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
  7.4-9.4.2009, No. 263  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea


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Foreign Policy

The big picture on China's G20 performance (SCMP)
[…] Media accounts of the results of the summit, in which world leaders pledged more than US$1 trillion in loans and guarantees to fight the global recession and agreed to crack down on tax havens and hedge funds, were mixed. China was widely praised for its positive contributions to the enlargement of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) coffers and to discussions about reforming the international financial system. President Hu Jintao's first meeting with his US counterpart, Barack Obama, led to the announcement of a new strategic and economic dialogue and heralded a new era in bilateral ties. At the same time, Mr Hu's unscheduled meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy was a bonus in the eyes of mainlanders, as France was widely seen to have backed away from its stance on the Tibetan issue. The G20 summit may be another milestone in the mainland's integration into the international community because it showed that China was ready to play a bigger international role and was starting to speak its mind. It also offered pointers to what China expects the world to be like and the role it envisages for itself. […] But the western media focused single-mindedly on central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan's proposal to create a super-sovereign reserve currency. There followed a storm over Beijing's supposed intention to mount an immediate challenge the US dollar as the world's reserve currency. […] By focusing on this aspect, the western media missed the bigger story Beijing was trying to articulate, including its plans to reduce savers' deposits, its efforts to boost the domestic economy and its views on reforming the international financial organisations in the near term and over a longer period. […] Beijing's choice of the G20 summit as the platform for such a debut is also interesting, considering that it brushed aside repeated urgings in the past to join the Group of Eight. The decision reflects Beijing's sense of its position in the world - an administration more comfortable with a larger group embracing both the developing and developed countries than with a smaller, elite club of only the world's richest countries. […] China's per capita gross domestic product is on a par with Albania's and it is unrealistic to put it in the same league as the EU or Japan. Beijing also has an angry domestic audience to consider as mainlanders eye the cash pile and demand more government handouts as economic growth falters and unemployment soars. […]. ^ top ^

'G2' appeals to some but Beijing unlikely to back it, analysts say (SCMP)
A week after what appeared to be the advent of a new world order at the Group of 20 summit in London, the idea of a "G2", which would put the US and China at the head of international affairs, is gaining momentum. But analysts say the concept of "Chimerica", meant to reflect a new geostrategic situation created by China's rise, is neither realistic nor likely to appeal to Beijing. […]Dr Brzezinski, who was also an adviser to US President Barack Obama during his campaign for the White House, suggested an "informal G2" for discussions "not just about bilateral relationships, but about the world in general". In his meeting with President Hu Jintao in London, Mr Obama took a step in that direction, agreeing to "strengthen ties at all levels". […] "There is the big world creditor [China] and the big world debtor [the US]. But the big creditor has a currency that is not convertible. That's the argument that kills the G2," Mr Di Meglio said. Moreover, the Chinese might be "in a process that is moving them closer to the concept of a G2, [but] they definitely do not want to show that, as it would give them lots of responsibilities", he said. Although China desires recognition, a G2 would go against its preference for multilateralism. […]. ^ top ^

China starts trial of foreign trade settlement in yuan in 5 cities (Xinhua)
Beijing - China's State Council, or Cabinet, announced a pilot program to allow exporters and importers in five cities to settle cross-border trade deals in Renminbi, or yuan. The cities are Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Dongguan. The latter four are all in south China's Guangdong Province. Attendees at a State Council executive meeting Wednesday, presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, agreed settling cross-border trade deals in yuan was important for promoting economic and trade ties between China and neighboring countries and regions. […] The State Council urged departments concerned to issue relative rules as soon as possible.. ^ top ^

World economy now revolves around Beijing, Chavez says (SCMP)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared in Beijing yesterday that the world now revolved around China, as he praised the nation for driving the global economy amid the "capitalist" crisis. In a meeting with President Hu Jintao, Mr Chavez also spoke warmly about ties between their two nations, in comments that could once again rile his critics in the United States. "This is our home and you are our brothers. Moreover, no one can be ignorant that the centre of gravity of the world has moved to Beijing," he told Mr Hu. "[…] After arriving in Beijing for his three-day visit, Mr Chavez said he would pursue three "concrete objectives of great strategic significance" related to energy. They were a strengthening of the Chinese presence in the Venezuelan oil sector, the construction of Venezuelan refineries on the mainland and the establishment of an oil transport joint venture, he said. […] While oil is the dominant theme in the two nations' relationship, it has been expanding into other areas during Mr Chavez's leftist administration. […] But his hosts appeared keen to play down any implications that a developing relationship with Venezuela might have for the US. ^ top ^

