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
  23.10-27.10.06, No. 138  
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Foreign Policy

Sino-French partnership cemented
2006-10-27 China Daily
President Hu Jintao and his visiting French counterpart Jacques Chirac yesterday witnessed the signing of deals worth billions of dollars and agreed to deepen the two countries' "comprehensive strategic partnership." They hailed bilateral ties as a "paragon of friendly co-operation between countries with different historical backgrounds, cultural traditions and development levels" after nearly two hours of talks at the Great Hall of the People. The presidents signed a joint declaration which is expected to become the blueprint for the development of bilateral relations in the political, economic and cultural sectors. The two sides agreed that their economic partnership would cover seven major fields: energy (nuclear energy, oil and power), aviation and aerospace, railways, telecommunications, financial services, agriculture and food processing as well as environmental protection. High-ranking officials and chief executives signed 14 agreements in the presence of the leaders, ranging from the purchase of Airbus planes to prevention of infectious diseases. China agreed to buy 150 aircraft from the narrow-body A320 family of Airbus, which also signed a deal with China to set up an assembly plant in Tianjin, the only such factory outside Europe. The agreement also involves options for 20 A350s, which is Airbus' response to market demand for a medium-capacity long-range wide-body family available from 2012. China ordered 150 single-aisle Airbus aircraft worth US$10 billion in December 2005 when Premier Wen Jiabao visited Airbus' headquarters in Toulouse, France. The French engineering firm Alstom signed rail and hydro-electric deals worth a combined 400 million euros (US$505 million), including the sale of 500 freight locomotives worth 300 million euros (US$378 million). Chirac, who arrived in Beijing on Wednesday for a four-day state visit, was welcomed by Hu with a full military parade early yesterday. They met the press after witnessing the signing of agreements. Hu said that the expanded economic and trade co-operation would enable the two countries to achieve the goal of annual bilateral trade of US$40 billion ahead of the target year of 2010. Bilateral trade was US$20.65 billion last year. Hu expressed appreciation for France's one-China policy, its recognition of China's market economy status as well as efforts at lifting the European Union (EU) arms embargo on China. "Europe's arms embargo is not in line with current Sino-European relations, and France will continue to push the EU to lift the ban soon," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman quoted Chirac as saying in talks with his counterpart. Politically, China and France agreed to promote multilateralism to cope with global challenges and increase co-ordination in the Security Council of the United Nations to solve regional crises. Both are permanent members of the Security Council. They expressed "grave concern" over the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on October 9, and urged concerned sides to solve the problem peacefully through dialogue and consultation and make efforts to restart the Six-Party Talks in an early date. In the joint statement, the two countries promised to increase constructive dialogue on human rights and welcomed the role of the Sino-European human rights dialogue mechanism. Judicial bodies will initiate negotiations on signing a repatriation treaty. [...]

China defends dealings with African nations accused of human rights abuses
2006-10-26 SCMP
China on Thursday defended its booming economic links with African governments accused of human rights abuses, as it prepared to welcome more than 40 African officials for a conference aimed at cementing ties. Beijing has been looking to Africa as a source of energy, new markets and investment opportunities. Last year, China's total trade with Africa reached US$40 billion (HK$312 billion). Next week's meeting in Beijing will focus on trade and economic development, and is expected to attract leaders and officials from more than 40 African countries, Chinese officials have said. The meeting will be "an important platform for practical cooperation," Wei Jianguo, a deputy commerce minister, said at a news conference. China has been criticised for dealing with African governments with poor human rights records such as Sudan, where at least 180,000 people have been killed since February 2003. World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, in an interview this week with a French newspaper, criticised Chinese banks for ignoring human rights and environmental standards when lending in Africa. "We do not accept such criticism," said Zhai Jun, an assistant foreign minister who appeared with Wei. "When we develop trade and economic relations with African countries, we feel it can help local economic development ... and help improve the living standards of the people and bring tangible benefits to the local people." China believes no government "should interfere with other country's human rights and internal affairs," Zhai said.

