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
  9.5-13.5.2005, No. 62  
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Foreign Policy

Zoellick: Policy to contain China's influence 'foolish'
2005-05-11 China Daily
SINGAPORE - The United States is intent on deepening economic and political ties with Southeast Asia but not by trying to contain China's rising influence in the region, US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said. On the last leg of a six-nation tour of Southeast Asia, Zoellick said he had also been reassured the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was committed to stronger economic ties with the United States. Aside from Singapore, Zoellick, who is the most senior US official to visit Southeast Asia during US President George W. Bush's second term, visited Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. ( ) Zoellick said discussions held with leaders during his trip showed Southeast Asia wanted to continue to have strong economic ties with the United States, which remains the region's major export destination. ( ) "The countries I visited represent over 500 million people... so it's a core part of our global outlook." Zoellick emphasised ASEAN was the fifth largest trading partner for the United States, with trade between the two worth about 136 billion US dollars. However he also said the United States had no intention of trying to contain China's growing presence in Southeast Asia. "From the US perspective, the key message is that we believe that we should have our own activist engagement with Southeast Asia and that a policy to try to limit or restrict China would be both foolish and ineffective," he said. China and ASEAN last year signed a deal to liberalise trade barriers and pave the way for a more comprehensive accord planned for 2010 that could see the creation of the world's largest free trade zone. Zoellick's visit also had strong political spin-offs, with the diplomat announcing while in Vietnam that Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai had been invited to meet Bush in Washington on June 21. The visit will be the first by a Vietnamese leader since the end of the Vietnam War 30 years ago. ( )

Kissinger: US supports cross-Straits dialogue
2005-05-12 China Daily
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in Beijing yesterday that the US Government supports any dialogue between China's mainland and Taiwan. In a speech on the new world order, Kissinger said that it was not in US strategic interests to separate Taiwan from China, adding that the United States hopes the two sides increase dialogue. "Through the steps we have seen in the recent weeks, the peaceful reunification of China could be achieved," Kissinger said. Lien Chan, chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) Party, at the invitation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee General Secretary Hu Jintao, led a KMT delegation to visit the mainland cities of Nanjing, Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai from April 26 to May 3, the first such trip by a KMT leader since 1949 when the party lost a civil war and retreated to Taiwan. James Soong, chairman of the People First Party (PFP), the second largest opposition party in Taiwan, is himself currently on a visit to the mainland on the invitation of Hu. Kissinger said he was confident that the United States and China are committed to close relations, and therefore the United States will welcome any dialogue between China's mainland and Taiwan. Kissinger is in Beijing at the invitation of the China Institute for International Strategic Studies. He will also attend the Fortune Forum to be held in the capital from May 16 to 18. Meanwhile, Kissinger said in the speech that China and the United States now face the challenge of "creative coexistence," and that the development of US-China relations was in the common interests of the two nations. He said that US-China relations were in good shape thanks to joint efforts by both nations, adding that he was "very confident" about the future development of bilateral ties. He said no single nation has enough power or wisdom to solve every problem of the world, and that China and the United States should seek coexistence "in an co-operative attitude." Kissinger has witnessed meetings between eight US presidents and four generations of Chinese leaders.

US underrates China's rising power: Albright
2005-05-12 China Daily
LISBON - The United States administration underrates the growing economic and political power of China, former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright said. "I think that at the least the United States underestimates the growing power of China. It is an immense country with energetic people which has great ambitions for itself," she told reporters in Lisbon after delivering a speech on democracy. "What we did while we were in office was to try to bring China into the system," said Albright, who served as Washington's top diplomat under president Bill Clinton. She said Washington's support for the entry of China into the World Trade Organization in 2001 was an example of this policy. "It is very important not to have China as an enemy and to try to bring it in as much as possible into world organizations," Albright said. China's gross domestic product ( GDP) has quadrupled since 1978, when the nation's leadership began moving the economy from a sluggish, Soviet-style centrally planned economy to a more market-oriented system. Measured on a purchasing power parity basis, China in 2004 stood as the second-largest economy in the world after the United States, although in per capita terms the country is still rated as poor.

Chinese president meets war veterans, hailing Sino-Russian friendship
2005-05-09 People's Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Sunday hailed the Sino-Russian friendship forged and fortified during World War II, thanking Russian veterans who helped China fight Japanese invaders. During a meeting at the Chinese embassy here with nearly 30 Russian war veterans, Hu said the valor, sacrifices and heroic achievements of Red Army generals and soldiers will forever be engraved in the minds of the Chinese people. Hu, who arrived here hours ago, will join more than 50 other state leaders for the May 9 celebration marking the 60th anniversary of the victory of Russia's Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany. "During a crucial stage of China's War Against Japanese Invaders, the Soviet Red Army marched into the battleground of northeast China and joined the Chinese army and people in fighting Japanese invaders, providing important assistance for the Chinese people's ultimate victory," Hu said. Many Chinese youths, including Mao Anying, the elder son of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong, joined the Soviet struggle against Nazi Germany, Hu noted. He said the war launched by fascist invaders brought colossal calamity and catastrophe to the people of China, Russia and many other countries. "In the European theater of World War II, the heroic Soviet army and people defended the sovereignty and dignity of their motherland with their blood and precious lives, " the Chinese president said. The Soviet army and people made great sacrifices that are recognized the world over for the global victory over fascism, Hu said. In China, the principal battleground in the Asia-Pacific theater, the indomitable Chinese army and people contained and annihilated much of the Japanese invader's military strength and crushed the Japanese militarists' attempt to become a hegemony in Asia, he added. The Chinese army and people made significant contributions to the world's victory against fascism, with tens of thousands of them losing their lives in the historic feat, Hu said. "History is a mirror reflecting reality; it is also a most philosophic textbook," the Chinese president said. "Keeping alive the memory of history and not forgetting it serves the purpose of cherishing peace and opening up the future." "By celebrating the victory of the global anti-fascist war, we must exert more efforts to cherish and safeguard the hard-won peace, to prevent a repeat of the tragedies of war, and to ensure that this planet inhabited by people of all countries is permeated forever in peace," Hu said. The Chinese president said China will staunchly uphold the banner of peace, development and cooperation, stick to the road of peaceful development and carry on the struggle for world peace and common development. The Chinese president said that both the Chinese and the Russians are two great peoples and the friendship between the two nations should be carried on by all future generations. The strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Russia fully accords with the fundamental interests of the peoples of both countries, Hu said. "Let the Chinese and Russian people be good neighbors, good friends and good partners." The Chinese and Russians should join hands with peoples of all other countries to work for a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity and enable all peace-loving people around the world to be immersed in the sunshine of peace stability and development, Hu said. ( )