Diplomat urges western media to abide by journalism ethics in reporting China (Xinhua)
Brussels - The western media should abide by the basic journalism principles in reporting China and play a positive role in promoting China-Europe relations, Chinese Ambassador Song Zhe to the European Union said here on Wednesday. "It is regrettable that some of the China reports from the western media are not comprehensive, objective or fair enough, which lead to some misunderstanding or biased views on China, and are to the detriment of the good relations between China and (the) EU built over many years of joint efforts," Song said at a meeting of Chinese and European Media. […]"The insufficient exposure leads to incomplete knowledge and fragmented impressions, so most Europeans just don't know China well. Nor do most editors working at the media headquarters," Song added. […] He quoted American scholar Noam Chomsky as saying that some western media have nurtured a "systemic bias of the mass media," making patronizing comments and unfounded criticisms on China. […]. ^ top ^

China to ink FTA pact with ASEAN (Xinhua)
China will sign an investment agreement with ASEAN over the weekend to mark the completion of free-trade area (FTA) talks, a senior official said yesterday. The pact will be inked at the 12th China-ASEAN Summit in Pattaya, Thailand, which Premier Wen Jiabao will attend. Calling it a highlight of the summit, Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue said yesterday it means FTA negotiations have been concluded. China and ASEAN, with a combined population of 1.9 billion, have agreed to complete implementing all FTA agreements by 2010. […]. ^ top ^

Xinjiang seals deal on Pakistan trade (China Daily)
A "vital" trade and energy deal has been agreed between Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and the bordering North West Frontier province of Pakistan, it was announced yesterday. Both areas have vowed to further explore partnerships over oil and gas resources, trade, sustainable energy, agriculture and water-saving and irrigation technology, explained Nur Bekri, the chairman of the region. "As the closest province to Pakistan, Xinjiang is obliged to contribute to the firming up of relations between the two nations," he said after signing the deal in capital city Urumqi. […] To address concerns about safety, Masood told the local media that the Pakistani authority had made it a top priority to protect Chinese people in Pakistan, allocating multiple resources and security forces.[…]. ^ top ^

Team Set for French Purchase Mission (China Daily)
Days after Beijing and Paris ended a dispute over Tibet, China is considering sending a business delegation to France. Former French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin made the announcement on the sidelines of the 15th China-France Economic Forum held on Wednesday in Beijing. "Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming just told me that China is considering it," he told reporters, without elaborating. […] "We have walked out of mutual misunderstanding in 2008 and entered a new phase," Raffarin said. "France wants China to know that now we know more about Chinese people and know more about the past of Tibet." […] Paris will send high-ranking French officials to Beijing in the coming weeks, Raffarin said on Wednesday. The big names include National Assembly of France president Bernard Accoyer, former French president Jacques Chirac, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and Anne Marie Idrac, French minister for economy, industry and employment.[…]. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

China unveils health-care reform guidelines (Xinhua)
Beijing - China Monday unveiled a blueprint for health-care over the next decade, kicking off a much-anticipated reform to fix the ailing medical system and to ensure fair and affordable health services for all 1.3 billion citizens. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, or China's Cabinet, jointly endorsed and issued the Guidelines on Deepening the Reform of Health-care System after about three years of intense debate and repeated revision. By 2020, the world's most populous country will have a basic health-care system that can provide "safe, effective, convenient and affordable" health services to urban and rural residents, according to the tone-setting document. […] The document said the government role in "formulating policies and plans, raising funds, providing service, and supervising" must be strengthened in order to ensure the fairness and equity of the service. […] The blueprint highlights the establishment of a basic health-care system to cover all Chinese citizens to be formed on the basis of systems of public health, medical service, medical insurance and medicine supply. The government will improve the public health network for disease prevention and control, health education, mother and infant health care, mental health and first aid services, according to the blueprint. […] The reform is also aimed at improving the medicine supply system so that public hospitals and clinics are supplied with essential medicines with prices regulated by the government, according to the blueprint. Other highlights include: […] Public hospitals to receive more government funding and be allowed to charge higher fees for treatment. But they will be eventually banned from making profits through subscribing expensive medicines and treatment, which is a common practice at present. […]. ^ top ^

