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
  14-18.6.10, No. 324  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

G20 isn't place to discuss yuan, officials warn (SCMP)
2010-06-18
Finger-pointing during the G20 summit will be self-defeating for an international forum that should be focused on co-ordination, not criticism, of economic policies, a senior government official said. Underlining the extent to which the country wants to shield its currency policy from censure, another official said the Group of 20 meeting in Canada on June 26-27 was not the right place to discuss "the yuan issue". The comments appeared to be an attempt to draw a line in the sand about what should be discussed at the G20, cast as a warning that controversy could hinder the global recovery by rattling market confidence. […] "At the G20, in my view, it is inappropriate to discuss the yuan issue," Qin Gang, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told a regular news briefing. "The yuan exchange rate issue was not a cause of the international financial crisis, and it is not a hurdle for world economic recovery, rebalancing or sustainable growth". Complaints about the yuan have eased over the last two months as the euro-zone debt crisis has taken centre stage. But US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said last week that the yuan was an impediment to global rebalancing, suggesting that US patience with China's currency policy was wearing thin. […] A senior Canadian official said this week that the G20 must be careful not to exert too much direct pressure on China, while still delivering the message that a stronger yuan would be in Beijing's own interest. With China's trade surplus having surged last month, attention is shifting back to how much its growth model - marked by weak consumption and strong exports - is to blame for global imbalances that were a root cause of the 2008 financial crisis. Beijing has long insisted - and many economists agree - that a set of policies broader than just its exchange rate regime is needed to overhaul the economy. […] "We are also trying to pursue economic restructuring and to transform our pattern for economic development. That is exactly what we are doing, but it will take some time," a senior official said. It was unreasonable to expect the Chinese people to immediately fill the void left by US consumers who are spending less money in the wake of the global financial crisis, he said. […] "Chinese workers might lose their jobs in the textile industry, in the toy industry, in the shoe industry because of lack of demand from overseas markets, but you cannot turn them into investment bankers overnight." […]. ^ top ^

Beijing renews call for US to end Taiwan arms sales (SCMP)
2010-06-18
[…] US Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein told Defence Secretary Dr Robert Gates during a Senate hearing on Wednesday that mainland leaders had offered to reposition at least some of their military forces opposite Taiwan. But an aide said she was referring to an offer that was made in the past and was no longer on the table. […] Feinstein did not spell out any details about the offer, telling Gates: "Perhaps some of this I should discuss with you privately." Feinstein called US arms sales to Taiwan "a substantial irritant" in relations between Washington and Beijing, and predicted they would remain so. She asked Gates what substantial steps the mainland could take to ease its military posture in the Taiwan Strait in a way that would allow Washington to reconsider future arms sales to Taiwan. "I think there is an opportunity to consider where we go if this across-the-strait situation is stable," Gates said. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said yesterday that the US had an opportunity to improve Sino-US relations. "The US arms sales to Taiwan have seriously undermined China's core interests. We resolutely oppose the sales," he said. Justifying the sales, Gates cited factors including what he called an "extraordinary Chinese deployment of all manner of cruise and ballistic missiles opposite Taiwan on the [mainland] side of the strait". Feinstein responded: "In my meeting with some of the leadership, it was mentioned that China had offered to redeploy back. Now I understand the word `redeploy' isn't `remove'. And I understand the nature of what's there and the number of troops." Gates said it was up to Congress and the White House to decide whether to change the way arms were sold to Taiwan. […] Beijing's highly secretive military deployment against Taiwan has long been a source of tension. The breakaway island cites this as one of the reasons it has been buying weapons from Washington. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese chartered planes bring home 195 nationals from Kyrgyzstan (Global Times)
2010-06-15
Two Chinese chartered planes carrying 195 Chinese nationals who were evacuated from Kyrgyzstan arrived at an airport in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region early Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said. The Chinese government dispatched the two Boeing 737-700 passenger planes late Monday to bring back Chinese nationals living in southern Kyrgyzstan, where ethnic clashes has left more than 120 dead. […] About 600 of the more than 1,000 Chinese living in south Kyrgyzstan have asked for early evacuation from the region, the ministry said. Diplomatic sources said another two chartered planes will bring back the rest of the Chinese nationals on Tuesday. It will be the largest evacuation task since April 2006, when Chinese chartered planes brought home some 400 nationals from riot-hit Solomon Islands. ^ top ^

