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
  10-16.3.12, No. 414  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Bilateral Issues

City expects boost from UN listing (China Daily)
2012-03-14
The remote Chinese city of E'erguna has been listed in the United Nations' 100 Cities initiative, a campaign to boost environmentally-friendly and human-centered ways of urban construction. Jiang Baodong, mayor of E'erguna of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, said the city is planning to follow the building model of Davos, Switzerland. "I am honored that my city got the nomination and finally won the selection we are going to follow the model of Davos in Switzerland in terms of urban planning and construction," Jiang told China Daily after UN-HABITAT announced in France that E'erguna had been listed in the initiative. [...] "We need to make good use of the coming 20 years by forging a new way of urbanization in China," said Nicholas You, chairman of World Urban Campaign Steering Committee of UN-HABITAT. [...] According to You, E'erguna will be built into a new socially inclusive, economically vibrant eco-city while retaining its rich ethnic and cultural diversity and extraordinary natural resources and wetland. [...] Jiang said the design includes a green conference center similar to the one in Davos, which will spearhead economic diversity and eco-tourism. [...] Jiang said his city has already reached out to Davos to learn from its experiences as a global conference center. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

Navy role for China's carrier later this year (People's Daily Online)
2012-03-10
China's refitted aircraft carrier will begin serving in the navy officially this year, senior military officials said yesterday. Fighter jets will soon be involved in sea trials that have been running smoothly so far, Xu Hongmeng, deputy commander of Chinese navy, said. "The military authority plans to let the aircraft carrier be commissioned this year," Xu said in Beijing. A Ministry of Defense spokesman said previously that the carrier would be used mainly for scientific research and training pilots for future carriers. Military experts believe the carrier will be commissioned on August 1, China's Army Day, and will serve in the South China Sea. It has yet to be named. Photographs posted online have shown aircraft and helicopters landing on the deck of the carrier in the port of Dalian in northeast China. Chinese J-15 fighters, which military experts regard as the most ideal aircraft for the carrier, took part in short-distance take-off and landing exercises late last year, the Beijing-based Legal Evening News said yesterday. The vessel will have fighting capability only after fighters can land and take off from the carrier, said carrier expert Zhang Yao, senior researcher at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies. The carrier has taken part in four sea trials in the Yellow Sea since its first one last August. The vessel will be capable of carrying around 30 fighters and helicopters and carry a crew of around 2,000. [...] China still has a long way to go to have its home-produced aircraft carriers, because it needs to adapt to new development trends in development, Xu Xiaoyan, a People's Libration Army lieutenant general, said yesterday. "China will need at least three aircraft carriers," Xu said. [...]. ^ top ^

China to develop Xisha islands for tourism (China Daily)
2012-03-10
An official from the tourism authority of South China's Hainan province confirmed on Friday that China is mapping out a plan for developing tourism on the Xisha islands. Located 330 kilometers southeast of Hainan province, the Xisha Islands are one of four big island groups in the South China Sea, together with the Dongsha, Nansha and Zhongsha islands. "Working together with the National Tourism Administration, we are designing a specific plan to open the Xisha islands to tourists," said Wang Rulong, an official from the policy and regulation division of the Hainan tourism development commission. The plan will spell out policies for industrial distribution, environmental protection of the uninhabited islands and other important factors related to the development of tourism in China's southernmost islands, Wang said. There is as yet no detailed timetable for carrying out the plan, he said. "Our tourism development plan for Xisha islands will be in accordance with our country's diplomatic strategy," Wang said. Former deputy director of the National Tourism Administration Zhang Xiqin, who is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said that the development of Xisha is "not simply an exploration of travel resources, it's more about claiming sovereignty over these islands." "Personally, I think it is very necessary to open Xisha islands as tourists' destination," Zhang said. "Allow our citizens to step on Xisha islands and they will have a stronger feeling that Xisha and Nansha islands are indispensable parts of China." Zhang pointed out that traveling to Xisha might be inconvenient at present as there are no civil airlines or cruise boats to connect the islands to other parts of China. "However, if our government attaches more importance to developing tourism on Xisha, this will no longer be a problem," he said. Wang Xuan, a resident in Beijing, said he is looking forward to traveling to the Xisha islands. "The Xisha islands are so mysterious, and since they are untouched by pollution, the scenery must be breathtaking," he said. ^ top ^

Chinese workers wounded in Republic of Congo blasts arrive in Beijing (Global Times)
2012-03-11
31 Chinese workers wounded in the Republic of Congo's arsenal blast arrived in Beijing on Saturday evening and were immediately sent to local hospital for further medical examination and treatment. They were welcomed by Vice Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng and other senior Beijing Municipal officials. [...] Xie, on behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council, expressed deep condolence over the six workers who were killed in the blast and conveyed sincere consolation to their families and the injured workers. Xie said, China's top leaders attached great importance to this issue and a working group, led by Beijing municipal government and including many departments such as the Foreign Ministry, was sent to the Republic of Congo to aid the treatment, transport of the injured and deal with the aftermath of the victims. China thanks Republic of Congo's positive assistance in the process of treating, transporting and aftermath-dealing under tough circumstances, Xie said. Several significant events relevant to Chinese nationals abroad have occurred recently, which shows that China's overseas safety risks are becoming "increasingly diverse" and security situation is becoming "more serious", Xie noted. "China hopes its citizens and enterprises abroad improve risk awareness and prepare for the potential trouble," Xie said, adding that the Ministry will consistently work with other departments to safeguard the safety and legitimate interests of Chinese nationals and enterprises abroad. [...] The CPC Central Committee and the State Council attached great importance to the incident and were highly concerned with the Chinese nationals' safety. Chinese President Hu Jintao called the president of the Republic of Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso, while Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi called the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Congo Basile Ikouebe. [...]. ^ top ^

Pipelines not affected by border conflict (Xinhua)
2012-03-12
The China-Myanmar oil and gas pipelines under construction have not been affected by fighting inside Myanmar, Meng Sutie, director of the Yunnan public security bureau, said on Saturday. Since last year, clashes have been reported between Myanmar's central government forces and the Kachin ethnic armed group in Northern Myanmar's Kachin State, where the oil and gas pipelines pass through. "Many Chinese companies have invested a great deal in Myanmar, especially in the oil pipeline which passes through the Kachin State area," Meng told reporters after an open panel discussion at the ongoing National People's Congress meetings. "At present, the construction of the oil and gas pipelines is proceeding smoothly and there are no outstanding problems. The Myanmar side has been cooperating well and effectively with us on the construction," he said. The pipelines, due to be completed in 2013, are expected to be the fourth channel for oil and natural gas to enter China, after ocean shipping, the Sino-Kazakh pipelines and the Sino-Russian crude oil pipeline. Media reports said peace talks between Myanmar's central government and the Kachin ethnic armed group have been held several times in Ruili, a border town in Yunnan province. About 2,000 to 3,000 Kachins from the China-Myanmar border region are now staying in Yunnan province, according to Meng. "These people, including some elderly and children, come to visit family and friends through a normal channel, and they stay with their relatives or friends," he said, denying earlier reports that the Kachins lived in tent settlements. [...] "The government's attitude is, if fighting endangers these people's lives and property safety, Yunnan will offer help and settlement. But, we will encourage them to be peaceful and we will give necessary humanitarian aid," he said. [...]. ^ top ^

Hu stresses military's safeguarding stability (China Daily)
2012-03-13
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Monday called for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the armed police to pay more attention to safeguarding social stability, including that of military personnel. Hu, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made the remarks at a plenary meeting of PLA deputies to the National People's Congress on the sidelines of the parliament's annual session. [...] Hu stressed that the PLA and the armed police must focus on national defense and army building, and adhere to the fundamental requirement of making progress while maintaining stability. The president called for the PLA and the armed police to prioritize building the military from an ideological and political perspective and deepening preparation for combat to fulfill every assigned task and prepare for the opening of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) later this year. Hu praised the military for its progress in army building, reform and preparedness for combat last year and recognized the outstanding contribution by the PLA and the armed police in safeguarding national security and social stability. Hu, who is also the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, stressed that the PLA and the armed police must prioritize ideological and political development and unswervingly uphold the CPC's absolute leadership over the armed forces. Hu said the military must abide by strict political and organizational disciplines to ensure all orders are implemented to the letter. [...] The president called for greater contribution from the military to promoting the country's cultural strength and soft power, and urged personnel to join a national campaign of "learning from Lei Feng," Lei being an altruistic model soldier who died in a truck accident in 1962. [...]. ^ top ^

China promotes dialogue between Sudan, South Sudan (Xinhua)
2012-03-14
China said Tuesday that its special envoy's visits to Sudan and South Sudan were aimed at promoting amity between the two countries, in an effort to safeguard regional peace and stability. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin made the remarks at a regular press briefing in Beijing. Special Representative of the Chinese Government on African Affairs Zhong Jianhua visited Sudan and South Sudan from March 10 to 13, said Liu. During his visit, Zhong met with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Sudan Grace Daterio, respectively, according to Liu. Liu said the main purpose of Zhong's visit was to exchange views with leaders of Sudan and South Sudan on bilateral relations and encourage the two sides to resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation, so as to maintain the overall situation of regional peace and stability. Zhong, who is also China's former ambassador to South Africa, was appointed as Special Representative of the Chinese Government on African Affairs in February, succeeding Liu Guijin. ^ top ^

