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
  9.10-13.10.2006, No. 136  
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Foreign Policy

Need to keep up effort in wake of Abe's "icebreaking" trip
2006-10-10 People's Daily Online
New Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited China on Sunday to reopen the talks between Chinese and Japanese leaders after an interval of five years, a major event of historic significance in the annals of Sino-Japanese relations. China and Japan are close neighbours separated only by a strip of water, and it is abnormal that there has been practically no exchange of visits by their leaders for such a long period of time. Abe's China trip has provided a turning point for the improvement of Sino-Japanese relations. The high-level contacts and communications, and an exchange of visits and meetings between their leaders will facilitate bilateral relations warming up. What particularly conspicuous is that Abe arrived in Beijing at the same date on which the Six Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) opened. This reminds people of the fact that restarting mutual visits by Chinese and Japanese leaders constitutes one of China's practices in applying a "harmonious society" concept to international relations. Hopefully, there will be a sustained growth in Sino-Japanese economic ties, which has recorded an expansion in recent years. Compared to a rapid, in-depth development in the China trade of the United States and Europe, Japan's economic exchanges with China, nevertheless, are obviously at a "stalled speed." This is of course owed partially to factors deriving from Japan's domestic economic structuring, but more to political interference. What Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has done on various historic issues has cast an enormous shadow on Sino-Japanese economic relations. To date, the political and economic issues between China and Japan are so closely interrelated that they are inseparable from each other. Personages from the Japanese economic circle have repeatedly criticized the erroneous policies of Former Prime Minister Koizumi and his followers for the fear that "cooled political relations" might result in "coolness in economic relations" between the two nations. [...] Abe's China trip is only the first step toward improving Sino-Japanese ties. In choosing Beijing as the destination of his first overseas trip after his assumption of premiership, he showed his resolve and courage to improve Japan-China ties. From this sense, Abe indeed made an "icebreaking" trip to do away with the stalemate in the Asia diplomacy of his country. As is known to all, some figures in the Japanese leading group have kept challenging China's core state interests through their repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese War dead, including 14 convicted Class A war criminals in World War II, are honored, to hurt time and again the feelings of the Chinese people. Consequently, Sino-Japanese ties have been impaired and degraded over recent years. So more time is still needed to truly retrieve Sino-Japanese relations, and more of Abe's concrete deeds are required to resolve knotty problems one after another existent in the present relations between China and Japan.

China welcomes Ban Ki-moon's nomination as UN chief
2006-10-10 Xinhuanet
Beijing -- China welcomes the nomination of Ban Ki-moon of Republic of Korea (ROK) by the United Nations Security Council to be the next UN secretary-general, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said here Tuesday. China expects that Ban can be finally appointed by the UN Assembly, spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular press conference. The 15 members of UN Security Council agreed on Monday to formally recommend the ROK Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon to succeed Kofi Annan, whose 10 years in office expire on December 31, as the next UN secretary-general. Ban will become the eighth chief in the world body's 61-year history and will inherit a bureaucracy of 9,000 staff, a $5 billion budget and more than 90,000 peacekeepers in 18 operations around the globe that cost another $5 billion. [...] Ban's six rivals had withdrawn from the race earlier. The 192-member U.N. General Assembly must give final approval to Ban's nomination, which usually follows within a week or two. That vote is expected to be positive for the first Asian secretary-general since U Thant of Burma in 1961-1971. Ban, speaking to reporters in Seoul after the Security Council vote, said North Korea's reported test was "a grave and direct threat to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and northeast Asia." "This should be a moment of joy but instead I stand here with a very heavy heart," he said. [...]