Chinese president wraps up Central Asia trip (Global Times)
2010-06-13
Chinese President Hu Jintao wrapped up his Central Asia trip Saturday after visiting Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and attending a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent. Hu started his trip Wednesday in Tashkent, where he and his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov exchanged views on the current situation and prospects of bilateral ties as well as international and regional issues of common concern. The two leaders signed a joint statement on the further development of the friendly and cooperative partnership between China and Uzbekistan. Hu and other SCO leaders met in Tashkent on Friday for the annual SCO summit. They discussed strategies for safeguarding security and stability, and increasing pragmatic cooperation in the region. At the summit, Hu delivered an important speech, calling for deepening practical cooperation and maintaining peace and stability in the region. He also put forward a series of proposals for intensifying cooperation within the SCO framework. Founded in 2001, the SCO consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran have observer status. From Tashkent, Hu travelled to Astana for his second visit to Kazakhstan in six months. He paid a working visit to the Central Asian country last December. […]. ^ top ^

China, Kazakhstan sign gas pipeline and uranium deals (SCMP)
2010-06-13
China and Kazakhstan have agreed to build and finance a gas pipeline and deepen atomic energy ties. President Hu Jintao and Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev presided over the deals. State companies KazMunaiGas and China National Petroleum agreed to build and finance the Kazakh leg of a natural gas pipeline network. The US$3 billion to US$3.5 billion investment cost will be shared equally. Kazakhstan will also increase shipments to China after its state nuclear company agreed a supply contract yesterday during the presidential visit. Kazatomprom will supply uranium to China Guangdong Nuclear Power. ^ top ^

Iran has no beef with China over backing for UN nuclear sanctions (SCMP)
2010-06-12
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday he would not hold a grudge against China for backing a United Nations resolution on nuclear sanctions against Iran. "We have no problem with China," he said. "Our main problem is with the United States." The Iranian government initially reacted angrily to news this week that Beijing had agreed to back the sanctions, imposed in an attempt to force the country to abandon its nuclear programme. However, speaking at the World Expo in Shanghai yesterday, Ahmadinejad heaped praise on Beijing - one of Iran's key international allies - and focused on positive aspects of the bilateral relationship. "Not only China but others also announced that the resolution is going to open the door to diplomacy," he said. "We have a very good relationship with China. There is no reason to control this relationship or weaken this relationship [as a result of the sanctions]." […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Toyota parts supplier the latest to be hit by labor unrest (SCMP)
2010-06-18
The world's largest carmaker, Toyota, has become the latest overseas company to be hit by labor unrest on the mainland after staff at a parts supplier in Tianjin briefly walked off the job on Tuesday. Although the company insisted its car assembly operations were not affected by the short-lived dispute - staff have already returned to work - some workers said they could strike again if their demands for better pay were not met. […] The rising number of labor disputes, especially those in the country's most affluent areas, such as the Pearl River and Yangtze River deltas, prompted Premier Wen Jiabao to call this week for better treatment of the mainland's hundreds of millions of migrant workers. […] The Tianjin factory, run by Toyota affiliate Toyoda Gosei, was briefly shut down on Tuesday, Toyoda Gosei spokesman Tomotaka Ito confirmed. But workers went back to work and production resumed on Wednesday afternoon after the company agreed to discuss wage increases for its 800 workers, he said. […] But outside the plant yesterday morning, some workers appeared to be unhappy about the negotiations with the company and said they had not returned to the production line. […] Most workers were reluctant to give further details about the strike or the continuing pay discussions. But some said they were disappointed because the firm had yet to make up for their losses after cutting pay by 30 to 50 per cent last year, presumably because of the global financial turmoil. […] It was not immediately clear how many workers participated in the strike or who represented them in negotiations with the firm. No workers wanted to identify their leaders. One night-shift worker said nothing had been settled. "Negotiations are still ongoing and we might do it [go on strike] again," he said. […] Tang Jun, a social policy researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, raised questions about China's future as a low-cost manufacturing base in a commentary in the People's Daily. Without mentioning the recent strikes, he urged improved conditions for migrant workers, whose cheap labor has powered the nation's growth. "What is important is achieving a relatively big improvement in the lives of ordinary people, especially wage laborers and their families." […]. ^ top ^