EU, China to discuss embargo, textile issue
2005-05-11 China Daily
Three European Union senior diplomats will discuss with China arms sale embargo, surging textile trade and the Taiwan issue during their upcoming visit to Beijing, which is aimed at furthering the already warm China-EU relations, official said. Ma Keqing, deputy director of the European section of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said at a news briefing here on Tuesday that it will be the EU Troika foreign ministers' first official visit to China, an important part of the celebration marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China-EU diplomatic relations. The EU Troika Foreign Ministers, Jean Asselborn, Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, the rotating EU presidential country, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, External Relations Commissioner of the EU and the representative of British Foreign Secretary, will pay an official visit to China from May 11 to 12 as guests of Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. During the visit, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan will meet them respectively and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will hold talks with them, Ma said. Ma hailed China-EU relations, saying the two sides have held frequent high-level visits and dialogue at all levels, reached more consensus on major international and regional issues and witnessed surging trade and economic cooperation. China-EU trade hit 177.3 billion US dollars in 2004, increasing by 73 times from that in 1975, when China and the European Community first forged diplomatic relations, according to Chinese statistics. ( )

China firmly opposes EU's linking of arms ban-lifting with human rights
2005-05-11 People's Daily
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in Beijing at a Tuesday press conference that China firmly opposes the European Union's linking of lifting the arms ban on China with the human right issue. Liu made the remark in response to the EU representative's remark at the Asia Europe Meeting 7th Foreign Ministers' Meeting that it will be difficult to lift the arms ban soon unless there is obvious progress in the country's human right situation. "We oppose the EU's linking of ban-lifting with the human right issue," said Liu, adding he noticed that many EU members also believe the linking is groundless. Liu said China has made great effort to improve the human rights of its people in past years and "deeply" understands there are still problems. "China will continue to improve the human right situation, but that should by no means be relevant to the lifting of the arms embargo," Liu said. The spokesman urged the EU to lift the arms ban as soon as possible, saying doing this will improve the EU-China relationship. The EU decided to lift the ban before June of this year at a EU summit last December.

China backs Thai DPM in bid for UN post
2005-05-09 China Daily
KYOTO -- China has expressed its clear stance to support Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai in his bid for the top post of the United Nations over the next two years, the Thai News Agency reported. China said Friday that it is time that the next UN Secretary-General should come from the Asian region, and that Dr. Surakiart is qualified for the UN's top job. Beijing expressed the clear position at the Asean 3 Ministerial Meeting, held in the Japanese city of Kyoto Friday on the sidelines of the 7th Asia-Europe Foreign Ministers' Meeting (7th ASEM-FMM). Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon attended the meeting with his counterparts from other Asean member countries as well as China, Japan and South Korea. It was the first time that the Asean 3 Ministerial Meeting was held outside the Asean countries. Kantathi said that the Asean 3 meeting also discussed the forthcoming East Asian Summit, to be held in Malaysia later this year, and the proposed UN reform. The ministers also expressed their concerns over the ASEM future, as some European member states had sent their deputy foreign ministers and even senior officials to attend the 7th ASEM-FMM, instead of their foreign ministers, signalling that Europe had not paid enough attention to the cross continental meeting, scheduled for May 6-7.

China, Turkmenistan to further bilateral ties
2005-05-09 Xinhuanet
Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Turkmen counterpart Saparmurad Niyazov met here Sunday and both leaders agreed to further expand trade and economic cooperation. Hu and Niyazov arrived in Moscow Sunday for attending festival events of the 60th anniversary of the victory of Russia's Great Patriotic War on May 9. President Hu said that China attaches great importance to the development of friendly relations with Turkmenistan, adding that China views Turkmenistan as an important partner in Central Asian region. Hu said China, as always, supports Turkmenistan's open policy and its neutral policy stance. The Chinese president expressed hope that with joint efforts made by the two countries, bilateral relations will be reaching a much higher stage. For his part, Turkmen President Niyazov said that his country values its relations with China, stressing that its one-China policy will remain unchanged. Niyazov expressed satisfaction with the fruitful results of thebilateral cooperation in the field of politics, economy and culture, saying his country is willing to learn some useful experience from China. He said the two countries have successful cooperation in the area of textile and telecommunications and this kind of cooperation really benefits his country. Niyazov said that Turkmenistan's rich natural resources providegood opportunity for the future cooperation between the two countries. President Hu said the China is encouraging its enterprises to strengthen cooperation with Turkmenistan's counterparts in exploration of gas and oil reserves in the Central Asian country.

Japanese consulate general inaugurated in SW China's Chongqing
2005-05-10 People's Daily
Japanese consulate general was inaugurated Monday in Chongqing municipality, the industrial hub of Southwest China. As the fourth Japanese consulate organization in the Chinese mainland, the Japanese consulate general in Chongqing covers Chongqing and three Southwestern provinces, namely Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou, according to Consul General Tomita Masahiro. "We set up this consulate general to promote Japan's cooperation with Southwest China," said Tomita. Chongqing, rich in gas and emerging as the manufacturing hub of automobiles and motorcycles, has been an attraction to Japanese investment. Japanese automobile manufacturers started to enter in the city since mid-1990s and there have been 97 Japanese firms in the city so far. "It is important for Japan to strengthen economic cooperation with China," said Japanese Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Aisawa Ichiro, adding the consulate general will support Japanese investment in Southwest China, especially in the Three Gorges project.

Chinese military delegation leaves for Europe
2005-05-10 PLA Daily - A military delegation, headed by Xu Qiliang, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), left here Sunday for an official good-will visit to Romania, France and Finland. The delegation is on the visit as guests of the armed forces ofthe three European nations.



