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
  28.4-2.5.14, No. 522  
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Table of contents

Mongolia

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Bilateral Issues

FTA between China, Switzerland to enter into force in July (Global Times)
2014-05-01
The free trade agreement (FTA) between China and Switzerland will enter into force on July 1 with internal approval procedures completed, the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) said on Wednesday. This comprehensive bilateral FTA would "improve mutual access to markets for goods and services, strengthen legal certainty with regard to protecting intellectual property and bilateral economic exchanges in general," the EAER said. It would "also remove customs duties in most areas of bilateral trade, either in full or in part (transitional periods will apply in some cases)," it added. The Ministry of Commerce of China commended the pact as one of the most comprehensive FTAs between China and other economies, which would be a boost to Chinese-Swiss bilateral economic cooperation and pave the way for further exchange between China and Europe. The FTA, signed in Beijing on July 6, 2013, after nine rounds of negotiations of more than two years, is the first free trade pact inked between China and a country in continental Europe. The agreement was ratified by the lower and upper houses of Swiss parliament in late 2013 and earlier this year respectively. China is Switzerland's largest trading partner in Asia, while Switzerland is China's eighth-largest trading partner in Europe, according to official Chinese data. Bilateral trade reached 21.81 billion US dollars in 2013. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

Chinese vice-premier meets Tokyo governor (China Daily)
2014-04-26
Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang met in Beijing on Saturday with Yoichi Masuzoe, the first Tokyo governor to visit Beijing at the invitation of the city government since Yukio Aoshima in 1996. Wang said the two countries should push forward bilateral relations on the basis of the four China-Japan political documents, in the spirit of taking history as a mirror to guide the future. China is capable of coping with any provocations and safeguarding the achievements of the Second World War as well as the post-war international order, said Wang. He said the Japanese side should properly deal with sensitive issues, including historical issues, and make efforts to improve bilateral ties. The Chinese government supports local friendly exchanges between the two countries and hopes that Beijing and Tokyo will continue to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation. Japan and China should be able to live in amity, said Masuzoe, adding that he is willing to play a positive role in improving bilateral relations through promoting sister city cooperation. Masuzoe is on a visit to Beijing from April 24 to 26 at the invitation of Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun. ^ top ^

Chinese ships return to disputed waters after Obama visit to Tokyo (SCMP)
2014-04-26
Two Chinese coastguard ships sailed into waters around disputed islands in the East China Sea on Saturday, the Japanese coastguard said, two days after US President Barack Obama declared his support for Japan. The vessels entered 22 kilometres into Japan's territorial waters off one of the Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls the Diaoyus, around noon, the coastguard said. It was the first such move since Obama announced on Thursday that Washington would defend Japan, under the bilateral military alliance, if China initiates an attack in the tense territorial dispute. China has already dismissed Obama's position, saying that the islands are “China's inherent territory.” Chinese ships last entered the area on April 12, according to the Japanese coastguard. Chinese vessels and aircraft regularly approach the East China Sea archipelago - thought to harbour vast natural resources - after Japan nationalised some of the islands in September 2012, setting off the latest spate of incidents in a long-running territorial dispute. Relations between Tokyo and Beijing have fallen to their lowest point for years. Some observers warn they might come to blows over the islands, where ships from both sides lurk to press claims for ownership. ^ top ^

Chinese families take Malaysia Airlines staff captive at hotel (SCMP)
2014-04-26
Ten Malaysia Airlines staff were held at a Beijing hotel against their will for hours by Chinese relatives of flight MH370 passengers, the airline said yesterday. The airline employees were "barred from leaving" a ballroom for more than 10 hours on Thursday, and another staff member was kicked in the leg in a confrontation two days earlier, the airline said. Tempers have repeatedly flared at the Lido Hotel, where Chinese relatives have been put up by the airline since the plane vanished, increasingly lashing out in briefings as Malaysian officials and the flag carrier have been unable to explain the plane's disappearance. "Malaysia Airlines confirms that its staff were held at the Lido Hotel ballroom in Beijing by the family members of MH370 as the families expressed dissatisfaction in obtaining details of the missing aircraft," the airline said. The more than 200 family members were incensed when a Malaysian government official did not come to brief them on Thursday, and the meeting descended into chaos as relatives angrily confronted airline staff. An airline spokesman said "the main MAS officials were barred from leaving the ballroom" as about 60 family members left for the Malaysian embassy to demand information from government officials. The relatives who went to the embassy remained there in an overnight protest, two participants said yesterday. "We are so tired, as this is the 49th day. We didn't sleep the whole night, but we are still angry. No update has been made and our loved ones are still missing," a family representative said. The carrier also said a Malaysia Airlines security supervisor was "kicked in the left knee" by an "aggressive" Chinese family member at the hotel on Tuesday. About two-thirds of the 239 passengers aboard the missing plane came from China. Relatives have for weeks complained about the handling of the search for the plane, which vanished on March 8. It disappeared from radar on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and is believed to have crashed far out in the Indian Ocean. A multi-national search, however, has failed to find any debris despite weeks of looking. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said yesterday his country has asked Malaysia to "take seriously" the families' grievances, while urging families to behave in a "rational way". In an effort to be transparent, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak promised that a preliminary report submitted to the United Nations' aviation body would be released publicly. "In the name of transparency, we will release the report next week," he told CNN in an interview late on Thursday. Anthony Brickhouse, a member of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators, said the report was unlikely to contain anything startling. "This preliminary report is really just a run-down of what you know so far," he said. A difficult underwater search of the suspected crash site, using a mini-submarine equipped with a sonar device, is nearing completion with no trace of the plane found. ^ top ^

China urges U.S. to promote Asia-Pacific stability (Xinhua)
2014-04-28
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Monday said China and the United States have extensive common interests in the Asia-Pacific region, urging the U.S. side to promote mutual trust in the region. Spokesman Qin Gang said at a routine press briefing that China and the United States should respect each other, enhance cooperation and make joint efforts with other countries in the region to promote regional peace, stability and prosperity. The United States and the Philippines signed on Monday a 10-year Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement to expand the rotational presence of American forces in the Philippines. U.S. President Barack Obama said that Washington was not trying to "contain" China. China has noticed that U.S. officials have made similar statements on different occasions, Qin said, stressing that the country will keep an eye on U.S. words and deeds. The United States and relevant countries in the region should follow the historical trend and the people's desire for peaceful development and win-win cooperation, according to Qin. Obama arrived in Manila Monday on a two-day state visit to the Philippines, the last leg of his four-nation Asia trip which also took him to Japan, the Republic of Korea and Malaysia. ^ top ^

China urges dialogue not sanctions in Ukraine (Xinhua)
2014-04-28
China called on all parties to resolve the Ukrainian crisis via dialogue rather than sanctions, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Monday. Qin told a daily press briefing that China has been in touch with all relevant nations, including G7 nations, since the Ukrainian crisis erupted, and made clear the nation's stance on the issue. China has always opposed threats or sanctions in international relations, said Qin. "We believe that sanctions are inconducive to the solution of problems. On the contrary, they will escalate tensions," he said. It is not in line with any side's interests to impose sanctions, he added. "We call on all parties concerned to continue dialogue and negotiations so to resolve the crisis in a political way." The G7 leaders agreed Friday night to impose more sanctions on Russia over its "inaction" in easing the tension in eastern Ukraine. Russia denies being responsible for the crisis there. Russia's foreign ministry said it was working to resolve the observer crisis, which it blamed on Kiev for failing to ensure the mission's safety in "areas where the authorities do not control the situation and where a military operation against residents of their own country has been unleashed." Ukraine has been plunged into a chaotic violence since November 2013 following a government backtrack on European integration which angered many in the west of the country. It was hit by a fresh wave of unrest after Crimea left Ukraine to join Russia last month. ^ top ^

Minister visits controversial Japan shrine (Global Times)
2014-04-29
Japan's Administrative Reform Minister Tomomi Inada visited the Yasukuni Shrine on Monday afternoon, local media reported. Inada's visit followed those of Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshitaka Shindo on April 12 and Chairman of National Public Safety Commission Keiji Furuya on April 20. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dedicated a masakaki tree offering to the shrine on April 21, the first day of the shrine's three-day spring festival, in a move regarded as an alternative to visiting the shrine in person. The trips and offering have incensed Japan's neighbors, which view the shrine as a symbol of Japanese militarism. There are 14 convicted Class A war criminals from World War II honored at the shrine among millions of Japanese war dead. China and South Korea have urged Japan to face up to its past wartime history rather than trying to whitewash its aggression. China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said earlier this month, "The Yasukuni Shrine is a negative asset for Japan. If its leader is bent on holding this negative asset, it will become increasingly heavy." ^ top ^

