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
  4.1-7.1.2005, No. 46  
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Foreign Policy

China urges US to lift sanctions
2005-01-07 China Daily
China yesterday requested the United States to "immediately end the sanctions" imposed on eight Chinese companies for alleged proliferation activities. "The Chinese side expresses strong dissatisfaction and opposition to US sanctions,'' said an official with the Foreign Ministry Spokesman's office in a telephone response yesterday. The United States has taken "very irresponsible" action against the Chinese companies and entities on the basis of their domestic laws, she said. ( ) China adamantly opposes and prohibits proliferation activities by any entities or individuals, as well as the export of related goods by any Chinese companies, said the official. To this end, China has adopted related anti-proliferation laws. And any such cases identified by the Chinese Government will be penalized according to law. The US State Department recently announced the imposition of two-year sanctions, prohibiting eight companies on the Chinese mainland and Taiwan from exporting goods to the United States.

China, Russia cooperating on border river mornitoring
2005-01-06 Xinhuanet
China will enhance its cooperation with Russia on water conservation and environmental protection around their border river area over the next two years. Environmental officials from both sides have negotiated on how to better protect the ecology of Helongjiang River and Wusuli River, also known as Ussuri River. Both countries will recognize each other's water environmental standards, assessment and technological systems, and set up working group and expert team for periodic meetings. In 2002 and 2003, China and Russia did eight joint environmental assessments over the two border rivers.

Xiong Guangkai meets Pakistan national defense college delegation
2005-01-07 PLA Daily - Xiong Guangkai, deputy chief of the general staff of the PLA met with a visiting Pakistan National Defense College Delegation led by Mr. Syed Rifaat Hussain, senior research fellow of the college. Xiong Guangkai said that the traditional friendship between the peoples of China and Pakistan has a long history. For years, the two countries have maintained good coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs. During the meeting he also voiced the hope that the two countries would further enhance exchanges and cooperation in the military field, push for constant deepening of the bilateral ties and make positive contributions to peace and stability in the region and the world at large. Mr. Hussain said the Sino-Pakistan ties, having withstood numerous tests, are trustworthy, while the friendship between the two militaries has a solid foundation. The friendly exchanges between military educational institutions are helpful to the sustainable development of friendly cooperative ties between two militaries and the Sino-Pakistan friendship.

PLA troops active in tsunami relief
2005-01-05 China Daily
As world raced to supply food and water to millions of tsunami victims, the Chinese army has been active in what may be the country's largest peacetime overseas humanitarian mission ever. Across China, people of all ages were making donations. Though the toll of Chinese deaths stood unchanged at 12 yesterday, the fate of the missing caused much concern. In Hong Kong, the official total of missing local residents dropped from 74 to 70 after four people were contacted. But the management is worried of 58 students missing from schools in the past two days, said Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower Cheng Yan-chee. Aircraft carrying more than US$7.6 million worth of Chinese mainland's relief materials as well as others from Hong Kong have been sent to the afflicted region in the past week. The Ministry of National Defence and the General Logistics Department of People's Liberation Army are involved in relief operations in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand, the hardest hit areas. The next destination will be the Maldives. ( ) The military frequently provides humanitarian aid abroad, though always on a much smaller scale as is currently the cases in Afghanistan and in Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Zhang Bangdong, director of the foreign affairs office at the ministry, said it was the largest disaster relief mission undertaken abroad by the Chinese military in decades and possibly the largest in the history of the army. Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan said earlier the Chinese Government has shown great concern over the situation in the tsunami-hit countries. Cao said his ministry will provide financial assistance, including donations from Chinese military officers and servicemen to support relief and reconstruction work.

Chinese peacekeepers arrive in Liberia
2005-01-04 PLA Daily
China's second batch of peace-keeping troop has arrived in Liberia to continue its peacekeeping mission in the troubled West African country during their eight-month tour of duty. Wang Liwen, the head of the troop says they have successfully completed the transfering process and introduced that UN officials in the region confirmed the achievements of the first group. "UN Force Commander in Liberia Lieutenant-General Daniel Ishmael Opande gives a high appraisal to the achievements made by Chinese peace-keeping troop when he visited our military camp Tuesday. He said Liberians will never forget China's assistance." Wang said though many soldiers faced some difficulty, they will continue the good work. "Many of the soldiers come from now freezingly cold north China. They find it hard to adapt to tropical climate in Liberia. Now the weather is rather dry with the high temperature reaching 35 degrees." At the request of the UN, China sent the first peacekeeping contingent to Liberia last year.



