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
  25-29.10.10, No. 343  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

 

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Foreign Policy

China urges Japan to work together for maintaining ties (Global Times)
2010-10-25
China expects Japan to make joint efforts so as to maintain and advance the two nations' ties, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu on Saturday. Ma made these remarks when asked to comment on a statement made by Japan's Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara who reportedly said on Friday that as the world's second and third largest economies, Japan and China should work together to continue pushing forward the two countries' strategic links."We have taken note of the statement. We expect Japan to work with us in joint efforts to maintain and advance the strategic bilateral relationship of mutual benefit," Ma said. Maehara said on Monday China's countermeasures in September following Japan's detention of a Chinese trawler captain near the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea were "hysterical."Ma responded on Tuesday that China was shocked by the comments and urged Japan to take concrete actions to repair ties. ^ top ^

Scrapping of joint exercise shows Sino-US ties warming (SCMP)
2010-10-29
The US and South Korea have abandoned plans for a major joint military exercise close to Chinese waters this year that would have involved a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The decision suggests the geopolitical environment in the region has changed dramatically in the past two months, analysts say. The scrapping of the exercise in the sensitive Yellow Sea late this month also reflects an improvement in ties between Beijing and Washington ahead a series of summits."The recently fast improving Sino-US ties, particular the resumption of military-to-military relations between the Pacific powers, ahead of a series of encounters between President Hu Jintao and his US counterpart, Barack Obama, in coming months are behind the Pentagon's latest decision to call off the sensitive drills near Chinese waters," said Professor Shi Yinhong, a regional security expert at Renmin University. Shi was referring to likely Hu-Obama encounters next month on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Seoul, South Korea, and at the Apec Economic Leaders' Meeting in Yokohama, Japan, as well as Hu's planned state visit to the US in January.It is the third time since July that the Pentagon has changed its plan for the exercises, which Beijing has strenuously opposed.South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday that Seoul and Washington had shelved a plan to stage a major joint exercise later this month in the Yellow Sea, involving the US aircraft carrier George Washington, over fears that it could heighten tensions around the peninsula before the G20 summit in Seoul.[…] In late August, the Pentagon announced it had shelved a plan to send the carrier to take part in a joint drill scheduled to begin in the Yellow Sea in early September. The carrier did participate in a joint exercise from July 25 to 28, but that was switched from the Yellow Sea to the other side of the Korean Peninsula. China has bristled at the idea of a US aircraft carrier group patrolling waters near its coast. The US and South Korea have said their joint exercises are aimed at warning North Korea, which they blame for the torpedoing of a South Korean navy ship in the Yellow Sea in March. Based in Japan, the George Washington is a symbol of mounting Chinese concern at the projection of US power in East Asia. […] The stalled Sino-US military ties were back on track after a recent meeting in Hanoi between Defence Minister Liang Guanglie and his US counterpart, Defence Secretary Dr Robert Gates, Shi said. China froze exchanges with the Pentagon in February after the US sold arms to Taiwan. ^ top ^

China demands action from Japan (Global Times)
2010-10-27
China called for "concrete action" from Japan before future meetings between the Asian neighbors, as Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan are traveling to Vietnam this week for a regional summit."We hope the Japanese side will take concrete actions to create the necessary conditions and atmosphere for meetings between the two sides," Ma Zhaoxu, spokesman of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said when asked if the two lead-ers could meet in Hanoi.Wen and Kan will attend meetings at a summit of Southeast Asian leaders in Hanoi this week, followed by a wider 16-nation East Asia summit, but no separate talks have been announced.The two leaders met briefly and informally in Brussels during an Asia-Europe meeting October 4, which was their only communication since early September, when Japanese officials arrested a Chinese trawler captain near the Diaoyu Islands.The islets had been "a part of China's territory since ancient times.... There are sufficient historical and legal grounds to prove this," Ma said. "To deny history is not only in vain, but will do no good to the proper handling of the issue or to improve bilateral relations."On Monday, Japan said it had lodged a protest with Beijing after spotting two Chinese fisheries patrol boats near the islands.About 300 anti-China demonstrators rallied Saturday in the Japanese city of Takamatsu to protest the activities of Chinese boats near the islands.However, Ma said such patrols were a part of China's "indisputable sovereignty" in the region."The sea waters around the Diaoyu Islands are traditional fishing waters of Chinese fishermen," he added.Meanwhile, Zhu Yongkang, the head of China's Central Political and Legislative Committee, urged people to stay within the law in voicing patriotism.Zhu made the remarks after weekend protests against Japan in two inland Chinese cities, Lanzhou and Baoji, each drew hundreds of demonstrators. "We must... guide the public to voice its patriotic aspirations in a rational and orderly way according to the law, protecting social and political stability," Zhou told officials, according to People's Daily. A fresh protest against Japan broke out in Chongqing Tuesday, though strict security has so far deterred any big protests in Beijing or other major cities. ^ top ^

