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
  31.8-4.9.09, No. 284  
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Table of contents

H1N1 flu

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Beijing still wary of cuts to carbon (SCMP)
2009-09-04
China might be warming to European Union proposals aimed at imposing carbon dioxide curbs on its industries as part of a new climate-change deal, but the two sides remained a long way from an agreement, officials said. At the unveiling of new research by Dutch renewable energy consultants Ecofys and China's Energy Research Institute, an influential think-tank under the National Development and Reform Commission, climate officials said reining in carbon emissions by the country's industries would be crucial. […] But while China appears ready to agree in principle with sector targets, its negotiators are still holding out for more concrete financial support from industrialised nations, and they are unlikely to agree with EU attempts to impose absolute cuts. "The issue is whether developed countries can provide help, including technology transfers, that will allow these industries to improve their ability to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Dr Lu Xuedu, vice-chairman of China's National Climate Office. […] The big bone of contention will be the "benchmark", or the degree to which industrial sectors in China and other developing countries will be forced to make cuts, said Magnus Gislev, first secretary for the environment with the European Commission delegation in Beijing. […]. ^ top ^

US and Australia will invite PLA to join military exercises (SCMP)
2009-09-04
China will be asked by the United States and Australia to join military exercises, to repair ties after a diplomatic row between Canberra and Beijing - a top US military official was quoted as saying yesterday. Admiral Timothy Keating, the top US military commander in Asia, said joint exercises would improve relations and increase stability in the region, Fairfax newspapers reported. The report said that Keating and Australian Defence Force chief Angus Houston met this week and agreed to put the proposal to China "at the earliest opportunity". Keating said: "We are anxious to engage with them. We want to understand much better than we do now China's intentions. China does publish a [defence] white paper, but we find it to be less than fulfilling." In Perth yesterday, Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith welcomed the idea. "Australia has defence co-operation and contact with a range of countries ... there's no reason that can't be contemplated with China," he said. Keating said the proposed exercises would start with small-scale naval and land activities, followed by personnel exchanges. […]. ^ top ^

Country banking on IMF's bond idea (China Daily)
2009-09-04
China will be expecting more input during the restructuring of the international financial system after agreeing on Wednesday to buy the first $50 billion of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s new bonds. The purchase, made three weeks before the Group of 20 Summit that will be held in Pittsburgh, is being seen as an example to the rest of the world of China's commitment. Chinese think-tank economists said the purchase symbolized the country's "very first step" toward increasing its say in reshaping global financial institutions amid the financial crisis. The bonds also allow China to diversify its massive holdings of foreign reserves, giving it an alternative to purchasing US State bonds. And it will give the IMF the resources it needs to help other countries battle through the global crisis. […] AFP reported that any bid by China to expand its formal influence at the IMF is likely to encounter resistance, especially from Europe, which has traditionally provided the fund's managing director. ^ top ^

New US ambassador lays out the big issues (SCMP)
2009-09-03
Wrangling over the troubled global economy, climate change and security hot spots will test sometimes unsteady Sino-US relations the rest of this year, Washington's new ambassador to Beijing said yesterday. A week and a half into his post, Jon Huntsman said global, big-picture issues were coming to define relations between Washington and Beijing. At the top of US President Barack Obama's instructions to him, he said, were shoring up the world economy, dealing with regional security problems such as Iran and Pakistan, and securing an agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to pave the way for a new global warming treaty. […] Friction looms on trade disputes, including a White House decision on whether to impose punitive tariffs on surging imports of Chinese tyres. […] The assessment underscores the Obama administration's emerging strategy in dealing with a suddenly powerful China: respecting Beijing's newly influential position and encouraging the often prickly communist government to assume responsible leadership on global issues. […]. ^ top ^

China hopes for early resumption of talks on Iran nuke issue: official (Xinhua)
2009-09-02
Frankfurt - China hopes for early resumption of the international talks on Iranian nuclear issue, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei said in Frankfurt on Wednesday. He made the remarks when he attended the six-nation meeting on the Iranian nuclear issue in Frankfurt. […] China welcomes Iran's "positive remarks" on seeking dialogue and negotiation on the nuclear issue, He was quoted as saying by a press release issued by the Chinese delegation, adding that China also appreciates the progress of the cooperation between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). […]. ^ top ^