President Hu underscores core role of CPC committee in armed police's development
2005-01-07 People's Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao underscores the core role to be played by the Communist Party of China (CPC) committee in the course of the development of armed police in Beijing Wednesday at a conference of the armed police's party committee. Hu said he would require the armed police to turn itself into a "powerful and civilized force" by going on holding high the banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory and "the important thought of the Three Represents" in line with the requirement that "the party is built to serve the interests of the people and state power is exercised for the people." ( ) In recent years, he acknowledged, "the armed police have accomplished various missions, especially rescuing people and property in disasters and dealing with emergencies. "In the complex and volatile international situation, China is at the critical phase of reform and development, facing both opportunities and challenges," he said. It is a heavy task to guarantee national security and social stability," Hu said. He noted he hoped that the armed police would "accomplish their obligations endowed by the Party and the people by adapting to the new situation." Moreover, Hu said the armed police should be governed strictly in accordance with law and demanded the armed police speed up informationization and its own reform, aiming to upgrade its performance in a comprehensive manner. ( )

Mainland population to hit 1.3 bln
2005-01-04 People's Daily
The population in the Chinese mainland is expected to reach 1.3 billion on Jan. 6, according to a prediction the National Statistics Bureau (NSB) released Sunday. The day has been successfully postponed for four years with the effective birth control policies in China, the NSB source said. China has made persistent efforts to slow its population growth over the past 30 years and succeeded in reducing the birth rate, said an official of the State Commission for Population and Family Planning (SCPFP). The birth rate dropped from 21.06 per thousand in 1990 to 12.41 in 2003, while the growth rate went down from 14.39 per thousand to 6.01. However the country would face new and severe challenges with its population climbing to the level of 1.3 billion, the SCPFP official said. Although the population growth rate has been reduced, the actual increase is still huge. Also the country is expecting a peak in the number of elderly and migrant population amid growing imbalance in gender proportions among newborn babies, the official said. The pressure on employment also grows with the increase of population, he added.

Regulations revised to protect petitioners' rights
2005-01-06 Xinhuanet
A draft amendment to the regulations concerning grass roots petitions was deliberated and passed in principle by the executive meeting of the State Council, chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao here Wednesday. The regulation issued in October 1995 has played an important role in closing the gap between the government and the people and safeguarding petitioners' legal rights and interests, the meeting participants said. In recent years, new problems have surfaced when the government tried to soothe the complaints of petitioners, which required the government to improve the existing petition regulations, they said. According to a decision made at the meeting, the amendment will be released by the State Council after further improvement. The meeting required local governments and relevant departments to implement the new regulations, clear the channels for petitioning and guarantee the right to make proposals and complaints. The meeting also urged them to receive the public's supervision and enhance efficiency to timely and rationally handle the complaints made by the public. The amendment also requires local governments and related departments to speed up the publicizing of the new petition regulation and guide the mass to make complaints abiding by law aiming to maintain social stability. ( )



Party begins education campaign
2005-01-06 Xinhuanet
The Communist Party of China (CPC) has started an 18 month education campaign assisting Party members to keep their integrity and noble spirit. Launching this campaign is a major decision of the CPC Central Committee to strengthen Party building and maintain the advanced nature of the Party, Zeng Qinghong, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said here at Wednesday's mobilization meeting. ( ) According to the decision of the CPC Central Committee, the Party's 68 million-plus members will go through the education in three batches starting this month. The whole process is expected to take about a year and a half. The main purpose of the campaign is to help Party members adhere to their communist ideal and belief, abide by the principles and decisions of the Party, carry forward the Party's fine traditions and solve major existing problems. Wu Guanzheng, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of theCentral Commission for Discipline Inspection, chaired Wednesday's meeting. He Guoqiang, head of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, also attended the meeting. ( )