Corridor diplomacy keeps the doors open (SCMP)
2010-10-29
First it was a "surprise encounter" between Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan in a corridor in Brussels, Belgium; then an impromptu meeting between Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the airport in the seaside city of Qingdao, Shandong.Tomorrow state councillor Dai Bingguo is going to rendezvous with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton informally in Hainan. Is this a new era of flexible Chinese diplomacy? While hailing such meetings on the sidelines of regional summits as creative and timely breaks with protocol, Chinese foreign affairs pundits said this run of flexibility is probably temporary and more a response to China's current diplomatic predicament than a change of style.Of course, the chosen locations were largely a matter of convenience, too. It all started at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Brussels e this month, where Wen reportedly bumped into Kan in a corridor that happened to have two chairs. There was also an attache fluent in both Chinese and Japanese, which allowed the two to chat for half an hour. A week later, the defence ministers of both countries "bumped into" one another again in a lift lobby during the Asean defence ministers' meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Chinese suspened all high-level dialogue after Japan's arrest of a Chinese trawler captain in early September in the disputed waters of Diaoyu Islands and remained ambivalent regarding a formal meeting between Wen and Kan. Less reported but equally surprising was Wen's detour to Berlin during ASEM. Wen and German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel could have talked there, but no, the two went to Meseberg Palace, the government guesthouse 70 kilometres north of Berlin. Wen was whisked to Meseberg by helicopter in the late afternoon, met Merkel for two hours and rushed back to Brussels after dinner. Geithner's stopover in the airport in Qingdao on Sunday was already the second of its kind: he had also met Wang, China's top official on economic affairs, at the Beijing airport (SEHK: 0694) in April on the way home from India. Clinton did not include China on the announced itinerary of her whirlwind tour to Asia this week while attending regional summits and renewing Washington's pledge to step up ties with Asian countries. But on Wednesday China announced the Dai-Clinton meeting in Hainan, once again suggesting a last-minute effort for the two to meet somewhere between Beijing and Hanoi, site of the East Asia Summit.[…]. ^ top ^

Hu, Obama to hold talks in Seoul (Global Times)
2010-10-29
US President Barack Obama will hold talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Seoul next month, the White House announced Thursday. The two leaders will discuss the global economy, trade, human rights, North Korea, Iran and other issues when they meet on November 11, according to the announcement. The US has been pressing China to appreciate the yuan, but the Obama administration has delayed a controversial report on China's currency until after the G20 summit, averting a showdown in Seoul between the two sides. And in another sign of tensions over US-China trade, the US House of Representatives passed a bill last month allowing the government to impose countervailing duties on imports from nations found to be manipulating their currencies.In campaigning ahead of crucial midterm elections next week, Obama vowed to take a firmer stance with developing nations such as China and to drive a tougher bargain for US products.

Meanwhile, Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser, said Wednesday that Obama's upcoming trip to India and other Asian countries should not be taken as a slap against Pakistan or any other country. Obama leaves November 5 on a 10-day trip to India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan. The president will start the trip with 3.5 days in India, the longest foreign stop of his presidency. Some analysts portrayed the tour as a White House effort to counterbalance China's influence in Asia, but the newly announced meeting between Obama and Hu serves to help repel such allegations.[…] Rhodes also insisted that Washington's bid to court India would not come at the expense of Pakistan."The president believes that the US' relationship with India and the US' relationship with Pakistan don't take place within a kind of zero-sum dynamic," he said. ^ top ^

Japan keen to get over differences with China (SCMP)
2010-10-29
Last-minute brinkmanship is clouding the prospects of a clear-the-air meeting between Premier Wen Jiabao and his Japanese counterpart in Hanoi this week. Japanese officials are insisting privately that they are eager for Prime Minister Naoto Kan to meet Wen, but officials in Beijing warned Japan not to attempt to shift the blame for the current breakdown, the worst in Sino-Japanese relations in years. Diplomats on both sides are trying to secure a meeting on the fringes of Asean's East Asia Summit tomorrow. They say nothing has been finalised but confirm discussions are under way. Both Wen and Kan arrived in Hanoi yesterday. Both men will be in same room this afternoon when they join South Korea for a summit meeting with the 10 leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations. […] The mounting friction is threatening to sour a week that is geared to strengthening Asean and its integration with the region.It also plays out before an audience of officials from 16 other nations, many of which are wary of China's growing clout and assertiveness in the region.US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will be among the leaders present - a further sign of the US' determination to re-engage with Southeast Asia amid the increased nervousness about China.Hopes of a session to repair Sino-Japanese ties dimmed after Japanese officials confirmed that a planned side meeting in Hanoi of Chinese, Japanese and South Korean economic officials had been scrapped. The meeting had been widely expected to cover disruptions to China's exports of rare earths - minerals vital in the manufacture of hi-tech products.China, which has 97 per cent of the highly strategic global market, insists it will not use access to the commodities as a bargaining tool.Even so, Japan and other nations are quietly searching for alternatives. Kan is due to meet summit host, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, on Sunday and the prospect of mining rare earths in Vietnam will be discussed as part of a rapidly emerging strategic partnership with Tokyo. ^ top ^