US think-tank to launch China policy centre
2006-10-09 China Daily
The Brookings Institution, one of the US's oldest think-tanks, will this week launch a China policy centre in Washington and Beijing. It will be funded by John Thornton, former chairman of Goldman Sachs who quit the investment bank in 2003 to teach at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He has committed $2.5m a year for the next five years. Brookings says the initiative - the first time it has launched a centre devoted to one country and its first centre outside the US - is aimed at improving the US's understanding of what is seen as the world's foremost emerging power. "China's rise is the most important geopolitical event of our lifetime," said Mr Thornton during an interview. "American policymakers need to acquire a much more sophisticated understanding of what is happening in China domestically and why - a grasp that is often lacking in Washington." Strobe Talbott - the head of Brookings, who was deputy secretary of state during the Clinton administration - said that it would keep a close watch on China's growing diplomatic, economic and military power and analyse questions such as the impact of China on global warming. "It is clear we are living in a post-Kyoto [the climate change agreement] world," said Mr Talbott. "One of the most pressing questions is how and whether China will become part of the solution to the crunch between its energy needs and global warming. What we need is a Shanghai protocol on climate change." Mr Talbott said the other two pressing questions about China were reform on the contry's political system as it opened up to the world, and what impact China's rise would have on international institutions such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation. Brookings is also planning a centre dedicated to India, the world's other emerging economic superpower. "The triangular relationship between the US, China and India will shape the world in the coming decades," Mr Talbott said. He said the evolution in the Bush administration's stance - from branding China a "strategic competitor" in 2001, to calling on it to become a "responsible stakeholder" - was positive. "China talks of its own 'peaceful rise'," he said. "It is important America engages with China in a way that assists that process." Mr Thornton said the approach of Hank Paulson, the US treasury secretary and a former colleague of his at Goldman Sachs, who visited China last month, set a benchmark for how US officials should interact with their Chinese counterparts.


Domestic Policy

Plan unveiled to build harmonious society
2006-10-12 China Daily
The Communist Party of China (CPC) unveiled a landmark policy drive yesterday to curb mounting social inequality and develop a fair and just society as top leaders ended a four-day plenary session. The blueprint, aimed at building a "harmonious society," mapped out guidelines for the country's sustainable social and economic development by 2020, ranging from reducing the wealth gap to cracking down on corruption. The efforts to spread China's newfound prosperity more evenly came at the end of the Sixth Plenum of the 16th CPC Central Committee, attended in Beijing by about 350 full and alternate members. The annual plenum approved the "Resolutions of the CPC Central Committee on Major Issues Regarding the Building of a Harmonious Socialist Society," according to a communique issued after the meeting. The communique said the 17th Party Congress will convene in Beijing in the second half of 2007. The Xinhua News Agency said it was the first time for the Party to devote a plenary meeting specifically to social development issues other than political and economic affairs. "There are many conflicts and problems affecting social harmony," a statement adopted by the plenum said. "We must always remain clear-headed and be vigilant even in tranquil times." [...]

Hu names rival for congress role - Zeng Qinghong to lay groundwork for next year's meeting
2006-10-11 SCMP
President Hu Jintao has named his chief political rival to lay the groundwork for next year's crucial Communist Party congress in another sign of his growing confidence, sources with ties to the leadership said. Vice-President Zeng Qinghong, fifth in the party's hierarchy but wielding considerably more clout than his ranking suggests, is to head day-to-day preparations for the 17th Party Congress, according to the two independent sources. "[Mr] Hu reserves the right to have the final say," one source added. Mr Zeng was chief lieutenant to Mr Hu's predecessor, Jiang Zemin , and when Mr Hu took Mr Jiang's job, Mr Zeng stepped into the vacant vice-presidential slot. Mr Jiang is officially retired but like many past leaders still wields some power behind the scenes. Analysts believe Mr Zeng has been waiting in the wings should Mr Hu falter or his health fail. His choice for this influential role is an indication that Mr Hu, who is also party chief, is confident enough to enlist Mr Zeng despite their simmering rivalry, said the sources, who requested anonymity fearing possible repercussions. "Hu and Zeng fight each other but at the same time make deals," one source said. Communist Party congresses are held every five years and are seized on as opportunities for leaders to consolidate power or otherwise dictate the course of the party, and therefore the country, over the next half-decade. Next year Mr Hu is widely expected to ease out top members of Mr Jiang's old guard in a sweeping leadership reshuffle. A four-day plenary session of the party's elite 350-member Central Committee which ends today marks the start of a year of political jockeying before the congress. [...]