Jia Qinglin meets British PM
2006-10-25 People's Daily Online
Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), met Tuesday in London with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, saying China is satisfied with the smooth development of Sino-British ties. During the meeting in 10 Downing Street, Jia, leader of China's top advisory body, said China and Britain have conducted smooth dialogue in various levels, strengthened political trust, found more common interests in many fields, and gained new results of cooperation in all areas. China has attached great importance to the development of relations with Britain and is satisfied with the smooth development of Sino-British relationship, Jia said. China is also willing to make concerted efforts with Britain to realize those important agreements between leaders of the two countries and try to push forward the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Britain to a higher level. Noting that China has played more and more important role in international affairs since it has gained unprecedented strength, Blair said keeping a good British-Chinese relationship is very important for Britain. Since China recovered the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, Blair said, leaders of Britain and China have kept close contacts, bilateral ties have developed greatly, and scope of cooperation has been broadened. Britain will continue to make contributions to the development of British-Chinese relations, he said. [...]

 

Domestic Policy

Hu Jintao stresses combating corruption
2006-10-23 People's Daily Online
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Sunday emphasized that the Chinese government is fully committed to fighting corruption and is working vigorously to prevent it from happening. Hu made the remarks when addressing the opening ceremony of the First Annual Conference and General Meeting of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) which will last till Oct. 26. "We treat the fight against corruption as a priority and a pressing task that has great influence on the overall development of the country, the fundamental interests of the Chinese people, equality, justice and social harmony and stability," said Hu. China's strategy in building a clean government is to address both the symptoms and the root cause, and combine punitive and preventative measures, focusing on prevention, Hu said. "In this way, we can take measures to prevent corruption, including investigation, prosecution, trial and conviction, and punish criminals severely for corruption," he said. At the same time, China will continue to improve its overall anti-corruption system, giving equal importance to education, mechanism building and supervision, he said. "We are stepping up efforts to improve the rule of law and to create a culture of a clean and honest government, while strengthening the supervision of power," he said. Hu said China is endeavoring to stop corruption at its source through reform, eliminate the breeding ground for corruption and develop an effective anti-corruption mechanism that people will support and participate in. "To achieve economic and social development, it is necessary to promote a clean government, combat corruption and create a good social environment of equality, justice, incorruptibility, harmony and stability," he said. "This is also important for world peace and development." The Chinese government attaches great importance to anti-corruption cooperation with other countries and international organizations, he said. "Enhancing international anti-corruption cooperation will enable all countries to punish and prevent corruption more effectively," Hu said. "It will also help achieve the common aspiration of the whole world to have clean and honest governments." [...] "The founding of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities will, on the basis of respect for political and legal systems of the countries concerned and historical and cultural backgrounds, help develop a cooperation mechanism featuring mutual trust and strengthen practical anti-corruption cooperation among all countries," he said. [...]

President Hu promises bigger gov't role in public health
2006-10-24 Xinhuanet
Beijing -- Chinese President Hu Jintao said at a workshop here Monday that the government would shoulder more responsibility for strengthening the health system work. At the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) workshop, Hu stressed the need to reform the health care system and build a safe, effective, convenient and inexpensive medical care network covering both urban and rural residents. "The goal is for everyone to enjoy a basic healthcare service," he said. He promised more efforts to deal with public complaints about the lack of affordable medical services as well as efforts to narrow the health service quality gap between urban and rural regions and different income groups. Improvements to the health system will give equal weight to traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine. The focus will be on improving disease prevention and control, public health monitoring and management of public health emergencies, said Hu. "The public service function of public hospitals will be strengthened." A system that covers basic medicines will be set up to drive high medicine prices down, he said. He also urged Party committees and governments to crack down on illegal practices that endanger public health and safety and called on medical staff to be more aware of their responsibilities.