Philippine pact gives US access to air, sea bases (China Daily)
2014-04-29
Washington secured a key part of its pivot to the Asia-Pacific region with a decadelong defense pact with Manila on Monday, as observers said the militarization of the region is playing with fire and makes a diplomatic settlement much harder. The US-Philippine Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement was signed on Monday at the Defense Ministry in Manila shortly before Obama's arrival on the last stop of his four-country Asian tour. The pact gives US forces temporary access to selected bases and allows them to base fighter jets and ships in the Philippines, as "part of a rebalancing of US resources towards fast-growing Asia and the Pacific", Reuters said. The US goal in Asia, Obama said on Monday, was not to contain or counter a rising China. However he "backed Manila's efforts" to submit territorial problems with China to adjudication by international arbitration, AFP said. The rhetoric has been charged recently between Beijing and Manila as the Philippines tried to boost its claims over China's Huangyan Island and Ren'ai Reef in the South China Sea and sought greater involvement from Washington. "Manila's efforts have dovetailed with Washington's intention to shift to the economically booming Asian region, partly as a counterweight to China's growing clout," Associated Press said. Rommel Banlaoi, an analyst at Manila's Center for Intelligence and National Security, told Reuters that relations between the Philippines and China will deteriorate further as China "is averse to any Philippine government initiative to involve the US in its security agenda". "We are strengthening our relationship with the US at the expense of our relationship with China," he said. Jia Duqiang, a Southeast Asian studies expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the pact serves as a component of "the Obama administration's ongoing plans to militarize issues that are rumbling in the Asia-Pacific region", and this is "actually playing with fire". "We have seen Obama press the need for defense cooperation with US allies in almost every stop of his Asian trip, which illustrates Washington's unchanged double approach in its dealings with China — dialogue plus coercion," Jia said. Responding to the pact on Monday, Beijing called for "relevant countries" to build more bridges to facilitate trust, regional peace, stability and prosperity. "The US has said on different occasions that Washington has no intention of coercive moves against China, and it is necessary to examine the follow-up remarks and actions," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a news conference in Beijing on Monday. The defense deal was signed and announced "when tensions between China and its neighbors have been rising" and it is "the biggest policy achievement" of Obama's trip to Asia, the Washington Post commented. The Philippines was an American colony from 1898 to 1946, and their defense treaty, signed in 1951, is the oldest US treaty alliance in Asia. During the Cold War the US had a large military presence in the Philippines at Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Station. But a greater US presence in the Philippines is a heated topic. Fiery debates in the Philippine Senate ultimately led to closing Subic Bay Naval Station, the last permanent US base in the country, in 1992. Qu Xing, president of the China Institute of International Studies, warned that rising tension concerning the South China Sea has radicalized public sentiment in some countries, which makes rational discussion over the issue at the diplomatic table "much harder". Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said a number of China-related remarks made by prominent US figures, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who visited China earlier this month, have sent a clear signal that "Washington is backing the Philippines". "These remarks run counter to the official US position that it does not take a position over the South China Sea issue," Wu said. Obama said at a news conference on Monday, "We welcome China's peaceful rise. We have a constructive relationship with China." But Jia from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Philippines, more so than Japan or Vietnam, has fully endorsed the US strategy of containing China. "Beijing should never have high expectations of Washington taking a fair approach over the South China Sea issue," Jia said. "The tension in the South China Sea will probably worsen because Washington is determined more than ever to contain China in this regard," Jia said. ^ top ^

Little gain seen from Obama's Asian tour (Global Times)
2014-04-29
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday left Manila, wrapping up a week-long visit to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines aimed at reassuring allies of US commitment to a "pivot to Asia." However, the four-nation trip that eyed military and trade cooperation has not won much applause from his home country and allies, according to media reports from home and abroad. Chinese analysts have not been impressed with the deals Obama made during his trip. Time magazine reported that China, the unnamed country, "loomed large" at each of Obama's stops. Just a few minutes after Obama left Manila, hundreds of activists attempted to march to the US embassy in the capital to protest the forging of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which will allow a greater US military presence in the Philippines. The 10-year defense pact, signed Monday, will ensure US support for Manila as it seeks international arbitration over territorial claims in the South China Sea. The New York Times Monday described the pact as a "modest defense agreement" and said that Obama defended his slow and steady approach to foreign policy. Time reported that Filipino Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago questioned the logic behind the agreement. "The US should not continue to treat [the Philippines] as a satellite state, while aiming to remain on good terms with China," she wrote. "America cannot have it both ways." Although China responded to the defense pact with a reserved tone on Monday by saying that it will not only listen to Washington's words but also watch its deeds, on Tuesday the tone hardened. "We will tell the world that security in Asia should be determined by Asian countries, and countries are able and wise enough to safeguard and promote security in Asia through cooperation," foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang told a regular press meeting. He also announced preparations for the Shanghai summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), to be held from May 20 to 21. The Shanghai summit is expected to be the largest ever in the history of CICA, with delegations from nearly 40 countries and international organizations attending, Qin said. Obama did not make headway on the push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact during his first stop in Tokyo. The US tried to gain more concessions from Japan on TPP issues by trading US backing for Japan's disputes with China over the Diaoyu Islands, causing an "unprecedented and embarrassing delay" of a joint statement last Friday, the Japan Times reported. It underscored the shaky bilateral relations between Japan and the US, the newspaper said. "It's a diplomatic failure for Obama in the trade talks," said Guo Longlong, a research fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies. As for the military aspect, Obama appears to have assured Japan that the US-Japan security treaty still applies, but he stopped short of directly promising that the US will intervene if there is a military conflict between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands, Guo told the Global Times on Tuesday. The US strategy of a pivot to Asia contradicts its own limited strategic resources, Guo said, and that means it cannot sustain its global strategy. The US has reduced its influence in other areas such as the Middle East, which has drawn fire from politicians at home. "If the pivot to Asia suffers another blow, it will mean great trouble for Obama's foreign policy," Guo said. Su Hao, director of the Asia-Pacific Research Center at the China Foreign Affairs University told the Global Times that China should follow its own pace for an Asia strategy, instead of falling into the US trap of causing tension between China and its near neighbors. "The upcoming Shanghai summit is a good step to develop economic and security cooperation with China's Asian partners," Su noted. ^ top ^

China, Czech Republic agree to promote ties in new starting point (Xinhua)
2014-04-29
The Czech Republic is fully aware of the importance and sensitivity of Tibet-related issues and refuses to support any form of "Tibet independence", according to a press communique on Tuesday. The communique, issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Czech Foreign Ministry, said the Czech Republic respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the People's Republic of China. According to the communique, both sides respect each other's development path, domestic and foreign policies adapt to their own national conditions, reiterating the principle of non-interference in internal affairs. The Czech Republic reaffirmed its adherence to the one-China policy and stressed that Tibet is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, it said. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told visiting Czech counterpart Lubomir Zaoralek that with a new beginning in bilateral ties, the two countries should expand exchanges at all levels. President Xi Jinping and President Milos Zeman met in February in the Russian resort city Sochi, Wang said, stressing the Chinese side is willing to implement the consensus between the two leaders to deepen bilateral cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and taking care of each other's core interests and major concerns. Zaoralek said the Czech side admires the great achievements of China's development in recent years and is ready to enhance cooperation with China in various fields on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. The two sides discussed the cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. China appreciates the Czech active participation in the China-CEE cooperation and would like to see a greater role for the Czech Republic in it, said the communique. Wang and Zaoralek also exchanged views on the Ukraine situation and other international and regional issues. Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi also met Zaoralek on Tuesday. He called on both sides to enhance exchanges in various areas as bilateral relationship has opened a new page. ^ top ^

Hopes high in Japan for Masahiko Komura's mission to Beijing (SCMP)
2014-05-01
When Masahiko Komura arrives in Beijing on Sunday, the vice-president of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party will be bearing a personal message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as his government's hopes that bilateral ties might be improved. Tokyo is watching very carefully to gauge the warmth of the greeting that he and the other eight members of the Japan-China Friendship Parliamentarians' Union receive and the seniority of the representatives of the Chinese government they are able to meet. "Komura is known to be very pro-Chinese and has strong relations with many people in key political and business positions in Beijing," Go Ito, a professor of international relations at Tokyo's Meiji University, said. "This visit is symbolic. The Chinese are aware of that, and it will be interesting to see the rank of the person that Komura is able to meet during his stay." Komura has been sent to Beijing with the aim of paving the way for better diplomatic relations and, ultimately, a resumption of top-level talks between the two governments. Japanese media reported that diplomatic sources had said Abe told Komura: "I want you to convey Japan's will to restore [bilateral relations] to a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests." Abe has not been able to meet his Chinese counterpart since he was elected in December 2012, with the Sino-Japanese relationship sinking to new lows in the last couple of years. The row over the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands, which China claims as the Diaoyu archipelago, has polarised opinion in both countries. That mutual distrust has been worsened by different interpretations of the two nations' shared history, including the issues of "comfort women" during the second world war and the Nanking Massacre. The Japanese delegation also includes Kazuo Kitagawa, the deputy leader of New Komeito, the LDP's ally in government, and Katsuya Okada, the former head of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan. Komura is considered the Japanese politician most likely to be able to make the breakthrough to the upper echelons of the Chinese leadership, as he met Xi Jinping in 2011, when he was vice-president but already tipped for the nation's top post. Komura's speaking with Xi - even if only briefly - would be considered a positive sign in Tokyo. Yoichi Masuzoe, the governor of Tokyo, paid a three-day visit to China last week and was able to meet Wang Yang, a vice-premier and one of 25 members of the Communist Party's Politburo. Should Komura only warrant a meeting with an official of Wang's rank, then Tokyo is likely to consider the attempt to offer an olive branch a failure. "My understanding is that Xi and the Chinese government are probably just waiting for the Abe administration to end and hoping that it will not be too long," said Ito. "I'm sure they would prefer to see Komura - or someone like him - in power here, although he is too old now, of course. "For now, Komura may have limited influence on either side, but he is a good conduit, and I think he will be happy to play that role," Ito added. People from all walks of life in Japan are welcome to make positive moves to improve China-Japan relations, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday. Qin Gang was asked at a news briefing about Japanese politicians' visits to China, including those of Masuzoe and Komura. "China's stance on developing China-Japan relations is consistent and clear," Qin said, noting that China urges Japan to push forward bilateral relations in the spirit of taking history as a mirror to guide the future. ^ top ^