2020 set as goal for national insurance plan - But flawed system must be repaired, academics say
2006-10-13 SCMP
China is planning to expand its social insurance coverage nationwide by 2020, when farmers and migrant labour will hopefully be protected by a pension system. The plan was part of the Communist Party Central Committee's proposals during its plenum, which ended on Wednesday, to build a "harmonious society", Xinhua reported. Without revealing figures, Xinhua said the plan meant China would build the world's largest social insurance system by extending coverage of pension, medical, unemployment and employment injury insurance in the next 14 years. But academics are less optimistic, saying China would need to mend its flawed social security system and pump in a lot more money to realise the grandiose project. Labour and Social Security Minister Tian Chengping said recently the mainland's social insurance system covered only 6 per cent of the population. By last year China had accumulated 606.6 billion yuan of social insurance funds for basic pension, unemployment, employment injury, maternity and medical insurance, an earlier Xinhua report quoted Mr Tian as saying. China's social security net, which is more than 50 years old, had failed to cope with the changing social environment, according to He Wenjiong, from Zhejiang University. "The traditional social insurance system no longer fits into the changing economic and social pattern. The new system set up after the economic open-door policy still has a lot of room to improve," he said. Most of the farmers who had lost their land to local governments and developers, and the migrant workers flooding to work in cities had yet to enjoy any social insurance. Mr Tian has said the government would explore the feasibility of setting up a pension fund for migrant workers and a social security net for landless farmers. Yang Lixiong, from Renmin University in Beijing, said migrant labour had been left out of the urban social security net partly because of their high mobility. "The government will need to solve the problem of their dual identities: farmers working in cities. What can they enjoy when they work in the cities and when they go back to villages?" Professor Yang said. Local governments should pay for landless farmers' social insurance if the policy was to be implemented. "Those farmers are usually underpaid for compensation because governments and developers artificially lower land prices. They won't be willing to join the insurance policies. Governments should pay with the revenue they've earned from land sales," he said. Investment policies should also be relaxed so social insurance funds could invest in overseas markets. "The most important thing ... is to make sure the system will benefit everyone equally. The current system spends 80 per cent of the resources on 20 per cent of the population, namely the officials and party members," he said.

Nation sets space exploration goals
2006-10-13 China Daily
Plans ranging from space walks to new navigational systems will underscore China's space programme in the next five years. But officials insisted yesterday that the high goals carry a low price tag. "The manned space programme is progressing well," said Sun Laiyan, chief of the China National Space Administration. "We will enable astronauts to engage in space walks and conduct spacecraft rendezvous and docking which are anticipated in 2008." The official was speaking at the release of "China's Space Activities in 2006," a policy document published by the State Council Information Office to mark the country's development in the past few years and its ambitions for the near future. Sun said the candidates to fly the Shenzhou VII mission have been under training since Shenzhou VI carried two men into orbit for five days in October 2005. The final selection of the astronauts will be made shortly before the launch, he said. China will also send women astronauts, scientists, philosophers and even journalists into orbit in the future, Sun said. He said China's manned space activities were still at the experimental stage, but space tourism might begin once technology matures. The country has not made a plan for a Mars probe, though some Chinese scientists and engineers are doing some preliminary studies on the ground, Sun said. China wishes to conduct relevant deep-space exploration through international co-operation, the official said. The official defended the cost of the space programme, which he described as very low. Also, the programme has benefited many people. As a developing country, China has given economic development and rural revival priority. For this reason, the country's budget for space programme has been lean. "I know that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States has budgeted nearly US$17 billion for civilian space projects for 2007," Sun said. "Ours is far less than one-tenth of that." He revealed that on the four unmanned and two manned spacecraft China launched since November 1999 the country spent a total of about 20 billion yuan (US$2.5 billion). The ongoing first phase of the lunar exploration project will cost slightly more than 1 billion yuan (US$125 million), which includes sending a satellite next year to orbit the moon at an altitude of 200 kilometres to explore the environment and atmosphere between the Earth and the moon, Sun said. [...]



Anti-Chen rally reaches high point
2006-10-10 China Daily
Taipei: A month-long campaign to oust Taiwan's embattled "president" Chen Shui-bian reached a climax yesterday as more than 1.5 million people gathered in Taipei to demand Chen's resignation for alleged corruption, organizers said. As Chen spoke at a "national day" celebration ceremony, about 50 "legislators" from the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party who had been invited onto the stage shouted "Down with A-Bian," using his nickname, and made the thumbs-down gesture. Scuffles between members of Chen's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the KMT broke out when security officers removed the opposition "legislators" from the stage as they unfurled red banners accusing Chen of corruption and urging him to resign. Several blocks away, hundreds of thousands of people, most wearing red shirts and hats to symbolize their opposition to Chen, rallied to demand he step down over a string of corruption scandals that have embroiled him and his family in recent months. "A-Bian Out," they roared. The month-long anti-Chen campaign was launched by Shih Ming-teh, Chen's former ally and former DPP chairman. "Chen Shui-bian must respond to the demands of the people," Shih told supporters. Barbed wire barricades erected by police prevented the protesters from approaching the "presidential" complex. Shih said the crowd which fanned out to fill boulevards leading from all directions to the "presidential" square "exceeded 1.5 million" in a campaign that aims to "lay siege" to Chen's office. Organizers had pledged to bring 2 million people to the streets around the "presidential" office, but police estimated 125,000 protesters took part in the march. About 15,000 police and security officers were mobilized to maintain order. KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou said Chen should listen to the protesters. "Now that over 60 per cent of Taiwanese believe he's unfit to serve as 'president,' he must not continue to play dumb." Pressure has mounted on Chen to step down after he was questioned in August over alleged misuse of funds intended for "state" affairs. He has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to stay on until his second and final term ends in May 2008. [...]



