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
  25.9-29.9.2006, No. 134  
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Foreign Policy

Beijing hopes for positive moves
2006-09-27 China Daily
China expressed hope yesterday that the new Japanese leadership works to improve frayed bilateral relations. The remarks came after Shinzo Abe, president of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), was elected prime minister in a parliamentary vote earlier in the day. "We hope the new Japanese leader can make positive efforts to improve and develop Sino-Japanese relations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular news briefing in Beijing. The youngest Japanese leader since World War II, Abe, 52, announced a 17-member cabinet later yesterday. Among them, outspoken Foreign Minister Taro Aso, 66, who shares many of Abe's conservative views, kept his portfolio, while former director-general of defence, 65, was named to the defence post. Koji Omi, 73, a former economic planning agency chief, was named finance minister, while economics professor Hiroko Ota takes over as economics minister. Qin said China hopes Abe will "match words with deeds over the issue of placing importance on Asian diplomacy." In the run-up to the election, Abe has stressed that improving relations with China was a priority. Qin also repeated China's opposition to prime ministerial visits to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which, among others, honours war criminals. Relations between China and Japan are at their worst in decades because of Abe's predecessor Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to the shrine, seen by China and some other Asian nations as a symbol of Japan's past militarism. "China's position on the issue of Yasukuni Shrine is consistent and clear," Qin said. Due to Koizumi's obstinate persistence in visiting the shrine, China has refused to hold summit meetings with Japanese leaders. "On the question of the timing and conditions for a meeting between the leaders of China and Japan, we have repeatedly clarified our position," Qin said. Sub-cabinet level talks continued yesterday in Tokyo, led by Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and his Japanese counterpart Shotaro Yachi. Although no specifics are available, speculation has been rife that the talks are an attempt to pave the way for a summit between the leaders of the two countries. Asked when the talks would end, Qin said they "will continue as long as needed", without elaborating on the details. Addressing a question on the stalled Six-Party talks aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, Qin said China supports and encourages the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to hold direct bilateral talks. "We hope they, as the major responsible parties, can resolve the relevant issues through negotiations with flexible and pragmatic attitudes", Qin said. The spokesman said China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are preparing for a visit to Seoul by Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei for promoting the resumption of the talks. "China will continue to make constructive efforts and we hope the concerned parties make constructive efforts, too", Qin said. The talks, involving China, the DPRK, the United States, the ROK, Russia and Japan, stalled after the first phase of the fifth round of talks ended last November.

China blasts U.S. congressional-executive report as "groundless" 2006-09-26 Xinhuanet
The Chinese government on Monday denounced a report from the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, saying the charges against it are "groundless". "China is strongly dissatisfied with and resolutely refutes the U.S. accusations about China's social and judicial system, ethnic and religious policies as well as human rights situation in its report," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement. Qin's comments came in the wake of a report by the U.S.Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which was released last week. The annual report had ignored China's progress and achievements made in the fields of human rights and the legal system, said Qin. The Chinese government suggested the U.S. congress and other institutions pay more attention to their own problems, to stop interfering China's internal affairs and to focus on issues more conducive to Sino-U.S. relations, Qin said. "We demand that the U.S. government seriously treat the solemn stance of China and take substantive measures to eradicate the adverse impact of the report," he said. China has witnessed steady, rapid and sound economic development, and democratic and legal construction have progressed steadily since the Republic of China was founded 57 years ago -- especially since the reform and opening-up drive began, Qin said. "The Chinese people have been enjoying unprecedented human rights and basic freedom," the spokesman said. The principles of "One Country, Two Systems" and "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" have been fully implemented in Hong Kong, Qin said. "Hong Kong's constitutional development and the development of a democratic system have progressed steadily." Qin said that Hong Kong has continued to maintain its stability and prosperity. "It is obvious to all that the Chinese people are pursuing a path of peaceful development and making concerted efforts to build a harmonious society," the spokesman said.