Myanmar urged to maintain peace in border region as refugees head home (SCMP)
2009-09-02
[…] "We hope peace can soon return to the China-Myanmar border and that Myanmese citizens can soon return home," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a regular news briefing. "Safeguarding stability along the border is in the vital interest of the two peoples and is the common responsibility of the two governments. "We hope the Myanmese side will properly settle their domestic issues and do whatever it can to resume stability along the border and protect the safety and property of China's citizens in Myanmar." The comments came as authorities pulled down tent camps after thousands of the refugees went home on Monday. The number leaving appeared to fall sharply yesterday. About two-thirds of the refugees who fled to the Chinese border town of Nansan had left […]. Beijing did not officially declare the Myanmese and Chinese citizens fleeing the ethnic-Chinese enclave of Kokang as refugees, but it provided food, water and temporary housing to about 37,000 people. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing welcomes Tokyo's new leaders (SCMP)
2009-09-02
[…] "We are ready to work with Japan to strengthen our bilateral co-operation and keep up the sound momentum of high-level exchanges to ... jointly contribute to peace and development in Asia," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. Yukio Hatoyama's Democratic Party of Japan has already indicated that Japan's foreign policy should look more towards Asia and less to the United States. He told The New York Times he recognised the fast rise of China as an economic power and called for the creation of an Asian community with a common currency based on the European Union model. […] Under former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, who ruled Japan between 2001 and 2006, Tokyo's relations with Beijing deteriorated badly over his repeated visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine. Hatoyama has said he will not visit the Tokyo shrine. […]. ^ top ^

Uygur leader urges Beijing talks (SCMP)
2009-09-02
Uygur leader Rebiya Kadeer, accused by Beijing of fomenting violent unrest in Xinjiang , said yesterday that she was prepared to hold direct talks with the Chinese authorities. "I'm ready to discuss with the Chinese government the way we can address its policy failures of the past 60 years and seek political reforms," she told a session of the European Parliament's Human Rights Committee. "It is time for the Chinese government to sit and talk with me, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all those leaders of non-Han Chinese communities who have been vilified, imprisoned and slandered just because we happen to disagree with the bankrupt official policy." Kadeer called on the European Union to "put pressure on the Chinese authorities to respect the autonomy laws that are in their constitution and start a true dialogue with the Uygur people". […] She accused Beijing of being "obsessed with maintaining control in a resource-rich area". ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Thousands protest over Urumqi syringe attacks (SCMP)
2009-09-04
Tens of thousands of Han Chinese protested in the Xinjiang capital Urumqi yesterday to demand the resignation of the region's top Communist Party boss for failing to protect their safety as reports of mysterious syringe attacks triggered fear among city residents. In the biggest rally since ethnic rioting in July, protesters waved home-made banners and shouted slogans as they marched in the streets before gathering at a square outside the government headquarters, several participants and witnesses said. Police and armed officers were deployed, especially in Uygur-populated districts. Xinhua late last night put the number of protesters at tens of thousands. […] The protest was triggered by mysterious syringe attacks on the public by a group whose identity has not been disclosed. Xinjiang Television reported that by noon on Wednesday, hospitals across Urumqi had reported treating 476 people, the victims of attacks by hypodermic needles. Of these, 433 were Han Chinese, 19 Uygurs and the remainder from other ethnic groups. […] Last night, Xinhua said 21 suspects had been detained for the syringe attacks, without identifying their ethnicity, and said the attacks were continuing. […] In the absence of a credible source of independent information, the public had to choose between believing state media and rumours. […]. ^ top ^