U.S., China hold 3rd round of Asia-Pacific consultations (People's Daily Online)
2012-03-14
The United States and China on Monday held the third round of Consultations on Asia-Pacific at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The closed-door consultations were co-chaired by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai, the U.S. State Department said in a statement. The two sides held "constructive discussions" on the developments in the Asia-Pacific region. "The United States reiterated its commitment to working together to build a cooperative partnership with China and welcomed China playing a more active and positive role in world affairs," the statement said. "The United States emphasized its support for strengthening the role of regional institutions in Asia and its desire to work together with China to advance this goal. In that context, the United States and China discussed ways for both countries to promote greater cooperation on regional challenges," the statement said. The two sides also discussed pressing issues in the region, as well as their respective objectives for the next rounds of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Strategic Security Dialogue, and Consultation on People-to-People Exchange, according to the statement. [...]. ^ top ^

Syria policy based on respect, facts (China Daily)
2012-03-15
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday that the Arab people's demand for democracy must be respected, and that China would not take sides in the Syrian issue. "We believe that the demand for democracy by the Arab people must be respected and truly responded to, and I believe this trend toward democracy cannot be held back by any force," Wen told a news conference at the end of the annual session. "China does not take sides with any party, including the government of Syria. We make our own judgment and determine our own position on this issue on the basis of actual facts," he said. Wen's remarks come amid international concern over the turmoil in Syria that has been ongoing since last March. China has long opposed military intervention and insisted on a six-point proposition for the political settlement of the Syrian issue. "China respects the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people for change and for the pursuit of their own interests," said Wen, who called for an immediate ceasefire in Syria and for civilians to be protected. [...] Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Ming, Beijing's envoy to the Syrian issue, said on Tuesday that China and Arab countries share a wide consensus on a political settlement to the Syrian crisis. After wrapping up his visit to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Zhang told reporters in Cairo that relevant parties understood and appreciated the Chinese stance regarding a political solution and were willing to maintain close contacts with China. "China is willing to work together with Arab countries for an early, fair and realistic solution that can be accepted by all parties regarding the Syrian crisis," he said. China will provide $2 million in emergency aid to the Syrian people through the International Committee of the Red Cross, Li Baodong, the Chinese permanent representative to the UN, said on Monday. [...]. ^ top ^

China, EU ink joint statement on water cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-03-15
China and the European Union (EU) signed the Joint Statement upon Establishment of China-Europe Water Platform (CEWP) to boost water cooperation on Wednesday. China's Ministry of Water Resources and the EU presidency currently held by Denmark, on behalf of the EU member states and Croatia, agree to establish the CEWP with the political support of the EU Water Initiative (EUWI) "based on reciprocity and mutual benefit," the statement said. The platform will involve various stakeholders, which may include government agencies, river basin authorities, research institutes, municipalities, NGOs and the private sector etc., according to the statement inked at the China-Europe Water Platform Conference held on the sidelines of the Sixth World Water Forum. The cooperation "will be assisted by a European Secretariat hosted by one of the member states and a Chinese Secretariat hosted by Ministry of Water Resources," said the document. "The activities of the CEWP may include policy dialogue, joint research, and business-oriented projects and will be implemented with funding made available by both sides," said the joint statement. China's Ministry of Water Resources has signed bilateral agreements or Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with water authorities of 17 European countries, said Chen Lei, China's Minister of Water Resources, at the China-Europe Water Platform Conference. [...]. ^ top ^

Japanese lawyer's indictment against Chinese captain "unlawful" (Xinhua)
2012-03-16
China on Thursday rejected a Japanese lawyer's indictment, based on a judicial panel's decision, against a Chinese captain involved in a collision with two Japanese patrol boats in the East China Sea in 2010. "I would like to reiterate that the Diaoyu Islands and adjacent islets have been inherent parts of the Chinese territory since ancient times, on which China owns indisputable sovereignty," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a routine press briefing. The Japanese side is not entitled to carry out any "official business" in the waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands, he said. "And any form of so-called judiciary procedures taken by the Japanese side against Chinese citizens is unlawful and invalid," said Liu. A judicial panel of Japan's Naha District has voted for the mandatory indictment of Zhan Qixiong, the 42-year-old Chinese skipper who, along with his crew and boat, was seized by Japan after the collision and returned after repeated Chinese representations. "Japan's actions during the event have caused severe damage to Sino-Japanese ties," Liu said, urging the Japanese side to act in a way that is conducive to strengthening relations between the two countries. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China reaffirms it will stick to socialist path (China Daily)
2012-03-10
China's top legislator Wu Bangguo reaffirmed on Friday that China would unwaveringly keep on the socialist path of political development with Chinese characteristics. "We need to thoroughly understand the intrinsic nature of China's system of people's congresses; confidently uphold our unique characteristics; be fully aware of the essential differences between this system and Western capitalist countries' systems of political power," Wu said. "We need to remain sober-minded and take a firm and clear stand on major issues of principle," he added while delivering a work report of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) at the parliamentary annual session. He said it's primarily because of the socialist path with Chinese characteristics, China has been able to maintain long-term political stability and social harmony, safeguard national unity and ethnic solidarity, and sustain development at a speed rarely seen in the world. "We must cherish it even more and adhere to it for a long time to come," he said. The people's congress system is the fundamental political system in China, which has more than 2.7 million lawmakers at various levels, who are elected by respective constituencies, directly or indirectly. [...] Chinese lawmakers push forward stipulation and implementation of national and local policies, through conducting field studies, collecting public opinions and submitting motions and suggestions. [...] In last year's NPC annual session, the top legislator Wu ruled out copying Western-style political systems. On the basis of China's national conditions, China would not, among other things, employ a system of multiple parties holding office in rotation, split powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, or divide the parliament into upper and lower houses, he said. ^ top ^

Chinese leaders join panel discussions, Hu stressing stability in Tibet (Xinhua)
2012-03-10
President Hu Jintao on Friday stressed maintaining national integrity, ethnic unity and social stability in Tibet, and other Chinese leaders also joined with national legislators in panel discussions. During a panel discussion with legislators from the Tibet autonomous region at the ongoing parliamentary session, Hu urged the consolidation of foundation for the construction of a socialist new Tibet. "Stability and harmony should be maintained in Tibet, with social management being enhanced and improved," he told the deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC). A prolonged educational campaign should be stepped up to promote ethnic unity, according to the president. He called for more spending and efforts to ensure and improve the people's livelihood and upgrade basic public services, so that people of various ethnic groups in Tibet can share the fruits of reform and development. Hu also called for adherence to the central authorities' guidelines on Tibet and for tasks aimed at reform, development and stability to be carried out in a down-to-earth manner. More should be done to promote development by bolstering the region's agriculture, industry and service trades, he suggested. [...] Joining in a panel discussion with the NPC delegation from northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Vice President Xi Jinping urged the region to pay equal attention to development and stability while making steady efforts to improve the people's livelihoods. "The work of Xinjiang is of special strategic importance in the overall work of the Communist Party and the state," said Xi. He called on other regions and government departments to keep supporting Xinjiang in a bid to achieve Xinjiang's rapid development and long-term stability. [...]. ^ top ^

Deputies boost culture (China Daily)
2012-03-10
The top legislature plans to improve laws in the cultural sector this year as the country throws unprecedented weight behind the development of culture. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress will formulate a law on public libraries to promote the development of cultural undertakings, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said on Friday. Lawmakers will also improve the system of Internet-related laws to promote a healthy cyberspace culture, and to safeguard public interests and national information security, Wu said while making an NPC Standing Committee work report to the plenary session of the NPC. The report lists "strengthening the system of cultural laws" as one of the major legislative tasks this year, which echoes the call of the country's central leadership to vigorously develop culture. A plenary session of the Communist Party of China Central Committee endorsed a guideline in October to boost China's cultural influence internationally and provide the sector with more resources domestically. [...] During the ongoing plenary sessions of the top legislature and political advisory body, cultural development has become a hot topic. [...]. ^ top ^

High-speed rail construction continues (China Daily)
2012-03-10
China's high-speed railway construction was not suspended massively and the achievements in railway transportation should not be denied despite some mistakes, a senior railway official said Friday. Construction of key railway projects will be guaranteed and continued, said Wu Qiang, director of the transportation unit of the Ministry of Railways. "Investment in railways will total 500 billion yuan ($79.37 billion) this year, and the money used for railways under construction is assured," Wu, a deputy to the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, said while participating in this year's parliamentary session. [...] In 2011, a total of 440 million passengers were transported through the country's 18 high-speed railway lines, almost double the figure in 2010, according to Wu. Average occupancy rate of high-speed trains was 60 percent during the normal time as against 80 percent during the peak time of holidays, Wu said. "Generally speaking, high-speed railways are worth developing as a more environmentally-friendly and more efficient industry," Wu said. [...] Wu said China's high-speed railway technologies are maturing after six speed hikes, during which a lot of expertise were accumulated in regard to railway lines, traction and its power-supply network. "The overall development of China's high-speed railways should not be denied because of some mistakes," Wu said. ^ top ^