Beijing affirms commitment to its role in worldwide poverty-reduction
2006-09-26 China Daily
Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu said yesterday in Beijing that China is committed to boosting poverty relief efforts in Asia and the world. He made the remarks at the Second ASEAN Plus Three High-level Workshop on Poverty Reduction, which was attended by officials from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. China will further strengthen its role in poverty reduction in Asia and the world and gradually increase its assistance to poverty-stricken countries, Hui said. The co-operation between ASEAN and the three East Asian nations has been developing quickly and healthily to produce great contributions to global poverty reduction, said Seoung Rathchavy, deputy secretary-general of the ASEAN Secretariat. Statistics show that the number of poor living under US$1 a day in East Asia and the Pacific Region fell from 730 million in 1990 to 465 million in 2004. There was substantial improvement of various indicators in impoverished regions and countries, Rathchavy said. "As the region builds more trust and co-operation on various areas of economy and security, there is still much to be desired from the co-operation," she noted. In order to expand consensus and secure strong follow-ups to the goals developed at the workshop, the Beijing Proposal of the Second ASEAN Plus Three High-level Workshop on Poverty Reduction was released yesterday. Drafted by the China State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, the proposal would put in place a mechanism for regular 10+3 ministerial meetings. According to the proposal, the ministers would gather regularly, and each country will take its turn at hosting. The proposal also called for the launch of a regional poverty reduction forum to oversee the implementation of the plans and actions approved at the ministerial meetings. Beijing also proposed to establish a regional anti-poverty exchange and co-operation platform. The International Poverty Reduction Centre in China (IPRCC), set up by China and UNDP in 2005, has committed itself to inviting 1,000 poverty reduction officials from ASEAN countries to participate in the training and exchanges in China over the next five years. China's number of the poor living in absolute poverty (an annual pure per capita income under 683 yuan, or US$85.38) has decreased from 125 million in 1985 to 23.65 million by the end of 2005.


Domestic Policy

Former Shanghai Party chief under "earnest probe"
2006-09-26/27 Xinhuanet/SCMP
Former Party chief of Shanghai Chen Liangyu , who is under earnest investigation by the Party's disciplinary watchdog, will be punished severely according to relevant laws and regulations if found guilty, a senior Party official said on Tuesday. At a press conference of the Information Office of the State Council, Gan Yisheng, secretary-general of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said the decision of the CPC Central Committee to dismiss Chen from the post of secretary of Shanghai Municipal Committee of the CPC has received public support. The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is investigating Chen's case, which demonstrates the CPC's resolution to build a clean Party and to fight corruption, Gan said. "Initial investigations have found that Chen was involved in severe violations of Party discipline," Gan said, adding information as to whether or not there are more people involved will be released through official channels. "Anyone who violates Party rules or national laws will be severely punished regardless of who they are and what position they hold," Gan added. "The top leaders of CPC Central Committees are working together to fight against corruption," he said. "We will continue to make the investigations into the case open to the public. And we should draw lessons from the case and prevent more corruption," Gan said. Chen was sacked for his involvement in a social security fund scandal, according to a decision by the CPC Central Committee published on Monday. The Communist Party has vowed to probe deeper into the social security fund scandal that brought down Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu and warned that more officials may be implicated. Mr Chen, whose sacking was publicly announced on Monday, is the most senior official to be toppled by a corruption scandal in more than 10 years.