Minister wants swift action on metal poisoning (SCMP)
2009-09-04
The minister of environmental protection has called for more effective measures to tackle heavy-metal poisoning, state media said yesterday, amid growing anger among parents of children poisoned by lead. Incidents of lead poisoning have dogged leading heavy-metal-producing areas in Shaanxi , Hunan , Henan and Yunnan provinces, leading to closures of smelters and occasional protests by angry parents. "The prevention of heavy-metal pollution should be treated with more urgency and given greater priority," Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian told a national pollution-prevention meeting, the People's Daily reported. "Effective measures should be taken to cope with heavy-metal pollution." […] Despite the central government's pledge to clean up pollution, the Environmental Protection Ministry faces stiff resistance from local authorities, which often sacrifice public health for economic growth. […] The ministry had passed in principle a plan to tackle heavy-metal pollution, it said on its website, without giving details. "It is necessary to co-operate with other departments and conduct a comprehensive rectification of heavy-metal pollution," it said, possibly pointing to new checks on industry. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing sentences dissident to 13 years in jail (SCMP)
2009-09-02
A dissident who tried to organise a national meeting of the banned China Democracy Party has been sentenced to 13 years in jail for subverting state power, his lawyer said on Wednesday. Xie Changfa, 57, was tried in April and sentenced on Tuesday by the Changsha Municipal Intermediate Court in Hunan province, his lawyer Ma Gangquan said in a telephone interview. He plans to appeal, Ma said. […] “The charges and judgment both say his crime relates to work he did to establish the party's Hunan chapter and to his efforts to organise a national party meeting, but we have maintained all along that such activities are not crimes but in fact are the constitutional rights of all Chinese citizens,” said Ma. […] Hunan police detained Xie in June last year after he discussed hosting a national congress for the China Democracy Party with fellow party members. In August, he was formally arrested and charged with subverting state power. […]. ^ top ^

Parents held for protest over lead poisoning (SCMP)
2009-09-03
Police in Hunan have detained at least 15 parents for blocking roads and damaging government offices while protesting about factory pollution that left more than 1,300 children with lead poisoning. Police in Wenping township have accused the parents involved in the unrest of being members of the banned spiritual group Falun Gong or influenced by such members. It is extremely rare lately for a mainland government to blame major social unrest on Falun Gong, even though it is still banned. […] In a notice posted on the official website of Wugang city government, which oversees Wenping, the authorities issued a stern warning to locals listing six new rules, including prohibiting people from gathering or "spreading rumours". […] But villagers yesterday mocked the accusation, saying authorities were using the charge as revenge against parents for rioting over the pollution scandal. […]. ^ top ^

Parade will showcase new PLA arsenal (SCMP)
2009-09-03
Beijing will unveil previously unknown missiles during the October 1 National Day parade, including intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles, state media said yesterday. The new hardware on display will also include conventional cruise missiles and both short- and medium-range missiles, Global Times, an English newspaper run by party mouthpiece People's Daily reported, citing an unidentified People's Liberation Army source. "These missiles are domestically designed and manufactured and have never been officially reported before," the source, who is with the PLA's strategic missile defence unit, was quoted as saying. The weapons had already been distributed to the military and were ready for deployment, the source said. […]. ^ top ^

Audit exposes vast graft by officials (SCMP)
2009-09-03
The National Audit Office yesterday released its report for last year, revealing that huge sums had been misused or embezzled. The office also revealed that, as part of the government's fight against widespread misuse of public funds, the audit had been expanded to cover 54 agencies. […] The report did not give a summary of the total amounts wrongly used, nor how many officials were found to be involved in wrongdoing, as previous ones had done. […] Also for the first time, the office's scrutiny included its own books and those of the Communist Party. It previously covered only central government agencies and giant state-owned enterprises. […] The 96-page report specified wrongdoings by each of 54 agencies, with the monetary figure involved under each account. […] An earlier report submitted to the National People's Congress in June revealed that the audit office had recovered 26.77 billion yuan of public money that was embezzled last year. Liu Jiayi , auditor general of the National Audit Office, told the NPC that about 30 people involved in 116 cases had been arrested and sentenced, and another 117 received punishment. ^ top ^

PLA reaps benefits as weak job market brings flood of recruits (SCMP)
2009-09-02
After years struggling to recruit top talent, the People's Liberation Army stands to gain from a gloomy job market by welcoming a huge influx of university graduates to its ranks. Quoting statistics from the Ministry of Education and the PLA's General Staff Headquarters, an army department in charge of recruitment, Xinhua reported that the PLA had signed up a record 120,000 fresh graduates this year. The world's largest fighting force, with 2.3 million personnel, has had a hard time recruiting enough young talent to turn it into a knowledge-based, hi-tech army. Now thanks to a weak job market in the wake of the global crisis, jobless graduates are lining up to join the force, which promises stable jobs and career opportunities. […] The number of graduates recruited this year was 60 times the number in 2001. […]. ^ top ^