Beijing addresses terror issue for Games
2005-05-10 China Daily
In the lead up to the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing will work closer with other countries on anti-terrorism, especially in intelligence exchange and police training, to ensure a safe event. Qiang Wei, deputy Party secretary of Beijing, said the world is facing an increasing threat from terrorism and international co-operation is imperative in the fight against such attacks. "As a massive gathering of thousands of athletes, coaches, journalists and leading officials from more than 200 countries, the Olympic Games is one of the prime targets for terrorists who want to make worldwide unrest," said Qiang at an international anti-terrorism forum held yesterday in Beijing. Nearly 200 security officials and experts from home and abroad attended the forum, exchanging experiences on anti-terrorism and Olympic security. Qiang told the forum that Beijing has carried out a comprehensive Olympic security plan which involves the participation of almost all the security organizations around the city, such as the public security bureau, the national security bureau and the armed police. Even drivers of subway trains, buses and taxis, and members of neighbourhood committees, have been included in the security scheme, Qiang added. Apart from mobilizing domestic resources, Qiang said Beijing would team up with the security institutions of other countries during its preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games. He said in November last year, the Chinese capital had invited several leading police officials from six other capital cities, such as Moscow, to attend a forum in Beijing. ( ) He said Beijing would set up a special anti-terrorism force and invite foreign experts to train them. The task force will be armed with advanced equipment and carry out anti-terrorism exercises, said Qiang at yesterday's forum. The forum is part of the China (Beijing) International Exhibition and Symposium on Police Equipment and Anti-terrorism Technology and Equipment. The exhibition is to be held between today and Thursday at the Beijing Exhibition Centre. ( )

Floods and drought warning for summer
2005-05-10 China Daily
A leading weather expert has warned China may face an apocalyptic summer of severe drought and floods. Qin Dahe, top official of the China Meteorological Administration, called for early preparedness across the country as the flood season approaches. He warned: "China may face a grim situation from seasonal floods or drought this year with potential damage - worse than that of last year." He added: "There will be much fear of a bad harvest this year if more disasters occur in the following months." Qin was speaking during a national televised conference on summer weather forecasting and services. Probabilities of such disasters are increasing, he warned, quoting the latest predictions released yesterday. The rainy season has started in parts of South China while the national major flood season will follow soon. ( ) In the north, the rain belt is likely to cover the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, northern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and southern parts of Northeast China. In the south, the rain belt may linger over the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, vast areas between the Huaihe and Yangtze rivers, and regions south of the Yangtze with potential flooding likely to hit the middle and lower reaches. Meanwhile, prolonged drought may scorch the rest of the country with less rainfall expected in many areas, "particularly the northeastern Sichuan Province and western parts of the Tibet Autonomous Region," said Qin. Another hot summer is expected, particularly on the southern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and along Southeast China's coastal areas. So far this year, temperatures in East China have been lower than the average with more rainfall in most of the South. Most of western and Northeast China as well as parts of South China's Guangdong and Hainan provinces have been plunged into the worst drought in 50 years due to a rapid rise in temperature. Provinces in Central, East, South and Southwest China have been hit recently by rain and thunderstorms. ( ) Geologic hazards like mud-rock landslides caused by heavy and prolonged rains have caused casualties and considerable losses of crops and property running into millions of yuan in Southwest China's Sichuan and Chongqing.

China starts to compile the 11th Five-year Plan for social, economic development
2005-05-12 People's Daily
China will start this year to compile its 11th Five-year Plan (2006-2010) for social and economic development, as learned from a national meeting May 10 on reform and social development. Compilation of the Plan must be guided by the scientific concept of development and focus on important weak links to break the four major bottlenecks (resources, science and technology, talents and system), the conference agreed, particularly address the rural and west development problems as well as properly handle the eight major issues: economic growth pattern, industrial structure, balanced development between urban, rural areas and different regions, resources and eco-environment protection, talents and sci-tech education, opening up and the building of a harmonious society. The aim is to enhance economic strength, change growth patterns, optimize industrial structure, improve public service system, strengthen the capability for sustainable development, accelerate reform and opening up so as to bring about sustained, fast and sound development of the national economy and the overall progress of the society.

Chinese Premier on government's self-reform
2005-05-13 China Daily
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday said the government's self-reform is of decisive importance to the country's whole economic reform. Wen made the remark at a State Council's meeting on economic situation which was presided over by Wen himself. He said reform should be further pushed forward to maintain the current good economic and social development momentum. In a bid to speed up the government's self-reform, governments at all levels should not participate in the production and management activities of private enterprises, and especially should not interfere with investment decisions or other important issues for private enterprises, Wen said. The administrative approval system should be reformed in line with the Administrative Licensing Law. The government's administrative approval procedures should be further standardized and simplified. Governmental functions, including market supervision and public services, should be in line with the requirements of a socialist market economy and a harmonious society, Wen said. Therefore, the government's institutional reform should be deepened in order to improve the government's work efficiency, he said. Scientific and democratic decision-making should be furthered. Governments at all levels should observe public opinion and solicit expert suggestions before making decisions, Wen said. Governments at all levels should voluntarily accept supervision from the legislatures, democratic parties and public, and efforts should be strengthened to fight corruption, he said.

Beijing gets taste of US courtroom
2005-05-13 Xinhuanet
Peking University yesterday played host to a criminal hearing with an American twist. Judges from Massachusetts assumed the roles of judge, prosecutor, lawyer, defendant, clerk and witnesses in a mock domestic violence lawsuit with 12 law students from the university sitting in the jury box. The defendant William Goodwin was charged with carrying a knife and the domestic assault and battery of his wife. But he got off scot-free as the 12 student jurors concluded there was insufficient evidence to send him away. More than 100 students and teachers from the university's Law School, as well as some Chinese judges based in Beijing sat in on the mock trial. "I believe that it is a good chance for us to be close to the judicial system of the United States," Wang Aixia, a second-year postgraduate law student and one of the "jurors," said yesterday. "It is not enough for us to only learn from books," Wang said. Another student Gao Fawei said that he was impressed by the procedure of the mock trial. "If I could become a judge in the future, I would also ensure fair procedures in my work," he said. Peter Anderson, first justice of the Boston Municipal Court Brighton Division who played the defendant, said the mock trial was a good way for law students and experts from the United States and China to learn from each other. The event was sponsored by the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Massachusetts Judges Conference together with the John W McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies under the University of Massachusetts Boston which first held the mock trials in China in 2002. The 15-member delegation is scheduled to travel to Chongqing in Southwest China and other Chinese cities in the coming days to conduct more mock trials and academic exchanges at local universities.