Highlights of Chinese premier's activities in Vietnam (Global Times)
2010-10-29
The following are highlights of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's activities in Vietnam on Thursday. Wen met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung here and called for proper handling of the South China Sea territorial rights issue. To properly handle the issue was of vital importance to a sound and stable development of China-Vietnam relations, Wen said.He noted that China and Vietnam had established a negotiation mechanism to solve the issue, and he hoped the two countries would discuss and sign an agreement on basic principles guiding the solution of issues of the sea as early as possible.The premier vowed that China would maintain high-level contacts with Vietnam, establish a hotline between leaders of the two countries, and strengthen consultation between all departments to enhance their mutual trust, deal with disputes appropriately and promote common interest. Wen also called for an early signing of a five-year trade cooperation plan between the two countries. He urged the two sides to promote pragmatic cooperation in all areas, develop a balanced and sustainable trade relationship, and further strengthen cultural cooperation. Wen met here with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to discuss bilateral relations and issues of common concern. Wen hailed Combodia's stance that the issue of the South China Sea should be resolved through bilateral consultations by the countries concerned.Wen said that being good neighbors, good friends and good partners, China and Cambodia have maintained a high level of mutual trust despite rapid and profound changes in international and regional situations, having promoted and deepened cooperation in various fields and having supported each other on key international and regional issues. Wen and his Laotian counterpart Bouasone Bouphavanh agreed here to advance relations between the two countries. Wen said China would like to work with Laos to further develop their comprehensive, strategic and cooperative partnership by building on traditional ties and expanding exchanges and cooperation. China is willing to strengthen the exchange of views and coordination on major regional issues and work together to push forward relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Wen said. Wen urged the two sides to boost negotiation and coordination that would hopefully lead to the early signing of a blueprint for bilateral economic cooperation. Both countries should also make the best of the opportunities of the China-ASEAN free trade area to conduct mutually complementary cooperation and further vitalize bilateral economic and trade ties, Wen said. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

People's Daily stresses step-by-step political reform (Xinhua)
2010-10-27
A signed article published in Wednesday's People's Daily said China's political reform must be conducted in a step-by-step manner under a socialist system and the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The article, written by Zheng Qingyuan, said China's political reform should be conducted in accordance with the development of the country's economic, historical and cultural background.The article was carried by the CPC Central Committee's official newspaper after the Party concluded a key policy-setting meeting that stressed the need for political reform."Great impetus will be given to economic restructuring, while vigorous yet steady efforts should be made to promote political restructuring," the communique, issued by the fifth plenary session of the 17th CPC Central Committee, said.The article starts with noting that the kind of political system a country chooses "depends on the will of the overwhelming majority of the country's people and its particular national condition, as well as its historical and cultural background." It cited late leader Deng Xiaoping's remarks about the three key indicators to assess a country's political system: whether its political situation is stable; whether the system can enhance unity among its citizens and improve their lives; and whether the country's productivity can be sustainably developed. The article said that since 1979, the CPC has announced a comprehensive reform policy which included consistent political reform over the past three decades, and added that China had achieved some experience in political reform now. It also stressed that China's political reform should not blindly adopt western-style practices such as having multiple parties which hold office in rotation and separating administrative, legislative and judicial powers. ^ top ^

China to boost domestic demand, maintain balanced economic growth in coming five years (Global Times)
2010-10-28
China will stick to the strategy of expanding domestic demand, consumption in particular, and seek a new phase of economic growth boosted by consumption, investment and exports, according to an official document released Wednesday. The document, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee's Proposal for Formulating the 12th Five-Year Program for China's Economic and Social Development (2011-2015), was adopted at the Fifth Plenum of the 17th CPC Central Committee, which concluded nine days ago. Macro-economic controls would be boosted, according to the document. A key task in the 12th Five-Year Plan would be to consolidate and expand achievements in fighting the global economic downturn. China would seek a balance between stable and relatively fast economic growth, restructuring and inflation expectation management. Consistency and stability of the macro-economic policies would be maintained, while improving their flexibility, scientific properties and foresight to guard against potential risks and avoid drastic economic fluctuations. Short and long-term macro-economic controls would be combined, while policies were coordinated to ensure stable and relatively fast economic growth. A long-term mechanism would be built to boost consumption demand. Consumption would be highlighted in expanding domestic demand to release urban and rural consumption potential and allow China to ascend to the top-ranking markets in the world, said the document. […]. Projects key to expanding China's domestic demand would be given priority at the beginning of the 12th Five-Year period. Capital would be further channeled into livelihoods, social programs, agricultural and rural construction, scientific innovation, biological and environmental protection, and resources saving, aided by industry policies. More capital would be channelled into central and western regions. The requirements for investment projects to meet in land use, energy efficiency, environment protection would be enforced strictly to check blind expansion or repetitive construction. Positive interaction between investment and consumption would be boosted. The expansion of investment, job creation and higher living standards would together create demand. Fields available to government investment would be defined clearly and management of local government financial vehicles tightened to guard against investment risks. Investment activities by state-owned enterprises would be standardized with preferences on economic and social benefits. More non-state investment would be encouraged in infrastructure sectors, infrastructure equipment, urban public services, social programs and financial services. ^ top ^