10,000 fight riot police over Fujian pollution (SCMP)
2009-09-02
Thousands of villagers in Fujian clashed with riot police, smashed police vehicles and took government officials hostage in the latest peaceful mainland protest over industrial pollution to turn violent. Villagers and the authorities in the city of Quanzhou yesterday confirmed that more than 10,000 people had clashed with some 2,000 riot police on Monday night in the town of Fengwei. Police fired two warning shots and used tear gas to break up the crowd, witnesses said. The protesters pelted them with stones. The kidnapped officials were only rescued yesterday afternoon. At least a dozen people were wounded, including the deputy director of Fengwei and a police officer who are reportedly in critical condition. Authorities did not say how many villagers were hurt. The Quanzhou government accused "a small group of people with ulterior motives" of instigating the protests, but did not elaborate. The source of the villagers' anger is a tannery and an oil refinery, discharges from which have poisoned their drinking water and caused cancer, they claim. They protested outside the sewage treatment plant because it handles their discharges. They began a peaceful protest two weeks ago. It swelled when the authorities ignored their complaints. […]. ^ top ^

China to formulate new system of food safety standards (China.org)
2009-09-01
Beijing - China is now working on a new system of food safety standards that is expected to guarantee people's health and be more compatible with international norms, said a senior health official Saturday in Beijing. "The Ministry of Health is now working with other government agencies to formulate a new system of food safety standards, as required by the country's new food safety law that went into effect June 1 this year," said Vice Minister of Health Chen Xiaohong at the Food and Drug Safety Responsibility Forum on Saturday. According to Chen, the new system will integrate existing food safety standards, eliminate areas that overlap or contradict each other, and establish new standards for areas that previously lacked regulation. "The amount of pathogenic microorganisms, pesticide residue, microorganism residue, heavy metals and pollutants in food products, as well as the use of food additives are the priority areas," noted Chen. "We are also building up an expert team on food safety standards." […] In addition to the implementation of the new law, the ministry is also stepping up efforts to establish an efficient food safety coordination mechanism, improve the health emergency response system, and set up a food safety risk-monitoring and assessment system. […]. ^ top ^

China well on track to meet MDG in gender equality: UN official (Xinhua)
2009-08-30
Hongkong - China has made great progress in gender equality and empowering women in the past 60 years, well on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, said a senior UN official on Saturday at the Asia Pacific Women Forum held in Hong Kong. Khalid Malik, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and the UN Development Program resident representative in China, quoted Chairman Mao Zedong's famous remarks "Women holding up half of the sky" to review China's good will and determination in promoting gender equality. […] Six years away from the deadline of MDGs, China is now well on track for further progress to meet the goal in promoting gender equality, said Malik. "There is almost no gender disparity to Chinese women's access to a living market, and there is much that the Asia-Pacific region can learn from China's lessons," he said. […] More efforts were needed yet, Malik added. He urged both China and the whole region to eliminate even more bias towards empowering women and to bring the gender equality to a whole new level on the foundation of all the progress that has been made so far. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Second parade test run (SCMP)
2009-09-04
The second rehearsal for the National Day parade marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China will be held late tomorrow night in Beijing. Authorities have announced tight security measures and massive traffic restrictions for the rehearsal, which will virtually bring the busiest shopping streets and tourist areas in central Beijing to a standstill during the weekend. It will begin at midnight and last about three hours. Although Xinhua gave little detail, it said most city centre streets and the eastern part would be closed to the public tomorrow. […] It did not say whether the rehearsal would include a full-scale and much-anticipated military parade. More than 200,000 people were involved in last weekend's rehearsal, which went smoothly. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Guangdong plans to boost eastern cities (SCMP)
2009-09-01
The Guangdong government is seeking greater integration among the more developed Pearl River Delta and the province's less developed eastern cities. A directive issued by the central government last week outlined development for four eastern cities - Shantou , Chaozhou , Shanwei and Jieyang - for the next five years. A faster pace of urbanisation and heavy investment in infrastructure such as roads, railways and airports is being urged to help the cities catch up with their neighbours in the delta. The four cities would focus on developing energy, petrochemical, manufacturing and shipping industries, the directive said. However, it did not set any economic targets. Academics said the move was to narrow the wealth gap between the two groups of cities. The provincial government also saw opportunities for the eastern cities to promote economic integration between Fujian and Taiwan, as the four cities were geographically and culturally close to Fujian, they said. But they were sceptical on whether the vision could be realised, as the Guangdong government must provide substantial support such as investment projects. […]. ^ top ^