Member of "Gang of Four" Zhang Chunqiao dies
2005-05-11 People's Daily
Zhang Chunqiao, member of the "Gang of Four", died of cancer on April 21 at the age of 88. Zhang, one of the culprits of the "Lin Biao and Jiang Qing counter-revolutionary clique," was given death sentence with a two-year reprieval by a special tribunal of the Supreme People's Court in January 1981. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment with political rights deprived for life in January, 1983, and was commuted again to 18 years in prison with political rights deprived for 10 years. Since January, 1998, Zhang had been on medical parole.



Rich fresh water reserves on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
2005-05-09 Xinhuanet
The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in southwest China, which is known as "roof of the world", holds quite possibly the country's biggest amount of fresh water, according to a recent finding by Chinese scientists. In the past it was the Jiangnan region, which refers to an area to the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, that was known as the country's area with richest lakes and rivers. On the plateau, the scientists said, 1,091 lakes are bigger than one square kilometer and their total area is 44,993.3 square kilometers, covering 49.5 percent of the country's total lake areas, as a result of a decades-long study of the geography of the plateau. Water reserves in the lakes on the plateau are about 608 billion cubic meters, holding 70 percent of the country's total lake water reserves, it said. "The lake group is also known the world's highest and largest one," said Zhu Liping, a researcher with the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Ten of China's 27 biggest lakes, each covering an area of more than 500 square kilometers, dot the plateau. "Most lakes are as high as 4,000 to 5,000 meters and they are generally deep and with steep banks," said Zhu, claiming the their formation is in line with that of the plateau.

Tibet's development is changing foreigners' attention, says liaison official
2005-05-10 People's Daily
Foreigners who had come to tour China's Tibet Autonomous Region almost had the same purpose in the 1990s, that is to call at temples and visit jails for an exchange of views with "political prisoners". Nowadays they prefer calling on local Tibetans and seeing the improvement of their living conditions. "Foreigners' attention has changed a great deal along with the rapid social and economic progress of Tibet," said Pa Sang, deputy director of protocol division of Tibet Autonomous Region's foreign affairs office. Pa Sang, 42, a native Tibetan woman, has received high-ranking guests from overseas and foreign reporters and done interpretation for them for 19 consecutive years. Recently, she was awarded a prize for being one of China's ten outstanding foreign affairs officials. The tourists from overseas, and foreign diplomats and reporters her office receives has been on rise over recent years, especially in the summer and autumn time. The foreign office not only objectively and truthfully presents what has been going on in Tibet to them, but also does its best to meet their requests and helps them acquire the comprehensive and true information about Tibet. "At present, an increasing number of foreign guests prefer to call at local residents' homes and see whether the long-term assistance from the central and provincial government has really improved the living livelihood and working conditions of local Tibetans," said Pa Sang. The topics, such as the state pivot construction projects, the youth compulsory education and the medical care for rural farmers, are alluring their attention, she added. "Tibet autonomous region has maintained sound economic progress and momentum and local people's living conditions have indeed changed a lot, which constitute the crucial reasons for visiting foreigners to change their attention," Pa Sang noted. In the year 2000, Pa Sang received a United States congressional delegation, which used to have close contacts with the Dalai Lama group. After going amid grassroots units in Tibetan society to see things by themselves and inspecting some religious sites, they came to recognize that a lot of information the Dalai Lama provided to the US Congress did not stand close scrutiny. David Dorman, a member of the delegation, said what he personally witnessed in Tibet didn't accord with what he heard before. Along with its rapid economic advancement, he said, China is attaching great importance to the administration of the country by law, and its legal system kept improving. Mirroring China's peaceful emergence, Tibet, as a Chinese autonomous region, is also actively building its image to the world, she said. "I am convinced that along with Tibet's opening-up, the international community will acknowledge Tibet's development and progress, and more and more foreign businessmen will come to invest here. Dalai Lama's advocacy of 'Tibet independence' will lose its mark et," Pa Sang said.

Environment of "roof of the world" under threat
2005-05-12 People's Daily
The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in southwest China, long known as the "roof of the world," faces serious ecological threat that may ruin the already fragile environment which has fostered numerous rare animals, plants and medicine herbs, Chinese scientists say. A group of scientists with the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Study Institute of the Chinese Academy of Scientists who have carried out a decades-long study of the geography of the plateau warned that its environment will continue to deteriorate because of climate changes, overgrazing and increasing human activities. The ecology of the Sanjiangyuan region, Chinese for "source of three rivers," in the northern part of the plateau, will worsen in the coming 15 to 30 years, they said. Covering more than 360,000 square kilometers and with an average altitude of more than 4,461 meters, the area is the cradle of three main Chinese rivers, the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers. Most of Chinese civilization emerged along the valleys of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers. Today, the area, also known as China's "water tower" for cradling the country's richest lakes and rivers, remains a paradise for rare wild animals such as the Tibetan antelope and white-lipped deer and medicine herbs such as Tibetan snow lotus. According to the scientists, overgrazing and frequent human activity have rendered the grassland in the area degraded or damaged, resulting in problems including serious soil erosion and drop of soil fertility. From 1995 to 2000, the grassland in the area decreased by 2.8 percent, said the scientists. Another finding by the scientists indicates that in the past 15years, the speed of degradation of the grassland has reached 0.725 percent a year, or more than 1,500 square kilometers of grassland reduced to bare land. There are more than 1,000 lakes on the plateau bigger than one square kilometer with a total area is 44,993.3 square kilometers, covering 49.5 percent of China's total lake areas. Water reserves in the lakes on the plateau are about 608 billion cubic meters, 70percent of the country's total lake water reserves. Ten of China's 27 biggest lakes, each covering an area of more than 500 square kilometers, dot the plateau. "Most lakes are as high as 4,000 to 5,000 meters and they are generally deep and with steep banks," said Zhu Liping, a researcher with the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Research Institute. Statistics show there are 36,793 glaciers on the Chinese part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, covering a total area of 49,873 square kilometers, accounting for 79.5 percent of the total number of glaciers, 84 percent of the total glacial area and 81.6 percent of the total ice in the country. Scientists have found the climate of the plateau has been warming and rainfall slightly increased, which could well be an alarming sign of the global warming trend. According to the data collected by 71 monitoring stations on the plateau, both the temperature and the average monthly rainfall there have always been climbing from 1961 to 2003. "From the 1980s on, the plateau has experienced a period in which the temperature has obviously been on the high side," said are port to that effect, noting that the days above zero degree had added two to 3.5 days in the frigid belt and three to 10 days in the temperate belt of the plateau every decade. "Despite the increased rainfall, the area of glaciers is shrinking," it said, without stating what effects the case will bring about for world climate changes. Scientists said some global environmental disasters had also contaminated the environment of the plateau. "From 1990 to 1991, people saw dirty snow falling in the Mount Qomolangma area which scientists determined was polluted by oil smoke floating from the Persian Gulf region," said Gao Dengyi, president of the China Association for Scientific Expedition. The contents of more than ten chemical elements in the ice and snow samples collected have rocketed five to 15 times from 1975 to1992, he said, with iron multiplying 15 times. "It was the westerlies that blew the soot of the burning oilfields in the Middle East to the mountain and seriously contaminated both the air and the water environment at its north scope," said Gao.