Young party cadres begin jockeying for leadership positions (SCMP)
Jockeying for prominence among the ranks of aspiring Communist Party cadres has begun on the mainland as the party prepares to headhunt young cadres as part of an across-the-board reshuffle over the next three years. The ruling party is expected to endorse a new leadership lineup in 2012 when President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and many other older party cadres within the hierarchy are expected to retire, setting the stage for ambitious younger cadres to compete for some of the key posts. During a forum on the cultivation and selection of young cadres at the end of last month, Vice-President Xi Jinping, Mr Hu's heir apparent, stressed the need to have a mechanism in place to select and groom standout cadres who had the necessary morality and expertise, with morality paramount. However, some of the crop of young cadres have fallen from grace in recent years as an unprecedented number of young and low-level cadres and officials have been indicted on corruption charges. […] The perceived power and benefits of being a civil servant and having lifelong job security make public service vacancies so highly coveted that they have spawned a sizeable industry around the civil servants' qualifying exams. […]. To select better cadres for promotion, authorities must also audit officials before promotions and subject them and their assets to public scrutiny, he said. According to a joint online survey conducted by the People's Daily, the party's official mouthpiece, and a news web portal owned by the party, more than half of the 1,853 respondents said young cadres needed to do more to discipline themselves and watch how they behaved. The survey also found that more than 40 per cent believed young cadres had little grass-roots work experience, which meant they had little insight into the mainland's affairs, public sentiment and the broader state of the party. ^ top ^

China drafting new rule on protection of vagrant, destitute minors (Xinhua)
Beijing - China's Ministry of Civil Affairs is working on a "Draft Regulation on the Assistance and Protection of Vagrant Minors" for approval by the State Council, or cabinet, an official said here Wednesday. Gao Yueling, head of the ministry's social affairs bureau, said this regulation will help "complete the mechanism for the relief and protection of minors." Gao said civil affairs authorities had offered aid in about 100,000 to 150,000 cases involving minor vagrants and beggars annually from August 2003 to the end of 2007. […] China has a total of 1 million vagrant and begging minors, according to a 2006 national survey by the National Working Committee on Women and Children under the State Council. […]. ^ top ^

China to raise grain output to 550 mln tonnes by 2020 (Xinhua)
Beijing - China has set the annual grain output capacity to more than 550 million tonnes as of 2020, an increase of 50 million tonnes over the coming 12 years to guarantee grain security. […] The State Council agreed that grain security for the country's 1.3 billion people plays a fundamental role in boosting domestic demand and tackling the current financial crisis. However, growing population and improved living standards push up demand, which poses grim challenges in grain security, the meeting was told. Efforts should be made to increase grain output, including upgrading low-yield farmland, promoting key technologies, enhancing agricultural mechanization and strengthening prevention of diseases and insect pests. Agriculture infrastructure and water facilities should also be improved. Governments should ramp up spending on grain security and encourage financial institutions, agricultural enterprises and farmers to increase input. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese police chief addresses smooth communication between police, citizens (Xinhua)
Beijing - China's Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu Wednesday called on police officers to smooth their communications with common citizens in a bid to maintain social stability. […] The ministry has just concluded a three-month nationwide campaign, encouraging police officers to walk into communities, solicit opinions and advice from the public and solve lingering problems, in the wake of a series of mass incidents last year, including protests by unemployed workers, taxi drivers' strikes, and unrest in the southwestern Weng'an County triggered by the death of a schoolgirl. "The campaign produced positive effects. Common people benefited from it," Meng said. "In the campaign, problems were found and conflicts were settled, which has effectively safeguarded stability and promoted harmony in the society." […]. ^ top ^

China to limit expenses of SOE executives (Xinhua)
Beijing - China has established a central-level task force to limit the business expenses of senior executives in state-owned enterprises, following a similar move in March when the executives were told their incomes would be capped. Senior executives of those state-owned companies will have to submit their detailed business expenses between 2006 and 2008 before April 10, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Supervision and the National Audit Office. […] Companies will also have to reveal the annual incomes of their executives for the last three years along with the number of executives. The average annual incomes of employees will also have to be supplied for reference. […]. ^ top ^