Call for 'prudent political reform' (Global Times)
2010-10-28
A front-page article in People's Daily Wednesday called for active but prudent political reform under the current Party leadership and existing socialist system. This was the third article talking about reform in seven days by the newspaper. The latest one said that political reform, as an important part of China's comprehensive reform, has seen abundant gains in the past three decades and should make regular adjustments rather than change with one stroke. The article cited late leader Deng Xiaoping's remarks about three key indicators that could be used to assess a country's political system: whether its political situation is stable; whether the system can enhance unity among its citizens and improve their lives; and whether the country's productivity could maintain sustain-able development. […] Some experts felt that the article was an official response from the Party's mouthpiece to the increasingly heated discussion about political reform in recent months.In the past few weeks, Premier Wen Jiabao has made several calls for political reform. Wen has suggested bolder measures to make officials more accountable and give citizens more say to safeguard economic transformation.The remarks received great attention and were met with much speculation at home and abroad. The political reform became a major topic of discussion among the public and in academia. Meanwhile, jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo being given the Nobel Peace Price was believed to have inspired China's liberal intellectuals. Later, some retired Party officials released a letter supporting more freedom of speech and other reforms. […] Jiao believes sharp reform is not possible due to the existence of a stable society and a surging economy, although local unrest is on the rise. Xiao Shu, senior political commentator at Guangdong-based Southern Metropolises Daily, suggested that the general election system should be tested, starting at the village level and then at the county level. He also urged the government to establish a timetable. ^ top ^

Premier Wen reaffirms climate change principle of 'common but differentiated responsibility' (Global Times)
2010-10-29
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the country would actively encourage global co-operation on climate change under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibility".Wen made the statement while explaining the Communist Party of China Central Committee's Proposal for Formulating the Twelfth Five-year Program (2011-2015) on National Economic and Social Development. According to the proposal, China is set to make reducing its energy consumption intensity and carbon dioxide emissions "binding goals" over the next five years.

The "binding goals" and other plans targeted at combating climate change are China's own initiatives and based on the country's condition, the premier said. Climate change is a serious challenge facing human society, and it will take the entire international community to tackle the challenge, he said. The Chinese government announced in November 2009 that the country would reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from its 2005 level. ^ top ^

Chinese Premier stresses balanced urban-rural development (Global Times)
2010-10-29
China should work to balance the development between its urban and rural regions while pushing forward urbanization, Premier Wen Jiabao said. Wen made the remarks in his explanation of the Communist Party of China Central Committee's Proposal for Formulating the 12th Five-Year Program (2011-2015) for China's Economic and Social Development, which was adopted at the Fifth Plenum of the 17th CPC Central Committee that ended Oct.18.Wen delivered the explanation on Oct. 15 when the CPC Central Committee session began. Issues concerning agriculture, farmers and rural areas should be one of the most important works for the CPC in the next five years, Wen said. […] Wen stressed that the existing dual economic structure of cities and the countryside is the "biggest structural problem" in China's economic and social development, and narrowing the urban-rural development gap is the most difficult task and also the key to the construction of a well-off society and modernization. Further, the development of rural regions should be promoted by boosting rural modernization, strengthening public services and infrastructure construction, increasing farmers' incomes and improving the rural development mechanism, he said. Wen also underscored coordinated development between regions and said more attention should be given to planning in the process of urbanization. […] Wen said, while pointing out a number of issues, including excessive population growth and poor traffic management. China should take gradual steps to transfer rural populations to urban residents and protect the rights of migrant workers by improving regulations, he said. Wen called for the establishment of a housing system that is in accordance with China's situation, that more efforts should be made to build affordable housing and to provide more homes for mid- and low-income families. Also, China would continue to curb speculative demand in the property market to promote the steady and healthy development of the real estate sector, he added. ^ top ^