China eyes Premier Li's Africa visit to bring bilateral ties to new high (Global Times)
2014-05-01
Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to Africa could bring bilateral ties and cooperation to a new high, said Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming on Wednesday. "I believe this visit will further consolidate the strategic trust between China and Africa, deepen their cooperation in all areas, and promote China-Africa relations and the relations between China and the African Union (AU) to a new high," said Zhang Ming at a press briefing. Li will pay official visits to Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya from May 4 to 11. This is the first time Li has visited Africa since he took office in 2013 and coincides the 50th anniversary of former Premier Zhou Enlai's first Africa visit. Zhang said Li will hold talks and meet with leaders of the four countries, and Chairperson of the AU Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The two sides will sign nearly 60 deals, covering cooperation in such areas as trade, health, culture, agriculture and personnel training. According to Zhang, during his stay in Ethiopia, Li will attend the completion ceremony of a highway constructed by Chinese corporations, visit an industrial park and hold a seminar with businessmen from China and African countries. Li will visit the AU convention center in Addis Ababa, constructed with China's assistance and deliver a speech there on China-Africa cooperation. Li will attend the 2014 World Economic Forum on Africa to be held in Abuja, capital of Nigeria, and deliver a speech on China-Africa common development, China's promotion of Africa's inclusive development and international cooperation with Africa. He will hold a seminar with Chinese companies and overseas Chinese during his stay in Angola. The premier will also meet officials from the United Nations Environment Program and the United Nations Human Settlements Program, and discuss with them China's cooperation with the two UN organs during his visit in Kenya. "China hopes the visit will inject new vitality into relations with Africa and bring the attention and input of the international community to Africa, to create a good external environment for development," Zhang said. China has been Africa's largest trade partner for five consecutive years and a major source of new investment, while Africa has been China's important import market and second largest market of overseas contract projects. China's direct investment stock to Africa reached 25 billion US dollars by the end of 2013. There are more than 2,500 Chinese companies investing in Africa, according to the ministry. Assistant Minister of Commerce Zhang Xiangchen said the economic cooperation is a major part of Premier Li's upcoming visit. Given the preparations of the African countries at the current stage, the outcomes of the visit will include governmental deals, cooperation projects between financial institutions and enterprises, regional projects and others, covering various fields, he said. Zhang said China will continue to encourage enterprises to expand business on areas of resource processing, agriculture, finance and service in Africa. China will also encourage enterprises to pay attention to environment and community development, he added. "We believe that the visit will lift the economic cooperation between China and Africa to a new level," he said. ^ top ^

China, Russia to hold joint military exercise in May (Xinhua)
2014-05-01
China and Russia will stage joint naval drills in the East China Sea off Shanghai in late May, China's ministry of national defense has said. The "Joint Sea-2014" drills are regular exercises held by Chinese and Russian navies, and is aimed to enhance practical cooperation between the two militaries and to strengthen their capabilities to jointly deal with maritime security threats, said a report published on the ministry's website. China and Russia held similar drills off the coast of Russia's Far East last year, which saw seven vessels from China's North Sea Fleet and South Sea Fleet and 12 vessels from Russia's Pacific Fleet take part in the weeklong exercises. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

President Xi vows intense pressure on terrorism (Xinhua)
2014-04-26
Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to resolutely crack down on terrorism and secessionism with high intensity to safeguard national security. Xi made the remarks on Friday at the 14th group study session on national security and social stability by the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. Calling terrorism the common enemy of the people, Xi urged improving counter-terrorism systems and abilities and the public to build a "wall of bronze and iron" to fight against terrorism. "(We must) make terrorists become like rats scurrying across a street, with everybody shouting 'beat them!'" Xi said. Resolute and decisive measures must be taken and high pressure must be maintained to crack down on violent terrorists who have been swollen with arrogance, he said. Violent terrorists ignore basic human rights, trample humanism and justice and challenge the bottom-line of human civilization, Xi said. It is neither an issue of nationality nor one of religion, but the common enemy of people of all nationalities, he said. Xi also emphasized the fight against secessionism and promotion of ethnic unity and common prosperity. He called on a resolute strike on secession, infiltration and sabotage by hostile forces within and outside China. Xi urged all regions and departments to shoulder responsibilities and cooperate to maintain national security and social stability which are "extremely urgent" for deepening reforms and realizing the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. While China has managed to remain stable in providing a sound environment for reforms and opening-up, threats and challenges to the country's national security and social stability are increasing and reinforcing each other, he warned. We must keep a clear mind and effectively prevent, manage and settle these security risks, he said. To implement the overall national security outlook, China must attach importance to both external and internal security, homeland security and the safety of its people as well as traditional and non-traditional security, he said. China must pay attention to both development and security, as well as its own security and common security, he added. To safeguard national security, China must promote development in a more comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable way and improve people's livelihood so as to eliminate sources of social conflicts, Xi said. He also called on perfecting systems to protect people's legal rights and the rule of law so that social conflicts can be settled through legal means effectively. ^ top ^

CPC official stresses implementation of anti-decadence campaign (Xinhua)
2014-04-27
A senior official with the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Sunday told officials to "get straight to the point and add a bit of heat" to self-criticism sessions as part of a broader CPC campaign to fight decadence. Liu Yunshan, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, told CPC officials to meticulously list their problems and provide thorough analysis of the root causes, amid other preparations for "democratic meetings". Criticism and self-criticism at intra-Party sessions, or democratic meetings, are part of the CPC's "mass line" campaign that is dedicated to removing undesirable work styles among officials and forging closer Party-people ties. Launched in June 2013, the campaign has now entered its second phase, which is scheduled to run from January to September and target more low-level departments and leaderships. The first phase focused on central and provincial-level departments. Party officials are required to "keep doors open" and sincerely listen to suggestions from the masses. Liu said officials have to make sure their problems are acknowledged by the public. To accurately find problems is an important precondition to go on with self-criticism sessions, Liu said. Top officials at provincial, city and county-level Party committees shall set good examples and take charge of such activities, Liu said, adding campaign supervisors should be strict to ensure the effectiveness of the campaign and reject formalism during inspections. ^ top ^

Sites ordered to remove foreign TV programmes (SCMP)
2014-04-28
Chinese authorities have ordered video streaming websites to stop showing four popular American TV shows, including The Big Bang Theory and The Good Wife, representatives from two sites said yesterday. The move suggests government attention is intensifying on the online content-streaming industry, which is freer than state television and China's cinemas to show foreign productions and other content and has stretched the boundaries of what can be seen in the country. A spokeswoman for a leading online video site, Youku, said on Saturday it received an order from the media regulator to stop streaming the sitcom The Big Bang Theory, political and legal drama The Good Wife, crime drama NCIS and legal drama The Practice. Of the shows listed, Youku only streams The Good Wife. The order came from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, which did not provide an explanation for the ban, said the Youku spokeswoman. A senior manager with another content-streaming website, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said his company received an order last week to “clean their website”. The order, identical to the one sent to Youku and other companies, also called for the immediate removal of a Chinese sit-com produced by Sohu, one of the mainland's largest internet firms. Calls to the regulator rang unanswered yesterday, and Sohu did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Streaming sites regularly receive orders to remove Chinese or foreign TV programmes and movies due to violence, graphic sex or copyright infringement. China's privately-owned video streaming sites began as YouTube-like platforms that relied on user-generated content. But the sites soon expanded to show legally licensed domestic and international TV series and films. Increasingly, mainland sites are producing their own programmes and, in some cases, co-producing feature-length films. Li Xiang, a real estate agent in Beijing and a big fan of American TV dramas, said he was angered by the order. “If they kill all the fun we have, we will have lots of time to watch [politically] sensitive content,” Li said. Yang Jiajia, also a capital resident, said the ban would have some unintended consequences. “[The removal order] will only encourage internet users to download the programmes from piracy websites,” he said. ^ top ^

