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
  31.1-4.2.2005, No. 50  
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Foreign Policy

US knocked for trying to block EU arms ban end
2005-02-04 China Daily
China yesterday criticized US opposition towards lifting the 15-year-old European arms embargo against China. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a regular news briefing the European Union embargo is an "already out-of-date" Cold War remnant. "It is also not conducive to the furthering of Chinese-EU strategic relations," he said. He said lifting the ban does not mean that China would necessarily buy weapons from the EU. "It is totally unnecessary for the United States to obstruct the lifting of the arms embargo," he said. On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives voted 411-3 for a resolution that calls on the Bush administration to press European leaders at an upcoming meeting to reconsider proposals to lifting the embargo and instead to "work expeditiously to close any gaps" in it. ( ) Six-party talks Michael Green, Asian affairs director of Bush's National Security Council, called for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea return to the six-party dialogue soon when he visited Seoul on Wednesday. In response to Green's call, Kong said China, the host of the talks, has always been engaged in "very close contacts and communications with other five sides" and has made unswerving efforts to promote the early resumption of the talks. Kong said negotiations are facing some difficulties and all the parties concerned have made preparations to push forward the process by overcoming issues before them. He said all sides should show more sincerity and flexibility to create suitable conditions and an atmosphere for restarting negotiations. He said China hopes to receive active responses from the other parties. Green traveled to Seoul after two days in Beijing. He spoke with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo, Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council Chen Yunlin and other senior officials, addressing the Sino-US relationship and matters of mutual concern. Kong said the two sides agreed to continue fulfilling the consensus reached by the heads of state when the two presidents met in Chile last November. They also discussed promoting the bilateral relationship. Kong said Green passed on a letter from US President Bush to President Hu Jintao but declined to provide details. Diaoyu Islands When asked to comment on the reported Japanese deployment of troops near Diaoyu Islands, Kong reiterated that China and Japan should resolve the dispute through negotiation and consultation. "No unilateral action should be taken," Kong said. The spokesman also asked the reporter from Kyodo News to clarify his question when he was using the expression "Senkaku Islands," and the reporter then changed it to "Diaoyu Islands." China and Japan have disputed the boundary demarcation of the East China Sea. Kong said China holds its own position and views on this issue, and exercises its own power according to that view.

Rumsfeld may visit Beijing this year
2005-02-01 China Daily
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will likely visit China at an "appropriate" time this year, a senior Chinese military official said yesterday. "Defence Secretary Rumsfeld is willing to visit China this year, but the specific timing will be decided after further discussions between the two military sides," said Colonel Tu Qiming, director of the American and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Foreign Affairs Office at the National Defence Ministry. Tu made the remarks at the end of a first day of defence talks involving Zhang Bangdong, director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the ministry, and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for East Asia and the Pacific Richard Lawless. Lawless declined to comment on yesterday's meeting. It is the first-ever "special defence policy dialogue" between the two defence ministries, according to the Chinese military side. The two-day closed-door talks continue today. Lawless is scheduled to meet Xiong Guangkai, deputy chief of the general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, this morning. During yesterday's talks, the two sides expressed "hopes that the Taiwan question can be peacefully resolved," said Tu, adding that both sides are opposed to "Taiwan independence." Delegates on each side have been "earnest, practical and frank" in their discussions, said Tu, citing the first day's dialogue as "fruitful." "This meeting represents the importance both sides have attached to their military relations and both sides feel the relationship is developing in a frank and constructive manner," he said. Tu denied that the two sides discussed the European Union's proposed plan to lift a 15-year arms embargo against China this year. A senior-level Russian military delegation is also having closed-door talks with Chinese side this week with the first-ever upcoming joint military exercises between the two likely to be on the agenda. "We will hold our first joint command staff exercises with the Chinese army in August or September involving various forces to practice issues involving fighting our common enemy - international terrorism," Russian First Deputy Defence Minister Colonel General Alexander Belousov said over the weekend.

Chinese FM talks with Rice over phone
2005-02-01 People's Daily
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing talked with US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, over phone here Monday evening. Both agreed to continue fulfilling the consensus reached by the heads of state when they met in Chile last November and further promote the bilateral relations. Li asked Rice to convey Chinese president Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao's Chinese lunar New Year greetings to US President George W. Bush, while Rice asked Li to convey Bush's best wishes to the Chinese leaders.