China to throw some gold at silver population (Xinhua)
Beijing - […] The country will build four state-level demonstration bases in Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing and Jiangsu this year to deal with its aging population, an official with the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) said Tuesday. The centers could function as prototypes for future care of the aged. "We want to turn elderly care services into an industry in the long run," said Wang Hui, with the MCA's social welfare and philanthropy undertakings promotion department. The ministry will allocate 100 to 200 million yuan (14.6 to 29.3 million U.S. dollars) to each development to improve basic facility construction. When added to local government investment, total spending for each is likely to reach 400 to 500 million yuan, he said. Wang said the facilities will offer more complete services for senior citizens than are currently available. […] Nearly 160 million people in China are aged 60 and above, 6 million more than in 2007. They account for 12 percent of China's population. […] The ministry will oversee facilities construction standards and management patterns as well as set levels of medical and healthcare service personnel for the developments, he said, while land-use and scale of the projects will be up to city and township governments. […]. ^ top ^

Top leader to head health care taskforce - Vice-premier chosen to oversee reforms (SCMP)
Beijing has appointed Vice-Premier Li Keqiang to head a taskforce comprising 16 government departments to oversee the enforcement of health care reforms, one of the most daunting tasks the mainland will face in the short term. The taskforce would release a series of supporting documents detailing how the reforms should be implemented, Xinhua said yesterday. Analysts believe a top leader is required to balance different interest groups, or the reforms will become empty talk, particularly as they rely heavily on the co-operation of central government departments, local governments and hospital managers. […] In the first official clarification about how the money would be spent - a major public concern - Mr Wang said the central government would pay 40 per cent of total government spending in the medical sector, or 331.8 billion yuan, and local governments would shoulder the rest. The central government paid 27 per cent of total government spending in the medical sector in the past three years, while the local authorities settled the rest, he said. However, he also said local governments would decide how much they would actually spend in the next three years.[…] But analysts doubt that local governments would actually pay. Gordon Liu Guoen, head of the department of health economics and management at Peking University, said: "I really don't know who is going to pay the remaining 500 billion yuan. […] Mr Wang said two-thirds of the 850 billion yuan would subsidise medical insurance schemes and the rest would be invested in hospitals and clinics directly. […] Speaking at the same press conference yesterday, Vice-Minister of Health Ma Xiaowei said the central government would announce a list of essential prescription drugs by the end of this month. ^ top ^

100b yuan outlay to cope with dam impact (SCMP)
Beijing plans to spend nearly 100 billion yuan (HK$113 billion) in the next decade to cope with the enormous social and environmental impact of the Three Gorges Dam, with landslide repairs, pollution cleanups and efforts to lift a stagnant economy listed as top priorities. Although the plan is still being drafted, it is expected from next year to meet many "unexpected" challenges stemming from the rising waters behind the 185-metre-high concrete dam, according to Wang Xiaofeng, a top official in charge of the project. […] Apart from the Three Gorges reservoir region, Mr Wang said, the new plan would also cover the middle reaches of the Yangtze River - including lakes Dongting and Poyang, which have been adversely affected by the project - for the next 10 to 20 years. With water levels reaching the reservoir's maximum of 175 metres above sea level last year, the dam area recorded a sharp rise in often deadly landsides, minor earthquakes, pollution disasters and other hazards[…] But the task of helping people to adjust to their new lives remains a headache for authorities. Despite Beijing's announcement that the dam, officially billed at 200 billion yuan and widely seen as the country's top prestige project of the past three decades, was "basically completed" in 2007, mainland officials have publicly expressed concerns that the mammoth project could turn into a catastrophe. Environmentalists opposed the plan, saying the government had yet to explain why the project had become an abyss of public funding. Dai Qing, a writer and fierce critic of the project, said the money would never be enough to solve the problems created by the reservoir. ^ top ^