Consider reforms' impact on public, says security chief - He warns people's demands to share the benefits are rising
2006-10-26 SCMP
China's public security minister has called on the central government to weigh up public tolerance when planning reform programmes as mainland society becomes increasingly diverse. In a commentary in yesterday's People's Daily, the Communist Party's official mouthpiece, Zhou Yongkang said the government should strengthen social management because economic growth during the past 28 years had greatly transformed society. "Vigorous changes in the social structure [as a result of the open-door policy] lent an impetus to economic development, but also resulted in a series of social conflicts and problems," he said. "We must enhance and improve our social management in order to promote a vibrant society and ensure social security." This transformation had seen China's urban population soar to 43 per cent of the entire populace, or 560 million, last year from just 36 per cent, or 459 million , in 2000, Mr Zhou said. China has been battling with a surge in social unrest in recent years as breakneck economic growth widens the income gap and rampant corruption adds to grass-roots grievances. In response, the central government has placed the building of a harmonious society at the top of its agenda. The Ministry of Public Security said in August that there were 39,000 cases of public disturbances in the first half of the year, down 2.5 per cent compared to the same period last year. Nationally, there were 87,000 public order disturbances last year, a 6.6 per cent increase from 2004 and a 50 per cent jump from 2003, when the figure was 58,000. "As reforms intensify, people's expectations of reform development are generally rising and [their] demands to share the fruits of reform are obviously increasing," Mr Zhou said. "The approach we adopt to strengthen social management as well as co-ordinate all aspects of social interests and settle all sorts of conflicts will not only affect our social stability, but also has an effect on the consolidation of the ruling party's social basis." Mr Zhou said reforms should take care of the general public's concerns, while public consultation should be conducted if policies were to be adjusted.

Senior Shanghai official held in scandal
2006-10-24 China Daily
The head of a commission supervising state-owned companies in Shanghai has joined more than 50 people detained in the city's snowballing corruption scandal, government sources said on Monday. Ling Baoheng, director of the city government's Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, was detained at the weekend as Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged publicly to clean up government. Also held was one of Ling's deputies, Wu Hongmei, two government sources told Reuters. A city government spokesman said he had not heard of the detentions, while an official at Ling's offices said nobody there could comment. Beijing has sent more than 100 anti-corruption investigators to Shanghai to investigate money reportedly siphoned off from the city's 10 billion yuan ($1.25 billion) social security fund for illicit loans and investments. Hu appealed on Sunday to the party's 70 million members to show solidarity. Later in the day, Hu attended a meeting of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities. "We are stepping up efforts to improve the rule of law and a culture for clean and honest government, and strengthen the checks and supervision on power," Hu told about 900 delegates. Alarmed by chronic corruption and social unrest, Hu is steering the party towards reforms that would make officials more accountable. As head of Shanghai's state assets commission, Ling oversaw the running of some of China's biggest firms worth billions of dollars. One was Shanghai Electric Group, China's largest power gear maker, several officials of which have been implicated in the scandal. [...]

IOC warns organizers of challenges
2006-10-25 China Daily
Senior officials from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have cautioned Beijing's Olympic organizers about potential challenges arising over the next two years. "Obviously with less than two years to go, this is the time when traditionally the challenges will mount," said Hein Verbruggen, chairman of the IOC Co-ordination Commission (COCOM) of the Beijing Games, while attending the opening ceremony of the three-day seventh COCOM plenary session. Based on experience from organizing previous Games, Verbruggen outlined some potential challenges for the Beijing Organizing Committee (BOCOG). They include the timely completion of all key buildings, the procurement of catering services, and the release of detailed venue designs. In light of the last minute difficulties experienced by the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Verbruggen also advised BOCOG to keep integration in mind. "We have heard recently how the organizers of the Turin Games had difficulty integrating all the pieces together, and that probably will be something that will happen in all organizing cities," Verbruggen said. "So please ensure great effort and make this work. Have the processes and procedures in place to ensure a good relationship between all places." Verbruggen had high praise for the test sailing and softball events, which were held in the last two months, as well as the progress being made in venues construction. "BOCOG has continued to make progress at such a rate it is praised not only by us, but also by the media as we have seen in August during the world broadcasters meeting and more recently in the written press," he said. Attending the opening ceremony of COCOM, IOC President Jacques Rogge also gave Beijing's work a positive assessment. At the same time, the president stressed that BOCOG must avoid complacency if it is to deliver a successful Olympics in 2008. "Despite the great progress that BOCOG has so far been able to achieve, my experience throughout my Olympic career has been that it is extremely important not to take your eye off the ball, because it is often in the moments when you lose your focus that mistakes can creep in," Rogge said. "We should all remember that the Games are not judged solely by the technical proficiency of the project, but also through the perception that the world has of the Games. "We must therefore ensure that while all the technical elements are in place we do not forget to look after the less tangible elements that will ultimately shape the world's image of China and the Beijing Games." [...]