China, Russia to hold joint military exercise
2005-02-04 Xinhuanet
China and Russia will hold a joint military exercise in the next half of this year, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said here Thursday without specifying the date or location. Spokesman Kong Quan said at a regular press conference that a senior Russian military officer, leading a military expert panel, arrived in Beijing on Feb. 1. "They have discussed details of the exercise with senior officers of the Headquarters of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army," Kong said. The two sides would keep in contact and further discuss more details, he added. According to the spokesman, the joint military exercise is a result of the all-around strategic cooperation partnership between China and Russia. The two countries have common interests in all spheres, including efforts to maintain world peace, and they need more exchanges, cooperation and dialogue to cope with some shared challenges.

Russia, China tighten security links
2005-02-04 Xinhuanet
Russia and China will hold regular security consultations, President Vladimir Putin and visiting Chinese State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan announced Wednesday, moving to further strengthen close military cooperation between the two countries. Tang Jiaxuan told Putin that Beijing does not have such a consultation mechanism with any other country. He called Russia China's "main partner for strategic cooperation." "This is the first time ever that China is establishing a mechanism of national security consultations with another country," said Tang, who said he had discussed details of the initiative with Russian Security Council secretary Igor Ivanov earlier in the day. "We decided to establish such a mechanism with Russia because we have close positions regarding the international situation, key international and regional issues, as well as issues related to maintaining peace and helping global development," Tang said. "We have common strategic interests related to those issues." Putin hailed an increasingly close cooperation between the two countries, saying that "relations in the political, economic and security sphere and in the field of military cooperation have been developing intensively." Putin said that Moscow is looking forward to a joint Russian-Chinese military exercise set for later this year. The maneuvers, set to begin in August, were seen by many observers as Russia's response to the cooling of relations with the United States and other Western nations, most recently over the presidential election in Ukraine. Gen. Vladimir Mikhailov, Russia's air force chief, said last month that Tu-22M and Tu-95 bombers will take part in the exercises. Moscow and Beijing have developed what they call a strategic partnership since the 1991 Soviet collapse, pledging their adherence to a "multipolar world," a term that refers to their opposition to a perceived U.S. domination in global affairs.

China and Venezuela sign oil agreements
2005-01-31 China Daily
Venezuela President Hugo Chavez and Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong signed several agreements Saturday concerning oil, agriculture and technology, officials said. Chavez has sought to forge new trade and political ties with foreign powers including China and Russia. ( ) Zeng arrived in Venezuela on Friday as part of a tour of several Latin American and Caribbean countries. ( ) During their meeting, Chavez and Zeng signed a total of 19 agreements after discussing technological cooperation, as well as mining, oil and gas projects, according to a statement issued by Venezuela information ministry. On a visit to Beijing last month, Chavez signed agreements boosting Chinese investment in Venezuela's rich oil and gas resources. The deals also involved the construction of a railroad in eastern Venezuela, the purchase of a satellite to improve telecommunications in the South American country, and the purchase of radars to tighten security along its border with Colombia. Venezuela expects trade with China to reach US$3 billion this year due to the trade deals signed in December. Zeng is to leave for Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday.

China promotes Sino-US armies' relationship
2005-01-31 China Daily
China is active in furthering the Sino-US armies' relationship and hopes for a healthy and stable development of the ties between the two armies, Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan said Friday. During his meeting with visiting former US Secretary of Defense William Perry, Cao said the Sino-US armies' relations constitute an important part of the countries' relationship. "Progress in the two armies' relations is in the common interests of the two nations," Cao said, adding that it also promotes regional and world peace and stability. ( ) The Exchanges, which have been taking place for 25 years between US-Chinese armies, are vital for bilateral relations, said Perry, who served as US secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton from February 1994 to January 1997. He said he will urge the Pentagon to further its ties with China's Defense Ministry. Early Friday, Perry was hosted by Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Deputy Chief of the General Staff of Chinese People's Liberation Army Xiong Guangkai. ( )