Chinese, Nepalese arms smugglers sentenced
2005-01-05 Xinhuanet
China on Tuesday gave a commuted sentence to five criminal suspects including two Nepalese on charge of smuggling weaponry and ammunition. In the second instance trial of the case held on Tuesday, the Higher People's Court of the Tibetan Autonomous Region sentenced Ananda of Nepalese nationality to death penalty with a two-year reprieve and had all his personal properties confiscated for smuggling arms and ammunition. In the same case, a Tibetan, named Qubzhag, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and had all his personal properties confiscated for illegally sale of arms and ammunition. Meanwhile, another Nepalese, named Gyaljen, and two other Tibetans, Celo and Lobsang Qoizhag, were commuted from death penalty to life term. All Gyaljen's personal properties was confiscated. The sentences were final adjudication. Court investigation showed that Qubzhag sold 270 rounds of rifle bullets to Ananda in April 2003 and bought a submachine gun modeled on the "August 1" type in northwest Xining, capital of northwestern China's Qinghai Province and purchased another 2,000 rounds of bullets in southwestern Sichuan Province with the help of Lobsang Qoizhag in the June-October period of 2003. Then Qubzhag and Celo shipped the submachine gun and bullets to Zhangmu County in Tibet and sold them to Ananda and Gyaljen who transferred the arms and ammunition out of China later. In October 2000, Qubzhag bought eight submachine guns, six pistols and 70 rounds of bullets, which were forwarded to Qubzhag and Lobsang Qoizhag at Zhangmu County of Tibet and subsequently sold to Ananda and Gyaljen. When those hired by Ananda sneaked the arms and ammunition out of China at his order, they were captured by Chinese public security officers. The Xigaze Intermediate People's Court gave capital punishment to Qubzhag, Celo, Ananda, Gyaljen and Lobsang Qoizhag in the first instance trial held on Aug. 27, 2004. In the second instance, the court held Ananda and Gyaljen had violated the Chinese law by illegal purchase of weaponry and ammunition in the Chinese territory and smuggling them out of China. As they were principal culprits and the case was grave, they deserve severe penalty. The court, nevertheless, gave both Ananda and Gyaljen a commuted sentence in view of the fact that Ananda had confessed all his crimes and Gyaljen was an accomplice and repented. The Tibetan Regional Higher People's Court promptly informed the related case situation to the consulate general of Nepal in Lhasa, capital of Tibet. And officials of the Nepalese consulate had visited defendants of the Nepalese nationality.

Ethnic minorities hold important posts
2005-01-06 China Daily
HOHHOT: Officials from ethnic minority groups are playing an important role in local political affairs in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, according to local ethnic affairs authorities. This is shown by their proportion among the whole cadres contingent and also the posts they hold with government departments in the region, said a senior official in charge of affairs related to ethnic groups in the region. There are currently nearly 190,000 cadres of different ethnic origin, such as Mongolian, Manchu, Hui, Russian, Daur, Ewenki and Oroqen, in Inner Mongolia. This is more than 25 per cent of all cadres in the region, said Baren, director of the Committee of the Ethnic and Foreign Affairs of the regional People's Congress Standing Committee. The heads of local governments of three autonomous banners (counties), namely Daur, Ewenki and Oroqen, are from ethnic minority groups. "All this signifies that China's policies for autonomy in regions have been carried out successfully, and that these people enjoy full rights to participate in managing affairs of their own ethnic groups," said Baren. ( ) Latest demographic data say the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has an approximate population of 23.79 million, and of them, nearly 5 million are from the different ethnic groups. Baren attributed the increase in number of ethnic minority officials in the region to the enforcement of China's policies for regional autonomy. A rising awareness of participation in managing regional affairs has also contributed to the situation. The ethnic minority officials have all received education at various levels. Over the past 50 years or so, the government has vigorously promoted education in these regions, making primary education available for all children. A Mongolian-language-based education system has been set up in Inner Mongolia, covering pre-school children and college students.

Beijing schools slashed by a quarter
2005-01-07 Xinhuanet
An overhaul of primary schools in Beijing will see the total closure of 500 branded "weak" and falling far short of target standards. It will spell a move for thousands of children, but will mean a more balanced quality of education in the capital. The work of readjusting primary school numbers begun in 1995, was initially a response to varying roll numbers, Beijing Education Commission spokesman, Xian Lianping, was quoted as saying by Beijing Youth Daily. But ensuring a more uniform standard in the capital subsequently became fundamental to the programme. ( ) All the schools earmarked for closure have inadequate student numbers and poor teaching facilities and resources, said Wang. It is also a step towards realizing the capital's goal of modernizing the basic education system by 2008, he added. In the 2001--03 period, over 300 primary schools closed, statistics show. At the same time 28 middle schools were also shutdown. In 2004, the restructuring of teaching resources entered its peak period, with more than 100 primary schools closed. The current school-age children were born post a peak birth period. Rebuilding of outdated teaching buildings and related facilities in some districts has accelerated the city's school reshuffle. In Xuanwu District, in the southwest, there were around 3,000 pupils in 1991, but by 2003 that number had fallen to 1,200. One of the old districts of Beijing it has undergone widespread redevelopment. Responding to the concerns of some parents on hearing the news, Wang said: "There is no need to worry at all, adding: "this is an opportunity to provide better education for our children."