Transplant guidelines taking shape - Document to outline ethical principles for procurement and donation, drafters say
2006-10-24 SCMP
Health authorities are expected to put the finishing touches within a month to the mainland's first ethical guidelines for the organ transplant industry. Drafters of the Ethics Guidelines for Human Organ Transplants in China say the document will outline about 10 basic ethical principles for procurement, donation and transplantation, as well as disciplinary standards for doctors. Sources say the guidelines will include measures on how to ensure the medical, financial and human rights of organ donors, provisions to protect the confidentiality of donor and recipient and the application of the principle of informed donor consent. The document is also expected to ban organ trading and commercial organ procurement. But while the draft is due to be completed by the start of next month and submitted to the Health Ministry for review, national rules on organ transplants continue to limp their way along the mainland's regulatory assessment path. Once published, the guidelines will become a major supporting document to the first comprehensive China Human Organ Transplant Rules, stalled in a review process since last year at the State Council's Legal Work Office. The mainland has the second-highest number of organ transplants in the world, with more than 99 per cent of the organs harvested from executed prisoners. But there are no regulations or laws regarding the ethics of organ transplants. The Ministry of Health issued its Interim Regulations on Human Organ Transplant Clinic Application Administration in March. But in the three months since they took effect on July 1, organ transplant professionals say the rules do not have "any effective influence on field operations". This was because the rules failed to address three key issues - the source of organs, the administration of donations and a definition of brain death. Drafters say health authorities have been advancing both the rules and the guidelines amid local and international calls for legislation. At a closed-door meeting on October 9 at the semi-governmental Chinese Medical Association, health officials and a team of top ethical, organ transplant and legal experts were invited to advise on the draft guidelines. A key drafter said the guidelines had been finished, but the advice from the meeting would be fully considered before the document was submitted to the Ministry of Health for review. The source, who refused to be named, said many controversial ideas may not be defined in the guidelines, leaving huge scope for future revision. [...] One grey area is the issue of informed consent. The guidelines say organ donations must be based on the informed consent of donors, but do not say how to secure such consent from executed prisoners. "The guideline will specifically not mention the use of executed prisoners' organs, even though it's the main source of organs in China. Instead, it will fall into the category of organs from `bodies'," according to the source. The drafter said he believed organs from executed prisoners "should be very cautiously considered and it would be better if they were not used in the future. "But as China cannot find a replacement ... while the demand for organs is huge, the executed prisoners' organs will not be specifically banned in this guideline or the coming Human Organ Transplant Rule." [...]

Information minister rejects criticism of China's treatment of media, internet users
2006-10-26 SCMP
China's information minister told Americans on Wednesday that claims his country tramples internet and media freedoms stem from a cultural misunderstanding of the role the press plays in Chinese society. The US State Department's annual global human rights report accuses China of clamping down on print, broadcast and electronic media and censoring internet content. But Cai Wu, the state council's minister of information, insisted that Chinese websites "offer probably the most free forum for opinion in the world." With more than 100 million internet users and millions of websites, Cai said that when a breaking news story emerges, thousands of follow-up posts spring up within minutes in cyberspace. "In China, we think that the relationship between the media, the society and the government should be characterised by coordination and cooperation, rather than by confrontation," Cai said in remarks at a Washington hotel, speaking through an interpreter. China, he explained, has different "press concepts" than the West. "In some Western countries, good news is not news; bad news or strange news is news. For example, if a dog bites people, it's not news; but if people bite dogs, that's news." His comments belie regular, often harsh criticism by US government officials, academics and rights groups of China's treatment of the press. A survey earlier this year by the Committee to Protect Journalists said of China: "Never have so many lines of communication in the hands of so many people been met with such obsessive resistance from a central authority." As local Chinese media test government controls in efforts to capture more readers, Chinese President Hu Jintao's government has pushed back. The US government has said that dozens of dissidents are held in Chinese prisons for internet activity. Zhao Yan, a researcher for The New York Times, was cleared in August of charges that he leaked state secrets to foreigners but convicted on unrelated charges of fraud and sentenced to three years in prison. During Cai's remarks at an event sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, he did not comment about specific journalists' cases. "I can assure you that in China no journalist or any individual will be arrested or jailed due to his different opinion or [because] he expressed some opinion against the government. Maybe there are some other reasons" for arrests, he said. In response to a question on whether media control is a good or a bad thing, he asked a question of his own: "Could you find any country in the world where there is no control at all on press or media? There exists control over media in all the countries, sometimes by government, sometimes by media themselves.