China, Italy underscore closer military ties
2005-02-04 Xinhuanet
Chinese and Italian senior military officers voiced their aspiration for closer military ties in meetings here Thursday. Military ties constitute a key part of China-Italy relations and have kept progressing since the two countries forged diplomatic ties more than 30 years ago, said Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan in a meeting with visiting Italian Chief of Defense Staff Giampaolo Dipaola. Italy values the army-to-army relations with China, Dipaola said. "In terms of army building, the two sides have a lot in common," he said, adding that the Italian army would like to further personnel exchange with the Chinese army, including officers at lower levels. Earlier Thursday, Dipaola was also hosted by his Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie, who is chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. The two armies are highly complementary, which paves the way for their enhanced exchange and cooperation, Liang said. China would like to make joint efforts with Italy for the continued, sound and steady progress of military relations, he said. Both Cao and Liang briefed Dipaola on China's military buildingand stance on Taiwan and international issues. Dipaola reaffirmed that the Italian government will unswervingly observe the one-China principle. Dipaola started his China tour Thursday as guest of Liang.

Chinese, Sudanese FMs talk over phone
2005-02-03 People's Daily
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing spoke with Mustafa Othman Ismail, minister of external relations of Sudan, in a telephone conversation Wednesday evening. Both agreed to further develop friendly relations of the two countries in all fields on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. Ismail informed Li of the peace process of Sudan and the latest situation in Darfur. Li said the peace between the north and south of Sudan was achieved by hard efforts and it should be strengthened and further promoted.



Remains of Comrade Zhao Ziyang cremated in Beijing
2005-01-31 People's Daily
Comrade Zhao Ziyang, who passed away on Jan. 17 at the age of 85, was cremated at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in western Beijing Saturday morning. On behalf of the leaders of the central authorities, Comrade Jia Qinglin and other senior officials including He Guoqiang, Wang Gang and Hua Jianmin, were at the cemetery to bid farewell to the remains of Comrade Zhao. They also expressed condolences to Zhao's families. ( ) In the political turbulence which took place in the late spring and early summer of 1989, Comrade Zhao committed serious mistakes. When Comrade Zhao suffered from illness and when his physical condition was turning worse, the central authorities had instructed relevant departments make proper arrangements for his life and treatment. A special medical team was formed to treat his diseases and save his life by every means. In the last days of Comrade Zhao, Comrade Zeng Qinghong had gone to the hospital to visit him on behalf of the leaders of the central authorities. The General Office and the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, the General Office of the State Council, the General Office of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and other departments sent wreaths to the cemetery. Comrade Zhao's families, close-by workers, old friends, representatives from his hometown and the places he once worked in, and representatives from various Party and government departments, also went to the cemetery to bid farewell to his remains.

Senior leader holds New Year talks with religious group leaders
2005-02-02 People's Daily
Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top advisory body, held talks in Beijing on February 2 with China's religious leaders to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year. China's religious work has seen great achievements last year, marked by the introduction of its first statute on religious affairs promulgated on Dec. 18. The working facilities of religious groups and institutions have been much improved, Jia said. Moreover, Jia praised China's religious groups for their recent efforts in helping tsunami-hit countries around the Indian Ocean. After hearing the religious leaders' speeches, Jia urged them to unite the masses of religious people, upgrade their working capacity in accordance with the law and make more contributions to the realization of a well-off society in China. Chinese Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu, State Councilor Hua Jianmin and Vice-Chairwoman of the CPPCC National Committee Liu Yandong also attended the meeting. The religious group leaders included Fu Tieshan, chairman of the China Patriotic Catholic Association; Yi Cheng, president of the Buddhist Association of China; Zhang Jiyu, vice-president of the Taoist Association of China; Chen Guangyuan, president of the Islamic Association of China; and Cao Shengjie, president of the China Christian Council.



President Hu meets Panchen Lama
2005-02-04 China Daily
President Hu Jintao met yesterday with the 11th Panchen Lama at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on the eve of the young religious leader's 15th birthday. Hu asked about his progress in religious and academic studies and encouraged him to learn from his predecessor, the 10th Panchen, to be "a living Buddha with full love to the country and his religion. "I have had quite a number of contacts with the 10th Panchen Lama," said the president, who once served as Party chief in the Tibet Autonomous Region. "By telling you this, I hope you will follow the example of His Holiness to be another model of loving the country and the religion," Hu said. The 11th Panchen Lama, although just 14, looks grown up. He spoke with ease for around 10 minutes on his recent study progress at religious and academic lessons. He is studying middle-school lessons with his personal tutors. Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, whose religious name is Jizun Losang Qamba Lhunzhub Qoigyijabu Baisangbu, was born on the 19th day of the 12th month of the Tibetan Calendar Year (February 13, 1990) in Lhari County in northern Tibet. He was confirmed and approved by the State Council as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama on November 29, 1995 after drawing lots from a golden urn according to tradition. In 1996, he was installed to the seat of Panchen Lama. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The central government will further strengthen its assistance and support for the region, Hu said, adding that he believes Tibetan people will have better living conditions.