"Taiwan independence" a dead alley: Soong
2005-05-12 People's Daily
Visiting Chairman of People First Party James CY Soong reiterated his persistent stance Wednesday that his party is resolutely opposed to forces for "Taiwan independence," which is a dead alley for peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits. There is nobody in the world who can hold back the Chinese people from resolving their own problems "peacefully." During a speech at the Beijing-based Qinghua University, Soong said the historical and realistic factors were so complicated and difficult to unravel that they constituted a challenge to the wisdom of all Chinese for "handling our own problems by ourselves." "History should be taken as a mirror to prevent previous wrongdoing from happening again," said the PFP chairman. He warned the mentality of taking history as a "rope" would exert a negative impact on taking an rational mindset in resolving problems. Soong said historic experience shows that the real reconciliation is the "start of a nation's rejuvenation" rather than the result of "compromise of principle." Taiwan consciousness not "Taiwan independence" Soong called on people on the mainland not to take the "Taiwan consciousness" upheld by the Taiwan people the same as "Taiwan independence." The "Taiwan consciousness" formed in history is a mentality of recognizing the people and land in Taiwan whereas the effort for "Taiwan independence" is only an attempt to separate Taiwan from China, Soong said in a speech in the Beijing-based Qinghua University. The fact that the "Taiwan consciousness" was once manipulated by "Taiwan independence" forces only proves that such efforts to political control garbled the real aspirations of the Taiwan people. Soong slashed the efforts of a small handful of secessionists to take themselves as Japanese rather than Taiwanese as "casting aside both roots and essence."

No independence, no military: CPC-PFP Communique
2005-05-13 China Daily
The Communist Party of China (CPC) and Taiwan's People First Party (PFP) agreed Thursday that if Taiwan does not seek independence, there will be no military conflicts across the Taiwan Straits, and that both shall work for the promotion of cross-Straits economic exchanges and trade. "Military conflicts shall be effectively avoided so long as there is no possibility that Taiwan moves toward 'Taiwan independence'", according to a communique issued after the summit between Hu Jintao and James CY Soong, the first ever in the history of the two parties. ( ) The CPC and KMT have agreed upon five issues including the promotion of formal end to hostility, building military mutual trust mechanism, allowing Taiwan to participate in activities of the World Health Organization, some of which were reaffirmed in today's communique. The CPC-PFP document says that the Taiwan authorities are expected to earnestly honor the promise of "five no's" and live up to the commitment of not seeking "de jure Taiwan independence" through "constitutional" changes. ( ) The two parties also voiced their "firm opposition" to any activities for the "rectification of Taiwan's name" and " constitutional changes through referendum." ( ) The two parties also reach a wide range of consensus on promoting overall economic and trade exchanges across the Taiwan Straits on the basis of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. -- The CPC and PFP will promote the realization of two-way direct flights across the Taiwan Straits by 2006. -- They called for closer agricultural cooperation across the Taiwan Straits and increasing sales of Taiwan farm produce in the mainland. -- The mainland will exempt customs duties on some of Taiwan's farm products including fruits to help Taiwan ease sales pressure during harvesting season. -- Both sides across the Straits should facilitate customs clearing of farm products and their direct transportation. -- Both agreed to promote the two-way direct investment by enterprises across the Straits, and promote "specific cooperation" in banking, insurance, securities, transportation and medical sectors. -- The two parties will promote cross-Straits negotiations on how to avoid double taxation on business people, says the communique. -- Cross-Straits people-to-people exchanges should be expanded and procedures on the mainland side should be further simplified for Taiwanese compatriots coming to and leaving the mainland. -- The mainland side should encourage and promote the employment of Taiwan compatriots on the mainland. After the talks, James Soong promised that the PFP will work closely with the KMT to make their consensus, which are in the interests of Taiwan people, to be taken into serious consideration by the Taiwan authorities, headed by Chen Shui-bian. "The PFP will not hesitate in working together with the KMT to supervise the authorities and to defend the fundamental interests of the Taiwanese," he said.

Price tag to be high for potential Taiwan travel
2005-05-11 Xinhuanet
A ten-day tour in Taiwan may cost Chinese mainland residents 10,000 yuan (1,215 US dollars) after the mainland removes a ban for its residents to travel to the island, an expert predicted. Zhou Xiaoping, researcher with Jiangsu Provincial Tourist Bureau, said that the cost will remain high after the tour of Taiwan is officially launched. The estimation, which is currently almost as high as that of a European tour, is expected to drop gradually. Prices would fall after the opening of the direct flights across the Taiwan Straits,specialists said. Mainland residents have shown great interest in the trip after it announced early this month that citizens of Chinese mainland will soon be allowed to travel to Taiwan, said Zhou. Mainland residents have been restricted from traveling to the island during the past two decades. The first group of Chinese mainland tourists made a trip from east China's coastal Fujian Province to Jinmen Islands (also knownas Quemoy islands) off Taiwan in December under a deal designed to promote tourism and people-to-people exchanges across the Taiwan Straits. Statistics provided by the Chinese mainland show that Taiwan compatriots made nearly 3.7 million trips to the mainland in 2004,up 34.9 percent over the previous year, while only 145,000 mainland people visited Taiwan in the same period. Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, has said that tourism administration and all relevant parties on the mainland welcome organizations from Taiwan's tourism industry to start early consultations. Experts pointed out that before the opening of the trip for Chinese mainland residents, there is still a long way to go for both sides to negotiate a deal.


Wirtschaft - Economy

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China raises diesel oil price
2005-05-10 People's Daily
China will raise the producer price of diesel oil by 150 yuan (about 18 US dollars) per ton from Tuesday, according to sources with a state authoritative institution of China. China raised the producer price of gasoline by 300 yuan (about 35 US dollars) per ton on March 23 due to soaring international crude oil prices. To guarantee the demand for diesel oil used in agricultural production, however, China resisted raising diesel oil prices. As a result, the country has seen a tension between the supply and demand of diesel oil in the past month.

