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
  6-10.12.2010, No. 349  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea


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Foreign Policy

China won't compromise on issues of principle, says chief negotiator (Xinhua)
China will not compromise on issues of principle at the ongoing UN climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, the country's chief negotiator said on Saturday. Su Wei, the chief Chinese negotiator and head of the climate change department of China's National Development and Reform Commission, made the remarks in response to some parties' call for "compromise to make achievements." "All the parties want to reach substantial achievements at the Cancun conference, which can lay a solid foundation for the completion of 'Bali Roadmap' negotiations," Su told Xinhua in an exclusive interview. "I think we can cooperate with other parties and even make compromises on some non-principle issues, but we will not compromise on the issues of principle, such as the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, which is the basis for a package of agreements to be made in Cancun," Su said. The negotiator stressed that the developing countries have reached consensus on the principle issues. "We are keeping solidarity and trying to play a constructive role," he added. […] Negotiators at the Cancun conference are trying to establish a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, which obliges rich nations except the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. […] Su noted that the ministers will arrive in Cancun in the second week of the conference. He hopes the ministers can play an active role in promoting the progress of the conference. A 70-strong-member delegation of the Chinese government, headed by Xie Zhenhua, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, is cooperating with other parties to seek a solution to global warming in Cancun. The Cancun talks, from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10, are aimed at finding solutions to global climate change. It has attracted about 25,000 participants from governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations and research institutions in nearly 200 countries. ^ top ^

China sees stronger cooperation with world in 2010: Foreign Minister (Xinhua)
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Tuesday that 2010 had been marked by closer links, greater interaction and stronger cooperation between China and the world. He made the remarks in an address at a New Year reception hosted by China's Foreign Ministry. Noting 2010 had been an important year for the world economy to emerge from the shadow of the financial crisis and embark on the track of recovery, Yang said China and other countries had further deepened cooperation during the process of pursuing common development. Yang said 2011 marked the start of the implementation of China's 12th five-year plan, and China would enter a crucial period in efforts to build a moderately prosperous society, and accelerate the transformation of the economic development pattern. With common development goals, China and the rest of the world would enjoy a wider arc of cooperation and face new historic opportunities, he said. China would "proactively adapt itself to the new developments and needs of the domestic and international situations, stay committed to the path of peaceful development, and unswervingly follow the mutually beneficial strategy of opening-up." He said the world would continue to move towards multi-polarity, while the process of global economic recovery and reform would further evolve. In a speech, Nolana Ta-Ama, dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Togo's ambassador to China, hailed China's diplomatic efforts in the political and economic fields towards its close neighbors, such as the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) and Japan, and on the Korean Peninsula in particular. More than 400 people, including Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, attended the reception. ^ top ^

Nepali president reiterates one-China policy (Global Times)
Nepali President Ram Baran Yadav reiterated one-China policy on Tuesday when he met with visiting Chinese Minister of Culture Cai Wu in the capital of Kathmandu. President Yadav said that the Nepalese side firmly supports China's effort to uphold state sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity, and believes Tibet is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. Nepal would not allow any force to use Nepal's territory to engage in any anti-China or separatist activities, he said. The president also welcomed Cai Wu to visit Nepal, expressing hope that Cai's visit would enhance culture communication and cooperation, and strengthen people-to-people friendship and exchanges between the two countries. Minister Cai agreed with the President and appreciated Nepal's support on the issue of China's internal Tibet affairs. Cai said that China and Nepal will further enhance cultural exchange and communications, and lift their bilateral relationship to a higher level by establishing comprehensive and cooperative partnership. Cai, who arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday with a cultural delegation, paid a three-day friendship visit in Nepal. Cai also met with his Nepali counterpart, Minister for Culture Minendra Rijal and other high-ranking officials of Nepal during his visit. ^ top ^