Ku remembered as 'great man'
2005-01-04 China Daily
A senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee yesterday expressed condolences over the death of Ku Chen-fu, chairman of the Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF) in Taiwan. "I was shocked and deeply grieved to learn the death of Mr Ku, and hereby convey my sincere, heartfelt condolences to you and your family," said Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee, in a condolence message addressed to Ku's widow Yen Cho-yun. Ku, 89, died of renal failure in Taipei in the wee hours of yesterday. In his message, Chen noted that Ku had headed the Straits Exchange Foundation to promote exchanges, consultation and dialogues across the Taiwan Straits. "Ku had held talks twice with President Wang Daohan of the (mainland-based) Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) to discuss issues relating to the benefit of compatriots on both sides of the Straits. Ku had always abided by the 1992 Consensus and had done his best to promote cross-Strait relations and consultation," said Chen. In April 1993, Ku and his mainland counterpart Wang held in Singapore the first ever high-level, non-governmental talks between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. The talks were known as the Wang-Ku meeting. The two met again in Shanghai in October 1998. The meetings were made possible after the ARATS and the SEF reached a consensus in 1992 that "both sides across the Taiwan Straits stick to the one-China principle, though each side may have their own interpretations. ( ) "It is our sincere hope that the SEF will uphold and carry forward its founding principles set forth by Ku, and join hands with the ARATS to promote the resumption of (cross-Strait) consultation on the basis of the 1992 Consensus," said the ARATS in its message. ( ) Ku, a famous tycoon in Taiwan and also a veteran member of the Kuomintang party, became chairman of the Board of Supervisors of the SEF in 1990 and served in that post for four consecutive terms. ( )

Anti-secession law in interests of Taiwan compatriots
2005-01-05 PLA Daily
The draft anti-secession law is in the fundamental interests of the Taiwan compatriots as it can prevent the "Taiwan independence" forces from leading Taiwan to a disastrous end, a non-governmental organization representing Taiwanese living on the mainland said here Monday. In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Yang Guoqing, president of the All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots (ACFTC), said: "Fundamentally speaking, the draft law is intended to protect the direct and basic interests of the Taiwan compatriots, and will provide a legal guarantee for the Taiwan compatriots' aspirations for peace, stability and development." ( ) "There are only a few people in Taiwan who will obstinately stick to their 'Taiwan independence' stand," said Yang. "The majority of the Taiwan compatriots are against 'Taiwan independence' and are worried that the secessionists might create incidents with disastrous consequences." "We believe that the broad masses of the Taiwan compatriots are an important force in curbing 'Taiwan independence' and fighting secession," he added. He finally expressed the hope that people on both sides of the straits would join hands to usher in "a bright tomorrow" for the cross-straits relations and promote the prospects of peaceful reunification.



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China pledges to work on yuan reform
2005-01-06 China Daily
China's central bank said Tuesday it plans to push ahead with currency reform in 2005, but repeated a long-standing pledge to keep the yuan stable. "We will quicken the development of the forex market, actively and safely push ahead with reform of the renminbi exchange rate formation mechanism," the Xinhua news agency quoted Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, as saying. China would "maintain the basic stability of the renminbi exchange rate at a reasonable and balanced level," Zhou added. Zhou, speaking at a central bank annual meeting, also said China would aim for broad money supply growth of about 15 percent in 2005, compared with an estimated 14.5-percent rise for 2004. The central bank was targeting a total of 2.5 trillion yuan in new loans in 2005, up from the estimated 2.2 trillion yuan given out last year, Zhou said. The central bank would also pursue market-oriented interest rate reforms, Zhou said. ( )