Internet sympathy for teen charged over stabbing of thug sent to stop petitioners (SCMP)
2010-06-18
[…] Zhao Mingyang, 16, from a small village in Fushun, Liaoning, was among about 200 petitioners who were on their way to a township government agency to report on allegedly corrupt local officials on October 9, the Beijing Times reported yesterday. They were going to complain about the head of Xiaowa village and its party chief, whom they accused of embezzling 6.96 million yuan (HK$7.94 million) in compensation owed to them for the requisitioning of their land, the report said. On the way, their vehicles were stopped by a dozen hired thugs carrying knives and hoes. One villager was beaten by the men and Zhao ran after one of them, Li Xiaolong. He hacked Li in the arm, chest and abdomen and Li died before police and ambulances arrived. The report said Li was among some 20 people hired by the party chief to intimidate villagers who wanted to lodge complaints with higher authorities. It also said several hired thugs had broken into Zhao's home the night before and threatened him and his mother with a knife, ordering them not to join in the petitioning, which his father had helped plan. […] News of Zhao's indictment created a wave of sympathy on the internet, with more than 1,500 postings mostly applauding his action. The report did not say when Zhao was charged. […] The online reactions to the killing were reminiscent of those in the case of Yang Jia, a young man who stabbed six policemen to death in 2008. Yang, who was subsequently convicted and executed, also attracted widespread sympathy. Academics say the public support for those who dare take revenge against officials reflects a dangerous level of bottled-up resentment. Violent attacks against those who have power also highlight the lack of pressure-release valves under an authoritarian government, where ordinary people have little say about what happens to them. ^ top ^

Police told to focus on rising social tension (SCMP)
2010-06-16
Mainland police have been ordered to identify and resolve conflicts before they boil over, as part of a "strike hard" campaign aimed at social tension blamed for a recent wave of violent crime. A series of attacks, including five assaults at schools that killed at least 17 youngsters and wounded more than 50, have shocked mainlanders and forced the authorities to confront violent crime. "China, during a process of social and economic transformation, is facing emerging social conflicts and new problems in social security," China Daily quoted Public Security Vice-Minister Zhang Xinfeng as saying. "Police at all levels must fully realise the complexity of the problem." A Ministry of Public Security announcement said police were ordered to identify problems at the root and resolve conflicts in their early stages. They will target trouble spots like city outskirts for violence, gun and gang crimes. The ministry did not give specifics, but resolving conflicts at their roots could refer to resolving protests peacefully or identifying individuals with worrying behaviour. […] The new crackdown appeared to be Beijing's response to experts who say the problem is not a lack of police or surveillance, but simmering and widespread frustration over a growing wealth gap, corruption and too few legal channels for people who have grievances. […] Another element is the mainland's lack of trained medical specialists to treat the mentally ill. At least three of the school attackers had a history of mental health problems. ^ top ^

Chinese Premier calls for improving migrant workers' living conditions in cities (Global Times)
2010-06-15
[…] Wen noted that government officials, as well as all members of society, should treat young migrant workers as their own children, adding that the migrant workers' contribution to the growth of the country's wealth and the building of urban skyscrapers should be respected, Wen said when meeting migrant workers at the subway construction site. Additionally, Wen said that the government should work to resolve problems for migrant workers, such as marriage, housing and taking care of their children, and help them adapt to living in the cities where they are working. Wen also proposed that local government and subway construction companies should increase recreational activities, such as sports games and Karaoke, for migrant workers to enjoy during their free time in the city. […] Further, the premier vowed to improve construction in rural areas by building more hospitals, schools and other public facilities so that migrant workers would have fewer worries in their hometowns. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Storms cause chaos at Beijing airport as 314 flights cancelled (SCMP)
2010-06-18
[…] Heavy downpours, lightning and strong winds hit the city as the weather bureau issued its third storm alert in 24 hours early on Thursday. Beijing's Capital Airport said the bad weather forced the cancellation of 314 flights and delayed another 489. Traffic was also affected by the summer storms, with huge jams on Beijing highways as commuters headed back to work after a three-day holiday. Meanwhile, wide areas of the nation's south have been hit by torrential rain since Sunday, causing floods and landslides that have killed at least 46 people and left 50 others missing, according to the ministry of civil affairs. Millions more have been affected in six provinces and regions across the south, and nearly 240,000 people have had to flee their homes. The weather has also damaged 33,000 houses and caused direct economic losses of 2.7 billion yuan (HK$3.07 billion), the ministry said in a statement. Weather authorities have warned that more downpours are expected to hit southern China in the next few day. ^ top ^