Top judge vows deeper reforms (SCMP)
2012-03-12
The mainland's top judge has vowed to deepen judicial reforms this year, and has pledged to strengthen the Supreme People's Court's (SPC) oversight of the lower courts. SPC president Wang Shengjun was delivering his annual report to the legislature yesterday. The nation's last round of judicial reforms began in 2008, when authorities pledged that 60 items would be reformed - including pilot schemes to standardise sentences, and the exclusion of evidence secured through torture. Wang said this year's goal was to deepen reforms of trial procedures, which included improving small-claims procedures, sentencing and the opening of trials to the public. The SPC will also seek to enhance enforcement of judgments, and improve judicial transparency, which has come under much criticism. "Some courts have not done well in improving the transparency of court affairs and promoting a democratic judicial system," said Wang. "Some judges are too slack in their jobs... and a small number are corrupt." Other issues include the SPC's desire for greater control over the lower courts, and a shortage of staff at the grass-roots level. That has led to heavier workloads for judges, driving more of them to resign. "The Supreme People's Court's supervision and guidance of lower courts needs to be more scientific, focused and authoritative," Wang said, adding that the SPC would issue more timely guidance and examples of how to rule on certain cases. Most of the problems with the mainland's judicial system occur at the grass-roots level, which has been a target for improvements in recent years. [...] Cao Jianming, the nation's top prosecutor, also delivered his annual report to the legislature yesterday. He said that economic crimes, social stability and corruption were the top priorities of the procuratorate last year and this year. Prosecutors nationwide charged 54,891 people last year for smuggling, fraud, illegal fund-raising, stock market manipulation, and ponzi schemes - an increase of 8.1 per cent from 2010. They also probed 44,506 cases of work-related crimes, involving 2,524 officials above county level, 198 at prefecture level, and seven at provincial or ministerial level. [...]. ^ top ^

1 million convicted last year as China toughens crackdown on crimes (Xinhua)
2012-03-12
Chinese courts convicted 1.05 million people last year in its drive to punish crimes and safeguard stability, 4.4 percent more than in 2010, according to a report from China's supreme court Sunday. The courts concluded 840,000 criminal cases in 2011, up 7.7 percent from 2010, said the report on the work of the Supreme People's Court, delivered by chief justice Wang Shengjun at a meeting of the ongoing annual parliamentary session. Of the convicted, some 105,000 were found guilty of serious crimes such as homicide, kidnapping, robbery, planting bombs, organizing mafia-like gangs and human trafficking, involving 69,000 cases, the report said. Another 29,000 criminals in 27,000 cases were punished for embezzlement, bribery and malfeasance, the report said. [...] Under the current law, all death sentences should be submitted to the supreme court for review. The supreme court had made sure that capital penalty only be imposed on "very few criminals in extremely serious cases," Wang said. ^ top ^

Residence permits to begin including more benefits (Global Times)
2012-03-12
A draft on residence permit regulation intended to provide more equal social benefits to non-local hukou holders has been finished and will be submitted to the State Council for approval this year, senior officials said Saturday. The draft, made by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), aims to solve urgent problems faced by migrant workers including payment, children's education, healthcare, housing and social security, said Huang Ming, a vice minister of the MPS, at a CPPCC conference in Beijing. "It will create conditions for the workers to enjoy equal basic public services and pave the way for their settling down in urban areas gradually," said an announcement released on the MPS website Saturday. Migrant workers' employment, their work skill training and children's schooling are mandatory items that will be tied to a person's residence permit, said Chen Xunqiu, vice general secretary of the Commission of Politics and Law of the CPC Central Committee at the conference. Local governments may also include other services into the residence permit based on their own situations, Chen said, adding that government would expand such a regulation nationwide at a proper time. [...]. ^ top ^

Official refutes exaggerated number of civil servants (Xinhua)
2012-03-13
China has about 6.89 million civil servants, far below the 10 million alleged in recent media reports, an official from the State Administration of Civil Service (SACS) said Monday. Media reports have stated that the number of public servants in China has increased to 10 million from 6 million four years ago, with an average of 1 million added every year. The official, who declined to be identified, said the reports "lack factual basis," citing SACS statistics stating that the number of public servants reached 6.89 million in 2010, well below the 10 million specified in the reports. On average, about 150,000 civil servants were recruited annually between 2008 and 2010, the official said. In addition, China has 884,000 staff working in government institutions, putting them under the jurisdiction of the civil service law but not qualifying them as civil servants, the official said. [...]. ^ top ^

China to help TCM extend global reach (China Daily)
2012-03-13
China plans to open more Confucius Institutes to teach traditional Chinese medicine overseas and promote the Eastern medical science, Deputy Minister of Health Wang Guoqiang said on Monday. "We are working closely with the Ministry of Education and the Confucius Institute headquarters to open more TCM Confucius Institutes and add TCM-related courses to the syllabus of existing ones," said Wang, who is also director of the State Administration of TCM. "TCM, particularly its preventive aspect, is very well received abroad, regardless of nationality or ideology," Wang told China Daily in an interview on Monday. However, he added, China lacks skilled TCM practitioners who speak a foreign language. [...] To date, there are more than 350 Confucius Institutes and 500 Confucius Classrooms in 101 countries and regions, official statistics showed. [...] On June 20, Vice-President Xi Jinping inaugurated the TCM Confucius Institute in Melbourne, saying it opened a new window for foreigners to learn about Chinese culture. At present, such institutes are committed mainly to spreading Chinese culture, with a focus on TCM, rather than training TCM doctors, Wang said. "We've encountered rejections and barriers when we try to promote our culture abroad, and TCM courses might be a breakthrough, because preserving health is commonly valued by all human beings and is more easily accepted abroad," he said. [...]. ^ top ^

Amendments made to work report (SCMP)
2012-03-14
Nearly 20 amendments have been made to the government's work report, which will be voted on today as the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC) concludes. The amendments were revealed to NPC deputies yesterday, when the country's top political advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), wrapped up its own annual 10-day session, during which economic issues were high on the agenda. The NPC deputies submitted 489 suggested amendments, of which 477 were related to legislative affairs, the state news agency Xinhua said. One major amendment is the inclusion of a pledge to "strengthen school safety management", in addition to improving the safety of school buses. [...] Other amendments included calls for the establishment of an ecological compensation mechanism to provide economic incentives for environmental protection and the enhancement of channels for the public to express their views. Meanwhile, in the final version of the government's budget report, the clause "the growth of the domestic economy will slow down [this year]" has been deleted. The amendments were based on discussions among and suggestions put forth by NPC deputies. [...] The CPPCC session closed yesterday with 6,069 proposals being submitted to the government, of which 2,600 were related to economic matters. Some of them called for measures to increase the incomes of lower-class citizens and the establishment of annual salary increments. [...] Around 264 submissions relating to the expansion of domestic consumption and price stabilisation were received. The CPPCC received about 1,600 submissions on social affairs and public livelihood issues, including calls for education expenditure to be increased to 4 per cent of gross domestic product. And about 1,200 submissions concerned social management and maintaining social harmony - including calls for better management of online information and handling of emergencies. Delegates were also urged to step up their engagement with Taiwan. [...]. ^ top ^

Majority of Weibo users to be verified by Friday: Sina (Xinhua)
2012-03-14
Sina Corp, the operator of the country's largest Internet portal, said it expects 60 percent of the subscribers to its microblog service will have their real names registered by Friday, in line with the government's requirement. "The 60 percent Sina Weibo users, who would have successfully verified their Weibo identities by the deadline, include both new registered users and old subscribers," Liu Qi, a spokesman for the NASDAQ-listed company, told the Global Times Monday. While the real-name requirement would impact new user growth for the moment, it is unlikely to affect the business in the long term, Liu believes. [...] The user activity has slightly declined owing to the government's requirement for verifying registration, Cao Guowei, chief executive of Sina, said on a fourth-quarter earnings call in late February. There are over 300 million registered users of Sina Weibo, with 9 percent being daily active users, Sina Corp said. [...] Due to the vast number of microblog users, the government has intensified supervision over the country's popular microblogging platforms, issuing rules in December to require microblog operators to ensure real-name registration of its users by Friday. Market watchers are not too concerned over the real-name registration requirement. [...]. ^ top ^

China Has Coldest Winter in 27 Years (Xinhua)
2012-03-14
The average temperature in China this winter plunged to its lowest in 27 years, the People's Daily reports. Between December 1, 2011, and February 29, 2012, the average temperature in the country was 4.8 degrees below zero degrees Celsius, one degree less than that of the same period during the previous years, said Chen Zhenlin, a spokesman for China Meteorological Administration, Monday at a news conference in Beijing. Ren Fumin from the National Climate Center said during the last five winters, China had undergone three cold winters in which the average temperatures were at least 0.5 degrees Celsius less than that of the same period between 1981 and 2010. ^ top ^