Premier Li Keqiang makes high-profile visit to Chongqing (SCMP)
2014-04-29
Premier Li Keqiang has visited Chongqing, the first top state leader to visit the city since the 18th party congress in November 2012. Li began his trip on Sunday and focused on economics and people's livelihoods, steering clear of sensitive political topics. He was accompanied by Zhang Gaoli, another standing member of the Politburo and several ministers with the central government, including Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank governor, reported China Central Television. There were no references made to the former party chief in Chongqing, Bo Xilai, in state media coverage of the trip. The former Communist Party chief is still a divisive figure in Chongqing, with supporters saying his policies, including welfare programmes, helped the needy. Others who were the victims of Bo's political vendettas are seeking compensation from the city government. Bo was jailed for life in September last year for corruption, bribery and abuse of power. "Li might have come to Chongqing to help solve certain economic problems as the city still has many difficulties inherited from Bo's era," said Zhang Ming, a political scientist at Renmin University in Beijing. A local journalist, who asked not to be named, said local people had been hoping a senior leader would visit as Bo had left a huge negative impact on the city. "We need a boost from the central government for the city's future development," he said. Li visited a telecommunications company on Sunday. He found many staff had moved to the city after they were displaced by the Three Gorges Dam project. "Once you get a job, you can get some income and gradually live a better life," Xinhua quoted Li as saying. About 1.2 million people were relocated for the construction of the Three Gorges project and finding them work has proved a struggle for the governments in Chongqing and Hubei province. Li also toured by boat port infrastructure on the Yangtze River. "The golden waterway is the best ship channel to connect the eastern, middle and western parts [of China]. [We] need to use the golden waterway to connect the 'string of pearls' along the Yangtze economic zone," Li said. Huang Chengcheng, who was detained during Bo's time in office for writing posts online critical of his administration, said he hoped Li would look into the cases of people who were victimised by Bo. ^ top ^

Chinese president appoints new ambassadors (Xinhua)
2014-04-29
Chinese President Xi Jinping has appointed three new ambassadors, according to a statement issued by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) on Tuesday. Xi made the appointments in line with decisions by the Standing Committee of the NPC, China's top legislature. Gu Xiaojie has been appointed ambassador to Nigeria, replacing Deng Boqing. Pang Sen has been appointed ambassador to Iran, replacing Yu Hongyang. Wang Kejian has been appointed ambassador to Syria, replacing Zhang Xun. ^ top ^

Journalist fails to show up at commemoration (SCMP)
2014-04-29
Friends of outspoken mainland political analyst and journalist Gao Yu yesterday expressed concern about her whereabouts after she failed to turn up at a low-key gathering to commemorate an event that led to the crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square 25 years ago. Gao's friends said she had planned to attend the private gathering on Saturday that commemorated the anniversary of the publication of the People's Daily's April 26 editorial in 1989, which called the Tiananmen pro-democracy movement an "anti-party and anti-socialist upheaval". It is widely blamed for sharpening the conflict between the government and the students. The military crackdown on June 4, 1989, left hundreds, or thousands, of civilians dead. Gao's home phone rang unanswered yesterday and her mobile phone was switched off. Her son could not be reached. Her friends, including retired official Yao Jianfu, yesterday said they had no idea of her whereabouts. Yao said people who had tried to visit her said the front gate of her Beijing home was locked. Gao, 70, had planned to travel to Hong Kong to take part in a conference on May 3. She suffers various health problems and is on medication. Bao Tong, a friend of Gao and a former top aide of reformist leader Zhao Ziyang, said he was anxious about her apparent disappearance. "If the government has made her lose her freedoms, it should by law announce the reasons," he said. He said that whether it was the government or others who were responsible for Gao's disappearance, it was the government's responsibility to protect her. Gao spent a total of seven years in jail for her political writings. She was arrested on June 3, 1989, just before the Tiananmen crackdown and was arrested again in October 1993, accused of having "published state secrets". Bao, 82, who was jailed for seven years over the Tiananmen movement, lives mostly under house arrest. In past years, he had been taken away ahead of protest anniversaries. When asked whether he would be similarly treated this year, Bao said: "If they can illegally strip others of their freedoms, they can illegally strip me of my freedoms". "I know an old gentleman called Xi Zhongxun, he advocated the protection of different opinions. The protection of different opinions is the manifestation of a country being healthy, confident and full of vitality," he said, referring to late reformist party elder, Xi Zhongxun, the father of President Xi Jinping. ^ top ^

Former top Sichuan official stripped of office, expelled from Party (Global Times)
2014-04-30
Li Chuncheng, former vice Party chief of China's Sichuan Province, has been stripped of his office and expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Party's disciplinary watchdog said on Tuesday. According to a statement from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), Li abused his power and took a huge amount of bribes. He had also made his brother's business prosper through his political power and took money through his wife and daughter. Aside from corruption, Li was said to have participated in many superstitious activities, causing a great loss of public funds. The statement did not provide further details but said Li was both "corrupt" and "morally degenerate." The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee decided to expel Li from the CPC and his public office as he has seriously violated Party rules, it noted. Li's assets will be confiscated and his case will be transferred to judicial organs. He was first put under investigation for alleged discipline violation in October 2012. Before becoming the vice Party chief of Sichuan Province, Li served as the deputy mayor of Harbin in Heilongjiang Province and mayor of Chengdu in Sichuan Province. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

China to finish analysis of air pollutant around Beijing (Xinhua)
2014-04-27
An analysis of the sources of air pollution in Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang will be finished by the end of June, an official with China's environmental authority said on Sunday. The environmental authorities are working with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering to conduct the research and will jointly release reports on the results in the research, said Zhao Yingmin, director of the pollution control and management department of the Ministry of Environmental Protection. Zhao made the remarks when giving a report on air pollution in China to the Environment and Resources Protection Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature. The analysis of the sources of air pollution in Beijing has already been finished and published earlier this month and the result revealed that about 64 percent to 72 percent of the air pollutants in Beijing are locally generated, Zhao said. The official said the yearly average density of fine particular matter, or PM2.5, in Beijing last year was 89.5 micrograms per cubic meter, far beyond the pollution control cap target of 60. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

President Xi encourages PLA, armed police on Xinjiang trip (Global Times)
2014-04-29
Chinese President Xi Jinping has visited People's Liberation Army (PLA) and armed police forces in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, PLA Daily reported on Monday. According to the newspaper, Xi visited the military area command in Xinjiang's Kashi Sunday afternoon and told the soldiers, who are of various ethnic groups, that "they should unite like a family." Xi urged the soldiers to "care for each other, help each other, study together, maintain national unity and guard the borderland of China." Xi also visited an armed police team in Kashi on Sunday afternoon where he acknowledged the complicated situation and the hardship the soldiers have endured. He encouraged them to keep their duty in their heart and contribute more. Stability in Xinjiang has become increasing important not only to local people but to national security as terrorist activities saw an obvious rise over the past two years. On March 1, a group wielding knives carried out an attack at Kunming Railway Station in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, killing 29 and injuring 143. The assailants were later identified as terrorists from Xinjiang. The attack is also seen as a turning point where terrorists began to target ordinary people instead of symbols of government such as police stations. ^ top ^

President Xi Jinping delivers tough message to 'frontline of terror' on visit to Xinjiang (SCMP)
2014-04-30
Xi Jinping has made his first presidential visit to what he called the "front line against terrorism" in the restive region of Xinjiang. Xi's tour of Kashgar came ahead of a work conference in June that will decide policies for the troubled region. Xinjiang has seen a series of attacks in recent years, blamed by the government on Muslim ethnic-Uygur separatists. The authorities also blame them for last month's knife attacks at Kunming railway station that left 29 dead and 140 injured. Xi visited a military unit and an armed police squad on Sunday afternoon. He also toured a police station in Kashgar on Monday and watched an anti-terrorism drill. "You must have the most effective means to deal with violent terrorists," Xi was quoted by Xinhua as saying. "The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in wartime." Cracking down on terrorism has been top of the agenda for Xi's administration and is among the priorities of the Communist Party's newly created National Security Commission. At least 100 people have been killed in violence in Xinjiang over the past year, officials say. Over the past two months, Xi has publicly discussed the battle against terrorism 15 times. Two days before Xi toured Kashgar, he vowed in a Politburo meeting to "resolutely crack down on terrorism and separatism with high intensity to safeguard national security". During his trip, Xi also visited a nearby village and asked about the daily lives of Uygurs. Later, while visiting a school, Xi urged ethnic Han teachers to master the Uygur language and to help Uygur students become fluent in Putonghua. "It's important to [have] bilingual education for minority children. [They] will be able to find jobs easier in the future by mastering the Chinese language, and more importantly they will contribute more to national unity," Xi said. Part of his visit also touched on promoting economic growth. At a meeting yesterday, Xi told officials to develop the manufacturing and services sectors and to launch projects to create jobs in the region. "We should help people to get jobs, make a living and have hope," Xi said. Pan Zhiping, a senior researcher at the Xinjiang Social Science Academy, said Xi wanted to see the situation in Xinjiang for himself ahead of the government work conference in early June. "Xi wants to tell local officials and people in the south of Xinjiang that he is a leader who doesn't just sit in a Beijing office and read reports written by local officials, but a leader who goes to get in touch with them," Pan said. "During the trip, Xi sent a clear message to the outside world that he would deal with terrorists with an iron fist, but might be more flexible when dealing with religious and ethnic conflicts, as well as other social problems." Southern areas of Xinjiang have higher populations of Turkic-speaking Uygurs. Human rights organisations and Uygur exile groups claim Beijing's policies discriminate against the ethnic group's culture and religion, stoking unrest. The area is often marred by violent unrest. In April last year a clash between Uygurs and police near Kashgar left 21 dead. Related violence has also spread to other parts of the country, including Beijing. ^ top ^