Nepal's closure of Dalai Lama's office appreciated
2005-02-02 Xinhuanet
China has expressed appreciation for Nepal's closure of Dalai Lama's office in Katmandu. Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan made the statement, adding Nepal made the right decision in maintaining Chinese sovereignty. Meanwhile, Nepal also shut down a Tibetan refugee centre in its capital. China has reiterated the Dalai Lama is not a simple religious figure but a politician-in-exile engaging in separatist activities in China.



Beijing considers talking with Chen Shui-bian
2005-01-31 China Daily
A top State leader said on Friday the mainland is ready to talk with Taiwan "president" Chen Shui-bian as long as he agrees that the two sides of the Straits belong to the one and same China. Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China's top political advisory body, delivered the message a day before a historic non-stop cross-Straits charter flight programme was put into place. It was the first time that Beijing has categorically shown its willingness to deal with Chen, who was once branded as one of the diehard separatists and a man without political credit. ( ) "We are open on who to negotiate with and what to negotiate," said Jia, apparently referring to Chen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). "We have no bias against any particular person to talk to, nor will we hesitate to talk with the other side just because someone has come to power." The chairman, also a standing committee member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, stressed that what the mainland is concerned about is Chen's policies and his attitude towards the existing basis of cross-Straits negotiations. "Regardless of his past rhetoric and actions, as long as he starts now to unequivocally recognize the 1992 consensus that upholds the one-China principle, cross-Straits dialogue and negotiations can be resumed right away and any matter can be put on the table," the leader said. ( ) Jia was addressing a gathering held in Beijing to mark the 10th anniversary of Jiang Zemin's eight-point proposition put forward in a speech on January 30, 1995. The eight proposals dwelled on important questions that have a bearing on the development of cross-Straits relations and the promotion of peaceful reunification of China. In his speech at the commemorative event, Jia reiterated that the mainland is willing to contact the DPP as long as the ruling party abandons its pro-independence party platform and stops splittist activities. Wang Zaixi, vice-minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said Jia's overture represents the basic stance and political perspectives of the new generation of Chinese leadership headed by President Hu Jintao on major issues in cross-Straits relations. The address of Jia offers many "new ideas and strategies of the new State leadership for developing cross-Straits ties and settling the Taiwan question," Wang told a later press conference to elaborate on Jia's speech. Despite his call for cross-Straits talks, Jia strongly warned against "escalating Taiwan independence activities," citing Chen's proposed "constitutional re-engineering project" as "the most dangerous and destructive."



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Vice-Premier Huang back in Beijing after attending WEF
2005-02-02 PLA Daily
Chinese Vice-Premier Huang Ju flew back to Beijing Monday morning after attending the 2005 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) held on Jan. 28-30 in Davos, Switzerland. Huang, who is also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, met with Swiss President Samuel Schmid and WEF Chairman Klaus Schwab separately in Davos Friday. After delivering a speech at the WEF meeting on Saturday, the vice premier left for Zurich and visited two top Swiss companies --the ABB Group and UBS.

Rosneft gets loan from China for Yukos asset
2005-02-03 Xinhuanet
A Russian bank has got a 6 billion-dollar loan from Chinese banks to finance state oil firm Rosneft's purchase of a core production unit of oil giant Yukos, a top Russian energy official said here Tuesday. Without naming the Chinese banks, Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Russia's Vnesheconom bank borrowed the loan to credit Rosneft for the purchase of Yukos' major subsidiary Yuganskneftegaz, which was put up for auction in December to raise money for the payment of Yukos' multi-billion-dollar back tax bill. Rosneft had paid 9.4 billion US dollars for the acquisition of Yuganskneftegaz after it purchased Baikalfinansgroup, the previously unknown company that unexpectedly won the bid for Yuganskneftegaz, which produces 60 percent of Yukos' output. The sale has been considered as a key stage of the year-and-a-half judicial campaign against Yukos. Some critics see the legal process as a Kremlin-inspired political move to dwarf former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky who has allegedly funded political opponents of President Vladimir Putin. Dalian becomes N.