China promises policies to lure overseas talents (Xinhua)
2012-03-15
China has vowed to improve its permanent residence policy and bolster favorable treatment for high-calibre overseas talents this year in a bid to attract such labor and boost the country's development. Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security, made the remarks Wednesday at a conference on attracting overseas talents. "This year, China will expend more effort on solving issues concerning the visas and residency of high-level overseas talents... and creating favorable policies for them in social insurance, taxation, medical services, their children's education and academic funding, and other areas," said Yin. According to the minister, the country will give special focus to attracting overseas Chinese talents to return for their career development. In August last year, the central government set a goal of attracting at least 500,000 overseas Chinese scholars from 2011 to 2015 to assist in the country's development. Statistics show that, from 1978, when China introduced its reform and opening up policy, to the end of 2011, the number of Chinese studying abroad was more than 2 million, and that only 818,400 of them returned. ^ top ^

'No' votes reach a five-year high (SCMP)
2012-03-15
The budget report presented at the closing session of the annual National People's Congress yesterday attracted the most 'No' votes in five years, with deputies citing a lack of tax concessions and the high level of local government debt as reasons. Among the 2,872 NPC deputies at the closing session yesterday in the Great Hall of the People, 438 rejected the budget report presented by Premier Wen Jiabao, compared with 362 rejections last year and 317 in 2010. [...] The number of 'No' votes for the government's work report, also presented by Wen, also reached a five-year high, with 90 deputies rejecting the document, compared with only 47 and 36 rejections in the past two years respectively. [...] Another deputy, Zong Qinghou, also the chairman of the mainland food giant Hangzhou Wahaha Group, said he rejected the budget report because it did not suggest tax concession measures to redistribute wealth. Other deputies said that, even though they voted in favour of the report, they were concerned with the high level of debt plaguing local governments. [...] Typically, reports submitted by the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Supreme People's Court have attracted the highest number of `No' votes at annual parliamentary sessions. However, the procuratorate's report received just 393 `No" votes this year - 41 fewer than last year, and the Supreme People's Court report was rejected by 429 deputies, 46 fewer than last year. About 2,600 deputies voted for the National Economic and Social Development Plan presented at the NPC session. And the report by the NPC Standing Committee also passed with 2,737 votes yesterday. ^ top ^

Guidelines ‘needed to curb police abuse' (Global Times)
2012-03-15
A draft amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law was passed by the Fifth Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) Wednesday with 2,639 votes for, 160 against and 57 abstentions. Analysts said the significant number of nays suggested a more democratic vote process and reflected public concerns over some of the amendment's clauses. For the first time, the amendment brings "respecting and safeguarding human rights" into law. It improves the system of nullifying evidence collected in unlawful manners and specifies that during reviews of death penalty verdicts, the Supreme People's Court should question the defendant. However, most public debate has revolved around Article 73, which stipulates that authorities are not obligated to notify the families of suspects when dealing with crimes related to national security and terrorism, or when such notifications could hinder the investigation. Otherwise relatives must be informed within 24 hours of arrest or surveillance. Some analysts expressed concerns that vague terms such as "endangering national security" and "hindering investigations" could become excuses for the abuse of legal power or lead to secret arrests. "I strongly suggest that Article 73 be dropped. It could offset the efforts made to nullify forced confessions," Wang Mingwen, a law professor with the Xichang College and NPC deputy, wrote on his microblog. As of press time, there were over 200,000 threads concerning Article 73 on Sina Weibo. [...] The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) told the Xinhua News Agency Wednesday that it had strengthened education among police officers on protecting human rights. A total of 2,100 detention centers have opened to the public in a bid to increase transparency. [...] Cao Yisun, a professor with China University of Political Science and Law and a CPPCC member, told the Global Times that debates surrounding the amendment reflect growing public interest in being a part of policy-making. "Public opinion might, to some extent, shape the legislative process in the future. With public opinion being backed by expert advice, this could help further improve the model for democratic consultation," Cao said. [...]. ^ top ^

"Be an old steed": Wen makes emotional press finale (Xinhua)
2012-03-15
Nine years after he took office, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met the press for the last time on Wednesday in the Great Hall of the People. In a record three-hour-long press conference, the emotional sixth premier of the People's Republic of China offered self-reflection, regret for work yet to be done, and vows to press ahead with reform "even with my last breath." "This is the final time I meet you here after the annual political sessions," soft-spoken Wen told nearly 1,000 journalists in the place where he made his premiership debut in 2003. Describing his nine years in office as "difficult but momentous," Wen said he felt sorry for the problems that had occurred in China's economy and society during his time in office, blaming his "incompetent abilities and institutional and other factors". [...] Since taking office in 2003, Wen and his government advocated a more balanced approach in developing China's hinterland regions and advanced policies considered more favorable toward disadvantaged groups. "Equity and justice shine brighter than the sun," said Wen, repeating a line he uttered two years ago. [...] Wen said he hoped people would forget him and that all the concrete things he had done would "fall into oblivion as one day I shall go to my eternal rest." [...] Having experienced war, the Cultural Revolution and three decades of economic boom, the premier knows too well the importance of reform for China's long-term development. He warned on Wednesday that historical tragedies like the Cultural Revolution may happen in China again should the country fail to push forward political reform to uproot problems in society. "Reforms in China have now come to a critical stage," Wen said. "Reform can only go forward and must not stand still, much less go backward because that offers no way out." Summing up his 45 years of service to the country, he said, "I have the courage to face the people, and to face history. "There are people who will appreciate what I have done but there are also people who will criticize me. Ultimately, history will have the final say.". ^ top ^

Bo's exit a setback for leftists (SCMP)
2012-03-16
Bo Xilai, the mainland's high-profile princeling-politician, is set to be left out in the cold in the upcoming leadership shake-up later this year after his removal as Chongqing party chief yesterday. The abrupt announcement of Bo's dismissal yesterday morning by Xinhua, China's official news agency, put to rest weeks of speculation about his fate that has dominated domestic political discussions. His removal effectively finished off his political career, which once soared as a major contender for the Communist Party's top ruling body, the Politburo Standing Committee. Analysts say Bo's departure will likely spur further competition for seats on the top decision-making body ahead of the key party congress this autumn. His exit greatly boosts the prospects of his perceived arch rival, Guangdong party chief Wang Yang, and Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang, who replaced Bo while retaining his current position. [...] However, analysts say that Bo, who comes from a privileged political family, may not fall further and may still keep his position in the party's 25-member Politburo until the 18th party congress. Bo's downfall also spelled the end to the once-hyped "Chongqing model" and signalled a major setback for the conservative forces within the party, for whom Bo was regarded as a poster boy, according to analysts. Two major leftist websites on the mainland were apparently blocked yesterday following Bo's removal. Bo, who took over as Chongqing party secretary in late 2007, was dismissed in order to take responsibility for a scandal last month in which his former aide Wang Lijun sought refuge in a US consulate, according to a prime-time evening news programme on Chongqing TV. Chongqing TV said that Li Yuanchao, the top official for the Communist Party's personnel arrangements and one of the closest allies of President Hu Jintao, had made "an important speech" about the leadership change at a meeting of high-level Chongqing officials in the southwestern municipality yesterday morning. "This leadership adjustment was due to grave political impact caused by Wang Lijun," Li was quoted as saying. "After careful consideration, central authorities made the decision based on the current circumstances and the overall situation." [...] Vice-Premier Zhang, 65, who is believed to have flown into the municipality on Wednesday night, also delivered a speech at the meeting yesterday morning. He vowed to keep in line with the top leadership under Hu. Wang Lijun was also officially removed from his vice mayor post yesterday. [...] The announcement of Bo's removal came just a day after Premier Wen Jiabao openly rebuked Bo over the handling of the Wang Lijun scandal on the last day of the 10-day annual parliamentary session. [...] Wen did not single out Bo by name. But his unusually harsh criticism - the highest-level official to make public comments on the scandal - was widely seen as conveying a consensus-based opinion reached by the top leadership, who were apparently shocked by Wang's defection attempt. [...]. ^ top ^

Shipwreck oil leakage in S. China confirmed (Xinhua)
2012-03-16
A shipwreck that occurred Tuesday near the coast of southern Guangdong Province has resulted in "a certain amount of oil spill," the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said on Thursday, citing monitoring results. The SOA's South China Sea Branch and Guangdong Provincial Administration of Ocean and Fisheries started immediate monitoring of potential seawater pollution after receiving a report that Kenos Athena, a vessel from the Republic of Korea loaded with 7,000 tonnes of sulfuric acid and 140 tonnes of residual fuel oil, was wrecked in water adjacent to Zhelang Island. According to a statement released Thursday by the SOA, "a patch of rufous oil slick" covering about five to six square km was spotted on the sea surface southwest of the wreckage site, and the slick contained a large amount of petroleum-related substance, indicating leakage from the vessel. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