Two suspects, one citizen killed in Xinjiang attack (Xinhua)
2014-05-01
Two suspects and a citizen were killed in Wednesday's railway station terror attack in the regional capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, police said Thursday. An investigation showed one of the two suspects was Sedirdin Sawut, a 39-year-old man from Xayar County, Aksu in southern Xinjiang. The two have long been involved in religious extremism. At 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, they stabbed people with knives and set off explosives at the exit of Urumqi south railway station. The two suspects were killed by the explosion. An innocent citizen also died and 79 others were injured in the attack. Some of the injured have been discharged from hospital. Local public order is normal. Chinese President Xi Jinping urged "decisive actions" against violent terrorist attacks after the blast. "The battle to combat violence and terrorism will not allow even a moment of slackness, and decisive actions must be taken to resolutely suppress the terrorists' rampant momentum," Xi said. During an inspection tour to Xinjiang which ended on Wednesday, Xi said safeguarding the country's unity and fighting separatism are of the upmost importance and in the basic interests of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. While fighting terrorism, China will deploy a "strike-first" strategy against terrorists in this region to deter enemies and inspire people, he said. ^ top ^

Urumqi bombing was suicide attack by 'religious extremists' (SCMP)
2014-05-01
Xinjiang authorities said two assailants carried out a suicide attack on Wednesday evening at Urumqi's main railway station. The attack left one bystander dead and 79 people injured. The assailants, one of whom was identified as Sedirdin Sawut, 39, from Aksu in southern Xinjiang, were influenced by "extreme" religious thoughts, Xinhua reported. The assailants "set off bombs tied on their bodies and died" after launching frenzied knife attacks, People's Daily reported through its official microblog, citing a police investigation. "This is a bomb explosion case of a violent terrorist nature," Xinhua reported, but it did not say whether the attackers were related to overseas groups. The attack coincided with the end of a four-day inspection tour to the Uygur region by President Xi Jinping. The regional government did not say if police had detained any people. An overseas Uygur group said up to 100 had been arrested. Security and Xinjiang affairs experts said the incident was planned as Xi wrapped up his visit - a sign that extremists were escalating confrontation with the leadership in Beijing. Yesterday armoured vehicles were stationed at the entrances of the railway station, with hundreds of armed officers with riot shields patrolling nearby. The station exit, where the blast took place was cordoned off. "We were waiting outside the station for a train, and then the bomb exploded. Many pieces of luggage were scattered around. I then saw a man whose leg was seriously hurt limping out of the station," said a traveller from Wuxi in Jiangsu province, who was hoping to get on a train to Ili prefecture in northern Xinjiang on Wednesday night. It was cancelled. "Some people were chopping others with their knives, and then came the sound of the explosion, which was deafening," said the shopkeeper of a nearby mobile phone accessories shop. Security in other Xinjiang cities was stepped up. Police in Yining posted a notice calling on local residents to report to authorities on people suspected of keeping explosives and guns, China News Service reported. President Xi urged "decisive action" against violent terrorist attacks after the blast. "The battle to combat violence and terrorism will not allow even a moment of slackness, and decisive action must be taken to resolutely suppress the terrorists' rampant momentum," Xinhua quoted Xi as saying. Rohan Gunaratna of the Singapore-based International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, said: "The attack is a defiance of [Beijing's] rule. They want to show to the Chinese president that they are able to attack." Li Lifan, a professor of Central Asian studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said the assailants were seeking "more attention from the international community for their cause". Given Wednesday's attack and the knife attack at the Kunming railway station in March, which left 33 people, including four attackers, dead, experts called on authorities to be more vigilant about the spread of violence from southern Xinjiang to other regions." Attacking during Xi's visit and the use of bombs that also could have killed Uygur [bystanders] indicates that the assailants are getting indiscriminate in their targets," said Pan Zhiping, who formerly worked for the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences. Rafaello Pantucci, a senior research fellow with the London-based Royal United Services Institute, said the incident was a "substantial security failure" by the Xinjiang government as it could not prevent an attack even during a visit by top state leaders."We are seeing the problem getting worse and slowly spreading out to all over the place," he said. Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the World Uygur Congress, said Uygurs expected Xi to give suggestions to improve their situation during the visit. He said Wednesday's attack was a result of Beijing's suppression. ^ top ^

Breaking news alerts on Urumqi attack 'censored' on Weibo (SCMP)
2014-05-01
As China reels from the latest deadly terror attack in the restive western region of Xinjiang, many have complained that breaking news alerts of the bomb-and-knife attack outside a railway station in Urumqi were censored on the mainland's most popular social media platform on Wednesday night. Beijing has condemned the attack as an act of terrorism and pointed a finger at Xinjiang separatist forces, hours after the attack at around 7pm on Wednesday evening killed three people and injured 79. Two of those killed were suspected assailants who detonated explosive devices they were carrying, and the third victim was an innocent bystander, the official People's Daily said on Thursday. An English-language account operated by the official Xinhua news agency, “Xinhua - I report”, was the first to post a news alert on Weibo, formerly known as Sina Weibo until a recent name change, within an hour of the explosion rocking the largest railway station in the capital of Xinjiang. “A blast hits a railway station in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region,” the post read. The news came hot on the heels of state television broadcast reports on President Xi Jinping's four-day tour in the troubled province during its evening news bulletin. Major mainland media outlets including Weibo's official news account “Breaking News”, which has over 33 million followers, quickly reposted the brief alert from Xinhua, which is commonly taken as the official tone of the Chinese authorities. Within half an hour, the state news agency updated its Weibo account with a post about Xi's speech on terrorism, in which he wrapped up his tour of Urumqi by saying Beijing vowed to deploy a “strike-first” strategy against terrorism. Meanwhile, People's Daily also followed up with a post saying “the injured have been sent to hospital”. “Stay tuned for our follow-up report,” the state newspaper told its 19.5 million followers. In an unusual turn of events, the post was soon conspicuously absent from Sina Weibo. So were the initial report by Xinhua English and all news outlets' reposts of the alert. Pictures showing blood on suitcases and debris on the ground were also censored, according to Freeweibo, a website that archives censored posts. Shocked and confused, microbloggers bombarded the official news account of Sina Weibo with questions over why a major news event would be censored on the mainland's most popular social media platform. “You crazy, Sina?” a microblogger from Shenzhen who called himself “forever 25 degree” wrote in a comment on the latest post of Weibo's official news account. He added that search results for “4.30 Xinjiang railway station blast” were not available on Weibo, with the reason given online as “in accordance with law and regulation”. Some users complained Weibo had censored their posts about the blast. “I just want to say that we have every right to know the truth,” a microblogger from Xinjiang who called herself “Xiao Xin” wrote in her comments. Others started wondering if the initial reports were untruthful. “Was it a false alert? Or was it too sensitive to be posted on Sina Weibo?” a microblogger from Shanghai posted. Despite being one of the more active news outlets on Sina Weibo, the “Breaking News” account maintained silence for a further two hours, without posting any updates on the blast or other news events, until China Central Television and Xinhua finished drafting an official news brief on the explosion at around 11.30pm on Wednesday. “Shortly after a train arrived from Chengdu, a blast happened at an exit of the railway station. People injured in the blast have been sent to hospital, and the station has resumed normal operations. The cause of the blast is still under investigation,” the updated post, labelled “news alert,” said. “Is it an 'alert'? Shame on you [CCTV],” Chen Zhaohui, chairman of Baijia Food, one of the mainland's largest manufacturers of instant noodles, wrote in a comment on the post. “The right to be informed shows the authorities' basic trust in its citizens, especially in the face of emergencies,” Wang Ran, an investment banker based in Beijing wrote in his comment. “If you [the authorities] don't trust the public, why on earth should they trust you?” Sina News declined to comment.. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Civic Party makes its demands for any meeting with Beijing (SCMP)
2014-04-29
The Civic Party has demanded that any meetings between it and Beijing officials be held at a neutral venue and be open for journalists to cover. It also said it would not accept individual invitations to any of its six lawmakers. One of the six, Dr Kwok Ka-ki, set out the demands yesterday as he confirmed he had been invited to attend a meeting on political reform at the central government's Hong Kong liaison office. Kwok said it was unlikely he would accept the invitation, made over the phone by an office representative. "We don't accept individual meetings, and … if we have to meet … we don't want it to be a closed-door discussion - they must meet the six of us at the same time, in places other than the liaison office," he said. The Labour Party and Democratic Party said they had not received any such invitations. The government's No 2 official lamented later that there was still "a long way to go" to reach consensus on the 2017 chief executive election despite the government's five-month consultation ending on Saturday. "My colleague joked that in the next stage - when we table our own proposal to seek Legco's support - maybe we will have to change our 'Let's talk' slogan," Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said. "And [we could] borrow the one from our commercial targeted against shops which block pavements: 'Hey, can you clear the way?'" Views expressed yesterday illustrated the division. The Beijing-loyalist Federation of Trade Unions proposed requiring candidates to win at least half of the nominating committee's support before they could run in a public election. But the pro-democracy Civil Human Rights Front endorsed the proposal tabled by student-led Scholarism and the Federation of Students for the public to be able to nominate candidates. Meanwhile, a group representing eight financial organisations and financial services lawmaker Christopher Cheung Wah-fung published a joint statement opposing the Occupy Central movement. The full-page advert in three newspapers comes after 70 banking and financial sector workers wrote to President Xi Jinping last week demanding democracy, some saying they might join Occupy Central if their request was denied. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou bows to pressure and halts nuclear plant (SCMP)
2014-04-28
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday decided to halt construction of the island's fourth nuclear power plant in an attempt to head off yet another political crisis amid growing calls for the project to be scrapped.The decision was made during a three-hour meeting with 15 ruling Kuomintang (KMT) mayors and magistrates to build consensus and find effective ways to address the issue. At least three prominent KMT mayors - Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu Li-luan and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu Chi-chiang - have been sceptical about whether the project - 98 per cent completed - should continue. Chu has even called for a change to the rules governing referendums to improve the chances for a successful anti-nuclear result. "Two resolutions were made during the meeting, including [a halt to] construction on the remaining part of the plant," KMT spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi said. He said authorities would first conduct safety inspections of the No 1 generator before sealing off the facility and halting construction of the No 2 generator. "The second resolution is to hold a national conference on energy in order to ensure [the] normal supply of power" in Taiwan, Fan Chiang said. He said that only when the public called for the start-up of the plant in New Taipei City should a referendum be held. On Friday, Ma had agreed to delay starting up the plant until a referendum was held, but gave no timetable for the vote. Fan Chiang stopped short of saying whether a rule change for the referendum was discussed yesterday. Relaxing requirements is a major demand of anti-nuclear activists, who believe the rules concerning the number of eligible voters required to pass any measure are too strict. Under current rules, half of all eligible voters - about nine million - must take part in the referendum and half of those who do must approve of the proposal for it to pass. Since 2004, national referendums have not attracted the requisite number of voters. Su Tseng-chang, head of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party, has proposed that the threshold be lowered to 25 per cent of eligible voters, or about five million. The meeting took place as thousands of anti-nuclear activists marched from Ma's office to Taipei Railway Station, where they occupied a four-lane avenue despite repeated police calls to disperse. Protesters shouted, "Scrap the fourth nuclear power plant" and "Revoke [the plant's] construction budget", as they rallied in a sit-in organisers vowed to continue until after Premier Jiang Yi-huah officially announced the KMT's resolutions. Other marchers demanded changes to rules on referendums. But Mayor Hau warned against the illegal occupation, saying he would do all he could to "ensure that Taipei citizens regain their rights to use the road in the morning". ^ top ^