We killed one fleeing Tibetan, say guards - But witnesses say that of 75 trying to get to Nepal two weeks ago, only 41 made it
2006-10-13 SCMP
The Chinese authorities yesterday admitted killing at least one Tibetan and wounding another among a group of refugees who were trying to flee the country via a dangerous Himalayan pass into Nepal. But China's border security guards only opened fire "out of defence" after being attacked by around 70 Tibetan refugees who refused to heed an order to get back, according to a Xinhua report. Two Tibetans were wounded in the shooting, with one dying from lack of oxygen at an altitude of 6,200 metres, while the other was being "properly taken care of", Xinhua said, quoting authorities in Tibet . The report did not reveal the identity of the dead or injured. According to a female refugee witness who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the victim was a 17-year-old nun named Kelsang Namtso. Another victim, Kunsang Namgyal, 20, was shot twice in the leg and arrested by Chinese troops, the refugee said. The Xinhua report said: "The initial investigation showed it's a premeditated case of large-scale human smuggling organised by snakeheads." Earlier yesterday Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao was elusive when pressed on the issue at a regular briefing. Despite the incident happening nearly two weeks ago and receiving widespread media attention, Mr Liu said: "If the report is accurate, the Chinese authorities will investigate the matter. As to whether it is a policy for border police to open fire on people, I think the border police and army's responsibility is to safeguard the peace and security of the Chinese border." [...]

Refugee shot, children detained
2006-10-11 SCMP
Chinese forces detained a group of Tibetan children after border guards shot dead at least one refugee trying to flee to Nepal across a Himalayan mountain pass, activist groups said yesterday. Foreign mountain climbers saw soldiers march 10 to 12 frightened children, aged about six to 10, through their camp near Mount Everest after the September 30 shooting, said the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet. It did not say where the children were taken. The shooting took place in the 5,800-metre Nangpa La Pass, a common escape route for Tibetans fleeing the Himalayan region. A 25-year-old Tibetan Buddhist nun among about 70 refugees trying to escape was killed and Tibetan sources said a boy also might have died, the International Campaign (ICT) for Tibet said. Employees who answered the phone yesterday at police stations and government offices in Tingri, the town nearest the shooting site, and Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, said they had not heard about the incident. A British witness said the Chinese fired at the Tibetans, who were crossing a glacier, according to ICT.



Paulson: China's economic development very important to world
2006-10-13 Xinhuanet / China Daily
Washington -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Thursday that China's economic development is "very, very important" to China and the rest of the world. "I really believe that a China that is a growing part of the global economy is going to benefit the U.S. and benefit the rest of the world," Paulson said in an interview with Fox News. Paulson said that China's economic relationship is very important with the United States and with the rest of the world. "And the more constructive engagement we all have together, the higher the cost of any kind of conflict or anything that would undermine the global economic stability," he added. Paulson noted that the United States has some very important economic relationships, "but I really believe the most important long-term economic relationship we're going to have is going to be our relationship with China and vice versa." Mentioning that some people are concerned that China is somehow or other going to out compete the United States and overtake the U.S. economy, Paulson said that "the thing I am most concerned about is that China won't move ahead quickly enough with their reforms and that if they don't move ahead quickly enough with their reforms, then they may have their own economic issues." China has got some formidable economic challenges, he said, "I would like to believe they're going to continue with their reform program and that they're going to accelerate the pace of those reforms." "China needs to keep growing its economy, needs to keep reforming its economy, needs stable economic relations around the world, and I think that's very important of China," Paulson said. [...] During a visit to China last month, the Treasury secretary inaugurated a high-level economic dialogue with Chinese leaders designed to thrash out the longer-termer challenges posed by the country's dramatic growth. But more immediately, Paulson is under pressure from some in US Congress to get tough on China for trade imbalance. His comments came on the day that new data showed the US trade deficit surged to US$69.9 billion in August, with Chinese imports accounting for the lion's share of the shortfall.