China's first cultural bonded zone to settle in Beijing (People's Daily Online)
2012-03-14
Construction on the Beijing International Cultural Trade Service Center, which will be the first cultural bonded zone in China, began in the Beijing Tianzhu Free Trade Zone on March 11. The cultural bonded zone will reduce the costs for domestic cultural enterprises in expanding abroad, giving them a greater advantage and making their products more competitive in global markets. Based on the preferential policies of the Tianzhu Free Trade Zone, the cultural bonded zone will provide bonded services to domestic and foreign cultural production, transmission, and trade organizations. The cultural bonded zone will consist of three functional areas: the International Exhibition and Trade Center for Cultural Products, the International Cluster for Cultural Trading Enterprises, and the International Cultural Warehousing and Logistics Center. The bonded zone will cost 5 billion yuan to build, and cover a total area of more than 173,000 square meters, with a floor space of 500,000 square meters. It is expected to be completed and start operating in 2015. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Plan to boost social organizations (China Daily)
2012-03-10
Guangdong provincial authorities will allow more social organizations to be established to encourage the public to become more involved in managing social affairs, a top government official said. "We are building a new mode of social management, which will lead to more involvement by Party leadership and participation by the public," Zhu Xiaodan, the newly elected governor of Guangdong, told reporters on Friday at the annual session of the National People's Congress. [...] "After dealing with a series of social issues in recent years, we will concentrate on transferring these social-management responsibilities to authorized and qualified social organizations," Zhu said. Zhu noted the protests that broke out in September in Wukan, a fishing village in the eastern part of Guangdong, in response to illegal land sales and other issues. He said an unsound system of social management, especially at the grassroots levels, has given rise to great difficulties in the province in recent years. [...] Guangdong authorities have issued a provincial rule calling for the further fostering, development and management of social organizations. The rule will take effect on July 1, Zhu said. It says that social organizations will no longer have to undergo examinations and receive approvals from various administrative departments before they can be registered at the local department of civil affairs. [...] Guangdong has set up a province-level social-work committee to push forward social management and reform, and all of the cities in the province have established branches of it, according to Zhu. "Social reforms are as important as economic reforms," Zhu said. [...]. ^ top ^

Guangdong per capita GDP to exceed 16,000 USD in 2020 (Xinhua)
2012-03-14
The per capita GDP for the residents of south China's Guangdong Province is expected to reach 16,887 U.S. dollars in 2020, according to a statement released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on Tuesday. By 2020, Guangdong will become a high-income province with an urbanization rate of 76 percent, according to a statement released as part of a book-launching ceremony held in Beijing. The book, titled "Guangdong's Experience: Avoiding the 'Middle Income Trap'," is based on a study carried out by the academy, according to Guangdong provincial government officials. The province's per capita GDP was 7,819 U.S. dollars in 2011, according to the provincial statistics bureau.. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Monk burns to death in protest (SCMP)
2012-03-14
A teenage Tibetan monk set himself on fire in protest on the anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, an overseas activist group said yesterday. The London-based Free Tibet group said 18-year-old Gepey self-immolated on Saturday in Aba, a town under heavy security lockdown in Sichuan province. The group said Gepey was a monk from the town's Kirti Monastery, the scene of numerous recent protests, mostly led by monks loyal to the Dalai Lama. More than two dozen Tibetans, including several teenagers, have set themselves on fire over the past year, protesting against the suppression of their religion and culture. Gepey died after self-immolating behind a military camp, Free Tibet said. The group said locals tried to take his body away but security personnel removed it. Calls to the local Communist Party department and police and county police were unanswered. A man who answered the telephone at the Kirti Monastery hung up when asked about the self-immolation. Authorities in Aba refused to allow locals to carry out traditional funeral rites for Gepey to avoid providing an opportunity for Tibetans to gather and protest, Free Tibet said. [...] "We are now witnessing a pattern of Tibetans setting themselves on fire in front of buildings which symbolise China's current crackdown in Tibet," Free Tibet's director Stephanie Brigden said. [...]. ^ top ^

Elderly Tibet monks, nuns gets pension allowance (Xinhua)
2012-03-14
All monks and nuns in Tibet aged over 60 will get a basic pension allowance from this year as local authorities move to ensure their quality of life. Thirty-seven monks at a major monastery in Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, received the government-funded basic pension on Monday afternoon, an official with the city's human resources and social security bureau said Tuesday. It's the first time in the 1,300-year history of Tibetan Buddhism that the clergies get a pension allowance from local government, said Doje Namgyai, head of the bureau's rural insurance department. [...] "We used to live only on the temple's earnings and believers' donations. But now, with the pension allowance, our life can be better," said Changchub, an elderly monk at the Sera Monastery. "This has never happened before in history! It can help to get rid of the worries over the livelihood among elderly clergies," he said. Around 1,900 monks and nuns across Tibet will receive the basic pension this year, according to Lhasa's human resources and social security bureau. [...] Younger Tibetan monks and nuns are also covered by the pension insurance program. [...] The civil affairs authorities also planned to expand the minimum subsistence allowance program to cover all monks and nuns in the southwestern Tibetan Autonomous Region. [...] Meanwhile, Tibetan monks and nuns are covered by government-subsidized medical insurance. [...] "The three insurances help to solve the clergies' actual difficulties and relieve their heavy life burden," said Soinam Rinje, executive deputy director of the Tibet regional united front work department. ^ top ^

Region increases minimum wage (China Daily)
2012-03-15
The Tibet autonomous region raised the minimum wage in January, the 10th increase since it established a minimum wage in 1997. Urban minimum-wage earners will now receive 400 yuan ($63) a month, a three-fold increase from 130 yuan ($20). The rural minimum wage was doubled to 1,600 yuan a year. [...] To ease the sting of inflation, the Tibetan government has given more than 324,600 impoverished residents more than 112 million yuan in pensions and allowances in the past few months, according to the region's financial bureau. In January 2011, the regional government established a funding mechanism for people whose income was slightly above the minimum wage level or were suddenly facing financial hardship because of temporary or unexpected causes. The government spent more than 144 million yuan last year to help such groups, according to the region's financial bureau. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Xinjiang security based on ethnic unity (China Daily)
2012-03-13
Violent events in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region are being used by separatists to create ethnic tensions and make simple problems complicated, an officer from Xinjiang Armed Police Regiment said. "Those violent events are isolated cases, but overseas separatists like to politicize and internationalize them," said Hou Xiaoqin, political commissar of the regiment. Due to its strategic location, Xinjiang has been facing threats from foreign-based groups, which pose the greatest challenge to the regiment. [...] Hou said that was the reason his regiment will maximize its advantages and strike hard against those who commit such acts. "The regiment has always played an important role in dealing with emergency incidents, but its fundamental role is to strengthen ethnic unity at the grassroots level," he said. [...] To build a better relationship with local people, the regiment has since 2009 required its members to learn about ethnic and religious policies, Xinjiang's history, culture and local languages. The force now has a better understanding of the region and its people, Hou said. Hou said that the regiment makes great efforts to help local people, especially children and young people. The force has donated money to children throughout Xinjiang who couldn't afford to go to school. The regiment has also invested more than 3.4 million yuan ($537,300) in improving teaching facilities in Urumqi, Kashgar and Tacheng. More than 170 primary and high schools have been paired up with nearby forces for various programs. To maintain social stability at the grassroots level, retired officers from the regiment are encouraged to stay in Xinjiang and work in local police forces. More than 800 retired officers have been recruited around the region in the past three years. "Without a stable social environment, Xinjiang, especially in the frontier areas, could not be further developed," he said. "Only when people's lives have been improved can the region's stability be improved.". ^ top ^

Xinjiang earthquake causes 82.7 mln USD in economic losses (Xinhua)
2012-03-13
A 6.0-magnitude earthquake that jolted northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Friday has caused direct economic losses of 523.5 million yuan (82.7 million U.S. dollars), regional authorities said Monday. The quake affected 144,000 residents in 16 counties and cities in Hotan, Aksu and Kashgar prefectures, the regional bureau of civil affairs said in a statement. Of the affected residents, 36,641 people were displaced after their homes were damaged or destroyed, the statement said. There have been no reports of death or injury. Regional authorities have sent 1,101 tents, 3,570 coats, 3,620 quilts and 204 tonnes of food and cooking oil to quake-hit areas to aid in relief efforts. The quake struck at 6:50 a.m. Friday, with its epicenter located in Hotan's Lop county.. ^ top ^

Xinjiang to hand out more subsidies to nomads (China Daily)
2012-03-15
Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will give more subsidies to nomads to help them settle down in one place and better their lives. Government subsidies granted to per nomadic family will be raised from 25,000 yuan ($3,948) to 30,000 yuan ($4,738) this year, according to a newly-approved settlement plan released by the regional development and reform commission. As one of the country's four major pasturing areas, Xinjiang has over 1.2 million nomads, most of whom continue their traditional nomadic life. Xinjiang plans to encourage more than 760,000 nomads to settle down between 2011 and 2020. The move aims to halt grassland deterioration from overgrazing. Besides housing projects, construction of fodder bases, water conservancy projects, and other auxiliary facilities will be carried out to ensure and improve the livelihood of the herdsmen.. ^ top ^