China bid to break climate deadlock (SCMP)
In a fresh push to break the deadlock in negotiations in Cancun, China said it was willing to incorporate its domestic emissions reduction effort in the international climate change framework. The proposal was announced yesterday by the country's top climate official, National Development and Reform Commission deputy director Xie Zhenhua, at the UN climate change talks, where little progress has been made with the talks into their second week at the Mexican beach resort. While a senior Chinese negotiator called the move a compromise, Xie also spelled out conditions, mostly targeting industrialised nations. "Developing countries may voluntarily use their own resources to make their own voluntary emissions commitments, and they should be under the convention," Xie said at the first official briefing hosted by the Chinese delegation at Cancun. […] Huang Huikang, the Foreign Ministry's special representative for climate talks, said the offer to bring China's domestic pledge on carbon emissions reduction into the international framework was a compromise that Beijing hoped would push developed countries to accept the extension of the Kyoto pact, the only legally binding treaty tackling global warming. "Under the [UN Climate] Convention, we can even have a legally binding decision," Huang said. "We can discuss the specific form. We can make our efforts a part of international efforts." But others were more cautious, citing at least two difficult conditions that China, the world's biggest carbon emitter, had laid down; namely, the extension of Kyoto and that the US, which did not ratify the pact, accept comparable, binding emission targets similar to other industrialised nations under Kyoto. […] Echoing Xie, Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh listed the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol as a non-negotiable issue for Brazil, South Africa, India and China, a climate alliance known as Basic. Ramesh criticised the US pledge on emissions reduction as "deeply disappointing" and urged Washington to contribute more to breaking the deadlock at the talks. But he also said it was "unrealistic" to think nations could cut an effective deal tackling climate change without the participation of the US, the single largest cumulative emitter of greenhouse gases. "We need to bring the US back into the mainstream of international environmental negotiations," he said. At a separate briefing, US climate envoy Dr Todd Stern expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of progress at Cancun, saying adequate guidance on abstract principles, which had basically been agreed to, was still missing from the negotiating texts at the beginning of the second week of the talks. He said although emerging economies had to do more on mitigation targets and transparency, outlines of a deal were taking shape and he thought there could be agreement. ^ top ^

China reiterates firm support for Sudan's peace process (Xinhua)
China reiterated its commitment to support Sudan's peace process, stressing that peace, stability and development of the country were of pivotal importance. "The involved parties should resolve disputes through dialogue and consultation and work together to promote a smooth referendum in southern Sudan," Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi was quoted as saying in a press release issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry here Wednesday. Yang's remarks came during the talks with his visiting Sudanese counterpart Ahmed Ali Karti. He also voiced the call for the referendum to be conducted in a "fair, free and transparent" way to reflect the true aspirations and choice of the Sudanese people. Restoring the peace between the north and south of Sudan and promoting their joint development serves the fundamental interests of the two sides and would also contribute to peace and stability of the region, Yang noted. A referendum on self-determination for southern Sudan is scheduled to be conducted on Jan. 9, 2011, as it was stipulated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) inked between north and south Sudan in 2005, which ended a two-decade civil war between the two sides. […] As Yang's guest, Karti arrived in Beijing on Wednesday. It is his second official trip to China within three months since becoming foreign minister. The previous visit took place on Sept. 14 this year. ^ top ^

Calm front as China and US bury hatchet over climate discord (SCMP)
China has demonstrated a new line of thinking on international climate negotiations with a surprising rapprochement with the United States at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico. Despite Beijing attempting to keep a low profile, its virtual about-turn in its dealings with Washington at the Mexican beach resort has made it a talking point at a dreary meeting that is moving along at a snail's pace. The world's two biggest carbon emitters appear to have buried the hatchet over their climate discord, less than two months after clashing at talks in Tianjin. With memories of bitter squabbles between the two powers at last year's Copenhagen summit still fresh, analysts say the change comes as a surprise, with Beijing trying to avoid conflicts with the US and intense media scrutiny. The fiery exchanges between Beijing and Washington and the accusations and finger-pointing that attracted world attention over the past year have gone. A new sense of reconciliation is emerging instead, with lead negotiators from both countries highlighting the importance of their co-operation rather than blaming each other for the floundering talks. […] Zhang said the change comes at a delicate time for bilateral ties, with President Hu Jintao expected to visit the US next year amid a host of economic, trade and diplomatic frictions. Experts and environmentalists close to the negotiating process say Beijing's change has come about as a result of a consensus reached quite recently between top leaders from both countries. […] "It appears true that the government has redefined the role of the Chinese negotiating team in multilateral talks and mainland negotiators have been instructed by senior government leaders not to take a confrontational stance as it may hurt bilateral ties," another expert said.