 

Taiwan

US China policy
2006-10-27 China Daily
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao urged the United States to strictly abide by its commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and in the overall situation of Sino-US relations. He made the statement in response to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's remarks on Wednesday that the US policy on Taiwan is comprised of an inseparable "package" which includes a commitment to help Taiwan defend itself. Liu said there is only one China in the world, Taiwan is an integral part of China's territory and "we are committed to the basic principle of 'peaceful reunification' and 'one country, two systems. We are resolutely opposed to 'Taiwan independence' and will never allow any one to separate Taiwan from China through any means."

 

Tibet

Authorities detain three for helping Tibetans flee country
2006-10-25 SCMP
Chinese authorities have detained three people accused of escorting Tibetan asylum-seekers to India, a US-based broadcaster reported on Wednesday. Police in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, detained two Tibetans on October 9 and a Nepalese Sherpa on October 10, Radio Free Asia said on its website, citing unidentified sources. It said they were accused of helping Tibetans leave for India, where the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, lives. [...]

UN action urged over 32 missing Tibetans
2006-10-24 SCMP
The UN must pressure China over the whereabouts of 32 Tibetans believed to be missing after Chinese border guards shot at them while they were on their way to India, a Tibetan group said yesterday. "We have appealed to the UN to put pressure on China as there are around 32 people who are missing after that incident," said Urgen Tenzin, director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in India. "We believe that they have been arrested by the Chinese border guards and we want them to be released," he said. The 32, mostly children, were missing after troops fired on a group of 75 fleeing across the country's frontier into Nepal on September 30, killing two people, refugee groups said. Forty-one members of the group reached Delhi on Sunday after their 17-day trek from Lhasa to Kathmandu and were expected to proceed to Dharamsala, headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile. The shooting was captured on video by a group of European mountaineers in the area.

Tibet's Communist Party secretary re-elected
2006-10-24 SCMP
Zhang Qingli has been re-elected Communist Party secretary of Tibet , Xinhua reported. Mr Zhang was a member of the Communist Youth League in the 1980s and was first named Tibet party secretary in May. His re-election indicated that he would likely keep his membership in the Central Committee next year when it holds its 17th congress.

Economy

EU urges firms to face up to China competition
2006-10-26 China Daily
A European Union (EU) official yesterday pledged that the bloc would strengthen partnership with China and urged companies on the continent to face up to competition from their Chinese counterparts. "Europe has benefited from China's rise, its economic strength and stability," Serge Abou, ambassador of the European Commission the EU's executive arm to China, said at a news conference in Beijing. It is very important to develop the partnership between the two sides because it "has been a success for both," Abou said when expounding on a policy paper on China issued by the commission on Tuesday. EU-China trade doubled between 2000 and 2005, making Europe China's largest export market. EU exports to China have also increased by more than 100 per cent in the same period, much faster than its exports to the rest of the world, according to the EU statistics. Speaking in Europe after the document was approved, EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said "China is not a globalization scare story, it is a globalization success story. "China means cheaper goods in European shops, cheaper inputs for business, more competitive European companies, growing markets for Europe's exporters and lower interest rates," he said. EU figures show that two decades ago, it traded almost nothing with China, but last year, two-way trade totalled 210 billion euros (US$262 billion). However, Abou said, China also stands for the central challenge of globalization competition. "Europe has to accept the fierce competition while China has to ensure it is fair competition," he added. The EU policy paper stressed closer ties with China, but it argued that China's growing trade brings with it new responsibilities to fulfil its World Trade Organization obligations, open its markets and trade fairly. [...]