Central SOEs to invest over 700 bln yuan in Xinjiang (Xinhua)
2012-03-16
China's centrally administered state-owned enterprises (SOEs) plan to invest 724.32 billion yuan (114.97 billion U.S. dollars) in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in 2012, China Securities Journal reported Thursday. Last year, central SOEs invested 70.15 billion yuan in 196 projects related to electricity, coal mining, mineral exploration and the coal chemical industry in Xinjiang, the newspaper quoted organizers of the 9th China Xinjiang International Coal Industry Exhibition as saying. In recent years, the country's energy companies have accelerated their investments in Xinjiang, China's largest natural gas-producing region. PetroChina and Sinopec, the nation's two largest oil producers, plan to build seven pipelines to transport gas from the northwest region to economically developed but energy-starved coastal areas, according to the newspaper. The country's five electricity generation companies and 20 leading coal enterprises have already established branches in Xinjiang. [...]. ^ top ^

No major flu outbreak in Xinjiang: health authorities (Global Times)
2012-03-16
There have been no signs of a major flu outbreak in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, regional health authorities said Wednesday. The results of flu monitoring conducted by local authorities are similar to monitoring efforts conducted elsewhere in the country and no epidemic has been found, according to a circular issued by the regional health bureau. The announcement was made after 22 A(H1N1) cases were confirmed in the region's city of Hotan as of March 11, but efforts have been made to control the spread. All high schools, primary schools and kindergartens in Xinjiang have been asked to examine their students to look for signs of infection. The circular contained an analysis of influenza activity in Xinjiang over the previous 10 weeks, which stated that overall influenza activity in Xinjiang during the period has been similar to that of corresponding periods in 2010 and 2011. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

We still don't know who to vote for (SCMP)
2012-03-16
Undecided members of the Election Committee say Premier Wen Jiabao's comments on the chief executive race have created more confusion than clarity on who Beijing would prefer to see win the post on March 25. Wen had told a news conference at the National People's Congress closing ceremony in Beijing on Wednesday that he believed voters would "elect a leader who enjoys support of the vast majority of the people" - a remark that some analysts suggested was a subtle indication of the central government's preference. But members of the 1,193-strong Election Committee - tasked to select a chief executive - who want to vote in line with Beijing's preference said they remained uncertain on who to vote for among the three candidates contesting next Sunday's poll. "I believe there is some indication from Premier Wen," said Kwan Chi-yee, an elector from the Chinese medicine sector. "I wish that Beijing could give a clearer message of its preference so that we could vote for that candidate accordingly." The Chinese medicine sector, with 30 members, is dominated by pro-Beijing supporters. But with the two front runners from the pro-establishment camp, Henry Tang Ying-yen and Leung Chun-ying, embroiled in "mud-slinging", says Kwan, Beijing's thinking has been "difficult to interpret". [...] Beijing and its allied media in Hong Kong have also been careful to be neutral in their comments on the chief executive race, for fear that the central government will otherwise be seen as interfering in the process. [...] Forty out of 60 members from the religious subsector - which includes Muslim, Taoist, Confucian and Buddhist seats, and are traditionally occupied by electors with a strong pro-Beijing background - are undecided [...]. Leung, Tang's principal rival, once trailed the former chief secretary in opinion polls but has since come to lead him by 20 or more percentage points for several weeks. [...]. ^ top ^

Hong Kong's GNP up 7 pct in 4Q of 2011 (Xinhua)
2012-03-16
Hong Kong's gross national product (GNP) rose 7 percent to 511.3 billion HK dollars (about 65.9 billion U.S. dollars) in the fourth quarter, 2011 from a year ago, the city's statistics department said here Thursday. Gross domestic product (GDP) rose 6.5 percent to 505 billion HK dollars in the fourth quarter of last year. Compared with GDP, Hong Kong's GNP was larger by 6.3 billion HK dollars, representing a net external factor income inflow of the same amount, and equivalent to 1.2 percent of GDP in that quarter. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan to stage 70 drills this year (SCMP)
2012-03-14
Taiwan will stage 70 military drills later this year, including a series of annual war games involving its three services, to strengthen the island's defensive capabilities. Major General Hao Yii-jy, assistant deputy chief of the General Staff for Operations and Planning, told a news conference yesterday that live and computer-aided drills would cover a number of areas, including fighting skills, troop mobilisation and nuclear and biochemical warfare control. The annual Han Kuang exercises - Taiwan's major war games - will be held in two stages, with live drills held next month and computer-aided exercises to be staged in July. "More than 200,000 servicemen from the army, air force and navy will take part in a five-day, around-the-clock exercise, simulating an attack by the Chinese communist forces and defence by our forces," Hao said of the first stage of the drills, to run from April 16 to April 20. [...] Despite warming cross-strait relations since 2008, Beijing has not slowed down its ambitious military modernisation programme and still has some 1,600 missiles targeting the island. Beijing recently announced that its defence budget would rise 11.2 per cent this year to US$106.4 billion, a huge amount compared with Taiwan's US$10.72 billion military budget this year. "The persistent rise in its military budget is a serious threat not only to Taiwan, but also to the peace and stability in the region," Taiwanese defence ministry spokesman Major General Luo Shou-he said. ^ top ^

Wen expects common culture to resolve cross-strait political grouches (Xinhua)
2012-03-15
Premier Wen Jiabao said Wednesday he hoped deep-rooted common cultural bond would help resolve the merely decades-long political grouches across the Taiwan Strait. "It's my sincere hope that the two sides will work together to promote people-to-people and cultural contacts," Wen told a press conference after the conclusion of the annual parliamentary session. The two parts of the ancient ink painting "Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains," by famous Yuan Dynasty painter Huang Gongwang, was finally put on display as one piece in Taipei last year. "This showed that the Chinese culture has strong cohesion and inspiration. I wish I could have been able to go and to see it by myself," said the premier. He expressed his hope to visit Taiwan after retirement. The political, economical and cultural foundations for "the 1992 Consensus" have been enhanced and popular support for "the 1992 Consensus" has become stronger, said Wen. He said the government will accelerate the follow-up negotiations of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and expand the business ties between the two sides. [...]. ^ top ^

DPP officer on mainland visit for cross-strait forum (SCMP)
2012-03-15
A spokesman for Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party has left for the mainland to attend a cross-strait seminar, in what Taiwanese media have described as an ice-breaking visit. DPP spokesman Lo Chih-cheng left for Yunnan yesterday in his capacity as a political science professor at Taipei's Soochow University, the pro-independence party said. He was scheduled to attend a two-day seminar on cross-strait relations, sponsored by a think tank under the mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office, from today, it said. Lo's trip - the first by any senior DPP official since 2008 - comes just weeks after former party chairwoman Dr Tsai Ing-wen said it needed to increase its understanding of the mainland through interaction if it was to regain power. [...] Lo's visit was approved by the DPP, which used to restrict its senior officials from visiting the mainland under its pro-independence platform and anti-mainland policy. Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, who took over from Tsai as acting DPP chairwoman, said yesterday that Lo had been invited to visit the mainland as a scholar and what he said during his visit would not represent the DPP. But she admitted the party had approved his visit. [...] Taiwanese media said the visit represented a DPP breakthrough in easing its anti-mainland stance, but Chen said that might be "over-interpreting" the situation. [...] In Beijing, Taiwan Affairs Office director Wang Yi said it welcomed "any experts and scholars from any political parties and groups from Taiwan" to be take part. [...]. ^ top ^

Cross-Strait investment agreement may be signed soon: official (Xinhua)
2012-03-16
A top Taiwan affairs official on Thursday indicated that the signing of a long-awaited cross-Strait investment protection agreement may occur within three months. "As long as the two sides (Chinese mainland and Taiwan) walk toward each other and interact with goodwill, it is entirely possible that the signing of the investment protection agreement may occur in the first half of the year," said Wang Yi, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, at a seminar on cross-Strait relations held in Tengchong county of southwest China's Yunnan Province. [...] As an important part of follow-up negotiations after the signing of the cross-Strait Economic Framework Cooperation Agreement (ECFA), the agreement is aimed at protecting investors' interests, reducing investment restrictions and promoting investment facilitation. Negotiations surrounding the agreement will be difficult, as they will require the adjustment of both sides' interests, Wang said, adding that the mainland is willing to give more consideration to mid- and small-sized enterprises in Taiwan and pay more attention to the appeals of local citizens. [...] Wang said he hopes to promote mutual cooperation in financial sectors, including the acceleration of negotiations regarding the establishment of a cross-Strait monetary settlement mechanism. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Early year property sales retreat (Xinhua)
2012-03-11
Home sales and property investment in China both slowed in the first two months of the year, as the correction in the real estate market deepened because of the government's continuing curbs on the property market. Home sales were down 14 percent year-on-year, while the value fell 20.9 percent to 414.5 billion yuan ($65.8 billion), according to the National Bureau of Statistics on Friday. Property investment rose 27.8 percent in the first two months to 543.1 billion yuan, but the rate of growth fell 0.1 percentage point from the same period in 2011. The growth rate of investment in the residential sector was down 7 percentage points, according to the NBS. "Despite the slowdown in property sales and investment, China should continue its property curbs at this time," said Pan Jiancheng, deputy head of the China Economic Monitoring and Analysis Center, a research center affiliated with the NBS. [...] Meanwhile, the index for property development stood at 97.89, down by 1 percentage point from December 2011, according to the NBS. ^ top ^