In Copenhagen last year as well as in Tianjin in October, China basked in the limelight with an unprecedented display of great-power diplomacy, taking a leadership role in the stand-off between developing countries and their developed counterparts. […] Huang Huikang, the Foreign Ministry's special representative on climate change, confirmed that things had changed after the Tianjin talks. Bickering and disputes could only disrupt the talks and lead to confrontation and clashes, which were not in the interests of either country, he said. […] Unlike other large emitters, such as the US, European Union, Brazil and India, China has not set up a pavilion at the main conference centre to showcase domestic efforts to cut emissions, even though it had one in Copenhagen last year. […] Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director at the US-based Natural Resources Defence Council, also noted a significant change in the tone of Sino-US relations in Cancun. […]. Even US climate envoy Stern has spoken positively about China-US co-operation on climate issues. "The US has an enormously important relationship with China and a very cordial relationship with China on this [climate] issue," he said. "We don't always see eye to eye on issues, but we always try to make progress on that as much as possible." But Yang said some poorer nations had expressed concern about China's deliberately low profile. "Many developing nations, especially those smaller ones, are worried about China's policy changes, which they say means the developing bloc has lost a strong, powerful voice. ^ top ^

Indian environmentalist claims building dams near China 'dangerous' (Global Times)
An renowned Indian environmentalist said Wednesday that building dams in border states is dangerous because those dams would become easy targets for China, India's The Economic Times reported. "They can bomb them anytime if there is a war," Sunderlal Bahuguna, a Padma Vibhushan award winner, was quoted as saying at a conference at the Indian Institute of Management. Bahuguna particularly mentioned a Chinese territory in southern Tibet, which India calls "Arunachal Pradesh." […] Bahuguna also expressed concern for a reported Chinese plan to build dams on the Yarlung Tsangpo River, which he said could block or divert the river. The Indian government also expressed concern during the fourth round of the two countries' strategic dialogue in November, for China's plan to build dams on the river. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said last month that China takes a responsible attitude toward developing cross-border water resources and will take into full consideration the potential impact on downstream areas. Regarding reports of China's planned dam construction on the Yarlung Tsangpo River, Fu said China will definitely fully consider the interests of countries in the lower reaches, as this is an international river. "However, that does not mean the development of Tibet should be sacrificed," he added. ^ top ^

China, Namibia stress commitment to stronger relations (Global Times)
China and Nambia on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to building stronger bilateral relations at a meeting between Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang and Namibian Foreign Minister Utoni Nujoma, who is on a week-long visit to China. Li reviewed the sound growth of China-Namibia relations since the two countries forged diplomatic ties in 1990, citing solid progress of bilateral cooperation and deeper people-to-people friendship. China regarded Namibia as one of the most trustworthy friends and partners, Li said, pledging to make joint efforts with Namibia to boost bilateral relations. Li said it was the cornerstone of China's foreign policy to strengthen China-Africa friendly and cooperative relations. As this year marked the 10th anniversary of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Li called for concerted efforts to make the best of the forum and elevate China-Africa relations. Nujoma said Namibia appreciated China's substantial and generous assistance over the years. He said the Namibian government valued its ties with China and would like to work closely in all fields.