China's legislature ends bimonthly session, adopting social insurance law (Global Times)
2010-10-29
China's top legislature on Thursday ended its bimonthly session, adopting a series of bills including the long-awaited social insurance law that had been reviewed by lawmakers four times in almost three years.The law that aims to prevent the improper use of social security funds was first submitted to the legislature in December, 2007, following a scandal in Shanghai involving 3.7 billion yuan (502.3 million US dollars) of social security funds. The law is to take effect on July 1, 2011.In a proposal made by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on formulating the country's 12th Five-Year Program (2011-2015) on National Economic and Social Development issued Wednesday, the social security system is set to be improved. The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee also voted to adopt the law on law application to civil relationships involving foreign interests, and the revised Organic Law of Villagers' Committees, regarding rural people having greater powers to remove villagers' committee members and to convene meetings to decide village affairs.Also adopted at the close of this legislative session were the amendments to the Law on Deputies to the NPC and Local People's Congresses at Various Levels, which further specify the rights and duties of lawmakers. Lawmakers also adopted a decision to appoint Vice President Xi Jinping as vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the People's Republic of China. […] The top legislature also expelled Li Qihong, former deputy secretary of Zhongshan Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China in southern Guangdong Province and former mayor of Zhongshan City, from the top legislature on suspicion of "seriously violating disciplines" concerning economic activities. ^ top ^

Rare earths 'will not be bargaining instrument' (People's Daily Online)
2010-10-29
China said on Thursday that it will not use rare earths as a diplomatic "bargaining tool", in response to challenges against its management of the vital metals. It also said measures to restrict the exploitation, production and export of rare earths are in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Zhu Hongren, spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at a press conference in Beijing that China will seek international cooperation to solve recent disputes over rare earths. China has cut export quotas for rare earths, vital for the production of a range of high-tech products, as reserves slumped, due in part to smuggling. There were earlier reports that it would further cut quotas next year, but the Ministry of Commerce denied the reports. Zhu said that China's restrictions on rare earth exports are for long-term development. Zhu made the remarks after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that it would welcome any clarification of China's stance on rare earths and encourage countries affected to "seek additional supplies". During the past few months some countries, such as Japan, have expressed fears over China slashing exports next year. The US and European Union said earlier this week that they were pressing for solutions. The issue is expected to be discussed at next month's G20 summit in South Korea. Rare earth metals are comprised of 17 elements and are vital in the production of high-tech products such as lasers, missiles, computers and superconductors. China has 36 percent of the world's rare earths but supplies about 97 percent of world demand, pointing to an obvious over-exploitation, analysts said. The US accounts for 13 percent and Russia 19 percent of global reserves, but they have largely stopped production since they can import the minerals from China at low prices while protecting their own stocks and environment, analysts said. Japan, meanwhile, has imported large amounts of the minerals from China and kept part of the imports as "rainy day" reserves. Zhu said that China's over-exploitation of the metals has created many environmental problems, which justifies the country's production and export control policies.

The Commerce Ministry said China's reserves of medium and heavy rare earths may only last 15 to 20 years at the current rate of production, which could lead to China being forced to import supplies. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday that it is China's legitimate right to manage its own reserves. ^ top ^

New plan calls for trade balance, emissions cut (People's Daily Online)
2010-10-29
Beijing has vowed to narrow its trade surplus and curb growing emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases in an ambitious five-year plan to make its economy cleaner and more high-tech. China's top leaders also plan to inspire consumer spending to reduce reliance on exports to power economic growth, according to the 12th Five-Year Plan, approved last week by the ruling Communist Party of China's Central Committee. Such five-year plans are a holdover from China's era of central planning but the ruling party still uses them to craft long-term goals for this fast-changing society, said an analysis from The Associated Press on Thursday. The new five-year plan from 2011 to 2015 reflects the leadership's ambitions to transform China from a low-wage nation of factory workers and farmers into a consumer society and creator of advanced technology. It says Beijing will expand domestic demand while also improving the competitiveness of China's export industries, said the national People's Daily and other state media. […] Action to narrow China's trade surplus, which hit $16.9 billion in September, might help to ease tensions with Washington and demands by some American lawmakers to sanction Beijing, the Associated Press report said. The plan also reflects the intention of Chinese leaders to steer rapid economic growth to a more sustainable level and focus on making the energy- and resource-hungry economy more efficient and spread prosperity to the rural and urban poor. China's leaders are trying to diffuse tensions over a yawning wealth gap between an elite group who have benefited most from three decades of economic reform and the country's poor majority.