Yuan acceleration calls rejected (SCMP)
2012-03-13
The head of China's central bank said the yuan was getting closer to its fair value against foreign currencies, rejecting international calls for the country to accelerate the appreciation of its currency. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, also dismissed suggestions that the currency would "stop appreciating" despite the nation reporting its largest trade deficit in a decade last month. "The market is playing a bigger role in deciding the exchange rate of the yuan, but more time is needed for such a trend to further develop," Zhou said at a news conference on the sidelines of the ongoing annual National People's Congress, the mainland's legislature. "Our long-term goal is to build a more market-based foreign exchange system." [...] Zhou said the trade deficit had had a positive impact on the yuan's exchange rate, but it was too early to tell if it signalled the start of a trend. On Saturday, the General Administration of Customs office said the world's largest exporter posted a trade deficit of US$31.48 billion in February after reporting a US$27.28 billion surplus in January. [...] Speaking at the same news conference, Yi Gang, Zhou's deputy and head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, repeated China's long-standing official backing of Europe's efforts to resolve its festering debt crisis. Yi said Beijing would stick to its policy of diversifying its foreign reserve holdings, would remain a responsible long-term investor in the euro zone and add to Japanese yen assets if the move made sense. Zhou said higher interest rates could cause hot money inflows, and that the current real negative interest rates, which occur when deposit interest rates are lower than inflation, were temporary. He said the mainland's deposit interest rates were generally positive. Hu Xiaolian, another of Zhou's deputies, said that China would move forward with its interest-rate reform during its 12th five-year plan period, which runs from 2011 to 2015. [...]. ^ top ^

Rivals merge to form online video giant (SCMP)
2012-03-13
Two mainland internet firms are setting aside their bitter rivalry to merge, in a record-breaking deal to create the country's biggest online video-services provider - though they still must prove they are profitable. Youku and Tudou, both Nasdaq-listed internet video companies, said yesterday they had signed an agreement for Tudou to combine with Youku in a 100 per cent stock-for-stock transaction. The new company will be called Youku Tudou Inc. The merger is valued at US$1.04 billion, according to Thomson Reuters, making it the biggest mainland internet deal by stock swap on record. Youku is the mainland's largest online video-services provider and the second-largest worldwide, behind YouTube, according to Comscore. YouTube is barred on the mainland. The deal marks a milestone for the two former rivals, which have locked horns in court over alleged copyright infringement and unfair competitive practices. [...] Youku held a 21.8 per cent market share as of December 2011, while Tudou, ranked No 3, had 13.7 per cent, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. [...] However, the two companies face the challenge of proving to investors that online video is a profitable business as they contend with the high cost of bandwidth infrastructure and licensing content. Tudou reported a net loss of 511.2 million yuan (HK$625.74 million) last year, and Youku reported a net loss of 172.1 million yuan. [...]. ^ top ^

Airbus orders will depend on commercial needs: China Eastern Airlines (Xinhua)
2012-03-13
Luo Yueping, board secretary of China Eastern Airlines, recently said the company's commercial needs will determine whether it will continue to purchase Airbus jets. "That depends. The decisions are business-oriented," Luo said in an interview with China National Radio. When asked whether the corporation will freeze or cancel its current orders for Airbus jets following media reports that China has blocked purchases of Airbus jets in response to a controversial European carbon tax, Luo took a vague tone. "We did not say that we will break the contract, nor did we say we will not carry out the orders," he said. His remarks came after the head of Airbus's parent company EADS said earlier that China had blocked purchases of Airbus planes worth 12 billion U.S. dollars in retaliation against the European carbon tax, which imposes charges on carbon emissions from international flights into and out of Europe. [...] China's air regulator announced on Feb. 6 that it has banned its airlines from complying with the tax scheme. Liu Shaoyong, chairman of China Eastern Airlines, said the Chinese government asked the company to refrain from making contact with European officials who are involved in the taxation plan. [...]. ^ top ^

China prepares to defend rare earth case (Xinhua)
2012-03-14
China is preparing to defend itself should the United States and other countries take their complaint about China's rare earth export restrictions to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei said Tuesday. "We would feel sorry for their decision to complain to the WTO," Miao told Xinhua, responding to reports that the United States, along with the European Union and Japan, plans to file a trade complaint with the WTO. "In the meantime, we are actively preparing to defend ourselves and will explain the case if they bring the complaint against us," the minister said. The dispute concerns Chinese policies that effectively limit the rest of the world's access to rare earth from China. In order to control environmental damage and protect resources, China has suspended the issuance of new licenses for rare earth prospecting and mining, imposed production caps and export quotas, and announced tougher environmental standards for rare earth production. Miao said some rare earth metals would last only 20 years if China does not stop excessive mining. He stressed that China's rare earth export restriction is not against any specific country, nor is it a kind of trade protectionism. [...] China has abundant reserves of rare earth metals, a group of 17 elements that are vital for manufacturing an array of high-tech products, including cell phones, wind turbines, electric car batteries and missiles. China has supplied more than 90 percent of rare earth products on the global market, but its reserves only account for about one-third of the world's total. Disorderly mining of rare earths has been blamed for environmental damage in rare-earth-rich regions across China. [...]. ^ top ^

Nation plans to import more uranium (China Daily)
2012-03-14
China plans to import more uranium this year than last year and to buy uranium mines abroad, looking particularly toward Canada for that purpose, said Qian Zhiming, deputy director of the National Energy Administration. Qian also said China might resume undertaking nuclear projects this year, in the first half of the year at the earliest. He said the Chinese government has finished drafting the nuclear safety guidelines that it began working on after a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan a year ago [...]. Even though that disaster prompted the country to halt any work being undertaken on new nuclear projects, China imported 16,126 tons of uranium in 2011, not much less than the 17,135 tons it had imported in 2010, according to the General Administration of Customs. [...] The government also has completed a safety inspection that revealed 14 nuclear safety issues that should be remedied. [...] Premier Wen Jiabao, in an annual government work report delivered on March 5, said China will "develop nuclear power in a safe and efficient way" this year, saying the country will "prohibit blind expansion in the new-energy industries of solar and wind power". [...] Of all the countries that supply uranium to China, the top four exporters are Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Namibia and Australia. They contributed more than 95 percent of China's imports of that element last year. During Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper's recent official visit to China, China and Canada agreed to cooperate more on the trade of uranium. [...]. ^ top ^

Japan allowed to buy 10.3 bln USD worth of Chinese government bond (Xinhua)
2012-03-14
Japan got the permission from China to purchase 65 billion yuan (about 10.3 billion U.S. dollars) worth of Chinese government bond, Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi said Tuesday. It was the first time the Japanese government announced the specific figure of its permitted allotment of Chinese government bond. [...] During Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's visit to China last December, the two sides had reached consensus on Japan's purchase of Chinese government bond. [...] The historic move was hailed by experts closely watching the currency cooperation between Japan and China. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese multinationals becoming better corporate citizens: report (Xinhua)
2012-03-14
Major Chinese multinational companies are making active efforts to engage in corporate citizenship as they expand into the global market, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The report, titled "Emerging Best Practices of Chinese Globalizers: The Corporate Global Citizenship Challenge," was jointly released by the World Economic Forum and the Boston Consulting Group. Chinese multinationals are aligning their profits with real and lasting contributions to the local communities in which they operate, according to the report. During the 2006-2010 period, employment opportunities provided to local citizens by Chinese multinationals grew at an annual rate of 28 percent. In 2010 alone, Chinese multinationals employed around 1 million people, 71 percent of whom were local citizens, according to the report. After more than ten years of corporate citizenship development and involvement in the global context, many Chinese companies have implemented good citizenship practices as part of their overseas engagement, ranging from daily operations to being listed on foreign stock exchanges, the report said. [...] "This is the first time a comprehensive analysis of the corporate citizenship activities of China's globalizers has been undertaken," said Robert Greenhill, managing director and chief business officer of the World Economic Forum. "Our hope is these best practices become standard in the future.". ^ top ^

RMB exchange rate approaching equilibrium: Premier Wen (Xinhua)
2012-03-15
The real effective exchange rate of Renminbi may have reached its equilibrious level after rising by 30 percent since China launched the exchange rate reform in 2005, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Wednesday. The exchange rate of yuan in the Hong Kong markets for non-deliverable forwards have started to float in both directions since last September, Wen told a press conference after the conclusion of the annual parliamentary session. "That indicates the real effective exchange rate of yuan may have reached its equilibrious level," said the premier. Regarding the exchange rate of yuan, an issue of high interests to the United States, Wen said that China would continue to advance exchange rate reform to have yuan move in both directions by a larger margin. He reiterated that China would stick to the principles of the Doha Round to facilitate free trade and oppose trade protectionism. ^ top ^