Early Signs of Recovery in Heartland (China Daily)
2009-08-31
Less than a year after being in the eye of an economic storm, China's manufacturing heartland might at last be showing some signs of recovery. Guangdong Province -- labeled one of the key "workshops of the world" -- was on the firing line at the end of 2008 when North American and European consumers stopped buying their goods. […] Yet after months of the sustained impact of the government's 4 trillion yuan economic stimulus package, as well as indications of a steady recovery in some export markets, there seems to be evidence that at last things might be turning around. The fall in the province's exports has certainly slowed, down 15.1 percent year-on-year in July, compared to 18 percent in June, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. […] There have been a number of initiatives at both provincial and municipal levels to get the province back on its feet. These include subsidies for employing people, tax reductions and other stimulus measures. One of the main strategies of government authorities has been to lessen its dependence on foreign-owned companies - some 2,542 of which deserted the province last year as a result of the financial crisis. […] Li Ruqui, the mayor of Huizhou, believes that continuing to modernize the province's industrial base is the right way forward. "It is important that Guangdong enterprises upgrade their equipment and their technologies. Without the stimulus package the economy would have fared much worse, and we can now see that the economy is recovering," the mayor said. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Chen clan jailed for their roles in fund fraud (SCMP)
2009-09-02
A court in Taiwan yesterday sent former president Chen Shui-bian's wife, son, daughter and son-in-law to prison for abetting false testimony, dealing a blow to the scandal-plagued family that is still fighting other corruption-related charges. It was not clear last night if they would appeal, although that is widely expected. […] The fact the sentences were not suspended means they are also likely to face jail for other charges. […] Yesterday's sentencing left no side satisfied. Chen and his pro-independence camp said it was politically motivated, while some KMT legislators complained the jail terms were too mild. […] All four had pleaded guilty to perjury and admitted they had made false statements accounting for the state funds. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Dalai Lama ready for talks on Tibet issues (SCMP)
2009-09-04
The Dalai Lama says he is ready to negotiate with Beijing on Tibet issues but wants to see a "green light" from the leadership. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader also said it was too early to say whether his visit to Taiwan had hurt the island's ties with the mainland. […] Having completed a tour of southern Taiwan, hit hardest by the typhoon, the Dalai Lama yesterday spent a day in Taipei meeting Tibetan followers and friends. He said he was ready for talks with Beijing but the ball was in the mainland's court. "Our position is very clear," he said. "We are always ready [to negotiate] as long as we get a green light from China." He said Beijing had given no indication it wanted talks "so far". He is to leave Taiwan today. Beijing has avoided criticising Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who has pursued ties and who permitted the Dalai Lama's visit only under pressure from opposition leaders, but has delayed some exchanges and cancelled minor events involving the Tibetan spiritual leader. […] Meanwhile, Tibetan documentary maker Dhondup Wangchen is awaiting trial for "inciting separatism" in Qinghai province , which is partly ethnic Tibetan, according to a petition letter. ^ top ^

CPPCC delegation arrives in Lhasa for 50th founding anniversary of regional committee (Xinhua)
2009-08-30
Lhasa - A delegation of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Sunday arrived in Lhasa to attend Tuesday's gathering marking the 50th founding anniversary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee of the CPPCC. The delegation, headed by Wang Gang, vice chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, was scheduled to attend the ceremony on Tuesday and other celebration activities. The delegation also planned to make investigations on the region's social and economic development as well as conservation of local ecological environment. The year 2009 also marks the 50th anniversary of democratic reform in Tibet. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Euro firms' China woes highlighted (China Daily)
2009-09-03
Officials and experts have disputed claims from the European Chamber of Commerce in China that say China's "protectionist measures" and lagging economic reforms have stifled the business environment for overseas firms. Despite China's ongoing economic reforms, European enterprises doing business in the country are feeling the "increasing threat of protectionism" coming from the Chinese government, according to the European Business in China Position Paper 2009, which was released by the chamber yesterday. The paper claimed European companies were losing out because of China's "market access intervention and investment restrictions". It called upon China to make amends by building a "predictable, transparent and fair business environment for all", adding that such actions would "strengthen confidence from the European companies and also boost domestic consumption". […] But the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) took issue with the claim, arguing that "China has been making efforts to create a sound and fair environment for foreign businesses". But the ministry said it "welcomes and attaches importance to suggestions from all sides".[…] The paper emphasized challenges in three areas: market access, transparency of legislation and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). ^ top ^