Public consuming 'pesticide cocktails', Greenpeace claims (SCMP)
Mainland residents drink "pesticide cocktails" almost daily and more than 50 kinds of pesticides have been detected in fruit and vegetables sold in big cities, according to a Greenpeace report. The report drew swift criticism, with some saying most pesticides detected were at very low levels and that only two samples slightly exceeded food safety standards. […] "When various kinds of pesticides co-exist, it is very likely that they are more poisonous than they are individually. It's what we call the `pesticide cocktail' effect. "We hope consumers will buy organic farm products, which are very expensive, but only when people start buying them will the supplies grow and the prices drop." […] China Agricultural University professor Du Xiangge said there had been no scientific evidence that the cocktail effect existed. "[…] "But the report is a good warning. Many highly poisonous pesticides are still legal on the mainland. […].". ^ top ^

Reduction in poverty 'enviable' (People's Daily)
The proportion of impoverished Chinese fell from 65 percent of the population in 1981 to 4 percent in 2007, during which time more than half a billion people were hoisted above the poverty line, the World Bank's newly released poverty assessment report on China has said. Entitled From Poor Areas to Poor People: China's Evolving Poverty Reduction Agenda, the report called China's poverty reduction during the last 25 years "enviable". It pointed out the rapid growth resulting from economic reforms had been central to China's successful poverty alleviation. From 1981 to 2005, real per capita GDP grew by 8.3 percent annually, while the poverty headcount index fell by 7.1 percent per year. […] "Measured by international standards, the number of poor remains high, with China home to the world's second largest number of poor in any country after India," the report said. China's official poverty counts are comparatively low, because they are measured according to a lower poverty threshold, it said. […] Other poverty reduction hurdles include widespread income shocks, increasingly dispersed poor, growing income inequality and large transient populations in cities. […]. ^ top ^



Beijing extends vehicle limits for another year (Xinhua)
Beijing will extend its post-Olympic vehicle restrictions for another year in an effort to ease traffic congestion and reduce air pollution, the city's traffic officials said Sunday. The extension was widely expected as a majority of residents in the Chinese capital supported fewer cars on the road and cleaner air. The restrictions, based on license plate numbers, take 20 percent of the city's 3.61 million vehicles off roads each weekday. […] Small changes have been made to post-Olympic vehicle restrictions, which began Oct. 11, 2008 and expire April 10. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing, Mexico City to begin wide range of co-op (Xinhua)
Mexico City - Beijing and Mexico City are scheduled to kick off in June eight cooperation programs, city officials said on Tuesday. “The themes which will be under discussion are construction of science parks, tourism, environment, the preservation and protection of culture, rural development, industrial development and investment," said Mauricio Camps, general coordinator on international affairs for the Mexico City mayor's office. The mayor of Beijing will visit Mexico City in June to inaugurate the programs. "We have been trying to achieve these programs for a long time. The visit in June will allow us to deepen all topics of interest to the two cities," said Camps at an event, which also discussed the city government's, grant program for Mexican students to study four-month programs relevant to the city in China. […]. ^ top ^



Hong Kong aims to grow as medical specialist center (Xinhua)
Hong Kong boasts of strengths as well as potentials as a healthcare specialist center, the top health official of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ( HKSAR) government said Tuesday. Speaking to reporters after a radio talk show, Secretary for Food and Health York Chow said the concept will build on the strengths of existing healthcare system in Hong Kong, such as professional standards, efficiency, clinical results and ethics. […] The priority should be given to the private sector which has the flexibility required to tap such opportunities, and the health authorities will, where appropriate, provide them with the help needed in terms of training and resources. […]. ^ top ^



2 Tibetans sentenced to die for role in Lhasa riots (SCMP)
Two Tibetans were sentenced to death yesterday for starting fires that killed six people in the Lhasa riots last year, the harshest punishments yet handed down. Another two Tibetans were given death sentences, suspended for two years. A fifth was jailed for life without chance of parole, a spokesman for the Lhasa Municipal Intermediate People's Court, which is in charge of the trial, was quoted by Xinhua as saying. […] A court spokesman said the trials were carried out in open court, and the defendants were given interpreters. It was not immediately clear how long the trials lasted or whether the defendants had appealed or if the sentences had already been carried out. […]. ^ top ^



China's central bank tightens control on credit cards (Xinhua)
Beijing.- Getting a credit card may not be as simple as it is now. A top official of the People's Bank of China has asked financial institutions across the country to "carefully check the applicant's identity and their previous credit records before issuing them credit cards". Su Ning, vice-president of the central bank, further urged banks to monitor card transactions in real time and tighten control of self-transfer services. […] Latest figures available from the Ministry of Public Security show that from April to September last year, police across the country handled 3,672 credit card-related crimes, up 140 percent year-on-year, involving about 176 million yuan ($25 million). […] Chinese banks have so far issued 1.8 billion credit cards, with each Chinese having more than one on average. The figure was only 380 million in 2001. Money transferred through bankcards reached 116 trillion yuan in 2007, compared with 8 trillion in 2001, the central bank said. […]. ^ top ^