Three Gorges Dam turbines ready to generate power
2006-10-13 China Daily
YICHANG, Hubei -- Fourteen power turbines on the Three Gorges Dam are ready to generate electricity, a local official said Thursday. The turbines are capable of generating power in full load once the water level in the Three Gorges reservoir reaches the 148-meter mark, which has been recorded on Monday, said Ma Zhenbo, director of the Three Gorges Power Plant in Yichang, central China's Hubei Province. The water level is currently being raised from 135.5 to 156 meters, and it reached 152.43 meters on Thursday. The water storage started on Sept. 20 when one of the 14 power-producing generators was shut down to reduce water flowing downstream. Water from the upstream is flowing into the Three Gorges reservoir at a rate of 16,300 cubic meters per second, satisfying demands of all the 14 turbines for power generation, Ma said. In addition, the power turbines showed no abnormal signs since the water storage began, he said. All the turbines started operation at 3 o'clock Thursday afternoon, preparing for instructions from superior authorities to generate power in full load, he said. Launched in 1993, the Three Gorges Project, including a 2,309-meter-long, 185-meter-high dam with 26 power generators, is being built in three phases on the middle reaches of the Yangtze, China's longest river. Currently, 14 power generators have been put into operation. The gigantic project is expected to generate 84.7 billion kwh of electricity annually when it is finally completed in 2009.

China poses no threat to global energy supply: official
2006-10-09 People's Daily Online
China's economic growth poses no threat to the global energy supply, Long Yongtu, general secretary of the Bo'ao Asian Forum and China's former chief negotiator at the World Trade Organization (WTO) has said. "The notion of a Chinese threat to the global energy supply reflects fears about China's rise on the part of some Westerners," Long said Saturday in Beijing at an international forum on China's energy strategy. As chairman of the forum, Long said in his speech that the so-called "China threat" emerged in 2002, when China's oil consumption accounted for six percent of the world total. In contrast, the United States consumes 20 percent to 30 percent of the world's oil, but nobody is saying there is a "U.S. threat", he said. Likewise, some people claim that China's rapidly expanding motor vehicle ownership is threatening the global oil supply, but the fact is that China only has some 30 million motor vehicles, compared to 300 million in the U.S., he said. Long accused Westerners of misguiding the world by blaming China for the rise of oil prices in recent years, saying that it is mainly due to the turmoil in the Middle East. According to him, China's oil strategy should be based on the central government's analysis of the global situation which takes account of both political multipolarization and economic globalization. Long said cooperation with both oil producing and consuming countries should be an important part of China's oil strategy. He particularly mentioned cooperation with Japan, which is involved in a dispute with China about East China Sea oil resources. "China and Japan are both major oil importers. There should be more cooperation between them, rather than competition, in the energy field. They should be partners in a global energy strategy, " he said.

China, ASEAN speed up tariff reduction process
2006-10-11 China Daily
China and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are speeding up the tariff reduction process to facilitate establishment of the free trade area (FTA), said a senior foreign trade official Tuesday in Beijing. China's average tariff on ASEAN countries' goods was slashed from 9.9 per cent to 8.1 per cent last year, while the ratio will drop to 6.6 per cent next year, said Yin Zonghua, deputy director with the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce. The average tariff level will continue to drop to 2.4 per cent in 2009, and finally in 2010, which is the scheduled time for the establishment of the China-ASEAN FTA, 93 per cent of products from ASEAN countries will be tariff-free, according to Yin. Yin disclosed the tariff reduction plan at the third China-ASEAN FTA Seminar, which was organized by the ASEAN Committee in Beijing and the China-ASEAN Business Council. ASEAN countries have also made similar arrangements, said Yin, citing Thailand as the example. Thailand reduced its average tariff for Chinese products from 12.9 per cent to 10.7 per cent last year, while it plans to further lower it to 2.8 per cent in 2009, according to Yin. "The practice shows that tariff reduction has remarkably boosted trade between China and ASEAN," said Yin. [...]