Premier Wen: Economic policy to stay unchanged (Xinhua)
2009-09-01
Beijing - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Tuesday China would not change the orientation of its stimulating economic policy as the country is at a critical stage in the recovery of the economy. Wen said, when meeting with World Bank President Robert Zoellick, that China's government would continue to pursue proactive fiscal and moderately easy monetary policies. […] Wen said China would fully implement and continue to enhance and perfect policy in response to the international financial crisis to achieve the goals of economic and social development. […] World Bank President Zoellick said earlier China's economic recovery might be better than expected. […] Wen said China was ready to strengthen cooperation with the World Bank and make new contributions to achieving the UN Millennium Goals and sustainable development of the world. […] Zoellick said the World Bank was willing to develop cooperation with China in areas such as international development aid, reform of international financial organizations and climate change. ^ top ^

Super-large rare metal deposit discovered in northwest China (Xinhua)
2009-08-31
Urumqi - China has discovered rare metal deposits of more than 100,000 tonnes of niobium, the nation's largest of its kind, in northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, an engineer revealed Monday. "The size has surpassed China's total proven niobium reserve of 80,000 tonnes," said Xu Haiming, a senior engineer with the Institute of Mineral Resources at the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences. "The super-large deposit is worth more than 130 billion yuan (19 billion U.S. dollars) after being exploited." It also has a proven reserve of more than 10,000 tonnes of tantalum and rare earth metals, Xu said. […] Niobium and tantalum are rare metal elements, which are widely used in the fields of electronics, aviation, atomic energy, and mechanical manufacturing. […]. ^ top ^

 

H1N1 flu

Home-grown swine flu vaccine is approved (SCMP)
2009-09-04
China has granted approval for its first home-grown swine flu vaccine, which the producer, Sinovac Biotech, says is effective with only one dose rather than the two previously expected. The World Health Organisation hailed China's vaccine and congratulated Sinovac on its work. […] But some Hong Kong doctors expressed scepticism about the safety and effectiveness of such a vaccine. The news came as Hong Kong reported its 10th swine flu death, the sixth case in five days. A further 492 cases - a record number for a day - were also reported, taking the total to 12,948. […]. ^ top ^

School outbreak pinned on officials (China Daily)
2009-09-03
School officials at a high school in Central China will be "severely punished" for an outbreak of the H1N1 flu after failing to check the temperatures of students before the fall term began. One hundred and nine students at the No. 3 Senior High School in Xin'an county in Henan province have been infected and classes have been suspended since last Thursday when the first H1N1 flu patient from the school was reported, the Xinhua News Agency said yesterday. […] Zhou Yong, information office director of Henan provincial health bureau, told China Daily yesterday that the flu outbreak at the school is under control as most of the 81 confirmed cases and 83 suspected cases were expected to be discharged soon from the hospital. "All these students and teachers have been quarantined and are in rapid recovery at the county hospital. There have been no severe or fatal cases," Zhou said. […] The Ministry of Health has called on the public to take every possible precaution against H1N1 flu as risks are rising amid recent cases of group infection. In another development, the vaccine for the H1N1 flu produced by Chinese pharmaceutical company Henan-based Hualan Biological Engineering Inc passed an expert evaluation organized by the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) on Tuesday. […] It made Hualan the second Chinese company to gain approval from the SFDA expert team for the H1N1 flu vaccine. […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK says extracted plutonium being weaponized, experimental uranium enrichment into completion phase (Xinhua)
2009-09-04
Pyongyang - In a letter to the president of the UN Security Council, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said its "reprocessing of spent fuel rods is at its final phase and extracted plutonium is being weaponized." The letter, sent Thursday by the permanent representative of the DPRK to the United Nations, also said the "experimental uranium enrichment has successfully been conducted to enter into completion phase," the KCNA reported on Friday. The letter said DPRK are "prepared for both dialogue and sanctions". It also threatened that "if some permanent members of the UNSC wish to put sanctions first before dialogue, we would respond with bolstering our nuclear deterrence first before we meet them in a dialogue." […] It said the way the UNSC dealt with the DPRK's peaceful satellite launch on April 5, contrasting with its silence over the satellite launch of South Korea on Aug. 25, compelled the DPRK to take strong counteraction such as its second nuclear test. […]. ^ top ^