88 laws, regulations take effect on first day
2005-01-04 China Daily
Eighty-eight new laws and regulations take effect on the first day of the New Year that cover a wide range of areas including foreign trade, taxation, advertising standards and supervision of the military, Xinhua News Agency reports. As part of China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), seven laws and regulations took effect on January 1 that lift some restrictions on auto imports and foreign participation in gasoline sales, auctions and insurance, Xinhua said. The new laws will formally cancel China's auto import quota and allow private and foreign companies to set up petrol stations in China in accordance with China's WTO accession commitments, it said. A government decree on the import and export of goods also goes into effect Saturday that will bring China's definition of countries or regions of origin of goods in line with WTO standards. The new regulation is aimed at curbing the counterfeiting of certificates of origin for export products that have been widely used to circumvent quota tariffs and taxes, especially in the processing and garment trades. Starting from January 1, China will also audit military officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel or higher who are in charge of army finance work, according to a regulation issued by the military, Xinhua said. Migrant construction workers also obtained the right to directly prosecute construction companiess for back wages, according to another judicial interpretation which came into force. A new regulation imposes stricter management on advertisers and advertising content in an effort to regulate a growing and often chaotic advertising market, it added. From January 1, all crimes involving bank cards will be treated as "credit card" crimes in the criminal code, according to a draft judicial explanation passed on Wednesday by China's top legislature. In another regulation, tax authorities will publicize a list of tax evaders via newspapers, TV and Internet from January 1. Meanwhile, according to a new regulation issued by the central bank, the maximum currency which can be taken outside China per person will increase from 6,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan (723 to 2,409 US dollars) from January 1, it said.

Shortfall in coal supply to remain
2005-01-05 China Daily
China's coal industry is expected to fall short of demand in 2005, with some areas possibly being hit by striking shortfalls, even though coal production will post robust growth. The prediction was made at the ongoing week-long China 2005 Coal Ordering Conference in Qinhuangdao, which started last Thursday. The conference attributed the supply shortcomings to the country's soaring demand for coal, inadequate coal production capacity and transportation. Major regions lacking coal will be concentrated in East and South China, said Han Yong, a coal industry analyst with Shanghai-based China Securities. In East China, only a small number of areas, including Anhui and Shandong provinces, produce coal, Han said, while remaining regions like Shanghai, as well as Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces yield little coal, but are amongst the largest coal consumers nationwide. China is expected to produce 2.05 billion tons of coal in 2005, meeting basic coal needs, yet inadequate transportation will largely bottleneck the country's market balance, said an industry insider from China Coal and Coke Holding Ltd. In an effort to relieve the situation, the government is planning to further expand coal transportation routes from the country's coal-rich regions, including Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces and the western area of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in northern China, in 2005, and at the same time, improve coal transportation facilities at ports such as Qinhuangdao, according to official sources. ( ) The country is expected to speed up work on existing large coal mines and fortify coal producers' technical strengths this year, said Han Yong. Large coal mines run more efficiently than small ones, said Han, so the elimination of small coal mine construction projects would not have a major impact on the country's coal supply. Reinforcing supply efficiency "Large coal mines boast 70 per cent to 80 per cent efficiency in coal production, compared with the small producers' roughly 20 per cent," said Han. The NDRC is also attempting to streamline the coal supply and demand information sharing system, with the purpose of reinforcing the country's coal supply efficiency. ( ) Five areas will be given priority in coal supply in 2005, including power generation, fertilizer production, steel production, individual consumers and exports, said an official statement, in order to guarantee China's stable economic development. The week-long coal conference, in addition, stressed the restriction of disordered construction in high energy consuming industries, including steel, cement, and power generation, in order to reduce irrational coal demand. ( )

Strategic oil reserves to be filled next year
2005-01-07 China Daily
China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer after the United States, is likely to start filling strategic oil reserves next year in order to ensure a stable and rapid growth of the world’s fastest growing economy, a senior economic official said on Thursday. Oil demand is expected to keep growing at or above the forecast GDP growth of 8.5 percent for 2005, Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice minister of China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Thursday. China imports about 40 percent of its crude needs, a proportion that is possible to rise as its consumption shoots higher to fuel a robust economic growth. Ten million barrels of storage capacity in the east coast city of Ningbo is due to be ready for use in August this year, the first phase of a strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) of some 150 million barrels planned for completion in three to five years, some analysts said. ( ) China is trying to reduce the energy intensity of its heavy industry to bring energy efficiency closer to western norms, Zhang said. In industrialized nations oil demand growth is generally half their GDP growths. "Our energy consumption rate will be reduced step by step so we can use doubling of energy consumption to support a quadrupling of GDP," Zhang said. ( )