GDP expected to grow 10.5% this year
2006-10-12 China Daily
China's economy is likely to grow by 10.5 per cent this year and slow only slightly next year, a leading government think tank said. Under the government's macro economic control policies, the country's gross domestic product (GDP) also is expected to maintain or approach a 10 per cent growth rate next year, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said in a report. The document is part of the annual "blue book" on China's economic analysis and forecast, which will be published by the end of this year, Xie Yi, a worker for the Social Sciences Academic Press, said yesterday. The National Bureau of Statistics had estimated the growth in the first half of the year at 10.9 per cent, the highest in recent years. The CASS report predicted the wealth gap between rural and urban residents would continue to widen. The per-capita income of farmers is predicated to grow at around 6.1 per cent this year and 6 per cent next year. In the city, the figures are 10.5 per cent this year and 10 per cent next year. The per-capita income ratio between urban and rural residents was 3.22 to 1 in 2005. The report also forecast the country's trade surplus would hit a new high of US$158 billion in 2006 and then drop to US$123 billion next year. Sustained growth in China's trade surplus has led to a rapid increase in the country's foreign reserves, which are widely expected to exceed US$1 trillion this month. This has, in turn, cranked up pressure for a revaluation of the renminbi. China's biggest trade partner, the United States, has threatened to slam punitive duties on Chinese imports if the yuan is not revalued. [...]


North Korea

Bush meets Hu Jintao's special envoy
2006-10-13 Xinhuanet
WASHINGTON -- U.S. President George W. Bush met with Chinese President Hu Jintao's special envoy, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan in the Oval Office on Thursday. During the meeting, Tang delivered a verbal message from President Hu to Bush, and stressed that it is in the interests of China and the United States, as well as the interests of Northeast Asian countries to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. China and the United States should enhance cooperation, handle the nuclear issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) appropriately and prevent the situation from getting worse or even getting out of control, Tang said. Tang said the DPRK nuclear issue is now at the crossroads and China hopes all parties concerned should keep coolheaded, seek to resolve the issue through consultations and dialogue and work for an early resumption of the six-party talks. For his part, Bush thanked President Hu for his verbal message, and stressed that the Untied States and China should cooperate more in safeguarding the peace and stability in Northeast Asia. The United States is committed to seeking ways to resolve the DPRK nuclear issue through diplomatic and peaceful means, Bush said.

Hu, Roh have consensus on nuke issue
2006-10-13 China Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Roh Moo-hyun of the Republic of Korea (ROK) held talks in Beijing Friday morning, reaching "important" consensus on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. Hu and Roh had a 40-minute close-door meeting before the official talks in the Great Hall of the People. After the meeting, Hu said that he exchanged views with Roh on bilateral relations and other regional and international issues including the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. They have reached many important consensus on the issues, Hu said. Roh said that his visit to China, which signifies closer bilateral ties, has "some special meanings". The ROK and China are now facing a very important opportunity, and the two nations have maintained close consultation and cooperation to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Roh said, expressing his hope to further strengthen the cooperation. This is Roh's second visit to China since he took office in 2003. He came following the nuclear test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on October 9, which sparked strong international reaction and set off moves at the United Nations to impose sanctions on the country.

Beijing 'resolutely opposed' to nuclear test
2006-10-10 China Daily
China is "resolutely opposed" to the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) yesterday, the Foreign Ministry said in a harshly worded statement. "On October 9, the DPRK flagrantly conducted a nuclear test in disregard of the common opposition of the international community. The Chinese Government is resolutely opposed to this act," said the statement. According to a report by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the DPRK conducted an underground nuclear test yesterday morning. The news agency said the test was performed successfully "with indigenous wisdom and technology 100 per cent," and that no radiation leaked from that test site. "It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the (Korean People's Army) and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defence capability," KCNA said. An official at the Republic of Korea's (ROK) seismic monitoring centre confirmed that a magnitude 3.6 tremor felt at the time of the alleged DPRK nuclear test was not a natural occurrence. The size of the tremor could indicate an explosive equivalent to 550 tons of TNT, said Park Chang-soo, spokesman at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources which would be far smaller than the nuclear bombs the United States dropped on Japan in World War II. [...] The Foreign Ministry statement noted that "to bring about denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and oppose nuclear proliferation is the firm and consistent stand of the Chinese Government." China "strongly urges" the DPRK to honour its commitment to denuclearization, stop all moves that may further worsen the situation and return to the Six-Party Talks aimed at making the Korean Peninsula free from nuclear weapons, it said. "To safeguard peace and stability in Northeast Asia serves the interests of all parties involved," it said. "The Chinese Government calls on all parties concerned to be cool-headed in response and persist in seeking a peaceful solution through consultation and dialogue. China will continue to make every effort towards this goal." Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing talked on the telephone with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and his British counterpart Margaret Beckett yesterday, and they exchanged views regarding the test. Li reiterated China's position on the issue as announced in the statement.