House arrest for lawyers, dissidents (SCMP)
2010-06-17
A group of dissidents and rights lawyers in Beijing have been placed under house arrest or harassed for planning to visit human rights activist Ni Yulan, a former lawyer who was left homeless after a forced eviction, as a gesture of support and to mark the Dragon Boat festival. The plan attracted support after being publicised on Twitter. […] The activists believed the Twitter postings alerted the police and prompted the crackdown. Despite the crackdown, some Twitter users went ahead to meet Ni, but only to find that police had removed her and husband Dong Jiqin just before the gathering. A witness said more than 50 police officers in eight cars came down a tunnel, where they planned to have the gathering as it was drizzling, just as Ni arrived. "They pushed her wheelchair and dragged her husband away," the witness said. […] Activist Liu Dejun, who also planned to attend the gathering, said he and at least three other dissidents were taken away and harassed by police on Tuesday night. "They knocked on my door at midnight and forced it open at around 2am. They then blindfolded me and took me to the countryside, where they beat me up and asked me what my plan was on Wednesday night," Liu said yesterday. Liu said he was dumped in the countryside and hitchhiked back to the city centre yesterday morning. […] Aside from the activists, rights lawyers were placed under house arrest in an apparent police attempt to bar them from the meeting. Li Fangping said three plain-clothes officers had been watching his door since yesterday morning. "They didn't explain why they were there, but they asked me what I would be doing tonight [Wednesday night]," Li said. Aside from himself, Li said other lawyers, including Jiang Tianyong and Tang Jitian, were also placed under police scrutiny yesterday. […] Ni, formerly a rights lawyer who helped plaintiffs in many forced eviction cases, has been living in a makeshift tent at an emergency shelter in the Huangchenggen Relics Park since her release from jail in April. Ni was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of interference with public administration while fighting against the demolition of her house in 2008. […]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Report on Foxconn suicides will be made public: vice-minister (SCMP)
2010-06-14
[…] A string of 10 suicides this year at the Foxconn complex has brought intense scrutiny of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry, the owner of Foxconn, which makes the iPhone and other products for Apple and also counts Dell and Hewlett-Packard among its clients. Zhang said the results of a government investigation into the suicides would eventually be "released to the public". He indicated the government was not treating the suicides as simply the reflection of stressful work conditions at the plants, where Foxconn has about 400,000 employees. […] "The Foxconn incidents are not only a question of labour relations, and there are multiple causes," the paper said quoting Zhang. "There are enterprise management problems, the psychological problems of young workers." […]. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Urumqi drill ahead of riot anniversary (SCMP)
2010-06-12
[…] Beijing, apparently adopting a carrot-and-stick approach, has also launched a training programme for elite cadres around the country before sending them off to "help with Xinjiang's development". The measures follow a top-level meeting in Beijing last month that mapped out development plans for the region for the next 10 years, following the instability brought by the violent unrest on July 5. Thursday's drill, involving nearly 1,000 armed police and special police, simulated a riot triggered by a traffic accident in Urumqi. The city's police initiated a first-level anti-riot contingency plan as "bystanders" swelled into a big crowd around the accident scene and later committed crimes such as looting, arson and vandalism. Special police, SWAT teams, and armed police were then called in to contain the situation. A China News Service report said the drill was designed to test the response of different police divisions to an emergency situation and clarify the division of labour. While the drill sought to imitate the intensity of last year's unrest, it covered up a key trigger of the deadly rioting - ethnic tensions between Han Chinese and Uygurs. Aside from coming up with a far less sensitive cause for the simulated unrest, no Uygur-looking participants could be seen in photographs taken by official media. […] Critics have since stepped up calls for changes to China's ethnic policies, which they said were unfair to minority groups and suppressed their religious and other pursuits. On the defensive about its policies, Beijing followed up with a pump-priming approach to handle problems in Tibet and also decided to boost investment in Xinjiang. As part of the measures to boost the region's development, Beijing is also sending elite cadres from other parts of the country to work in Xinjiang. The Central Party School recently held a nine-day training programme to broaden their knowledge of Xinjiang. Officials from various ministries lectured on aspects of the region, from its history and religious background to the government's fight against separatism. The authorities have put the crackdown on the so-called "three forces" - terrorism, separatism and extremism - at the top of their agenda in Xinjiang. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Officials report progress in cross-strait trade talks (SCMP)
2010-06-14
[…] Experts from both sides met in Beijing for the day for a third round of talks on the Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement intended to normalize mainland-Taiwan economic ties and bring the two economies closer. "The two sides have exchanged views on the content of the Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement and the five attachments and have achieved substantial progress," the quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation said in Taipei. Further discussions would still be required, the foundation said, adding it hoped the deal would be signed at the fifth round of talks when the top envoys from the two sides - Chiang Pin-kung and his mainland counterpart, Chen Yunlin - meet on a date not yet set. […] Taiwan's Beijing-friendly government, which says the deal will boost growth and employment, has been pushing to sign the agreement in June. […] More than 500 industrial items from Taiwan are expected to be allowed preferential tariffs as part of the deal, the Taiwanese Economic Daily reported, quoting Wang Yi, chief of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council. The items would cover industries ranging from petrochemical and textiles to machinery and car parts worth US$13.6 billion. […] Taiwan is banking on the agreement opening doors to trade deals with other major economies such as Japan, the United States and Southeast Asian nations, allowing its export-reliant US$390 billion economy to stay competitive with regional rivals. "Signing the [agreement] is a route that Taiwan must take and it is a milestone," Liu Bih-rong, a professor of political science at Soochow University in Taipei, said. "It signifies how the relationship between the two sides has recovered and, more importantly, it will pave the way for more free-trade agreements and benefits." The deal's critics fear a flood of cheap mainland imports could destroy Taiwan's economy, and see the deal opening the way for a political takeover by the mainland. […]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Nation's holdings of US treasury bonds rebound (Global Times)
2010-06-17
China has increased its holdings of US treasury debts for the second consecutive month, breaking the $900 billion barrier for the first time since last year. China's holdings of US debt rose by $5 billion over the previous month to $900.2 billion as of April, according to figures released by the US Department of Treasury local time Tuesday. […] China's holdings increased by $136.7 billion since April 2009. There are no better alternatives than US treasury bonds in terms of risk hedging and value maintenance, particularly in light of the European debt crisis, said Lu Zhengwei, a Shanghai-based economist with Industrial Bank. Some analysts suggested that boosting the amount of other reserves such as gold is a way to reduce risks of over-dependent on US debts. But the government has disagreed with this approach[…] The role gold plays in the country's asset portfolio remains restrained by factors including the small size of the market, poor liquidity, price fluctuations, and the relatively high costs of holding and trading. […] The government has stated that buying and selling the bonds is part of normal market operations, but some analysts have questioned their motivation. Lu said the continuing purchase of treasury debts right now might be an action aimed at allaying pressure on yuan appreciation by the US government. […]. ^ top ^