The plan gave no detailed targets for economic growth that moderated to 9.6 percent in the latest quarter and is expected to slow in coming years.It also promises to curb greenhouse gas emissions. As a developing country, China is not bound by international emissions limits but has promised to rein in its output. Beijing has promised to reduce intensity of greenhouse gas emissions proportionate to its per-capita GDP output by up to 15-20 percent by 2020 from the level of 2000. "The importance of building a resource-saving and environment-friendly society should be stressed to save energy, reduce greenhouse emissions and actively tackle global climate change," the 12th five-year plan says. The plan also calls for technology development to reduce reliance on foreign technology. "China should upgrade its capabilities in indigenous research and innovation," the plan says.It gave no details but media have said Beijing might spend up to 4 trillion yuan (US$600 billion) to develop new and emerging industries over the next five years. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Expo 2010 breaks its target of 70 million visitors (People's Daily Online)
2010-10-25
With a high volume of visitors expected in the last week of Expo 2010 Shanghai, organizers said on Sunday they will leave no stone unturned to ensure the extravagant fair comes to a close on Oct 31 without any major hiccups. The six-month event, which comes to a close on Oct 31, exceeded its target of 70 million visitors on Sunday. More than 837,000 people passed through turnstiles in the Expo Garden on Saturday, while more than 666,300 visitors had entered the venue as of 4 pm on Sunday. Total attendance for the 184-day fair last week broke the record held by Expo 1970 Osaka in Japan, which attracted a total of 64 million visitors. […] The Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination has come up with a series of measures and emergency plans for the peak days that lie ahead. Security has been doubled at each gate to ensure there are no lapses. […] Public transportation, entrances and exits, drink and food supplies, and other facilities and services for visitors have also been added, while the examination and maintenance of fences outside pavilions, water dispensers and benches in rest areas have been reinforced as well. Many other resources have been put into use, including 20 extra buses, 6,000 meters of fences and a number of temporary toilets. The ferry service has also been increased by 10 percent, with a group of guides ensuring tourists get on and off the ferry safely, according to the organizers. […] On Sunday, it took visitors about seven hours to enter the SAIC-GM (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation-General Motor) Pavilion, while there were five-hour waits for other popular pavilions like the Coca-Cola Pavilion, the Japan Pavilion, the Saudi Arab Pavilion and the Germany Pavilion. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Geithner talks 'focus on yuan' (People's Daily Online)
2010-10-25
Vice-Premier Wang Qishan held talks with US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on economic ties on Sunday after a meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers in South Korea vowed to avoid a global currency war.The impromptu meeting between Wang and Geithner, who are designated special representatives of their respective presidents on economic issues, also covered preparations for the Seoul G20 summit scheduled for Nov 11-12, according to a Xinhua News Agency report, which did not elaborate. […] Officials at the meeting agreed in principle to refrain from tit-for-tat currency devaluations and reduce trade and financial imbalances. They also agreed to give China and other major developing countries a bigger role in managing the global economy. […] Geithner, Pang added, might have sought to see how much more the yuan would appreciate, something the US has been pressing for.Washington has claimed that economic imbalances are the source of the global financial crisis and US economic problems, and suggests appreciation of the yuan is the solution. The upcoming G20 summit in Seoul will focus on the currency issue, including the yuan dispute, Pang said. The US has complained about, what it terms, intervention by some countries in their foreign exchange markets to prevent currency appreciation, and it has also sought to limit the trade surpluses of other countries in a bid to increase US exports. However, many emerging markets are suspicious that the US has deliberately allowed the dollar to depreciate to benefit its exports. The dollar index has slumped to about 73 from 113 since 2002. The dispute between the US and emerging countries is seen to be a possible prelude to a global currency war. After all-night talks, the meeting on Saturday reached an agreement to "refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies" and aim for "more market-determined exchange rate systems". The ministers and central bankers vowed, in a statement, to "pursue the full range of policies conducive to reducing excessive imbalances and maintaining current account imbalances at sustainable levels". […] Under the deal, Europe agreed to cede two seats on the IMF board to accommodate developing nations. Brazil, Russia, India and China will all rank among the top 10 IMF shareholders, with China third after the US and Japan. The US would continue to enjoy a one-vote veto power within the IMF. Analysts said the agreement reached in South Korea has achieved only "limited" progress with "empty" words and it is hard for its members to reach a workable consensus in the upcoming summit. […] The statement issued after the meeting said advanced economies, that have reserve currencies, must avoid currency fluctuations that result in mass capital inflows into emerging markets. At the meeting, Finance Minister Xie Xuren urged "major reserve currency countries to take responsible economic policies to ensure global financial stability". The US Federal Reserve said it is prepared to loosen monetary policy if the economy remains weak. However, Rainer Bruederle, German finance minister, told the meeting that the Fed's push toward easier monetary policy is the "wrong way" to stimulate growth and may amount to a manipulation of the dollar. ^ top ^

'China will be 2nd most powerful nation by 2050' (People's Daily Online)
2010-10-26
The country's top think tank has predicted China will be the world's most powerful nation, second only to the United States, by the year 2050. China will also strive to be among the top five most competitive countries of the G20 by 2020, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said in its Report on National Competitiveness of China, which was released on Monday. The country has remained among the top five powerful nations with regard to economic growth since 1992 and is expected to overtake the United States to become the world's largest economy by 2030, the report said. According to data for the first half of this year, China has eclipsed Japan to become the world's second-biggest economy after three decades of blistering growth. China ranked 17th in national competitiveness among 100 countries in 2008, a jump of 56 places from its previous listing in 1990, according to the report. […] The report also warned that China's core competitiveness could not match its ranking when it comes to high-level talents, culture, education, health, science and technology. […] The report suggested China makes more efforts to promote its international image to enhance its appeal and attractiveness. ^ top ^

China central bank says slower growth conducive to restructuring of economy, stresses price pressures (Xinhua)
2010-10-28
The People's Bank of China, the central bank, said Wednesday the slowdown of China's economic growth since the second quarter this year was a result of the government's economic restructuring policies.China's economy grew 9.6 percent in the third quarter year on year, after rising 11.9 percent in the first quarter and 10.3 percent in the second quarter.