Nujoma also hailed China's important contribution to African peace and development. It is Nujoma's first visit to China since becoming Namibia's foreign minister this year. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Education reforms begin (Global Times)
The Chinese government has kicked off a new round of education reforms with the launching of a number of projects across the country. According to a recent notice issued by the State Council, or the cabinet, the trial reform will be carried out in elementary, higher and vocational education institutions. The reform will concern almost all families in China and will focus on a number of tasks, such as improving preschool and nine-year compulsory education, building a modern university system, and promoting non-government funded education. […] China plans "to become a country with rich human resources" by the year 2020. The Plan, China's first medium and long-term education plan for this century, sets out a series of concrete goals to be achieved by 2020, including raising the senior high school gross enrollment rate to 90 percent and the higher education gross enrollment rate to 40 percent. Back in the 1980s, education reform was one of the strategies at the forefront of China's reform and opening-up effort. According to Premier Wen Jiabao, head of the leading group for the education plan, this round of reforms will "reflect the determination, will and strategic foresight of the Chinese nation to develop education and build up confidence in China's education system." Wang Hongcai, a professor at Xiamen University, told the Global Times that ensuring different regions enjoy equal education resources is the main target of the drive. "If the reform succeeds, residents in urban and rural areas, in western and eastern regions will enjoy equal educational opportunities," Wang said, adding that it will also increase efficiency in terms of cultivating talents. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier calls for efforts to quicken economic growth pattern shift (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday that more efforts should be made to boost the quality and efficiency of China's economic growth and enable all people to enjoy the fruits of the country's reform and opening-up. Li made the remarks at a seminar on drawing up the nation's 12th Five-Year (2011 to 2015) Program in Ningbo City of east Zhejiang Province, which was also attended by top officials of several provinces. The key to grasping the development opportunities and meeting the challenges is accelerating the transformation of China's economic growth pattern, said Li. Li noted that strategic economic restructuring is the key to realizing the transformation and he called for more efforts to boost domestic demand,especially consumption demand, while expanding the opening-up policy. He also urged more efforts be made to strengthen the role of innovation in driving growth, quicken the upgrading of traditional industries, develop strategic emerging industries, push forward the service sector, and conserve resources and protect the environment. Another major task of the transformation of China's economic growth pattern is to accelerate the development of social causes and enable urban and rural populations to enjoy the results of the nation's development, said Li. He also said the current task for the government is to maintain stable and relatively fast economic growth, restructure the economy and stabilize consumer prices. ^ top ^

China to carry out more international cooperation on anti-corruption measures (Xinhua)
China said on Tuesday it would fulfill its obligations to the UN Convention Against Corruption.

He Yong, deputy secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China (CPC), made the remarks at a meeting. He said that China would give priority to fulfilling its binding obligations to the convention and improving its anti-corruption laws and regulations. He also stated that China would advance international cooperation on anti-corruption measures and learn the best international practices to advance China's anti-corruption efforts. The Tuesday meeting reviewed progress China made in fulfilling the UN Convention Against Corruption and outlined plans for the next stage in the battle. ^ top ^

Chinese Vice Premier urges massive construction of affordable housing in coming years (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang called for building affordable housing on a massive scale in the next few years. Li made the remarks during a two-day inspection tour to Ningbo in east China's Zhejiang Province, which ended Tuesday. Li said the country's affordable-housing policy would continue in the upcoming years so as to substantially raise the percentage of affordable housing in the real-estate market. Li urged local governments to support such projects with additional funding and land distribution. Li also called on authorities to ensure transparency and fairness in the distribution process, to benefit those in real need. The Chinese government introduced various policies to cool down the real-estate market this year. Li stressed the need to discourage house purchases that are for the purpose of investment and speculation, and to increase the supply of affordable housing. ^ top ^