Premier Wen says to allow non-public capital into financial sector (Xinhua)
2012-03-15
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Wednesday that the government should allow private capital to enter the financial sector and make the process "standardized and open". China's financial authorities are actively considering taking private financing activities in east city of Wenzhou as one of the pilots for an overall reform in this field, Wen told a press conference after the conclusion of the annual parliamentary session. "We need to encourage their development, and at the same time put them under strict oversight and supervision," said Wen when commenting on the case of Wu Ying, a businesswoman who was once listed among the country's richest women and faced death penalty for cheating investors out of several hundred million yuan. [...] "The Supreme People's Court is taking a cautious attitude toward the Wu Ying case," said Wen. The case caused nationwide debate as many small entrepreneurs, unable to get loans from banks, have turned to the underground market to finance their business expansion plans. "The case must be handled on the basis of real facts," said Wen, who thought the case shows that private finance cannot meet the requirement of economic and social development in China. Chinese companies, particularly small and micro ones, need access to funds, but the banks are not able to meet those companies' need and there is a large amount of idle capitals, he said. Wen called for a thorough study on the issue that help provide clearly defined legal safeguards for private lending. ^ top ^

China to see narrowing trade surplus (Xinhua)
2012-03-16
China will maintain a trade surplus this year, although the surplus will continue to narrow, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Thursday. The ratio of China's trade surplus to its gross domestic product will continue to fall in 2012, and China's foreign trade will become more balanced, MOC spokesman Shen Danyang said at a regular press briefing. China reported a trade deficit of 31.49 billion U.S. dollars in February, the largest monthly trade deficit in more than a decade. Shen said the deficit was caused mainly by seasonal factors, as domestic foreign trade companies tend to increase imports after the Spring Festival holiday. "The first two months' trade data cannot reflect the trend for the year. The ministry will adopt measures to ensure stable foreign trade," Shen said. China's trade deficit stood at 4.15 billion U.S. dollars during the first two months of 2012. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Conference on security in Northeast Asia ends with small progress (Xinhua)
2012-03-11
New York - A two-day conference on security in Northeast Asia ended here on Friday after participants from the Korean Peninsula and countries concerned achieved the primary goal of "building trust." According to a statement released by the organizers, attendees of the closed-door conference came from the nations for six-party talks, namely, China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), South Korea, Russia, Japan and the United States. Representatives of Mongolia, Germany, the European Union and the United Nations also attended the meeting, which was organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), a German non-governmental organization, and the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, among others. Christoph Pohlmann, an expert from the FES, told reporters at a press briefing after the meeting that through "candid exchanges among participants," the conference achieved its primary goal of "building trust" although political differences remained. He noted the "informal track-two" discussions were conducted under the so-called "Chatham House Rule," which forbids participants to give details of the conference, in order to "avoid endangering the process of trust building," The academic forum was meant to ease tensions between the DPRK and South Korea so as to push for the resumption of the six-party talks on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula. [...] The forum has drawn wide attention as its participants included Ri Yong Ho, DPRK's envoy for the six-party talks, and his South Korean counterpart Lim Sung-nam. [...] It was unclear whether Ri and Lim spoke to each other at the conference. ^ top ^

Russia, DPRK call for closer coordination on denuclearization of Korean Peninsula (Xinhua)
2012-03-15
Diplomats from Russia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Wednesday jointly called for closer coordination on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. According to a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry, First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov met with Ri Yong Ho, DPRK's vice foreign minister and envoy to the six-party talks, in Moscow. "The parties have exchanged their views on the ways to settle the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula and called for closer coordination of efforts on this track," the ministry said. The two sides also discussed bilateral relations and agreed to step up their practical cooperation, including the construction of a gas pipeline from Russia to the Republic of Korea (ROK) via DPRK, the ministry said. [...]. ^ top ^

DPRK to launch application satellite next month (Xinhua)
2012-03-16
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is to launch in mid-April a working satellite, Kwangmyongsong-3, manufactured by itself with indigenous technology to mark the 100th birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sung, the official news agency KCNA reported Friday. A spokesman for the Korean Committee for Space Technology, who announced this in a statement Friday, said the expected launch, scheduled between April 12 and 16, is in line with the government's policy for space development and peaceful use, said the report. "The DPRK will strictly abide by relevant international regulations and usage concerning the launch of scientific and technological satellites for peaceful purposes and ensure maximum transparency, thereby contributing to promoting international trust and cooperation in the field of space scientific researches and satellite launches," said the statement. [...] It is reported that Kwangmyongsong-3, a polar-orbiting earth observation satellite, will be lifted by carrier rocket Unha-3 and blast off southward from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province. A safe flight orbit has been chosen so that carrier rocket debris to be generated during the flight would not have any impact on neighboring countries. According to the KCNA, the upcoming launch will greatly encourage the army and people of the DPRK in the building of a thriving nation and will offer an important occasion of putting the country's technology of space use "for peaceful purposes on a higher stage.". ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

General gov't budget has deficit (Montsame)
2012-03-13
In the first two months of 2012, total revenue and grants of the General Government Budget (GGB) amounted to MNT 674.8 billion, total expenditure and net lending--to MNT 682.1 billion, representing a deficit of 7.3 billion in the equilibrated balance of GGB. A current revenue of the GGB amounted to MNT 672.3 billion, a current expenditure reached MNT 559.8 billion, and the budget equilibrated current balance was in surplus of MNT 112.5 billion. Tax revenue increased MNT 160.8 billion or 37.2 percent due to increases of MNT 59.1 billion or 2.3 times in other taxes, MNT 56.3 billion or 35.2 per cent in taxes on goods and services, 30.3 billion or 60.5 per cent in social security contribution, and 14.9 billion or 46.0 per cent in taxes on foreign trade. Non-tax revenue increased MNT 44.6 billion or 2.3 times due to increases of MNT 16.4 billion or 76.3 per cent in revenues from budget entities, 10.2 billion--from dividends, 7.5 billion or 3.6 times--from others, 4.7 billion or 4.3 times--from oil petroleum, and 4.3 billion or 2.2 times--from interest. Total expenditure and net lending of the GGB increased MNT 212.2 billion or 45.2 per cent to 682.1 billion against the previous year due to increases of MNT 89.3 billion or 4.1 times in capital expenditure, 88.6 billion or 38.4 per cent in subsidies and transfers, and 34.8 billion or 18.1 per cent in expenditure of goods and services. There were also decreases of MNT 2.0 billion or 33.1 per cent in lending minus repayments. Spending of MNT 118.4 billion on capital expenditure shows an increase by 89.3 billion or 4.1 times against 2011 due to increases of MNT 81.5 billion or 4.0 times in capital expenditure of domestic sources and 7.8 billion or 5.4 times in foreign-financed capital expenditure. ^ top ^

Mitsui will buy Tavantolgoi coal (News.mn)
2012-03-13
Prime Minister S.Batbold met with M.Ijima, President of Mitsui company yesterday. M.Ijima expressed Japanese investors and producers giving very much attention to the Mongolian Prime Minister's visit to Japan. S.Batbold said that Mongolia working on ensure interest of Japanese participation in Tavantolgoi project. “Japanese companies expressed their will to cooperate in big projects such to built railway” said S.Batbold. After this meeting held a signing ceremony of memorandum of cooperation between Mitsui and Mongolian state owned Erdenes Tavantolgoi company. Mitsui suggested to to build power station and steel favtory in Mongolia. While signing this memorandum Mitsui has possibility to cooperate in Tavantolgoi coal purchasing. Current time Mitsui buying Tavantolgoi coal from Chinese companies. ^ top ^

Japan, Mongolia to launch talks on free trade agreement (News.mn)
2012-03-14
Japan and Mongolia said Monday they will begin negotiating for the fast-growing north Asian nations first bilateral free trade agreement. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his Mongolian counterpart Sukhbaatar Batbold also agreed that the two countries will boost cooperation in the development of natural resources and infrastructure, according to a joint announcement released after their meeting in Tokyo. Mongolia, whose economy grew 17.3 percent in 2011, has no FTAs with other countries. Japan is keen on working more closely with Mongolia as the fast-growing country has abundant natural resources, including coal, copper, uranium and rare earth minerals. Batbold, who is on a six-day visit to Japan from Saturday, told Noda that Mongolia will ensure Japanese companies" participation in developing the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine in the south Gobi desert, one of the world"s largest deposits of high-quality coal, the announcement said. Batbold told reporters that his meeting with Noda was "very fruitful for the strategic partnership" of the two countries, achieving an important "first step" in promoting bilateral trade and investment. In 2010, Japan"s exports to Mongolia, mainly cars and other industrial products, amounted to 13.97 billion yen, while its imports from the resource-rich country stood at only 2.09 billion yen. Japan and Mongolia mark this year the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. The Japanese government believes that Mongolia, which is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, is increasingly vital also in terms of diplomatic and security policies. Japan, one of the major donors for Mongolia, also said it will provide a total of about 2.74 billion yen in aid to help the emerging country"s development. Of the total, 1.55 billion yen will be provided under a low-interest loan package and the rest are grant-aid programs. ^ top ^

 

Gregor Muischneek
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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