Court rules improve penalty application
2006-09-26 China Daily
A judicial interpretation went effective yesterday, making open court sessions obligatory when hearing death sentence trials in the second instance. The move is considered a major step towards ensuring cautious use of the death penalty and guaranteeing human rights. It is expected to ensure more strict review of the first death sentence verdict. Suspects and their lawyers will have more opportunities to defend through court debate. Ahead of July, most high people's courts at province, municipality and autonomous region level merely reviewed the legal documents when they received protests from the defendant or the public prosecutor. No hearing was held in the second-instance trial in the past, leading to reports of undeserved death sentences. All death sentence appeals and protests began to be heard in open session in the latter half of the year. According to the judicial interpretation issued by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate on details of the open hearing, initial verdicts of death sentence cases with two-year reprieve will be reheard, as well the second instance if defendants have new effective evidence or the public prosecutor lodges a protest. Meanwhile, court presidents or tribunal chief judges will preside over extremely complicated and difficult cases. According to Chinese laws, municipal-level intermediate people's courts have the right to impose the death sentence after an initial trial. If the accused appeals or the public prosecutor lodges a protest against the initial sentence, higher provincial-level courts hear the case. To hear death penalty appeals in open session is only one step in making judges more cautious about delivering the death penalty, as well as ensuring their decisions are just and well grounded. The Supreme People's Court has decided to withdraw its power to re-examine all death penalty verdicts and give the final nod to executions. But no timetable has been given. The nation's top court currently reviews and makes final decisions on some types of death penalty cases, including economic crimes, but gives the power of sentencing for violent offences, such as murder and arson, to provincial-level high people's courts.

Sixth Plenary Session of 16th CPC Central Committee to convene in October
2006-09-27 Xinhuanet
The Sixth Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will be convened in Beijing from Oct. 8 to 11. The decision was made here on Monday at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, presided over by Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee. Members discussed the work of the Political Bureau since the Fifth Plenary Session of the CPC Central Committee in September last year, according to a statement issued on Tuesday. At the meeting, the Political Bureau heard a report on consultations with Party members and the public on the "Resolutions of the CPC Central Committee on major issues regarding the building of a harmonious socialist society". The statement said comments and suggestions from the process should be absorbed and reflected in the document, so as to pool the wisdom of the whole Party and the public. The document should be well written and provide guidelines for the Party and the nation on building a harmonious socialist society. Political bureau members stressed that building a socialist harmonious society must put people first, base all Party and state work on the fundamental interests of the general public and meet the growing material and cultural demands of the people. Earnest efforts must be made to push development, the top priority of the Party, to coordinate urban and rural development, regional development, economic and social development, harmonious development with nature, domestic development and opening-up, they said, according to the statement. Reform of the socialist market economy must be continued to push forward economic, political, cultural and social mechanism innovation, set up and improve energetic, efficient and more open systems, it said. Efforts must be made to improve socialist democratic construction, and implement the strategy of rule of law in the gradual process of building a fair social security system, said the statement. The meeting emphasized the need to take into consideration the momentum of reform, the speed of development and the people's resilience, and to promote and secure harmony with reform, development and stability, it said. Stressing that the Party was the key to building a harmonious socialist society, the meeting said the Party must play a core leading role in accordance with the principle of governing for the people, the statement said. The construction would be facilitated along with the improvement of the Party's governance capacity and the campaign to help it stay advanced, thus offering a forceful political guarantee for building a harmonious society, it said. All party committees should put the work at the top of their agendas and encourage cadres to improve their management of public affairs, coordinating relations of different interest groups, properly handling contradictions among the people to ensure implementation of Party's policies and principles.

Full access for Games journalists
2006-09-27 China Daily
Overseas media will be able to freely travel around China and enjoy uncensored access to the Internet during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, organizers promised yesterday. "We have no restrictions on travel for foreign journalists in China," Sun Weijia, head of media operations for the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), told the Olympic World Press Briefing. "They can travel anywhere in China." Liu Qi, president of BOCOG, said detailed new regulations on the operation of foreign media would be in place early next year. "The new rules will consider the norms of the past Games and the needs of the media. "The Chinese Government will honour our promises and commitments made during our bid to host the Games." Media services head Li Jingbo said the Internet service provided to news services at the Games would be uncensored. Organisers also told the briefing that foreign media would have access to the Chinese team, although journalists would have to apply three weeks in advance to interview local Olympians. Measures taken to ensure a sound working environment for foreign journalists are contained in a regulation that will exempt foreign journalists with Olympic identity and accreditation cards from having to hold a visa. Instead their identity cards will allow them to make multiple entries into China during the Games. Journalists will be able to get temporary entry permission for overseas vehicles, and will be able to apply for temporary driving permits. They will also be able to rent apartments and offices through local real-estate agencies. The Press Commission of the Chinese Olympic Committee will help foreign journalists set up interviews with Chinese athletes. Foreign media organizations will be able to install their own radio equipment during the Games and can bring equipment into the country tax-free. They will also be able to apply for permission to film cultural relics through the BOCOG, which will acquire permission from the State Administration of Cultural Heritage on their behalf. And the BOCOG will help organizations which want to aerially film Olympic events get permission from the relevant authorities. Another new policy will regulate foreign media organization's employment of Chinese citizens during the Games.



