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
  27.01-30.01.2004, No. 04  
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Foreign Policy

Armitage arrives in Beijing for talks on North Korea, Iraq
2004-01.30 China Daily
Deputy US Secretary of State Richard Armitage arrived in China for a visit that the US embassy said would focus on the year-long North Korean nuclear crisis and Iraq reconstruction. Armitage, who travelled from Japan, told reporters that the United States was "extraordinarily grateful" to China for its efforts to organize six-nation talks on the nuclear issue, and hoped there would be a new round next month. "February is a possibility," he said in his Beijing hotel, adding later, "February is great month." "The answer to this question lies in Pyongyang, not here," he said. Armitage is due to hold talks with Chinese foreign ministry officials Friday before leaving for Mongolia early Saturday for the third and last leg of his trip, a US embassy spokeswoman said. "They are going to talk about bilateral issues covering a broad range of mutual interests including North Korea and Iraq reconstruction," she said. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said Thursday at a press conference that Chinese vice-foreign ministers Dai Bingguo and Zhou Wenzhong will meet with Armitage and exchange views on bilateral relations and issues of common concern. China has been working closely with Washington to try to diffuse tensions over the North Korean nuclear plans. China has been trying to convene a second round of six-nation talks on a 15-month crisis over North Korea's nuclear program, after a first round made little headway in Beijing in August. The United States revealed last week it had made a rare direct call to North Korea in a bid to convene a second round of the six-party talks, which were expected in December but never happened. North Korea offered recently to freeze its nuclear weapons drive in return for concessions, including an end to US sanctions and a resumption of energy aid.

China urges EU to lift arms embargo
2004-01-29 Xinhua News
The European Union's (EU) arms embargo on China should be lifted, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said here Thursday. Zhang said the arms embargo was a product of the Cold War era, which hampered cooperation between China and EU members. "We have noticed that many EU members have adopted positive attitudes towards the lifting of the arms embargo", she said, saying China appreciated the efforts of certain EU members, including France and Germany. She expressed the hope that the arms embargo would be lifted as soon as possible. The EU is considering lifting the ban on arms sales to China, the foreign ministers' meeting of EU members and would-be members revealed Monday. The EU Council had opened discussion on the issue and ministers have invited the Permanent Representatives Committee and the Standing Political and Security Committee to examine the issue. ( )The arms embargo on China makes no more sense today, French President Jacques Chirac said here Tuesday at a joint news conference with his visiting Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao. He said France hopes the restriction would be scrapped "in the coming months." European Commission President Romano Prodi also called on the European Union (EU) to study the possibility of lifting the embargo. It's high time to reconsider the situation and eventually lift the embargo, Prodi told French radio Europe 1, adding that European rules mean that it will take time to start the discussion.Both Javier Solana, EU high representative for common foreign and security policy, and European Commissioners for external affairs Christopher Patten were in favor of reviewing the embargo. "It is quite clear the situation in China has changed dramatically and the new leadership represents the next generation," said Patten at a press conference after the meeting. He noted that China's human rights situation has improved since the EU imposed the ban, though the EU is not fully satisfied with China's human rights record.

China supports France in ITER project
2004-01-29 Xinhua News
China will support France as the site of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)project, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue here Thursday. After studying the two proposed sites in France and Japan for the construction of an experimental nuclear fusion reactor, China had decided to support France, Zhang said. France had been competing with Japan as the site of the multi-billion dollar project, but China hoped the issue could be settled according to consultations among all parties, she said. The project is the world's largest-yet nuclear fusion power plant with technology touted as a solution to global energy problems. Once completed in 2050, the ITER will generate clean, safe and inexhaustible electricity. The ITER participants -- the European Union, the United States,Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Canada and China -- are divided into two groups. If successful, the ITER is expected to be the world's first commercially viable fusion reactor and could herald a global energy revolution.