Forum brings opportunity to knock at global
2005-05-10 Xinhuanet
A marathon "brainstorming session" to identify opportunities in China will attract scores of top scholars, business leaders and government officials next week. More than 800 delegates are expected to attend the influential three-day FORTUNE Global Forum which opens in Beijing next Monday. "The forum is a venue for ideas instead of business negotiations," Zhao Qizheng, minister of the State Council Information Office, told a news conference yesterday. "It will benefit CEOs by generating new ideas and will allow them to understand more about the growth of the Chinese economy. It will allow them to offer their analyses about future investment prospects," he added. Jaime A FlorCruz, chief representative of the FORTUNE Global Forum in Beijing, said: "We have a compelling, well thoughtout agenda of topics." More than 250 foreign companies -- including 76 ranked among the Global 500 -- will be represented. President Hu Jintao is expected to meet with some of the business leaders on Monday before he delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony. The FORTUNE Global Forum is held annually by US publication FORTUNE Magazine. This will be its 10th year and its third forum held on Chinese soil. In 1999, Shanghai hosted the event, which returned and opened in 2001 in Hong Kong. It is viewed as one of the most influential business events by multinational companies -- and some 50 CEOs will fly in especially in their private jets. Chinese officials to attend include Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan, Cheng Siwei, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai, People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan and Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanhua. They will brief the participants on China's economic policies and prospect for growth at the general session and during panel discussions. "We expect the 2005 FORTUNE Global Forum to be probably the best ever," said FlorCruz. China's continued economic growth, improved international relations and the increased attention by multinationals lay behind the decision by the US organizers to hold the event here for a third time, according to Zhao. The FORTUNE Magazine cancelled the event in the previous two years to make sure that the number of the participants could rise to a record this year. The event's banner theme is "China and the New Asian Century." "The booming Asia has created a win-win scenario, under which different economies supplement each other," Zhao said. He added that China wants the rest of the world to share in its economic growth. "Our growth means opportunities for others," he said.

China is Australia's 2nd largest export market
2005-05-11 People's Daily
Figures released by Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday show China imported 8.8 billion Australia Dollars (AUD) from Australia over the 9 months by March this fiscal year. China is Australia's second largest export market. Japan is still the largest buyer. Australian exports to Japan reached 17.6 billion AUD over the same period.

Report: China auto sales hit record high
2005-05-13 China Daily
SHANGHAI, China -- Sales of passenger vehicles in China hit a record monthly high of 285,360 in April as buyers plunged back into the market, but first-quarter profits dropped sharply amid falling sticker prices and surging costs, reports said Thursday. The April figure for total passenger vehicle sales, including cars, multipurpose vehicles and sport utility vehicles, was up 15.7 percent over April 2004 and up 7.2 percent from March, the state-run newspaper Shanghai Daily reported. It cited figures from the China Automobile Manufacturers Association. Sales languished in the first two months of the year as buyers held back, waiting for more price cuts from automakers fighting for growth in an increasingly competitive market. But such cuts ended by March, when sales began to rebound. Sales of cars in April rose 18.2 percent on-year to 257,337, the report said. "It seems that frequent price reductions and discount offers came to a temporary stop in April, which convinced some potential buyers to purchase without waiting any longer," Rao Da, secretary general of the industry group, was quoted as saying. Chinese automakers sold 901,380 cars in the first four months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 3.2 percent, the report said. Sales of SUVs, generally used by government agencies or by affluent families for recreation, plunged 25 percent on-year in January-April to 46,510 units, it said. "Firms with SUV products alone may be forced to close if they don't work out plans to change their lineup," Rao said. Output of passenger vehicles totaled 271,889 units in April, up 1.3 percent from a year earlier and 6.4 percent from March, the report said. Despite the rebound in sales, domestic auto industry profits tumbled 58.5 percent on-year in the first quarter to 7.64 billion yuan (US$925 million; euro723 million), the state-run newspaper China Daily reported. It was the third consecutive quarterly decline since the third quarter of last year, the paper said, citing a report by the National Bureau of Statistics. The figures included all auto-related business. China's more than 100 vehicle makers saw first-quarter profits plummet 75.4 percent compared with the same period of 2004 to 2.9 billion yuan (US$350 million; euro273 million), China Daily said. Profits in the auto parts sector slipped 28 percent on-year to 4 billion yuan (US$489 million;euro382 million), the report said. Total demand for new vehicles is forecast to climb by 12 percent to 5.6 million units this year, with sales of passenger cars rising 15 percent to 2.6 million units, it said.




China rejects request to cut off N. Korea oil
2005-05-09 China Daily
China rejected a U.S. envoy's proposal to cut off North Korea's oil supply as a way to pressure N. Korea government to return to disarmament talks, The Washington Post reported on Saturday. Chinese officials rebuffed the U.S. idea, claiming it would damage their pipeline, the newspaper said citing unnamed U.S. officials. In a meeting in Beijing on April 26, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill raised the suggestion of a "technical" interruption of fuel. But Chinese official Yang Xiyu complained the Americans were focused on too narrow a range of tools for China to influence Pyongyang, according to The Washington Post. Yang told Hill that a shutdown would seriously damage the pipeline running from its Liaoning province to North Korea because the fuel has a very high paraffin content. Paraffin wax can be a problem in the transportation of crude oil, clogging pipelines and requiring their replacement. China provides much of North Korea's energy and food, and has boosted trade with its neighbor by 20 percent in 2004, the Post said. The reported push for a Chinese fuel cutoff came amid signs that North Korea may be planning to test a nuclear weapon. That warning came as a U.S. defense official said U.S. spy satellite images had shown what may be preparations for an underground nuclear test, although the official said it might also be "an elaborate ruse". ( ) U.S. officials have increasingly turned to China to help bring North Korea back to the negotiating table. "China has done a very good job. But China alone is not enough," Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing told reporters on Friday while attending a meeting in Tokyo. Signifying the divide between Washington and Pyongyang, Chinese officials also told Hill about an unofficial North Korean proposal for ending the impasse. The North Korean idea called for a secret bilateral meeting between the United States and North Korea, during which the United States would privately apologize for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's comment that North Korea was an "outpost of tyranny." After that secret session, North Korea would consider returning to six-nation negotiations, The Washington Post reported.

