intensified to bring North Korea, which last year declared itself a nuclear-armed nation, back to the disarmament talks. But, Pyongyang says it will not return to the six-party talks unless Washington ends financial sanctions imposed in September last year. The country has refused to resume the six-party talks -- involving China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States -- since last November to protest those sanctions.

Russia tries to dissuade DPRK from testing nuke weapon
2006-10-06 China Daily
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday that Moscow was working with the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to try to dissuade it from testing a nuclear weapon. "We must do everything so that that doesn't happen," Lavrov said during a news conference on a visit to Warsaw. "We are working with the leadership (of the DPRK) to stop steps that could negatively impact the situation." The United Nations Security Council discussed in closed consultation on Wednesday the planned nuclear test announced by the DPRK, and the international community continued to show great concern. Ambassador Kenzo Oshima of Japan, the council's president for October, said the 15-member body would meet at the expert level later to discuss a draft statement prepared by Japan. The draft statement urged the DPRK "not to undertake such a test and to refrain from any action that might aggravate tension, and to continue to work towards the resolution of non-proliferation concerns through political and diplomatic efforts," Oshima said. The statement also urged the DPRK to return immediately to the Six-Party Talks without preconditions. It also warned that if the DPRK ignored the calls of the international community, the council would "act consistently with its primary responsibility" under the UN Charter. After the closed consultations, Chinese UN ambassador Wang Guangya told reporters that all council members were concerned about the DPRK announcement. "Everybody is unanimous," he said, stressing that all council members supported the idea that the "Six-Party Talks (should) be the main channel to address the issue." In Washington, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said on Wednesday his government would not accept "a nuclear" DPRK. "If they think that by exploding a weapon, we will come to terms with it, we won't," said Hill, chief US negotiator in the Six-Party Talks on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. In Seoul, the Republic of Korea (ROK) President Roh Moo-hyun ordered his government to send a "grave warning" to the DPRK about the consequences of a threatened nuclear weapons test, the Yonhap news agency reported yesterday. Roh also ordered the government to draw up a "contingency plan" if the nuclear standoff with the DPRK worsens, Yonhap said, citing unidentified presidential staff. In Frankfurt, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany had joined other European countries to call on the DPRK to give up the test, local newspaper Die Welt reported.

 

Chung Vay-Luy
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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