 

Economy

China to maintain policy continuity, stability (Global Times)
2014-04-25
China's economic growth in the first quarter was within a proper range, so the government will maintain continuity and stability of its macroeconomic policies, the top leadership announced on Friday. Since the beginning of the year, the country has faced challenges and difficulties head on but the economy has generally had a good start, said a statement released after a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. CPC Central Committee's general secretary Xi Jinping chaired the meeting to discuss economic situation and related work. "The economic situation was generally in line with the government's macroeconomic regulation and development outlook," the statement said. China's economic growth slowed to a six-quarter low of 7.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, down from an annual figure of 7.7 percent in 2013. Growth is within range, as the government set an expansion target for this year at around 7.5 percent. Economic growth fundamentals remain unchanged and the country should coordinate the relations of stabilizing growth, promoting reforms, adjusting structure, improving livelihoods and preventing risks, the statement said. "The country should maintain the continuity and stability of macroeconomic policies. Both fiscal and monetary policies will be kept steady to nurture expectation for sound development and a transparent macro policy environment," it said. The government work report unveiled in March said the country will continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy. While keeping macro policies stable, micro-level measures should be flexible with better social security measures, and timely adjustments should be made in accordance with changing conditions of the economy to realize economic and social development goals for the year, said the statement.x In the first quarter, economic growth was steady, the job market was generally sound, price levels remained stable, balance of payment situations improved and there were also positive changes in economic structure, said the statement. Reforms in all respects were pushed forward in an orderly manner as set out in a landmark plan for deepening comprehensive reforms before 2020, the meeting pointed out. However, downward pressures for economic growth still exist, with uncertainties in the external economic environment. "Some difficulties cannot be underestimated and great attention should be placed on hidden risks," the statement said. China will boost support for the real economy to offer a solid foundation for economic growth, according to the meeting. The government will step up support for small and micro-firms, agricultural sectors and social causes. "More efforts should be made to streamline administration and delegate powers to lower levels to build an equitable market environment," the statement said. China will intensify efforts to accelerate economic restructuring, promote growth quality and efficiency, enhance production-related service sectors, upgrade and restructure the manufacturing sector, and promote the development of technology and equipment for environmental protection and cyclical use of resources. The statement added that China should continue to support the development of western areas and the rejuvenation of old industrial bases, promote the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province and timely implement the plan to build a new type of urbanization. In mid-March, China unveiled a landmark urbanization plan for the 2014-2020 period in an effort to steer the country's urbanization onto a human-centered and environmentally friendly path. ^ top ^

Profits up for industrial sector (Global Times)
2014-04-28
China's industrial sector saw profits rise 10.1 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, with the growth rate accelerating from the first two months of this year, official data showed Sunday, indicating the economy is stabilizing despite downward pressure. Total profit in the sector hit 1.29 trillion yuan ($209 billion) from January to March, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Sunday. In March alone, industrial producers' profits totaled 513.2 billion yuan, up 10.7 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 9.4 percent year-on-year expansion in the first two months, the NBS said. "It indicates that the economy is steady, despite downward pressure," Xu Hongcai, director of the Department of Information at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told the Global Times on Sunday. The industrial profit data is consistent with industrial output data unveiled on April 16, which showed that output increased 0.2 percentage points in March from February. Automakers ranked top in the first quarter, with 3.06 billion yuan of profit, followed by power producers, electronics manufacturers, non-metallic mineral producers and IT equipment makers, said He Ping, an economist at the NBS, in a statement posted on the NBS website Sunday. These five industries accounted for nearly 80 percent of the total industrial profits, He noted. Rising profits in automaking and electronics indicates an improvement in consumption, Xu noted. Petrol and natural gas producers, nonferrous metal miners and coal miners suffered a year-on-year fall in profits ranging from 6.3 percent to 41.2 percent in the first quarter, according to the NBS. The slump in these sectors' profits is partly due to China's efforts to curb overcapacity issues, as the majority of raw materials producers are still plagued by overcapacity and sluggish demand, Zhang Yingjie, research vice president at China Chengxin International Credit Rating Co, told the Global Times on Sunday. State-owned enterprises in the industrial sector saw slower profit growth of 2.9 percent year-on-year compared to private businesses, which saw profit growth of 14.2 percent in the first quarter, the NBS data showed. China's GDP growth reached 7.4 percent between January and March, its slowest pace in 18 months, and lower than the official 7.5 percent target for the whole year. The slackening economy prompted measures to stabilize growth. The People's Bank of China, the central bank, on Friday cut the cash reserve requirement for some rural banks in order to help fuel credit growth in the agricultural sector. In early April, the State Council announced tax breaks for small and micro-sized businesses and said it would speed up investment in railways. The local governments of Guangdong, Hainan, Tianjin, Jiangxi and Guizhou have unveiled pro-growth investment plans worth a combined 7 trillion yuan for this year, Shanghai Securities News reported on April 15, citing local investment plans. On Wednesday, the State Council decided to open 80 pilot programs in State-controlled sectors - such as railway and port construction, clean energy projects, and oil and gas pipeline building - to private investment, in the form of public-private partnerships. The State Council also said it would open up oil and gas exploration, public utilities and airports to private investors. The latest HSBC flash Purchasing Managers' Index, a leading gauge of manufacturing activity, rose to 48.3 in April from a final reading of 48 in March, HSBC said on Wednesday. "We do not believe that this uptick in the HSBC PMI signals any sort of turning point for the economy and continue to believe that growth momentum is on a downtrend, with GDP growth likely to slow to 7.1 percent in the second quarter," Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura Securities, told the Global Times in a research note on Wednesday. ^ top ^