The slowdown also reflected China's efforts in curbing soaring property prices, restraining local government debt and strengthening energy saving and emission reduction efforts, the central bank said in its Q3-report released Wednesday. The report said the slowdown was more conducive to further restructuring and sustainable development of the nation's economy. The report also said price pressures should not be ignored after the consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 3.6 percent, a 23-month high in September.

The index rose 2.2 percent, 2.9 percent, and 3.5 percent, respectively, in the first three quarters of this year. The CPI rose 2.9 percent for the first three quarters year on year after food prices, which account for about one-third of the index, rose 6.1 percent in the same period. The central bank report said grain prices could rise further next year because of higher costs of farming and increasing industrial demand for grains. In addition, rising international food prices may also cause unwillingness to sell grains locally. The Chinese government aims to keep the inflation rate under 3 percent this year. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea
China commemorates 60th anniversary of participation in Korean War (Xinhua)
2010-10-26
Chinese President Hu Jintao and Vice President Xi Jinping on Monday met with veterans and heroes of the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the volunteer army entering the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to help in the war to resist U.S. aggression.Hu is commander-in-chief of China's armed forces, while Xi has been newly appointed vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Communist Party of China.In his address on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and the CMC, Xi said that the Chinese movement 60 years ago was "a great and just war for safeguarding peace and resisting aggression." "It was also a great victory gained by the united combat forces of China's and the DPRK's civilians and soldiers, and a great victory in the pursuit of world peace and human progress," Xi said. Xi said the Chinese people would never forget the great contribution and sacrifice made by the nation's founders and, in particular, the people who made history during a war that saw the weak defeating the strong. The Chinese people will never forget the friendship -- established in battle -- with the DPRK's people and army, he said. Xi also acknowledged the former Soviet Union's government and people who provided help to the volunteer army. […] The heroism and international spirit demonstrated by the CPV in the nearly three-year battle as they fought side-by-side with the DPRK army and people will forever be treasured by the Chinese people, Xi said. CMC vice chairman Xu Caihou and other CMC members also attended the symposium. CMC vice chairman Guo Boxiong, leading a senior military delegation, was visiting the DPRK on Monday for the commemoration. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolia repays USD 3 Millon Debt to Russia (Mongol Messenger)
2010-10-22
On October 15, Finance Minister S.Bayartsogt reported to the press that Mongolia will pay approximately USD 3 of debt to Russia. A Memorandum of Understanding on this issue was inked and the issue will be finalized with approval of an intergovernmental agreement. From 1946-1991, Mongolia's government had a loan worth 11.8 billion in convertible Roubles from the Soviet Union of which, 9.6 billion was fundamental debt and 2.2 billion was loan interest. The Finance Minister said that the former prime ministers of the two countries N.Enkhbayar and Kasyanov established Memorandum of Understanding on July 1, 2001 in Moscow and agreed to resolve debt worth 11.4 billion entirely. From the total debt 260.3 million debt in convertible Roubles regarding Mongolia's Erdenet Mining Corporation was sprightly zeroed. The other part of the was cut by 97.8 percent and the remaining part or 2.2 percent was repaid. However, the issue of 124.6 million debt in convertible Roubles regarding the Mongolrostsevmet Joint Venture had to be resolved with interest within 2003 but has not been resolved until today. ^ top ^