Multinationals blacklisted for pollution
2006-10-27 China Daily
Chinese joint ventures with global corporations such as Panasonic, Pepsi-Cola and Nestle are among 33 multinational companies that various levels of government have blacklisted for causing water pollution, according to a non-governmental organization. The Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs which has compiled a list of more than 2,700 serious polluters on its website at www.ipe.org.cn said, however, that pollution by domestic companies is even more severe. Ma Jun, director of the institute, said he collated information released by environmental watchdogs during the past three years, but this is the first time such a list has been compiled. "I was very surprised to see well-known names in global business listed as water polluters in China," Ma said. Some of the companies listed are joint ventures with the world's top 500 corporations. Panasonic Battery (Shanghai) Co Ltd was named by the local environmental protection bureau in June this year and also last year for releasing wastewater not sufficiently treated. Pepsi-Cola International (Changchun) Co Ltd was criticized for a similar reason in 2005. Nestlé Sources Shanghai Ltd's bottled water manufacturing plant also made the list for starting operation before its wastewater treatment facilities had passed an environmental impact assessment. "These are only some of the water pollution violations committed by multinational companies in China, since our website has yet to cover information about air and solid waste pollution," Ma said. "The parent companies in their home countries are models for environmental protection. But they have slackened their efforts in China." Ma blamed the companies' pursuit of profits but also said China's weak law enforcement and public supervision left loopholes that invite violations. This is the first time the public has come to know the companies are violators, he said, because official websites contained only sporadic information about polluters. However, when Southern Weekend, a Guangzhou-based newspaper, checked with those companies, most of them reportedly justified the violations as "accidents," "oversight" or "having no alternatives."

Pension fund to get huge assets boost
2006-10-26 China Daily
The Chinese Government is working on a plan to transfer some shares in listed State-owned enterprises (SOEs) to the national pension fund, part of an effort to boost the fund and improve the management of SOEs. The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), which oversees the assets of central SOEs on behalf of the central government, is in talks with the Ministry of Finance and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) about the plan, said SASAC official Su Guifeng. "But the proportion of shares to go to the national pension fund has not been decided yet," added Su. But insiders said that the proportion would not be high, amid concerns that the State may lose its controlling stake in these firms if the pension fund sold the shares at a later date. According to the Financial Times, SASAC will allocate 10 per cent of any domestic share issue by SOEs to the pension fund. This will come as a much-needed injection of assets to China's national pension fund, as the nation comes to terms with an increasingly ageing society. Meanwhile, it is hoped that the move will also improve the market discipline of SOE managers, because the pension fund would in theory be more concerned about share price performance than other government bodies. The government proposed a similar transfer of assets to the pension fund in 2001, but the plan was dropped after the stock market fell sharply amid fears that it would result in a flood of new shares onto the market. [...] Statistics show that China currently has over 1,300 listed companies, among which 900 are State-controlled or with the State holding a stake in them. The 10 per cent allocation from all listed SOEs means that around 340 billion shares would be transferred to the national pension fund. Experts believe the share transfer could be the first step in a broader injection of State assets into the pension system. For the past year, State-owned companies listing overseas have been required to allocate 10 per cent of new shares to the National Council for Social Security Fund, the central government-run pension fund. SASAC and the Ministry of Finance are also working on a proposal to ask SOEs to pay dividends, in order to raise funds to strengthen the social security network.

 

North Korea

DPRK ship not held under sanctions
2006-10-27 China Daily
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao Thursday dismissed speculation that the detention of a ship from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) by Hong Kong authorities was the result of UN sanctions. Liu said the local marine department was making a regular inspection of Kang Nam I, a 2,035-ton general cargo ship, which entered the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Sunday. The department found the ship had violated safety regulations, Liu said in a weekly briefing yesterday. Liu said the ship was being held for breaching local shipping regulations, rather than the UN sanctions imposed on the DPRK following its nuclear test on October 9. Ships can be detained if they do not have life-saving or fire-fighting appliances, or if their navigation equipment, including charts, is outdated or obsolete. Tan Bole, an official with the Hong Kong marine authority was quoted as saying Kang Nam I was the ninth DPRK ship that his office has inspected this year and six of them had been similarly stopped. Tan said Hong Kong's checking of the DPRK ships was routine, adding that Hong Kong authorities were carrying out their duties according to international maritime regulations designed to guarantee ships' safety. The ship had travelled to Hong Kong from Shanghai and was due to return home to Nampo, near Pyongyang, via Taiwan. Liu reiterated that China would implement UN resolution 1718 that imposed sanctions on the DPRK in an earnest and responsible manner. [...]