China biggest oil transit port
2005-01-31 China Daily
The Dalian Port of northeast China' s Liaoning Province provided transit shipment service for 8.59 million tons of crude oil last year, topping that in north China ports, said local source. Dalian Port built a 300,000-ton dock specialized in oil shipment in June 2004, which made it the biggest oil transit port in northern China. The dock was constructed after the repeated discussion of experts from Dalian University of Science and Technology and Liaoning Maritime Administration. In addition to the existing 150,000-ton dock, the Dalian Port saw an increasing handling capacity this year. The port mainly provides oil transit shipment services to the petrochemical companies in the pan-Bohai Sea region.

Mexico, Peru become tourism destination for Chinese citizens
2005-02-01 People's Daily
Mexico and Peru gained Approved Destination Status (ADS) from the Chinese government, allowing Chinese tour groups to visit, said an official with China National Tourism Administration on Sunday. China and the two Latin American nations signed a relevant tourism agreement. So far, there are six American nations gained ADS, with Cuba being the first one in 2003. Brazil, Argentina and Chile followed in 2004. There are no direct flights between China and the Latin American nations. Passengers have to transfer via North America or Europe. Chinese airline companies hoped to open direct flights this year by code-sharing cooperation with Latin American carriers. More than 28.5 million journeys were made by Chinese citizens abroad in 2004. China has become the world's fastest growing outbound tourism source nation in the world. Chinese group travelers can now visit 63 nations and regions.



US urges DPRK to return to six-party talks
2005-02-02 People's Daily
The United States on Tuesday urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to return to the six-party talks and insisted that it will stick to its proposal made at the last round of talks in June last year. "We believe that six-party talks are the way forward to solving this situation in North Korea. We have made it very clear that North Korea needs to permanently end its nuclear weapons programs. And we hope that they will come back to the six-party talks soon," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said at a briefing. McClellan said that there have been some indications from the DPRK side, "but we will see by their actions how serious they are." The spokesman said that when the next round of six-party talks resumes, "we want to talk about how to move forward on the proposal that we outlined and that proposal talks about the way they can enjoy better relations with the international community and ways that they can become part of the international community." ( )

DPRK: US conducts over 180 cases of aerial espionage in Jan.
2005-02-02 Xinhuanet
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday accused the United States of committing more than 180 cases of aerial espionage against the country in January. The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted military sources as saying that at least 30 cases were conducted by U-2, RC-135, E-3, EP-3 and P-3 military planes. RC-7B, RC-12, RF-4C and other tactical reconnaissance planes were also involved in espionage against the forefront and coastal areas of the DPRK, the KCNA said. "Such aerial espionage intensified by the US from the outset of the year goes to clearly prove that the moves of the warmongers to mount a surprise preemptive attack on the DPRK and stifle it by force of arms at any cost have reached their height," the news agency said.

US, S.Korean officials discuss nuclear issue
2005-02-03 Xinhuanet
A visiting US senior national security official and a South Korean official on Wednesday discussed the resumption of the stalled six-party nuclear talks, reported South Korean Yonhap News Agency. Michael Green, senior director for Asia at the US National Security Council, met with Lee Jong-seok, South Korean deputy secretary general of the National Security Council, and reportedlydelivered a hand-written message for South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun from US President George W. Bush. The two officials discussed a wide range of security issues including the early resumption of the six-party nuclear talks aimed to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, said Yonhap. Lee stressed the importance of the Seoul-Washington alliance toend the nuclear dispute, according to Yonhap. "The South Korean government has fully understood the urgency of North Korean (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) nuclear standoff, and has worked to resolve the issue at the earliest datepossible," Lee was quoted as saying by NSC spokeswoman Lee Ji-hyun. Lee Jong-seok added that resolving the standoff will largely depend on whether participants at the talks demonstrate a "flexible" attitude. On Thursday, Green is scheduled to meet South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Foreign Minister Song Min-soon and Cho Tae-yong, head of the Foreign Ministry's task force on the nuclear dispute. Green will leave for Vietnam on Thursday evening. ( )


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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