Economic belt to drive development westward (China Daily)
2014-04-29
Premier Li Keqiang promised on Monday to help group 11 provincial-level entities into the largest development network in China — an economic belt along the 1,800-kilometer"golden waterway"of the Yangtze River. It is simply a logical step to use the Yangtze to connect relatively developed east China with central and west China, Li said. From the coastal financial center of Shanghai to the central China business center of Wuhan and to the nation's largest municipality of Chongqing in western China, the proposed Yangtze economic belt would cover one-fifth of China's territory and have a population of around 580 million. Li discussed the plan with leaders from the 11 municipalities and provinces in Chongqing on Monday, and he believes it will generate a powerful driving force for the nation's next round of economic development. The 11 provincial level entities in the proposed economic belt include Shanghai and Chongqing municipalities, along with Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces. Another recently proposed cross-region integration plan covers Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province in northern China. Yang Kaizhong, a regional economy professor at Peking University, said the country will be put in a disadvantageous situation if it relies solely on the booming coastal areas for economic growth. “The well-being of people along the Yangtze River — who number about 580 million in 2012 — is vital to the country's overall development,"he said. Yang noted that development in that area should no longer be based on low labor cost and real estate development. Instead, it should establish a"shared market"in which all the factors of production are being exchanged freely and inter-regional connection is efficient. He suggested setting up an all-powerful coordination bureau, which overlooks affairs that involve more than one local administration. ^ top ^

Central bank warns of financial risks, pressure (Global Times)
2014-04-29
China's economy is still facing increasing downward pressure and potential financial risks, and the country will use "market means" to resolve local government debt issues, the country's central bank said in its annual financial stability report released on Tuesday. The foundation of economic recovery is still not solid, the reliance on investment and credit is still increasing and the task of structural adjustment and change of growth model is huge, the report said. The country will maintain the continuity and stability of the macroeconomic policies and speed up economic restructuring to improve the quality and efficiency of economic growth, it said. "The message from the central bank's report is in line with the top leadership's stance on management of the economy," Zhang Lei, a macroeconomic analyst with Minsheng Securities, told the Global Times on Tuesday. The country is now in a phase of changing gear in economic growth, a phase of shifting growth model and a phase for dissolving the side effects from previous stimulus measures. It seems it may take longer to go through the period due to the clash of interests, Zhang said. The central bank's report also warned against potential risks in interbanking, off-balance-sheet business and wealth management products, and said the risks of non-financial institutions which offer financing services cannot be ignored. The country will break the "rigid honoring" to allow some high-risk wealth management products to fail in an orderly pattern and allow defaults to happen, the report said. When risks occur, the issuers and investors should identify their own responsibilities and obligations and bear the risks for their own part, it said. "Since the second half of last year, the risks from shadow banking have emerged and pressure of debt defaults will be even bigger as many loans will mature this year," Zhang said. Shadow banking has developed rapidly in China since 2010 as banks run out of lending quotas and loan-to-deposit ratios to expand lending through traditional channels. Trusts companies and brokerages - the less regulated shadow banking institutions - sell wealth management products to raise funds so they buy loans that banks want to keep off-balance-sheet. Some loans were made to riskier borrowers. The central bank also said that the country will use market-oriented means to resolve local government debt issues. "The new leadership has adopted a new mindset in managing the economy, that is not pursuing high investment and returns but focusing on economic restructuring," Zhao Xijun, deputy director of the Finance and Securities Research Institute at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times Tuesday. If the leadership can remain committed to reforms and restructuring as they have pledged, the short-term pains of slowdown from reforms can be translated into opportunities in the future, Zhao said. ^ top ^

Premier Li Keqiang makes case for deeper economic reforms over stimulus (SCMP)
2014-05-01
Premier Li Keqiang has said the government will steer clear of short-term stimulus measures to boost the economy.Li (pictured) said in an article published yesterday that pushing through deeper economic reforms was a wiser and more courageous approach than relying on government spending and borrowing to produce growth. The 10,000-character article, headlined "Several questions regarding deepening structural reforms", was published in the magazine Qiushi, or Seeking Truth, a political periodical published by the Central Party School and the Communist Party's Central Committee. The government is trying to rebalance the economy to rely less on state spending fuelled by debt and to open up markets and encourage the growth of the private sector to encourage domestic consumption and spending. The mainland's economy grew at its slowest pace for 18 months in the first quarter of this year, expanding by 7.4 per cent. Reflecting on the steps the government had taken to cope with a slowing economy last year, Li said it was crucial it had launched reforms to decentralise decision-making and allow the market to play a bigger role. Li attributed last year's successes to this "proactive and creative way to macro-manage". "In a complicated economic environment, we acted calmly, neither tightening up nor easing monetary policies," he wrote. "If we had instead resorted to stimulus measures, not only would things have turned out very differently last year, we would end up having a harder time in the coming years, too. "This is the most fundamental lesson last year's experience has taught us." Li said the government must facilitate more reforms by giving more power to the market. He reiterated his administration's promise to cut the number of permits and initiatives that need government-approval by a third. Beijing has set a 7.5 per cent GDP growth target this year. The State Council resisted calls for introducing strong stimulus measures last month, but said the reserve requirement ratio for some rural banks would be cut, allowing them to lend more cash, and tax relief would be expanded for private firms that create jobs. The People's Bank of China later announced it would lower the reserve ratio at county-level rural banks to boost rural development. ^ top ^

China mulls "mega" FTA (Xinhua)
2014-05-02
China has proposed studying the feasibility of a mega free-trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region as the many flourishing FTAs in the area could burden businesses with different standards, a senior official said on Wednesday. "We made a proposal to establish a working group to study the feasibility of a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific, and we have received responses from many members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum," Wang Shouwen, assistant commerce minister, told reporters in Beijing. Wang said that the working group will analyze the potential economic benefits of an Asia-Pacific FTA as well as how to use existing regional FTAs to build a broad pact. "We are discussing how the working group will be composed, possibly comprising government officials, businesspeople and academics from different countries. It will be under the APEC framework with engagement of different members.... But beginning a study does not mean the start of negotiations on an Asia-Pacific FTA. The working group will finalize a proposal for APEC to decide whether to launch the Asia-Pacific FTA talks," he said. "We hold that an Asia-Pacific FTA will not conflict with other developing FTAs in the region as Asia Pacific leaders have decided that the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership are both possible routes to it," Wang said. FTAs have flourished in recent years, with more than 200 reported to the World Trade Organization. The Asia-Pacific region is building such trade agreements, such as the TPP, an ambitious 12-nation trade pact led by the United States, and the RCEP, a 16-nation trade bloc advanced by the ASEAN plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. "Having too many FTAs in the region would set up different standards and create the 'Noodle Bowl Syndrome' — a disorganized tangle of bilateral trade deals — and thus hinder regional businesses. It's necessary to build up a mega FTA," Wang said. The Asia-Pacific FTA was proposed in 2006. In 2010, APEC leaders announced the TPP and RCEP as parallel routes toward a regionwide FTA while promising to make the APEC an incubator for the regional trade agreement with guidance and talent support, Wang said. "The Asia-Pacific region has seen vast FTAs, such as the TPP and the RCEP. But they compete with each other and have striking differences. While China is excluded from the TPP, it plans to bridge the gap with the proposal for an Asia-Pacific FTA. This will also mark a milestone in the history of the APEC," said Sheng Bin, director of China APEC Academy at Nankai University in Tianjin. The APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting will be held in Qingdao, Shandong province, on May 17 and 18, part of this year's APEC meetings. China hosted the APEC 2001 in Shanghai. ^ top ^

State Grid Corporation chairman Liu Zhenya targeted in massive audit (SCMP)
2014-05-02
The nation's largest electricity grid operator, the State Grid Corporation of China, has been told to prepare 1,000 workspaces for state inspectors to conduct an accountability audit of the company's chairman, Liu Zhenya, a source said yesterday. It will be one of the largest such audits ever carried out of a state-owned enterprise and will last at least until October, a person close to the National Audit Office said yesterday. The audit office and other authorities had previously received letters alleging financial problems and accusing the power company's management of potential corruption. State media including the website of People's Daily said five audit teams had been sent to the company, without giving details of the audit. The corporation's public relations officers could not be reached for comment yesterday, which was a public holiday. The source, who did not want to be named, said that although there was no tip-off directly targeting Liu, 61, the authorities had received complaints suggesting he was indirectly responsible for alleged problems and the audit would focus on accounts kept during his time as general manager. It may go back to 2004, when Liu took up the position. The audit may also be widened to include overseas assets, as well as some private companies contracted by the power firm for outsourced projects in Shandong province, according to sources close to the audit office and the company. Under the Audit Law, accountability audits are different from regular audits. All heads of central-level state-owned enterprises are supposed to be audited every several years. The main purpose is to investigate the person's "economic responsibility" - a term covering a wide range of managerial roles - during his tenure. The results of the investigation can be referred to in later evaluations by discipline inspection authorities and the personnel organisation department. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Kim visits NK military installations (Global Times)
2014-04-28
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has carried out a rash of visits to military installations and chaired a meeting of senior figures in the armed forces, state media said Sunday, amid global unease over a possible nuclear test. The announcement by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) comes the day after US President Barack Obama lambasted the North as a "pariah" and said any atomic blast would lead to "more isolation." After a series of visits to observe army drills over the last few days, Kim presided over an enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the ruling Workers' Party, KCNA said. The meeting discussed ways to "win victory... in the confrontation with the US" as well as "organizational matters," the report said, suggesting a potential personnel reshuffle. On Saturday, the agency said Kim had chided soldiers, telling them to be ready for "impending conflict with the United States." Sunday's dispatch said Kim had led long-range artillery drills by the army unit "tasked to hit major targets" near the tense Yellow Sea border. The young leader, who is supreme commander of the North's 1.2-million-strong armed forces, gave his seal of approval to the exercise, saying "All the shells... accurately hit their targets," according to KCNA. The western sea boundary has been the scene of several bloody naval clashes in the past. Last month the two Koreas traded hundreds of shells across the border. There were no injuries on either side. Kim's flurry of military activity came as the world was watching for signs Pyongyang was readying to carry out another atomic test. The underground detonation could come "anytime," South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Friday, after similar warnings by her own armed forces and from US nuclear experts. Analysis of satellite images taken over the past week showed increased activity at Punggye-ri, the site of the North's three previous nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013. Pyongyang last month said it would not rule out a "new form" of nuclear test after the UN Security Council condemned its latest medium-range missile launches. Experts saw this as a possible reference to testing a uranium-based device or a miniaturized warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile. Obama, in Seoul this week as part of a four-nation tour of Asia, warned Pyongyang he would hit it with sanctions that have "more bite" if it went ahead with an atomic test. Obama said the US did not use its military might to "impose things" on others, but that it would use that might if necessary to defend South Korea from any attack by the North. ^ top ^