US urges Chen to keep promises
2006-09-27 China Daily
The United States has reminded Taiwan "president" Chen Shui-bian to keep his commitment not to raise sovereignty issues, after the leader pushed for a new "constitution" for the island. Chen, under pressure to resign over corruption scandals, raised the issue of a new "constitution" at a seminar on Sunday sponsored by his independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The Taiwan leader raised the possibility of changing the territorial definitions of Taiwan. Reacting to the move, the US State Department said on Monday that Washington "does not support independence for Taiwan, and we continue to be opposed to unilateral changes in the status quo by either side." The United States took "very seriously" Chen's "repeated commitments not to permit the 'constitutional' reform process to touch on sovereignty issues, which includes territorial definition," State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters. "We expect him to carry out those commitments, and we'll see what happens." The fulfilment of the commitments, Casey said: "is a test of his leadership, as well as his ability to protect Taiwan's interests, its relations with others, and to maintain peace and stability in the Straits." The National People's Congress last year approved the Anti-Secession Law to deter any secessionist scheme to seek formal "independence" for the island. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one and the same China, although the two sides of the Straits are yet to be reunified as a result of the country's civil war in the late 1940s. Chen told the seminar on Sunday that Taiwan should overhaul its "constitution" which was enacted by the Kuomintang (KMT) government in 1947 and has gone through seven amendments since 1991. Under the "constitution," Taiwan's territory included all of China, but in reality only Taiwan and some offshore islands were ruled from Taipei, he said. Chen has previously shunned the sensitive topic on territory by saying Taiwan needs a new "constitution" only to enhance government efficiency. In a related development, Taiwan's opposition People First Party (PFP) yesterday proposed a new recall vote in the "legislature" in a renewed effort to oust Chen. The first opposition attempt to launch a recall which would include an island-wide referendum on Chen's fate failed in June when fewer than the required two-thirds of "lawmakers" voted in favour. The proposal came after a call on Monday by KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou for a new recall motion. A "legislative" committee agreed yesterday to consider the PFP motion. Chen's ruling DPP said in a statement it opposed the move. The fresh attempt to topple Chen comes after hundreds of thousands of people, led by former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh, took to Taipei's streets this month calling for him to go. The round-the-clock demonstration in downtown Taipei began on September 9. Smaller rallies in southern Taiwan this week led to scuffles between anti- and pro-Chen camps. Chen, who was elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2004 by a thin margin, has been questioned over the undocumented use of more than 36 million new Taiwan dollars (US$1.12 million) from his confidential "state" affairs budget of last year. His wife, Wu Shu-chen, is accused of accepting millions of Taiwan dollars in department store gift certificates, but Chen has rejected the accusation. His son in-law, Chao Chien-ming, is facing insider trading charges and fighting them in court. Chen's ex-deputy chief of staff faces corruption charges.