China to open overseas investment fair in Nov. (Xinhua)
Beijing - The first China Overseas Investment Fair would be held from Nov. 3 to Nov. 4, which aims to facilitate domestic companies to make overseas investment. […] Both Chinese and foreign government officials, international industrial and commercial leaders, chambers of commerce, companies and professional service agencies such as accounting and law firms would be invited, said CIODPA. According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce, China's direct overseas investment reached 52.15 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, up 96.7 percent year-on-year. ^ top ^

China's largest oilfield to maintain crude output (Xinhua)
Beijing - China's largest oilfield Daqing aims to produce 400 million tons of crude in the next 10 years, according to officials with the oilfield. “We will maintain our annual crude oil output at 40 million tons in the next 10 years," said Wang Yongchun, Party secretary of Daqing oilfield. "Sustainable production of Daqing is important to China's oil supply." […] Under a three-year blueprint for the oil and gas industry by the National Energy Administration (NEA), China's crude oil output is expected to touch 198 million tons, while natural gas production will be 120 billion cu m in 2011. The country will stabilize the output from oil fields in Northeast China and the Bohai Bay area, while speeding up development of fields in the Tarim, Junggar, Erdos and Sichuan basins. Under the blueprint, China will build some large oil and gas production bases over the next three years. China will also work to increase its offshore oil and gas production. Crude output of CNPC, China's largest oil and gas producer, is expected to fall below 2008 level this year due to weakening demand, said Yu Baocai, vice-president of the company.[…]. ^ top ^

World Bank forecasts China recovery this year (Xinhua)
Beijing - A recovery in China, fueled largely by the country's huge economic stimulus package, is likely to begin this year and take full hold in 2010, the World Bank (WB)said Tuesday in its mid-year report. As countries in the East Asia and Pacific region prepare themselves for an expected surge in joblessness resulting from global slowdown, a ray of hope may be emerging with signs of China's economy bottoming out by mid-2009, said the report, a latest half-year assessment of the region's economic health. Vikram Nehru, the WB's chief economist of the region, said that the forecast for China's recovery is based on recent positive statistics such as loans, imports, industrial value-added, and purchase management index (PMI). But he emphasized that all forecast made under the current global financial crisis is uncertain, and more sure conclusion on China's recovery still relies on further data in the coming months. […]But with China still heavily reliant on exports to world markets that continue to contract, the report warned that a truly sustainable recovery in the East Asia and Pacific region ultimately depends on developments in the advanced economies. […] Nehru said China should focus on improving its economic structure while stimulating short-term GDP growth. Shifting China's output from exports to domestic needs will help provide immediate stimulus while laying the foundation for more sustainable growth in the future, he said. ^ top ^

China discovers huge coal reserve in northwest (Xinhua)
Urumqi - China discovered a 3-billion-tonne coal reserve at Aiding Lake in its northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The Xinjiang Bureau of Coal Geology said Wednesday the coalfield, which includes the lake, has a perimeter of 16 by 10 kilometers. The coal bed is estimated to be 10-22 meters deep. […] It suggested more coal exists in areas surrounding the lake, which could bring the total reserve in the region to 27 billion tonnes. […]. ^ top ^