DPRK halts live-fire drill near inter-Korean border (Xinhua)
2014-04-29
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea halted its live-fire drill just 10 minutes after starting it Tuesday afternoon, in what appeared not to provoke the grief- stricken South Korea over a ferry sinking disaster. A South Korean Defense Ministry official earlier told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that the DPRK set off its live-fire drill at 2 p.m. local time near the disputed inter-Korean border islands. South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told a routine press briefing earlier in the day that the Southwestern Command of the Korean People's Army sent a fax to the South Korean Navy's Second Fleet at 8:52 a.m., which notified the live-fire drill near the Northern Limit Line (NLL). Kim said the military will fire in response its artillery shells toward waters north of the sea border if DPRK's shells fall on its territorial waters, calling the live-fire drill as provocative. The DPRK, however, suspended the fire exercises just 10 minutes later, with about 50 rounds of shells fired from coastal battery positions near the NLL. No shell has landed in South Korean territorial waters, the defense ministry official said over phone. People on the border islands have been evacuated, but the evacuation order was lifted at 3:30 p.m.. The official said the Tuesday drill seemed to have ended, but he said the military will maintain full preparedness for possible provocations or firing exercises at night. It was the second time in a month that the DPRK conducted such exercises, but Tuesday's drill was less provocative than the exercise staged at the end of March. On March 31, the DPRK shot some 500 hundred rounds of shells with its artillery guns just north of the NLL, and some 100 of them reportedly fell in South Korean territorial waters. The South Korean military fired back about 300 rounds with its K-9 self- propelled howitzers. The less provocative drill was attributable to the South Korean ferry sinking disaster, where more than 300 people have been missing or dead. The ferry Sewol capsized and sank off South Korea 's southwestern region. The DPRK's fire drill came amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang threatened to conduct a "new form of nuclear test" last month, after firing around 90 short-range missiles in late February and March. The South Korean Defense Ministry said lots of activity has been detected at the DPRK's Punggye-ri nuclear test site ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Seoul last week. Obama and his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye held a summit, agreeing to maintain close cooperation to achieve a goal of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the DPRK in a peaceful manner. The two presidents urged Pyongyang to stop "doing further threatening actions." Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong islands, near which the DPRK carried out its live-fire drill, have been a hotspot on the Korean Peninsula. The DPRK fired shells at Yeonpyeong in November 2010, killing four people. In March 2010, a South Korean navy corvette Cheonan sank in waters near the Baengnyeong Island, killing 46 soldiers. Seoul said the warship sank by Pyongyang's torpedo attack, but the DPRK has repeatedly denied its involvement in it. ^ top ^

DRRK threatens to conduct "new form of nuclear test" (Xinhua)
2014-04-30
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday threatened to carry out "a new form of nuclear test" in response to U.S. President Barack Obama's Asia tour. "The DPRK will advance along the road of bolstering up nuclear deterrent, unhindered, now that the U.S. brings the dark clouds of a nuclear war to hang over the DPRK," an unnamed spokesman of the DPRK's Foreign Ministry was quoted by the official KCNA news agency as saying in a statement. "There is no statute of limitations to the DPRK's declaration that it will not rule out a new form of nuclear test clarified by it in the March 30 statement. This is the exercise of the inviolable right to self-defense," the statement said. The statement blasted Obama's four-nation Asian tour, saying the trip was a dangerous one as "it was aimed to bring dark clouds of more acute confrontation and nuclear arms race to Asia." "Facts clearly prove that his tour was designed for undisguised confrontation to retain a tighter grip on allies of the U.S. and encircle and contain its rivals in Eurasia, pursuant to the U.S. Asia-Pacific strategy for domination and scenario for aggression from A to Z," it said. The statement said Obama's unwillingness to open talks with the DPRK is tantamount to a declaration before the world that "the U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK remains unchanged, the U.S. tries to bring down the DPRK by force and it began to carry out such scenario." "His reckless acts only escalated the danger of confrontation and conflict in the Asia-Pacific region and gave further momentum to the opposition to him," it warned. Obama will have to pay for his "reckless acts" in the mid-term elections in November, it added. "What remains to be done by the Obama group is to watch what kind of seeds of fire sown by him this time would develop into flames that may affect the U.S.," the statement warned. On March 30, the DPRK vowed not to rule out the possibility of conducting a new form of nuclear test if the United States continues its hostile policy toward Pyongyang. The DPRK conducted nuclear tests in October 2006, May 2009 and February 2013 respectively. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolian Foreign Deputy Minister's trip to Southeast Asia is ongoing (InfoMongolia)
2014-04-28
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Mr. Damba GANKHUYAG who is paying a working visit to the Lao People's Democratic Republic, had a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith on April 28, 2014, reports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia. At the meeting, the sides deliberately discussed a broad range of issue concerning Asia-Pacific regional cooperation mechanism, including East Asian Summit, Mongolia's willingness to become a partner of ASEAN Dialogue, International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing countries in Ulaanbaatar, and the UN Human Rights Council and UN Security Council non-permanent member elections. The Lao Foreign Minister accepted gratefully an invitation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia L.Bold to pay a visit to Mongolia at his convenience. On the same day, Deputy Minister D.Gankhuyag was received by the Minister of Public Health and Chairman of the Lao part of the Mongolia-Laos intergovernmental commission Eksavang Vongvichit. The sides expressed a satisfaction with the completion of “Lao-Mongolian Friendship” hospital's extension and touched upon issues concerning bilateral economic cooperation. Moreover, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia and the Lao People's Democratic Republic held a consultative meeting in Vientiane city on April 24, 2014. Co-chaired by Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia D.Gankhuyag and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Laos Sounthone Xayachack, the meeting discussed issues concerning bilateral political and economic relations and cooperation and certain issues related to the integration in Asia and the Pacific. Mongolia is carrying out some projects and programs charted to develop animal husbandry and veterinary in Laos and extend the Laos-Mongolia Friendship hospital founded with Mongolia's aid and has launched a project for rice cultivation in Laos with a view to supply its domestic needs. Mongolia and the Lao People's Democratic Republic have established the diplomatic relations on September 12, 1962. ^ top ^

Chinese, Mongolian leaders exchange messages on anniversary of bilateral treaty (Global Times)
2014-04-29
Chinese and Mongolian leaders exchanged congratulatory messages Tuesday on the 20th anniversary of a key treaty in the two countries' relations. In a message to his Mongolian counterpart Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the Treaty on Friendly Relations and Cooperation between Mongolia and China, revised and signed on April 29, 1994, pointed bilateral ties in the right direction for development from a strategic height and long-term perspective. The treaty made clear a fundamental principle for the two sides' mutually beneficial social, political and economic cooperation, and declared their determination and confidence in building a relationship of good neighbors, friends and partners from generation to generation, Xi said. It had become an important guarantee for China-Mongolia ties to continue to make new achievements over the past two decades, he said. Xi said 2014 also marked the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, and had been designated the China-Mongolia Friendship and Exchange Year. "I attach great importance to the development of China-Mongolia relations," Xi said. "The Chinese side is willing to work with Mongolia to push forward the China-Mongolia strategic partnership for new and greater progress to better benefit the two countries and peoples." In a message to Mongolian Prime Minister Noroviin Altanhuyag, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the treaty had laid an important political and legal foundation for the development of the two countries' friendly relations and cooperation. Guided by the treaty, China and Mongolia continuously enhanced mutual political trust and deepened exchanges in such fields as trade, economy and humanity over the past 20 years, Li said. Elbegdorj and Altanhuyag said Mongolia was willing to make concerted efforts with China to accelerate the all-round development of the two countries' strategic partnership. The further development of bilateral relations would help boost the two peoples' well-being, they said. On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also exchanged congratulatory messages with his Mongolian counterpart, Luvsanvandan Bold. ^ top ^

 

Mrs. Anina Maeder
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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