Perverse equation of rehousing is driving up prices (SCMP)
2010-06-15
[…] Some experts say the rising cost of resettlement compensation is one of the causes of rapidly rising house prices. In a bid to boost their revenues and gross domestic product figures - essential for political advancement - local government officials in remote areas aggressively redevelop old housing and farmland into higher-value private housing estates. […] As land and housing prices have risen during the property boom, so have compensation payments. This, in turn, has increased the purchasing power of those who were relocated, creating stronger demand in the private housing market. Resettlement compensation is the biggest transfer of wealth from the government to the household sector since the privatisation of low-cost public housing about a decade ago, according to independent economist Andy Xie. The overwhelming majority of end-user purchases probably came from resettled residents who used their compensation cash for down payments, he said. Shanghai driver Ma Weifu is a good example. […] The government resettled Ma, his wife, his son and his mother to a flat in Pudong with a gross floor area of 58 sq metres. […] The Ma family lived there for about a decade before selling it and gaining about 460,000 yuan. Ma used the money for the down payment on his new house in the private housing market. "I paid 1.09 million yuan for the purchase of this [300 sq metre] house after I sold my previous home for 460,000 yuan," he said. Ma now has a new strategy to take advantage of the resettlement compensation policy in the future. "I have asked my wife and my son to change their hukou [household registrations] to my in-laws' 47.5 square metre home on Pudong Boulevard in Huangpu district, in the downtown of the city," Ma said. "My wife's sister and her son also changed their household registrations to there. We are now betting that the government will at least compensate us with two flats once their home is demolished," he said. […] Resettlement compensation is paid according to where the residential permit is registered. Ma said his ploy was not illegal. […] To avoid abuse of the resettlement policy, Shanghai's municipal government has stipulated that hukou holders registered in resettled areas for less than two years will be ineligible for compensation. […] Ma's case supports economist Xie's contention that resettlement compensation is one of the drivers of the country's real estate boom. "Local governments increase resettlement payouts to avoid social conflict," Xie said. "They raise land prices to pay for it. It drives up property prices and increases resettlement compensation expectations. The cycle continues." […]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