Nation drops to 54th on list
2006-09-28 China Daily
China has slipped six places to 54th in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) global competitiveness rankings, a report said yesterday. Due to cautious macro-economic management, China is enjoying buoyant growth rates, low inflation, one of the highest savings rates in the world, and manageable levels of public debt, the WEF's Global Competitiveness Report (2006-07) said. However, a number of structural weaknesses need to be addressed, including those in the largely State-controlled banking sector, the report warned. China also has low penetration rates for technologies such as the Internet and personal computers, and its secondary and tertiary school enrolment rates are still low by international standards. China also needs to improve environmental qualities of various institutions both private and public, said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Chief Economist and Director of the WEF's Global Competitiveness Network. Switzerland, Finland and Sweden are the world's most competitive economies, according to the report. Denmark, Singapore, the United States, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom complete the top 10 list. The biggest faller is the United States, dropping from first to sixth. The rankings are drawn from a combination of publicly available hard data and the results of a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the WEF among 125 economies worldwide. "By providing detailed assessments of the economic conditions of nations worldwide, the report offers policy-makers and business leaders an important tool in the formulation of improved economic policies and institutional reforms," said Klaus Schwab, the WEF Founder and Executive Chairman. However, the WEF rankings differ from a report released by the Lausanne-based International Institution for Management Development in May, which said China's global competitiveness rose from last year's 31st place to 19th this year.

RMB breaches 7.9 barrier against dollar
2006-09-29 China Daily
The renminbi yesterday strengthened to below 7.90 against the US dollar, partially because of growing speculation that the government will soon expand the band within which the currency is allowed to fluctuate. The daily benchmark, or the central parity rate for the US dollar, was set at 7.8998 yuan yesterday, the first time that the currency crossed the psychological barrier of 7.90 since last July's revaluation, according to the Shanghai-based China Foreign Exchange Trade System. China discarded the renminbi's decade-old direct peg to the US dollar in July last year, switching to a mechanism that sets the exchange rate on a basket of world currencies such as the greenback, the euro and the Korean won. Under the new regime, the yuan is allowed to fluctuate 0.3 per cent per day either way of the reference rate, which is set by the central bank. The renminbi appreciated to 7.9982 yuan against the US dollar on May 15, the first time that the currency fell below 8 in 12 years. Since then, the appreciation has gained pace, leading to growing calls for expanding the daily trading band. "The recent appreciation was largely triggered by the growing speculation that the authorities are likely to widen the daily trading band," said Li Yongsen, an economist with Renmin University of China. "However, the fundamental reasons behind the currency appreciation still remain the same: pressure from the foreign exchange reserves and mounting trade surplus," the economist said.

Senators drop bill for punitive tariffs on China
2006-09-29 China Daily
Washington - The main backers of a controversial Senate bill aimed at forcing China to revalue its currency said on Thursday they would abandon that legislation in favor of a new bill they plan to develop early next year. Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, told reporters they had accomplished their goal of focusing more attention on China's strict exchange rate controls, which they believe gives Chinese companies an unfair trade advantage. At a news conference with the Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, and Sen. Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, the four senators said they would work together to develop tough new legislation early next year. Schumer credited their bill threatening China with tariffs for a rise of more than 4 percent in the value of the yuan since July 2005, but said it was time to change tactics. "Frankly, Lindsey and I felt it is now time to try, instead of using a blunt instrument, to refine our instrument and pass some legislation that will force the Chinese to go the rest of the way," Schumer said. The Graham-Schumer bill, which was strongly opposed by the Bush administration and most business groups, threatened to impose a 27.5 percent tariff on China's exports to the United States unless Beijing significantly raises the value of its currency within six months. It was motivated by a widespread U.S. view that China's currency is undervalued by 15 to 40 percent, giving Chinese companies an unfair advantage by effectively subsidizing their exports and taxing imports from the United States. The Senate voted 67-33 in favor of the Graham-Schumer legislation last year, when it was offered as an amendment to another bill. In exchange for dropping the issue at the time, the two senators were promised another vote on their legislation at a later date. That vote had been delayed several times, but the latest deadline was September 30. The bill was unlikely to pass the House of Representatives and become law, but opponents worried even Senate approval alone would worsen trade relations with China. Graham said President George W. Bush personally asked him and Schumer on Thursday "not to take a vote, but to work with (Treasury) Secretary (Henry) Paulson to give him a chance" to persuade China to move further on currency reform. All four senators vowed to develop new legislation that would be consistent with World Trade Organization rules. Grassley, whose committee has jurisdiction over trade, also said the bill would not be narrowly focused on China but look broadly at the issue of how the United States should respond to countries that do not fairly value their currency. Grassley and Baucus, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, introduced legislation with those same general goals earlier this year. It would give the Treasury Department several new tools to press countries on currency reform.