DPRK: No talks with US out of six-party framework
2005-05-09 Xinhuanet
The Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said on Sunday that Pyongyang has no intention to hold bilateral talks with the United States separate from the framework of the six-party talks on the nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula. "We have never requested the DPRK-US talks independent of the six-way talks," said a spokesman for the foreign ministry. "We had already clarified our stand that we cannot have any form of talks with the US nor can we deal with it as long as the DPRK is branded as 'an outpost of tyranny'." The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), citing the spokesman, said that the government needed to clarify its standpoint over the recent US reports that Pyongyang will not continue taking part in the six-party talks but proposed DPRK-US talks. "Because there were press reports that the US is ready to recognize the DPRK as a sovereign state and hold bilateral talks within the framework of the six-party talks," he said, "we only expressed our intention to directly meet the US side to confirm whether those reports are true before making a final determination." "If the US truly wishes to settle the nuclear issue through the six-party talks, it should stop ignoring and insulting its dialogue partner and try to create an atmosphere favorable for the resumption of the six-way talks," the spokesman said. He also reiterated DPRK's stand on establishing a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula through negotiation.

Chinese, S. Korean presidents meet on ties, DPRK nuclear issue
2005-05-09 People's Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao and his South Korean counterpart Roh Moo-hyun on Sunday pledged joint efforts to boost bilateral ties and called for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue. Hu and Roh arrived in Moscow earlier in the day to attend the celebrations on Monday marking the 60th anniversary of Soviet victory of the Great Patriotic War. During a meeting with Roh, Hu said Chinese-South Korean relations have been developing rapidly. Political trust between both sides have deepened and economic and trade cooperation have expanded, he added. With bilateral trade growing by 27 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, annual trade volume is expected to meet the goal of100 billion US dollars this year, the Chinese president said. China attaches great importance to relations with South Korea and stands ready to work with South Korea to boost the comprehensive partnership of cooperation between the two countries, Hu said. Roh, for his part, said China's economic growth has provided an impetus for South Korean-Chinese economic and trade ties and the South Korean government and businesses expect to expand the economic and technological cooperation between the two sides. Speaking on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean president said the changes in the current situation on the peninsula necessitate a serious study by all relevant parties. ( )

Japan has not confired nuke test preparation of DPRK: FM
2005-05-09 PLA Daily - Japan has not confirmed that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is preparing a nuclear weapons test, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimurasaid Saturday. "We haven't obtained definite information that the DPRK is preparing a nuclear weapons test," Machimura told a press conference at the end of the two-day ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in central Japan city Kyoto. He said that Japan was deeply concerned about the current situation in DPRK's nuclear issue while the six-party talks havebeen stalled for 10 months. ( )

China welcomes direct US-DPRK contacts
2005-05-11 China Daily
China welcomes any direct contact between Washington and Pyongyang -- whether it is within or outside the framework of the Six-Party Talks, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday. Liu Jianchao said Beijing believes any form of discussions would be helpful to solve the nuclear stalemate on the Korean Peninsula. "We are pleased if Washington and Pyongyang have direct contacts in any forms," added Liu at a regular news briefing. "We support any concrete measure that is favourable to pursuing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," he added. However, the conditions required for direct contact between Pyongyang and Washington depend on the two parties themselves instead of the Chinese side, he said. "No matter whether the contact within or outside the framework of the Six-Party Talks, if the two sides could hold exchanges of opinion on the issue, I believe it would be conducive to making progress to the denuclearization process," added Liu. The US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said on Monday that the United States is willing to have direct contact with DPRK only within the framework of Six-Party Talks. ( ) When asked to comment on the reports that the US President George W. Bush called DPRK leader a "tyrant," Liu said "any party of the Six-Party Talks should take measures and words and actions that are favourable to the resumption of the talks, and should not say or do anything not conducive to continuing them." Turning to the proposal to entrust UN Security Council to deal with the DPRK nuclear programme, Liu said China still regards the Six-Party Talks as the best way to solve the issue. He said all the involved parties, including Pyongyang and Washington, all agreed to continue with the talks and has pledged to renew efforts to restart the stalled negotiation. "We should not lose confidence and try our best to push forward the talks," he said. Equal footing Liu reassured China's position of not asserting pressures or imposing sanctions to pull DPRK back to the negotiation table, saying Beijing's political and trade relations with Pyongyang should not be linked to the nuclear issue. Liu said China will continue the "normal state-to-state and trade relations" with the DPRK. "We stand for resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation on an equal footing. We are not in favour of exerting pressure or imposing sanctions," Liu said. "We believe that such measures are not necessarily effective." It is reported last week that China had turned down a US request to pressure the DPRK to return to nuclear disarmament talks by cutting off oil supplies. ( ) It is reported DPRK yesterday accused the United States of making a fuss by notifying the nation's possible preparations for a nuclear test. ( )

North Korea blames U.S. for nuclear test 'fuss'
2005-05-11 China Daily
SEOUL - Reports it could soon conduct an underground nuclear weapons test were speculation cooked up by Washington, North Korea said on Tuesday, but the secretive state did not deny outright that one might be planned. Media reports have said spy satellites show North Korea has apparently stepped up activity in its northeastern region of Kilju. The area has been suspected of being where the North would conduct a test, U.S. and South Korean officials have said. "The United States is making a fuss that our republic may proceed with an underground nuclear test in June and it will report its own view to the International Atomic Energy Agency and other countries, including Japan," the North's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary. The official KCNA news agency reported about the commentary on its Korean-language service. The South's Yonhap news agency carried the report. The commentary did not deny North Korea might conduct a test. It said reports of an impending nuclear test were "U.S. strategic opinions," KCNA said. ( ) "Let the United States do whatever it wants," the commentary said. "That's our bold stance." The data from spy satellites indicates cranes, trucks and other heavy equipment are in the area digging holes and conducting other activity that increase the prospects of an imminent test, U.S. and South Korean officials have told newspapers. ( ) A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman did not directly comment when asked if China, the North's old ally, had communicated with Pyongyang about a possible nuclear test, but he indicated Beijing would disapprove of such a development. "I'd like to repeat that upholding the goal of the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula is the important consensus reached by all sides of the six-party talks," Liu Jianchao told a news briefing. Choi Jin-wook, an expert on the North's nuclear programs at the Korea Institute for National Unification, said Pyongyang may be staging the activity for the spy satellites in order to bluff that it was preparing a test, and better its bargaining position. "North Korea will not unnecessarily engage in any brinksmanship that could result in them being permanently isolated from the international community," Choi said. A nuclear test is a dangerous gamble for North Korea that could bolster it stature as a nuclear state and change the dynamics of regional diplomacy. But a test would also likely lead to economic sanctions that could cripple its fragile economy, he said. The key player in sanctions would be the North's main benefactor and trading partner, China. China can veto sanctions at the Security Council and analysts said they would be meaningless unless China shuts the border it shares with the North, something Liu repeated it would be unwilling to do. "We don't want to solve the issue by pressures or sanctions and we think such measures would not necessarily be effective," he said. If sanctions were in place, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il would likely be left with little food and fuel coming from the outside world to support the North's faltering economy. This would deal a blow to the its stumbling industrial and agricultural sectors as well raise the prospect of famine in a country already facing severe food shortages, analysts said. On Monday, Washington sought to coax North Korea back to the negotiating table by saying it viewed the communist state as sovereign and it would hold direct talks with it as part of the stalled six-party dialogue. ( )