China applies to join Nuclear Suppliers Group
2004-01-27Xinhua News
China filed a formal application Monday to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). China' permanent representative to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna, Zhang Yan, submitted the application to NSG rotating president Cho Chang-beom. Zhang also delivered a note to Director-General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed M. El Baradei, informing him of China's intention for NSG membership. In an interview with Xinhua, Zhang said China firmly opposes the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their carriers. As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, China strictly abides by its international obligations and has never supported, encouraged nor helped any nation in developing nuclear weapons, the Chinese ambassador said. In recent years, Zhang said, China has promulgated and implemented a series of laws and regulations concerning the control of nuclear materials and instituted strict administration and control of nuclear exports. Joining the NSG is a key step for China to play a more active role in nuclear non-proliferation, a step conducive to its efforts in seeking closer international cooperation in this regard, Zhang added.

Chirac warns Taiwan of referendum
2004-01-27 People's Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao and French President Jacques Chirac on Monday discussed bilateral relations and major international issues of common concern and reached broad consensus. In their first meeting after Hu's arrival in Paris, the two presidents spoke highly of the 40 years of relations between China and France since the two countries established full diplomatic ties.


Domestic Policy

Beantragung von Reisepässen für chinesische Bürger vereinfacht
2004-01-29 Renmin Wang (Übersetzung)
In 125 Städten Chinas wurde in den vergangenen Jahren das Verfahren zur Beantragung eines Reisepasses für die Bürger deutlich vereinfacht. Heutzutage können chinesische Bürger in den Städten jederzeit einen Reisepass beantragen und müssen dafür lediglich ihren Personalausweis und den sogenannten "Hukou", eine Art Meldebescheinigung, vorlegen. Das Ministerium für Öffentliche Sicherheit hatte das vereinfachte Verfahren im August des vergangenen Jahres in Kraft gesetzt. Es soll voraussichtlich bis zum Jahr 2005 landesweit eingeführt werden. Das Verfahren ermöglicht es immer mehr Chinesen, in praktischer und zeitsparender Weise einen Reisepass zu beantragen. Der Reisepass ermöglicht den chinesischen Bürgern Reisen ins Ausland. Früher mussten die Bürger langwierige Prozeduren in Kauf nehmen, wenn sie einen Pass beantragen wollten.



Comment: Chen has emerged as his own worst enemy
2004-01-19 China Daily
One cannot but observe with trepidation Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's call, on January 16, for a referendum regarding the island's relations with the Chinese mainland. What he is attempting to do is use the proposed referendum issues to bolster his chances in his uphill battle in Taiwan's upcoming "presidential'' elections. In the first place, Chen points his finger to mainland missiles that are meant, as proclaimed by the government of the People's Republic, to deter any attempt for Taiwan independence. At the same time he asks the public to support his periodic efforts to place orders with overseas suppliers for the purchase of military equipment. This is a blatant attempt to utilize the United States, the islands' biggest arms supplier, as a chessman in Chen's own game. Secondly, Chen asks the public to allow him to work towards building a "framework of peace'' to cover both sides of the Taiwan Straits -- even though he has never demonstrated sincerity in achieving that aim. This is to imply the mainland is a threat to Taiwan's present state of existence, and set it up as a target for scapegoating and windmill fighting during his election campaign. Not long ago in a statement of his would-be fight against the mainland, Chen even went so far as to use the fanatic term "holy war.'' ( )But Chen's somersaults cannot reach unlimited height. Chinese mainland and the United States are co-operating on so many issues, and their relationship is far more important than can be overshadowed by his military purchases. After bearing witness to so many of Chen's flip-flops, the United States sees increasingly clear evidence about who is making trouble in the Taiwan Straits. In the meantime, the mainland will continue to grow in political and economic importance in the world. For Taiwan, there is nothing Chen can do to replace its internal politics with Beijing-baiting. He will achieve even less by disconnecting its myriad of peaceful and mutually beneficial ties with the mainland.


Patrick Dreher
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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