DPRK and South Korea

China, Russia block UN over launch - Security Council fails to reach deal on reply to firing of N Korea rocket (SCMP)
The United Nations was deadlocked yesterday on how to respond to North Korea's rocket launch, with China and Russia opposing efforts to punish the state. Washington and regional powers reiterated calls for a strong response to the launch, which analysts said was effectively a test of a ballistic missile designed to carry a warhead as far as the US state of Alaska. […] "North Korea's reckless act that threatens regional and global security cannot be justified under any circumstances," South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said in a radio address, promising a "stern" response to provocations. Tokyo would decide on Friday on new bilateral sanctions, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said. […] Despite pressure from Washington and its allies for action, the 15 members failed to agree on a response after a three-hour meeting. "Members of the Security Council agreed to continue consultations on an appropriate action by the council in accordance with its responsibilities given the urgency of the matter," Mexico's UN ambassador Claude Heller, the council chair this month, said. The US, Japan and South Korea say the launch violated Security Council resolutions banning the firing of ballistic missiles by Pyongyang, imposed after a nuclear test and other missile exercises in 2006. Council diplomats said China and Russia were not convinced the launch of what North Korea said was a satellite was a violation of UN rules. Libya, Uganda and Vietnam supported this view. […] Mr Lee called for China's support in dealing with North Korea in a meeting with a visiting Chinese Communist Party delegation headed by propaganda chief Li Changchun. "President Lee and Li agreed China must play a large role to resolve the issue of North Korea's long-range rocket launch," the presidential office said. […]. ^ top ^

Peaceful space use is a right, China says - Pyongyang launch was satellite, Beijing claims (SCMP)
Beijing said yesterday that every country had the right to "peaceful use of outer space" in the wake of North Korea's controversial rocket launch and urged the United Nations Security Council to respond cautiously to what it described as a satellite. […] Maintaining that the rocket launch involved a satellite, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said: "We think the UN Security Council should act cautiously in relation to Resolution 1718," referring to the resolution adopted in 2006 to impose economic sanctions on North Korea after it conducted a nuclear test that year[…] Beijing has refrained from publicly condemning Pyongyang but called on "relevant parties" to stay calm and exercise restraint.[…] Zhuang Jianzhong of Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Centre for National Strategic Studies said. "China has always opposed North Korea's satellite launch, but now that it has gone ahead, China can only say that it was everyone's right to peacefully use outer space." US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hinted on Monday that condemnation for North Korea's rocket test need not come through a Security Council resolution. […]. ^ top ^



Spring Session Begins (
The Spring session of Parliament started today with addresses by Speaker D.Demberel and President N.Enkhbayar. In his speech, the Speaker asked members to remember that people demanded an environment where they can do business and make a living without obstruction. He particularly mentioned herders who, he said, are demanding three things. “First, they want to be able to sell cashmere in the country as well as abroad. Second, they want to sell animals and raw materials direct to the seller without letting any middleman taking a cut. And last, they want to protect the land for their animals to graze,” he said. Similarly, those engaged in small and medium businesses want support from the Government so that they can pursue their activities without interference from any quarter. He urged members to recommend correct policies to promote industrial growth and to create more national wealth. The President said good governance can come only when a government is assured of its strength. “Mongolia needs a strong government but a strong government is one that listens to the people and then serve them, not one which believes in telling people what to do,” he said. The President referred to a law approved by the special session and explained why he had vetoed it. The law gave the Government the power during a crisis to reduce the salaries and wages of state workers and also allowances for the elderly and the disabled. “I put a veto on this law for if Government takes such a step the private sector will follow. Even if the country is in a crisis this will have negative results,” he said. ^ top ^

Agreement on Financial Cooperation Signed (Montsame)
An agreement signing ceremony held in the Ministry of Finance on intergovernmental financial cooperation between Mongolia and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in 2008. This agreement is signed in accordance with the negotiations held in 2008 in Germany's Bonn city to grant EUR 23.7 million worth soft loan and non-refundable aid for Mongolia from Germany. In a scope of the negotiations, the sides signed Wednesday the agreement on granting EUR 9 million to Mongolia in order to implement projects for improving food supplies for urban population, developing transportation infrastructure, founding sewage plants in the city's micro-districts of Yaarmag and Buyant-Ukhaa. ^ top ^

Parties Announce Presidential Candidates (UB Post)
[…] The Democratic Party signed an agreement with the Civil Will Party and the Green Party- both of which could have nominated a candidate since they hold parliamentary seats- to mutually support the DP's nomination of Ts.Elbegdorj. As expected, the MPRP proclaimed that incumbent president, N. Enkhbayar would run for a second term; he received 100 percent of the vote from the party's election committee. Elbegdorj's major talking point is a plan to reform Mongolia's system of justice. Conversely, Enkhbayar's is to forge cooperation between Mongolia's political parties. This time around, the DP hopes to elect a registered member as president for the first time. The election is slated for May 24. ^ top ^


Evelyne Freiermuth
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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