US, S. Korean diplomats discuss warship sinking (Global Times)
2010-06-18
A senior US diplomat met with his counterparts in Seoul Thursday to discuss ways to condemn the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) at the United Nations Security Council for the sinking of a South Korean warship. US assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell, who is on a two-day visit to Seoul, met with S. Korea's foreign minister Yu Myung-hwan and vice foreign minister Chun Yung-woo, separately, as Seoul steps up its diplomatic drive to convince the UN Security Council members to punish Pyongyang torpedoing the warship and taking 46 lives. "We're determined to show that our alliance is very firmly together during an absolutely critical period," Campbell was quoted by Yonhap News Agency as telling Yu at the start of their meeting. The two agreed that the international community should send a clear message to Pyongyang, according to Yonhap. Seoul's foreign ministry said informal discussions on the issue have been underway among 15 members of the Council, including five veto-wielding permanent members. Pyongyang also made its own case at the Council, claiming Seoul fabricated the findings of investigations led by a multinational team of investigators. ^ top ^

DPRK to act with military measures if wronged by UN: envoy (Global Times)
2010-06-17
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will respond with military measures if the UN Security Council releases any document against it over the Cheonan case, its UN ambassador said on Tuesday. "If the Security Council releases any documents against us, condemning or questioning us... follow-up measures will be carried out by our military forces," Sin Son Ho, the DPRK's permanent representative to the United Nations, told a press conference here. Asked if his comment meant to threaten military action, Sin simply replied: "I gave you an answer. You can prejudge what is the meaning." […] The United States and the Security Council "shall bear the full responsibility for the subsequent consequences" if the Council treats this case "unfairly," and fails to prevent any conflict on the Korean Peninsula, he warned. "Our people and army will smash out aggressors with merciless counteraction if they dare to provoke us despite our repeated demand and warnings, and build the most thriving reunified nation on the Korean Peninsula," he claimed. On Monday afternoon, the Security Council held separate private meetings with delegations of the two countries to hear their briefings over the Cheonan case. Then the 15 members of the Council huddled behind closed doors to discuss the matter among themselves. In remarks to the press following the meetings, Mexico's UN Ambassador Claude Heller, the Council president for this month, said the Council members were "gravely concerned" with the impact of the incident on peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and urged the sides "to refrain from any act that could escalate tensions in the region." The Council has not reached any conclusion yet and will " continue its consultations on this incident," Heller said. ^ top ^

UN council ‘gravely concerned' at Korea ship sinking (SCMP)
2010-06-15
The UN Security Council expressed grave concern on Tuesday over the deadly sinking of a South Korean naval ship in March that has heightened tension on the Korean peninsula. Seoul brought the dispute to the Security Council this month, asking the 15-nation body to take action to deter “further provocation.” Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller, president of the council this month, read out an agreed statement to reporters after two separate informal briefings from South and North Korean delegations on the incident. “The Security Council is gravely concerned with this incident that caused the death of 46 sailors and its impact on peace and stability on the Korean peninsula,” Heller said. The careful wording did not say who was to blame for the incident. “The Security Council makes a strong call to the parties to refrain from any act that could escalate tensions in the region and makes an appeal to preserve peace and stability in the Korean peninsula,” he said. “The Security Council will continue its consultations on this incident.” Council diplomats say that South Korea is hoping the council will rebuke the North, though North Korea's sole major ally, China, wields veto power on the council and is reluctant to support any action or statement that would upset Pyongyang. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