DPRK says completes nuclear fuel extraction
2005-05-12 China Daily
SEOUL - North Korea sharply raised the stakes in its nuclear standoff with regional powers on Wednesday, announcing it had finished extracting nuclear fuel rods at its Yongbyon plant and taken steps to expand its atomic arsenal. It was the first time North Korea had effectively confirmed it had been working on its reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear complex north of the capital Pyongyang. Regional powers, notably South Korea, voiced concern and urged it to return to talks designed to end its nuclear ambitions. ( ) "The relevant field of the DPRK has successfully finished the unloading of 8,000 spent fuel rods from the 5 mw (megawatt) pilot nuclear plant in the shortest period recently," the North's Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a English-language version carried by the official KCNA news agency. ( ) Officials in Seoul said in April the North had suspended the operation of its reactor in Yongbyon. Analysts said this would allow it to extract spent fuel rods, which could be turned into weapons-grade plutonium. Outside experts say the North could already have up to eight nuclear weapons. "The DPRK had already declared in Dec. 2002 that it would re-operate the above-said plant and resume the construction of two other nuclear plants," the North's spokesman added. The North did not say whether reprocessing of fuel rods -- necessary to make material for nuclear weapons -- had started. South Korean officials have said they are more concerned about the possibility of reprocessing than a nuclear test. ( ) The North's spokesman said it had resumed operations at the plants frozen under the deal because "the Bush Administration theatened the DPRK with nuclear weapons in violation of the AF." "Accordingly, the DPRK keeps taking necessary measures to bolster its nuclear arsenal for the defensive purpose of coping with the prevailing situation, with a main emphasis on developing the self-reliant nuclear power industry," the spokesman said. He added that construction of two other nuclear power plants had also resumed, one with a capacity of 50 megawatts and another with a 200-megawatt capacity. ( ) Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi also urged the North to resume talks, but suggested Pyongyang's announcement might be a bargaining ploy. "These are strategic comments. We have to work on North Korea so they will respond to the six-way talks and realize that abandoning their nuclear programs is very much to their benefit," he told reporters. A Foreign Ministry official in Tokyo described the North's announcement as brinkmanship. Analysts say the North often uses shock negotiating tactics in its international relations. Pyongyang's latest announcement comes after it appeared to hint earlier this week it might be willing to return to the negotiating table. Media reports that U.S. officials fear the North may be preparing a nuclear test have added fresh urgency to efforts to restart those negotiations, which Pyongyang has boycotted because of what it says is Washington's hostile policy. On Sunday, a North Korean spokesman appeared to soften Pyongyang's rejection of talks outright by saying it wanted to meet U.S. officials to confirm reports that Washington was ready to recognize the North as a sovereign state and to hold bilateral talks within the six-party process.

US counting on China in N. Korea efforts
2005-05-13 Xinhuanet
The Bush administration is depending heavily on China to rescue a faltering diplomatic effort to negotiate an end to North Korea's nuclear weapons effort but has suggested no specific pressure tactics to Beijing, senior U.S. officials said Wednesday. "The actual diplomacy for what the Chinese will do is going to be left to the Chinese," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. ( ) "We have normal bilateral relations" with North Korea, the Chinese Embassy spokesman, Maoming Chu, said in Washington. "We don't try to solve problems through pressure or sanctions." In an interview taped for CNN's "Larry King Live," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, "One just has to continue to work diplomatically." Boucher, meanwhile, said that while diplomacy is the best way to solve the North Korean nuclear problem, taking the issue to the U.N. Security Council is not being ruled out. "The fact is, the Security Council can and will, if necessary, take up some of these issues," he said. The council has the power to impose sanctions, but China as a permanent member of the council could exercise its veto to block any punishment of North Korea. "We have made very clear that we have seen the North Koreans escalate their rhetoric, make continued claims," Boucher said. "We've seen a pattern develop from North Korea in recent months that indicates they are headed in the wrong direction." The United States has reached out to China because of its strong economic and political ties to the Pyongyang government, while in the meantime publicly offering North Korea one-on-one talks with U.S. negotiators once six-party negotiations are resumed. In their talks with the Chinese, Rice, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and other American diplomats have left it up to the Chinese to decide what tactics to use, the senior U.S. official said. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said "all parties in the region want to see a nuclear-free (Korean) peninsula. And we stay in close contact with our partners in the region on these matters and work closely with them. "China has made it clear North Korea needs to come back to the six party talks. That's where our focus remains," McClellan said.

Japan plays down N.Korea nuclear fuel claim
2005-05-13 Xinhuanet
Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Thursday played down North Korea's claims that it had taken steps that could allow it to harvest more plutonium for atomic bombs. Koizumi noted that North Korea has made such statements before to bolster its negotiating position. "North Korea has been making gamesmanship sort of remarks. We must work to show that North Korea will benefit the most from returning quickly to the six-nation talks and disposing of its nuclear program," said Koizumi. Pyongyang on Wednesday said it had removed 8,000 fuel rods from the reactor at its main nuclear complex at Yongbyon, north of the capital. If reprocessed, the rods could yield enough plutonium for a couple of nuclear bombs, adding to the North's supply that is already believed to be enough to build a half-dozen bombs. ( )


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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