Czech president in Mongolia
2006-09-27 Mongol Messenger
Czech President Vaclav Klaus and a party of around 30 staff official and businessmen were official guests of the president, September 25-27. They were given an official welcome at 3pm at Parliament House, where both national anthems were played and the honour guard was inspected. At a private meeting, the Czech president told President N. Enkhbayar that he looked forward to more cooperation in trade and investment, education and culture, inviting him to visit the Czech Republic. He then decorated the Czech president with the medal commemorating the 800th anniversary of the Mongolian empire. Next they opened official talks, opening with a briefing from President Enkhbayar on the current political and socio-economic situation and thanks for the Czech Republic's inclusion of Mongolia in its list of eight development aid countries. Enkhbayar said that Mongolia wanted to learn more from the Czech on attracting foreign investment and hoped for an increase in Czech investment here, especially since both countries are landlocked country. Klaus said that there would be more Czech-financed projects and programmes and praised the work so far in education. They watched the ceremonial signing of several documents in the Soyombo Hall in Parliament House. They included an inter-ministerial mutual understanding memorandum by Mongolian Deputy Foreign Minister Ts. Tsolmon and Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar; and a 2006-9 education, culture, sciences and sport cooperation agreement by Mongolian Deputy Education, Culture and Sciences Minister S. Tomor-Ochir and Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar. The first of these were for work to increase exports, developing industry and create jobs, with Czech help to protect the environment, develop agriculture and work in the labour and social welfare sector. Under the previous agreement, signed in 2001, which has expired, five Mongolians a year went to the Czech Republic to study for a master's degree and three for a doctorate. Under the new agreement, five will be sent to study for a doctorate and 20 for a bachelor degree. President N. Enkhbayar told the media, "This is the first visit by a Czech president. We believe that there will be more Czech investment here and there will be positive results from tomorrow's business forum." President Klaus said he believed about 20,000 Mongolians had studied the Czech language and culture here and promised an increased level of development finance over the next three years. After the media conference, Czech President met with Parliamentary Speaker Ts. Nyamdorj. Parliamentary Speaker Nyamdorj noted the increasing inter-parliamentary relationship, with visits by Czech Chamber of Deputies chairman L. Zaoralek in 2005 and the Senate Education, Culture and Scientific Committee chairman this month, and by the Mongolian legal standing committee to the Czech Republic. On their first day, President Klaus' wife Livia visited Gandan monastery and the Children's Art Centre, and then with her husband attended a banquet in their honour hosted by President N. Enkhbayar and his wife O. Tsolmon. The next day, the Czech president was at the business forum at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and met Prime Minister M. Enkhbold. In the afternoon he visited Terelj to look at the Meditation Temple and Turtle Rock. He met herders and watched a mini-naadam. The two presidents then attended the opening of a Czech photo exhibition at the Art Gallery. The Czech President is leaving on Wednesday morning, September 27.

Speaker in Irkutsk
2006-09-27 Mongol Messenger
Parliament Speaker Ts. Nyamdorj has been at the fourth Baikal Economic Forum (BEF), September 19-21, in Irkutsk, Russia. Nyamdorj joined Irkutsk region governor Alexander Tishanin and Federal Assembly Council chairman Sergei Mironov to address the opening of the forum, attended by over 1,200 delegates from 24 countries. The two-yearly BEF was set up to support the increasing importance of Siberia and the Russian far east, this year themed Europe-Russia-Asia Development and Cooperation. Delegates put forward recommendations on the development of the area and ways to improve cooperation with Europe and Asia. Mironov met the Mongolian delegation on September 21 and was told that they wanted to try to resolve obstacles to economic and trade relations between their two countries. The problems they mentioned and offered solutions on included the high Russian customs duties on Mongolian exports to Siberia; red tape at the border; meat and meat products health checks; and visas. Mironov said that he would take consideration of these matters to a high level and promised steps on the visa and red tape issues. He added that he would pay an official visit to Mongolia in May or July and invited the Speaker to visit to Russia. The same day, Nyamdorj met Irkutsk governor G.A. Tishanin, reminding him that 70 percent of Mongolian-Russian trade turnover came through Irkutsk, mainly fuel and electricity, and there was a need to expand trade and economic relations. Tishanin said he was interested in increasing trade turnover. Nyamdorj met Irkutsk judiciary body chairman V. G. Kruglov on September 21 to discuss a proposed increase in the number of Mongolians studying in Irkutsk. Later that day the delegation visited the Diagnostic Centre and an exhibitions about 80 projects in Siberia and eastern Russia on innovation, investment, free trade zones, mining, IT, roads and communications.