MPS want child money payment to resume (News.mn)
2010-06-17
MPs from both parties this week renewed their demand for resumption of paying the child allowance. The MPRP parliamentary group has said how much should be paid will depend on how much is in the Human Development Fund. This will be clear during the discussion of the budget but the MPs hoped it would be possible to pay the money every month. The DP group feels that even under a revised budget, there would be enough money to pay MNT20,000 a month to every child. The total cost would be MNT190 billion. ^ top ^

Mongolia-USA defense meeting (Montsame)
2010-06-15
Washington, the USA, has hosted recently a 8th Mongolia-USA Defence Ministries' high level consultative meeting. At the gathering, which took place June 8-9, present were from the Mongolian side a vice-Minister of the Defencer Ministry, S.Baasankhuu, vice head of the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces Brigadier-general, B.Bayarmagnai and other military officials, the U.S. side was represented by Derek J. Mitchell, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Asian and Pacific Security Affairs and others. The sides discussed the issues themed "Defence policy" and "Leading Board of the Defence sector reform". S.Baasankhuu has asked the U.S. side to increase a help for Mongolia given for its deploying the troops to Afghanistan, to continue an assisitance given in organizing joint military field exercises in frames of the "Khaan Quest"--a symbol of the two Ministries cooperation, to involve Mongolia in the "Defence organization reform initiative" program which is run by the U.S Department of Defence. The U.S. side accepted these proposals and promised to focus on their realization. At a meeting of the leading board of the Defence sector reform the sides supported key directions of cooperation, and agreed at first to increase military professional tranings, give a support to expanding the Mongolian "Tavan Tolgoi" military traning center into the regional one and to empower air forces. The next meeting has been scheduled for 2011 in Mongolia. ^ top ^

Inflation reaches 16.1 percent in Ulaanbaatar (News.mn)
2010-06-14
Inflation at the end of May was 13.1 percent nationwide and 16.1 percent in Ulaanbaatar, where meat prices rose 50 percent and that of vegetables 20 percent. There are concerns that the inflation rate would rise to the level of two years ago, when it stood at 34 percent, with the price of wheat and flour rising the most. The consumer price index last month was up by 3.2 percent nationwide, and 4.2 percent in Ulaanbaatar. The CPI usually rises by no more than 2 percent a month, and the present higher rate is also traced to the meat price. Price of beverages also rose by 6.4 percent in May, while fuel and diesel prices rose by 2.7-4.2 percent. Inter-city transportation expenses rose by 25 percent last year. Some 65.8 percent of the total population is between 15-60 years, which means there are 1 million and 111,000 people able to work. Only 975,900 of them have jobs. Of the unemployed, 38,796 are registered as looking for jobs. Of them again, 50.3 percent have lost their job while the rest has never worked. In May, 23,100 people registered anew, while 14,100 were sent to an employer. Men constitute 76.3 percent of the unemployed. The poverty rate stands at over 35 percent for the third year in a row. People between 16-34 are 54.7 percent of the registered unemployed.. ^ top ^

Mongolians to share Tavan Tolgoi profits (Mongol Menssenger)
2010-06-11
Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit will be under 100 percent state ownership and every Mongolian will enjoy a preference to own shares of Tavan Tolgoi, a leading coal deposit in the world with a reserve of 6.4 billion tonne. Government submitted the draft Investment Agreement on Tavan Tolgoi deposit to Parliament and a draft parliamentary resolution on some issues to exploit the Tavan Tolgoi deposit. The groups of parties in parliament discussed the document on June 7 and supported them in principle. The Government drafted a project to possess the deposit by dividing into two parts. For the first part of the deposit, it proposes to establish a 100 percent state-owned company based on the deposit with coal reserves of 3.5 billion tonne and distribute equal shares to 2.7 million citizens; however for the second part, it has a proposal to select a domestic and foreign investors to exploit the remaining 3 billion tonne of coal. It is interested to mobilize domestic and foreign investors in order to resolve issues including transit shipment, advance payment, infrastructure establishment as well as the funding required for them. Minerals and Energy Minister D.Zorigt highlighted that as Tavan Tolgoi deposit's licence and field are only under state ownership, it is impossible to put the license on pledge or sell it. ^ top ^

 

Corentin Buela
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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