DPRK reiterates willingness to realize denuclearization
2006-10-12 Xinhuanet
PYONGYANG -- A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the country remained unchanged in its will to denuclearize the peninsula through dialogue and negotiation, despite this week testing a nuclear weapon. He said that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was late President Kim Il Sung's last instruction and an ultimate goal of the DPRK. "The DPRK has exerted every possible effort to settle the nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations, prompted by its sincere desire to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," he said. The DPRK would "feel no need" to possess a single nuclear weapon if the United States "dropped its hostile policy toward the DPRK" and "confidence" was built between the two countries, said the spokesman. As the DPRK had already pulled out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it was no longer bound by international law, he said, adding that it was "an indication of the disturbing moves" by the United States to "impose collective sanctions" on the DPRK through the U.N. Security Council. The DPRK was ready for dialogue and consultation, the spokesman said. But the DPRK would continue to "take physical countermeasures" if the United States increased pressure upon it. The DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency announced on Monday that the country had conducted a successful underground nuclear test, which has drawn the universal opposition of the international community. The issue of the DPRK's reported nuclear test is still under discussion in the U.N. Security Council.

Diplomacy sought over nuclear test
2006-10-10 China Daily
China called yesterday for diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis caused by a nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and ruled out military action as punishment. "The international community and the United Nations should take positive and appropriate measures that will help the process of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news briefing. "Any action towards the DPRK should be beneficial to the denuclearization of the peninsula, peace and stability in Northeast Asia and the resumption of the Six-Party Talks." He said China does not endorse any military action against the DPRK, calling it "unimaginable." "We are firmly against that." Liu said China was conferring with other UN Security Council members over possible next steps. He defended the Six-Party Talks, aimed at making the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons, saying Monday's nuclear test "should not be regarded as a failure of China's foreign policy or a failure of the Six-Party mechanism." "Facts have proved that the Six-Party Talks are the best way to resolve the issue," Liu said. "The concerned parties should continue to generate efforts to keep the mechanism on track." The test came after five rounds of the Six-Party Talks, which China hosted between 2003 and 2005. The talks involving China, the DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan stalled last November after Pyongyang criticized Washington for imposing economic sanctions. China calls on all parties to stick to consultation and dialogue and seek a peaceful solution of the nuclear issue, Liu said. He reiterated China's opposition against the nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. "This stance has not changed." Liu admitted that the nuclear test would undoubtedly "exert a negative impact" on ties with the DPRK. But he said China would continue to develop good-neighbourly and friendly co-operation with the DPRK and this policy is "unshakable." "In dealing with the bilateral ties, we stick to two principles: First, they should serve the common interests of both sides; second, they should be conducive to peace, stability and development of Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia," Liu said. He urged the DPRK to stop taking any action that may worsen the current situation. He added that the humanitarian needs of the DPRK people should be taken into full consideration when any action is taken. He also said that China has kept a close eye on the aftermath of the nuclear test, but so far no atmospheric pollution has been detected. [...]



Mongolia reserves the right to reject aid offers
2006-10-12 UB Post
N. Bayartsaikhan, Minister of Finance, told a press conference at the conclusion of a technical meeting between the Government of Mongolia and its external partners that from now on the country would judge every offer of assistance on its merit. The Government will formulate a set of criteria and donor organizations. Loan and assistance proposals will be accepted only if they meet these standards. As an example, he said the Government would prefer loans with no more than two percent interest per year. The Minister noted that since 1990 Mongolia has been accepting financial assistance under many programs proposed by various donor organizations and have now realized that several such aid projects serve the interests of the donor organization more than those of Mongolia. The country's present economic health makes it possible to reject certain proposals and to accept only those which will fit into and contribute to the National Development Strategy (NDS). This document is being prepared as an expression of long-term vision and will set out Mongolia's development priorities. The donor partners welcomed the Government's plans for an NDS which could be a powerful tool in shaping the country's further development, and many partners expressed their willingness to support the development and implementation of the strategy. Elements that could make the strategy successful include: broad-based consultation, realism in goal setting, and grounding it in thorough analysis, an appropriate role for government. David Dollar, the World Bank's Country Director for Mongolia, said; Mongolia is at an interesting point in its economic and social development history. Arshad Sayed, the Bank's Resident Representative and Country Manager here, complemented this by saying that since the 1990s Mongolia has done well in working for the creation of a structure for the foundation and growth of a market based system. These first generation reforms now have to be followed up with those of the second generation, like reforms targeted at increasing competitiveness, strengthening market institutions, increasing transparency and accountability. At the meeting the Government and the country's external partners discussed Mongolia's development priorities and the role of the latter in supporting these. It was attended by The Finance Minister, The Minister of Education, the Minister of Environment and other infrastructure ministries, numerous parliamentarians, almost all of Mongolia's external partners, as also by representatives of the civil society and the private sector. The meeting was broadly positive on Mongolia's recent economic developments, and noted that the national economy continues to grow at about 7 percent per year. The Finance Minister, who co-chaired the meeting, explained; Supported by higher commodity prices, strong growth in services and construction, and some exceptionally good years in agriculture, Mongolia's GDP per capita is above the level it was before the transition. Mongolia's current GDP per capita is US$950. On the back of a strong fiscal performance, macroeconomic stability has been settling in, whereas trade and current account deficits have disappeared. Mongolia's considerable success has to some extent been built on a resource boom, and on prices for the country's natural resources that, according to the IMF, are unlikely to last over the medium term. Prudence is therefore required, not just in management of the current extraordinary revenues, but also in projecting the current high growth rates into the future. Some participants noted that the Government may wish to reconsider its medium-term budget forecasts in light of the new fundamentals, and adjust its budget projections for next year accordingly. Participants noted that the introduction of the windfall profit tax from mining companies may signal that the Government is turning away from private-sector development, and could discourage future mining investment. One participant called on the Government to renew its commitment to private-sector growth, and to create a predictable environment for the private sector to thrive.