DPRK 'has no plan for second nuke test'
2006-10-25 China Daily
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) does not have any plan to conduct a second nuclear test, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The assurance came after State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan, a special envoy of President Hu Jintao, met DPRK leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang last week, spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular news briefing. "But if it faces pressure, the DPRK reserves the right to take further action," Liu said, citing Tang, but did not give any other details. A second test has been widely believed to be a possibility. Earlier this month, US media reported that Pyongyang may be preparing for one, citing suspicious activity at a suspected test site in the country's northeast. But the Republic of Korea's (ROK) Yonhap news agency reported yesterday that the US military had not detected signs of preparations for a second test. According to Liu, Kim told Tang that the DPRK was willing to return to the Six-Party Talks aimed at making the Korean Peninsula nuclear free. Their talks were "frank," Liu said. He pointed out that some media reports about Kim apologizing for the nuclear test on October 9 were "not accurate." ROK news reports said the DPRK leader had expressed regret for the test during the visit by Tang, who delivered a personal message from President Hu. In response to questions on how China would implement UN resolution 1718 that imposed sanctions on Pyongyang, Liu said China would take practical measures to do so in a responsible manner. "However, sanctions are not the purpose. They should serve the goal of peacefully settling the crisis through dialogue and consultation," Liu said. He asked parties concerned not to wilfully interpret, or expand, the sanctions and escalate the crisis. Liu said China has no plan to stop food and oil assistance to Pyongyang, noting that the UN resolution does not apply to normal trade between the two countries. He also confirmed that Ban Ki-moon, the ROK foreign minister, would arrive in Beijing on Friday for talks with his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing on the nuclear stalemate. He will also meet President Hu and State Councillor Tang. The trip by the 62-year-old senior diplomat, who is set to become the next UN secretary general, is part of a recent flurry of shuttle diplomacy to seek peaceful solutions to the Korean nuclear issue. Ban reportedly said he plans to use his position as the UN chief, which he will assume at the beginning of next year, to "seek an active role for the peaceful resolution of the Korean nuclear issue." [...]

Path to security lies only in international cooperation
2006-10-23 People's Daily Online
The United States claims to soon impose its punitive measures against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the wake of unanimously adopting Resolution No. 1718 by the United Nations Security Council on Oct. 14. Some Western media hold that the U.S. will resume the strategy of "cold-war type" containment as it cannot tolerate DPRK with a possession of nuclear weapons but "military options may be unacceptably risky". In the end, America is forced to accept such methods as sanctions and interceptions, which were often used in the era of cold war. [...] At present, stern reactions of the international community to the DPRK nuclear test are by no means the same with the cold-war containment. The UN Security Council Resolution No. 1718 reflects the common will of the international community against the DPRK nuclear test and embodies the collective interests of all counties in their opposition to nuclear proliferation, and so constitutes a successful practice of multilateral diplomacy for seeking to stabilize security in Northeast Asia. [...] The relative power of the United States in the world has been falling despite a steady rise in its overall national strength. Though the U.S. still has fairly strong military might to cope with a crisis, it primary choice for the crisis settlement, however, hinges on communication and coordination due to the multifactor complexity of international crises, but not the first option of unilateral action capitalizing on its super-strong military might. This trend is epitomized by its UN diplomacy instead of shunning the United Nations on the latest issue of DPRK nuclear test. Recently, the Bush Administration has readjusted its foreign policy and, first of all, the attempt to seek the cooperation of the UN at the time of crisis constitutes one of the endeavors to renovate its practices during a previous period. With regard to the effect of the policies the Bush administration has carried out toward the nations of the "axis of evils", most aspects of the international community can hardly give a positive appraisal of such policies. [...] Some readjustments in the US foreign policy themselves illustrate international cooperation and not the containment of the cold-war type, and this is precisely the fundamental path to the maintenance and management of security in the present era.

 

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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