Elbegdorj blasts leaders-people divide and mistrust (News.Mn)
2010-10-25
Speaking at the ceremony to observe the 20th anniversary of Mongolia's adoption of parliamentary democracy, President Ts. Elbegdorj expressed his appreciation of the work done by all who followed the vital mandate to build democratic, open legal relations, to strengthen and consolidate the country's independence and people's rights and liberties. It has been hard work to transform the country to an open and free political, economic and social nation and to consolidate Mongolia's international reputation. Equally commendable has been the valuable contributions of numerous national and international organizations and individuals.Mongolia has achieved in 20 years what many countries in the nation have not managed in a much longer time. These 20 years have also shown Mongolians, on various occasions and in various circumstances, that in a democracy the Government must be accountable to the people at all times. He wondered if public servants in Mongolia are forgetting that the prime reason for a state to exist is to serve its citizens. Many citizens feel deprived of their rights and jobs. The State's unabashed self-service, instead of serving the people, is getting out of control. Most of what the government produces is reaped by the government itself. Regretting that people have lost their trust in their leaders, the President said decision makers and leading politicians should serve as a model for others to follow and to look up to. They show they are listening to the people, and holding consultations by regions and districts. However, Elbegdorj read from a letter he has received from a citizen: “They listen to what they want to hear, advise what they please to advise and take their own thoughts as the only ultimate truth.” People feel frustrated that money meant for them is spent to glaze the image of MPs. Corruption is overwhelmingly unmanageable. The agency to combat corruption has become an agency to comfort corruption and MPs' failure to decide on dismissing the Anti-Corruption Authority chief Sangaragchaa even in three months has caused anger and frustration among people and damaged the reputation and honor of the State. Parliament is a bridge of accountability between the people and the Government, but it has been made into a screen, a wall of rock between the two. As President, he represents the people who want the State to work responsibly, creatively and justly. He said he has no wish to meddle in government actions but only wants to fulfill his constitutional obligations. A country falls apart as much from aggression from outside, as from corruption, red tape and unlawful practices at home. His efforts to cooperate with Parliament and the Government have been met with constant resistance. He still hopes for cooperation and is ready to walk in front and hold the fire. The powers and rights of the Mongolian were kept in Beijing during the Manchu period and in Moscow during communism. They returned to Ulaanbaatar thanks to the democratic revolution, but are now stuck in the pockets of Parliament and the Government. People miss their fundamental rights and freedoms. There is no civil society without civil participation. A State which cannot comprehend this simple truth becomes an object of hatred. Money is not going to remain an acute problem for Mongolia but it has to be spent on the people's wellbeing. People migrate from the countryside because the central government does not support businesses which would create jobs, income and thus better living in their areas. Mongolia will prosper if the money is dedicated to the wellbeing of the people and not channeled to the pockets of few bureaucrats. People should work and the State should serve the people. He was confident of a bright future for the country and its people. The greatest power of society are the people who believe in themselves, who share common values and interests, who appreciate the essence of a free society and who know their positions in that free society. ^ top ^

Financing Agreement of USD 30 Million Inked (Montsame)
2010-10-26
The Minister of Finance S.Bayartsogt and a new country manager of the World Bank for Mongolia Ms. Coralie Gevers signed Tuesday a financial agreement of USD 30 million. This agreement supports significant reforms implemented by the Government, which have been undertaken since the economic crisis of 2008.The Second Phase of Development Policy Credit (DPC2), which complements the First Phase financing of USD 40 million that was approved in June 2009, aims to support the Government in its continued efforts to sustain the economic recovery and to develop a stable fiscal framework for the future. In particular, the DPC2 supports reforms in four areas--establishment of an improved fiscal policy and management; designing a social protection system that supports the poorest through economic downturns; preparation of a framework towards a sounder financial sector; and maintaining an attractive investments climate for mining.
"Great opportunities lie ahead for Mongolia and it is critical that the Government put in place, as it is doing now, a sound fiscal framework to ensure that future mining revenues advance development opportunities for all," Ms. Gevers said. "We are pleased to support them in this effort," she added.The signing of the agreement was also the opportunity for Mr. Klaus Rohland, World Bank Country Director for China, Mongolia and Korea, to introduce Ms. Gevers, who was recently appointed the World Bank Country Manager and Resident Representative for Mongolia, to the Government. ^ top ^

Ivanhoe Tension Will Not Stop Mongolian Mine Project (UB Post)
2010-10-26
Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese said ongoing tensions with Canadian partner Ivanhoe Mines would not hold back the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project in Mongolia, which he said could be brought on stream early. Albanese said in a television interview broadcast on Sunday he hoped to see first production from the mine in 2013, and said both Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines were committed to its rapid development despite their disagreements. “It's very important for Rio Tinto. It's very important for Ivanhoe. It's also very important for Mongolia. It's a first class mine being built on time,” Albanese told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) programme Inside Business. “I'd like to actually see it get sped up if we can, first production by 2013. It is on track as we speak.” Last week Ivanhoe Mines said it would launch a rights offering worth up to $1 billion to raise funds for the project, which finally got the go-ahead from the Mongolian government last year after years of negotiation. The rights offering is widely expected to heighten tensions with Rio Tinto. The Anglo-Australian miner is a large shareholder in Ivanhoe Mines but has launched arbitration proceedings against its Vancouver-based partner over a shareholders rights plan adopted in May. However, Albanese said both the Oyu Tolgoi mine and the Simandou project that Rio Tinto is developing in Guinea could be important parts of the company's future. “These are first tier assets on a global basis,” Albanese said. “We will take the time to develop these mines, develop them carefully because I think they can be a very important part of our next generation of mines.” The Rio Tinto chief expressed confidence in Australia as a site for investment, after a major row over taxation in the sector earlier this year. Albanese said he was “quite confident” a committee set up to look at new taxation arrangements in the sector would do a “good job.”. ^ top ^

 

Gabrielle Tschopp
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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