HK remains world's freest economy for 11 years
2005-01-05 Xinhuanet
Hong Kong remains as the world's freest economy for the 11th consecutive year according to the Heritage Foundation's annual ranking. The Heritage Foundation released its 2005 Index of Economic Freedom Tuesday here. The foundation said that Hong Kong's virtues lie in its duty-free port with no barriers to trade, low level of government intervention in the economy, very low level of inflation, very low barriers to capital flows and foreign investment, very low level of restrictions in banking and finance, low level of intervention in wages and prices, strong property rights, very low level of regulation and a low level of informal market activity. Hong Kong financial secretary Henry Tang said, Hong Kong SAR government remains firmly committed to maintaining the city as a free market economy that gives maximum scope to the private sector and will continue to pursue a prudent fiscal strategy and strictly control public sector spending. "We see the government's roles as those of a facilitator which provides a business-friendly environment for all firms to compete on a level playing field while maintaining an appropriate regulatory regime to ensure the integrity and smooth functioning of a free market," he added. Tang stressed the government will spare no efforts in preserving its strengths and in making changes where there was room for improvement. Singapore and Luxembourg were ranked No. 2 and 3 by the foundation this year.



North Korea issues wartime guidelines
2005-01-06 China Daily
Seoul, South Korea - North Korea has ordered its citizens to be ready for a protracted war against the United States, issuing guidelines on evacuating to underground bunkers with weapons, food and portraits of leader Kim Jong Il. The 33-page "Detailed Wartime Guidelines," published in South Korea's Kyunghyang newspaper on Wednesday and verified by Seoul, was issued April 7, 2004, at a time when the government was claiming it was Washington's next target following the Iraq war. The manual — the first such North Korean document made public in the outside world —” was signed by Kim Jong Il in his capacity as chairman of the Central Military Committee of the ruling Workers' Party. That ended speculation over whether Kim has assumed the top military post following the 1994 death of his father, President Kim Il Sung. Analysts said the guidelines reflected Pyongyang's fear over a possible U.S. military strike amid stalled talks on its nuclear weapons programs. They said the guidelines were also meant to whip up a sense of crisis among its 22 million people. ( ) Kyunghyang did not clarify where it acquired the document classified as "top secret." Seoul's National Intelligence Service said in a one-sentence statement: "We believe the document reflects North Korea's wartime preparations." The manual urged the military to build restaurants, wells, restrooms and air purifiers in underground bunkers, which government offices and military units will move into if war breaks out. ( )

Chinese main guests at N.Korea casino
2005-01-06 China Daily
Chinese tourists, including some Party and government officials, are squandering hundreds of millions of yuan each year at a North Korean five-star hotel and casino, state media said on Wednesday. Every day, more than 100 Chinese travel across the Tumen River to the neighbouring Rajin-Sonbong Free Trade Zone to gamble in the Hong Kong-built Emperor Hotel and Casino, the Beijing News said. ( ) Gambling in North Korea has become a hot topic in China since a Chinese official was found to have fled after squandering 3.5 million yuan (US$423,000) in public and borrowed money on gambling junkets to the same casino last month. Authorities are still hunting the official, Cai Haowen, former head of traffic and transport management in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in northeastern Jilin Province, state media reported. About 50,000 Chinese -- some 30 percent of whom are officials -- visit the Emperor every year, with each of them spending at least 5,000 yuan, the paper cited Yanbian's anti-corruption official as saying. The Party's corruption watchdog in the Yanbian region has asked local officials to learn from Cai's case. ( ) Li Jingmin, an official with Yanbian Discipline and Inspection Commission, said the local government was investigating Party members and officials suspected of being involved in gambling, the paper said. "We know some have borrowed public money and not yet returned it," Li said. ( )

US urges DPRK to return to six-party talks
2005-01-07 Xinhuanet
The United States on Thursday urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to return to the six-party talks "as soon as possible." "It is in North Korea's interest to come back to the six-party talks as soon as possible," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said at a news briefing. "The president wants to see a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to the situation in North Korea. North Korea needs to stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and then it can realize better relations with the rest of the international community," he said. "We will continue to work with all nations in the region who are sending one unified message to North Korea: We want a non-nuclear peninsula, and you need to abandon your ambitions for nuclear weapons. That is the message that is being sent to North Korea," McClellan said. ( )


Susanne Schuetz
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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