US nuclear envoy may power up talks (China Daily)
2009-09-04
United States nuclear envoy Stephen Bosworth arrived in Beijing Thursday for a two-day visit during which he is expected to talk with Chinese officials on how to re-open the Six-Party Talks, the Foreign Ministry said. He will meet Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Chinese nuclear envoy Wu Dawei to "exchange views on the Korean Peninsula issue, the Six-Party Talks and other issues of common interest", spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. "We'd like to work with other parties to promote the denuclearization process on the peninsula," she added. The US envoy's trip coincides with a visit of a delegation from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) led by its Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Yong-il. Experts said Beijing is likely to make use of the opportunity to bridge contacts between the US and the DPRK. Jiang said that Kim, who's leaving China on the weekend, had already met Wu and "exchanged views on the China-DPRK ties and issues of common interests". […] The US embassy in Beijing said Bosworth would also travel to Seoul and Tokyo as part of an Asian tour amid recent conciliatory moves by Pyongyang. […]. ^ top ^

Canberra investigates arms cargo (SCMP)
2009-08-31
MoAuthorities are investigating whether Australian law was broken after an Australian-owned ship was seized in the United Arab Emirates carrying North Korean weapons bound for Iran, an official said yesterday. Australian Shipping Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed that UAE officials found banned North Korean weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, headed for Iran on the Australian-owned, Bahamas-flagged cargo ship ANL Australia. The seizure is the first since the United Nations Security Council tightened sanctions against North Korea in June, in response to its second nuclear test in May and its firing of several missiles. […] A department spokeswoman said containers carrying "arms and related materials" were seized by UAE customs officials. She said the seizure occurred late last month, but UN officials said it was early this month. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Government Signs OT Deal Within September (UB Post)
2009-09-01
The Government of Mongolia will ink US$4 billion Investment Agreement on Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project located in Omnogobi province with its license holders of Canadian Ivanhoe Mines and its strategic partner Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto in two weeks, according to a government minister. Minister of Minerals and Energy D.Zorigt said that every detail of the agreement comply with current effective laws and regulations of Mongolia. […] “Most importantly, investors and government agreed that there will be no tax waive for the investors. Eight different types of taxes were stabilized, and others were remained subject to change,” Zorigt said. Parliament last month called an extraordinary session and approved cabinet-submitted legal changes on four different laws including annulment of three-year-old windfall profits tax law. Law makers wanted the government to come up with a different approach to fill gap of revenues being generated by the windfall profits tax law. “The Government will intend to study on possibility of step-by-step increasing royalty tax, if necessary, and will submit to Parliament,” said Zorigt. Under the 2006 Minerals Law Mongolian state is entitled to own 34 percent of the project, which is expected to start production in 2013. ^ top ^

ADB ready to offer support in several sectors (www.news.mn)
2009-08-31
Laurence Greenwood, visiting Vice President of the Asian Development Bank, called on President Ts.Elbegdorj on Monday, accompanied by Adrian Rutenberg, ADB Representative in Mongolia and Siraj Shamsuddin, responsible for Mongolia in ADB. […] Greenwood said “it is right” that Mongolia continues with its social welfare schemes during the present economic crisis. Appreciating that this will be “economically difficult”, he said ADB was “ready to lend support”. He also offered ADB help to stabilize the banking sector, in trouble with bad debts. ADB would soon be starting new projects to help the private sector, especially small and medium enterprises in Mongolia. It will also support vocational training centers. Expressing his happiness at the progress of the investment agreement on Oyutolgoi, Greenwood said ADB was ready to cooperate on developing the infrastructure of Tavantolgoi. It would consider giving a loan to build a railway with Mongolian private sector involvement. ^ top ^

Mongolia, Russia May Start US$188 Million Debt Negotiation (UB Post)
2009-09-01
Mongolia may soon sit behind negotiation table with Russian authorities to settle down US$188 million transferable ruble it “owed” to Moscow, which is “hindering” further bilateral economic cooperation to start major infrastructure and mining projects, according to a government minister. Mongolian local media agencies reported that the remains of the so-called “big-debt” of over US$11.4 billion, that Russia has written off 98 percent of it in 2003, has surprised the nation. Mongolian government has paid the remaining US$250 million step by step and the debt's zero-balance was confirmed by Russian side through different channels. Deputy Finance Minister T.Ochirkhuu said in a press conference held on the outcome of the recent Russian presidential visit, that Ulaanbaatar doesn't owe debt to Moscow. “Two state leaders have touched the issue during the visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Sides agreed to clarify conflicting questions between their understandings at first hand,” said Ochirkhuu. […]. ^ top ^

 

Evelyne Freiermuth
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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