PM at UN Assembly
2006-09-27 Mongol Messenger
Prime Minister M. Enkhbold attended the UN General Assembly in New York, September 19-21, at which UN Secretary General Kofi Annan read his tenth annual report. On September 19 the prime minister also attended a roundtable on democracy, sponsored by US President Bush with leaders from 20 countries, including Albania, Afghanistan, Benin, Georgia, Iraq, Italy and Macedonia, at which he expressed Mongolian support for UN Democracy Foundation action. Mongolia was represented at the Ministerial Meeting of Democratic Countries, the Asian Cooperation Ministerial Meeting on September 21, and the Foreign Ministers meeting on September 22. The prime minister and MPs visited the New York UNDP office, where a UNDP representative said it supported the Mongolian One UN, One Programme, One Team policy as a great contribution to UN reform. Enkhbold praised the UNDP contribution to Mongolian development and thanked the UNDP and UN Population Fund for agreeing 2007-2010 programme for Mongolia. He said he was pleased that the UN was to open an office in Mongolia's west. He spoke about the free school lunch programme, which involves 110,000 pupils, and spoke about work in transport and trade. The UNDP spokesperson praised Mongolia's work to run a Conference of Trade Ministers of Landlocked Nations in Ulaanbaatar in 2007. The prime minister later met current UN Assembly Chairperson Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, and congratulated her on becoming the third women chair of a UN Assembly. He told her about Mongolian implementation of the Millennium Development Goals approved at the 2005 Summit and said that 2006 had been a year of brilliant events and anniversaries in Mongolia. Ms Al Khalifa praised the Mongolian government for its resolutions on Mongolian and international security and nuclear weapon- free status and on the UN Decade of Literacy. The prime minister also met various aspirants to be the next UN Secretary General, including Korea's Foreign and Trade Minister Ban Ki-moon and UN Undersecretary-General for Communications and Public Information Shashi Tharoor. On September 21 Prime Minister M. Enkhbold delivered a speech to the UN General Assembly, saying, "We cannot be satisfied about what we have done. We need to try harder to help people in all corners of the world to share in the development in their daily lives." He said that it was positive that leaders of over 150 nations had approved an action programme on peace, development and human rights at last year's summit. He gave a briefing about action towards Mongolia's MDGs and the need for partnership, saying that the country is drafting an MDG-based development strategy to be submitted to parliament in the autumn session. He welcomed the participation of political parties, civil society and private sector in this process. The Mongolian government, he said, was instituting a staged social welfare policy to increase income and alleviate. He explained that civil servant wages had been raised 33 percent, the minimum wage was now 30 percent higher, and a million children, newly-weds, new babies and mothers with many children had been given allowances, and referred to the free school lunch programme. He pointed out that Mongolia is a developing landlocked country, with a small economy dependent on fluctuating export income. However, he said, it has big resources for trade, investment and development, and wanted revival of the Doha round to open markets. He said Mongolia was to host a conference of trade ministers of landlocked developing nations in 2007, and appealed for positive reaction to the results of the previous week's Havana meeting of landlocked developing countries. He claimed that Mongolia was promoting democratic values at the international level as chair of the 5th International Conference of New and Restored Democracies, which met in Ulaanbaatar in July 2006.


Julie Kong
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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