TB drugs in short supply
2006-10-12 UB Post
As of October 5, Mongolia had no anti-tuberculosis (TB) drugs and formulations other than streptomycin left in the State Reserve Fund, according to an urgent public call for response jointly issued by the Ministry of Health, and the AIDS and TB Project funded by The Global Fund. The emergency was short-lived, however, as just one day later, on October 6, the necessary drugs reached from abroad, according to an official from the Mongolian Anti-Tuberculosis Association. But those in need of the medications may not be so lucky every time. The call, and the course of events that led to the necessity for such an appeal, underscore the clear need to include the cost of such, particularly anti-tuberculosis, drugs in the State Budget to ensure that sustainable supply is maintained at all times. Since Mongolia's shift to a free market economy, the government has not been funding cost of import of anti-tuberculosis drugs from its state budget. The supply of TB drugs now depends entirely on assistance by international organizations, the call said. Since the 1960s, the World Health Organization (WHO) has provided technical support for TB control in Mongolia. The Japanese Anti-Tuberculosis Association (JATA) has also been providing such support to the Mongolian National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP). The Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) has also supplied anti-TB drugs to the NTP. Since 2003, support for the NTP has largely come from the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria. Mongolia has around 6,000 people registered as suffering from TB. There are several drugs that may be used for their treatment: isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide, ethambutol, and streptomycin. One person needs around Tg 50,000 worth of drugs, which are supplied free of charge as part of the NTP. WHO estimates the incidence of tuberculosis in Mongolia to be at 230 per 100,000 population, making it one of the seven worst affected countries in the Western Pacific region in this respect. In Mongolia it is the third commonest communicable disease, after sexually transmitted diseases and viral hepatitis. It is also a leading cause of mortality in the country. Most of those who succumb to a tubercular infection are from the ranks of the urban poor, the homeless, the unemployed and prisoners. According to the National Plan for 2006- 2010, which was presented at the Fifth Stop TB Technical Advisory Group Meeting for the Western Pacific Region held in Busan, South Korea last March, Mongolia plans to achieve elimination of new cases of TB, and to reduce its prevalence and mortality by half by 2010.

Five Chinese jailed for smuggling
2006-10-12 UB Post
Five Chinese officials of the Tang Long company, including its director, Van Shao Ling, were sentenced to terms in prison by the Khan-Uul District court on October 9 on charges of trying to smuggle gold out of Mongolia. Four persons got five-year terms while Shao Ling will serve for six months longer. Six people were charged but one, the driver of the vehicle that carried the gold, was acquitted as it could not be proved that he knew what was planned. Shao Ling and Lin Gaou Shin, his subordinate in the brick-making company that worked from Ulaanbaatar, were arrested on November 18, 2004 when they attempted to smuggle 23.345 kg gold to China. They had hidden the metal in a van owned by another Chinese, Bao Lin. A search of Shao Ling's home and office unearthed unlicensed fire arms, pornographic video tapes, and highly toxic chemical substances. The confiscated gold becomes State property, the seized fire arms would be given to some State organization, and the chemical substances would be destroyed.


Chung Vay-Luy
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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