Boost for Muslims' religious facilities (People's Daily Online)
Authorities are addressing a lack of religious facilities for millions of Muslims who have moved to coastal cities, a senior official at the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) said. Along with other migrant workers, a large number of Muslims have migrated to cities from inland regions since 1978, Ma Jin, deputy director of the Islamic Department of the SARA, told China Daily. The trend has led to a growing demand for religious facilities, primarily more mosques, greater availability of Islamic food and special graveyards. […] "Muslims who work as migrant workers, or conduct small business in eastern coastal provinces, can enhance exchanges among ethnic groups, improve ethnic unity, and promote economic development in their hometowns," Ma said. Yet some coastal provinces, especially the top three in terms of the migrant Muslim population, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Fujian, found themselves ill-prepared to cope with the increasing need for religious facilities. […] Ma said some Muslims have to do their religious service outside crowded mosques in some coastal cities, causing not only traffic jams but also misunderstanding between Muslims and other people. […] He said that governments at all levels have allocated at least 74 million yuan ($11 million) to build new mosques and repair dilapidated ones over the past 10 years. Apart from mosques, a lack of graveyards suitable for Muslim burial procedures in coastal areas is another major concern, Min Xianliang, a SARA researcher, was quoted by China Ethnic News as saying. Currently, there are only four institutions offering funeral services for Muslims in Guangdong, and most cities in the province don't have Muslim graveyards, Min said. Although some local governments have allocated special graveyards for Muslims, they are still "far from enough" to meet the rising demand, he said. The problem of inadequate access to Islamic food has also troubled the migrant Muslim population. […] Yang Cheng, a press official from the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, told China Daily that the government is planning to amend the Regulations on Work for Urban Ethnic Groups, introduced 17 years ago. The draft amendment, which aims to help cities offer better religious support for migrant ethnic people, will be discussed at a national conference in December. ^ top ^

New leadership of Chinese Catholics elected at national congress (Xinhua)
The new leadership of Chinese Catholics was elected during the 8th national congress of Chinese Catholics which concluded here Thursday after three days of meeting. Bishop Fang Xingyao was elected chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), while Bishop Ma Yinglin will head the Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC). […] The 8th national congress of Chinese Catholics, held since Tuesday, was attended by 341 representatives from across China, including 64 bishops, 162 clergy, 24 nuns and 91 lay members. Jia Qinglin, China's top political advisor, met Thursday with delegates who attended the 8th national congress of Chinese Catholics. Congratulating the participants on the successful holding of the congress, Jia praised the efforts Chinese Catholics have made in serving China's reform and development and preventing infiltration of foreign hostile elements, according to a statement Xinhua received. Jia, who is Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), urged the religious clerics to keep vigilant and prevent foreign hostile elements from using religion to interfere with China's domestic affairs and to safeguard the interests of the entire nation. He called on Catholics to contribute more to China's scientific development and transformation of its economic growth mode, and play an active role in safeguarding social stability and harmony. ^ top ^


Nobel Prize

Empty Nobel seat sends strong message (SCMP)
When the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony takes place tomorrow in Oslo, Norway, among all the pomp and circumstance, there is going to be an empty seat on the stage where the laureate, Liu Xiaobo, is supposed to sit. To many around the world, this will symbolise the struggle of many Chinese people for democracy, freedom and rights. Nearly a year ago, Liu was sentenced to 11 years in jail for "inciting subversion of state power and the socialist system" by being a writer of the Charter 08 manifesto, in which he and more than 300 signatories called for sweeping political reform, the end of one-party rule as well as recognition of the rule of law and basic human and civil rights. […] Professor Geir Lundestad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, said the empty chair on the stage would send a "strong message to the world". "[The message] is that the human rights situation in China is so difficult that the laureate and his immediate family could not be present," he said recently. Beijing was furious about the awarding of the prize to someone it called a criminal and attacked the move as a Western conspiracy to destabilise China. It also warned Western nations that supporting the jailed pro-democracy activist would be seen as an affront to the country's legal system. Beijing also reportedly sent letters to ambassadors in Oslo urging them to boycott the ceremony. Under pressure from Beijing, 18 countries (not including China) had declined to attend the Nobel ceremony "for various reasons", the Norwegian Nobel Committee said this week. Two ambassadors had not replied but 44 had accepted the committee's invitation. Beijing has pulled out all the stops to stop Liu's supporters from travelling to Oslo to collect the prize on his behalf. Dozens of activists, intellectuals and rights lawyers have been subjected to various forms of harassment - some were detained, others put under house arrest, and more were guarded and followed by security men round the clock. […] At the ceremony - unless someone in Liu's family manages to turn up somehow – the organisers will not hand over the Nobel gold medal, diploma or 10 million kroner (HK$12.98 million) in prize money. […] Some observers say Beijing's aggressive attitude has tarnished its image and is counterproductive. Its tactics reflect a strong sense of insecurity and have eroded the "soft power" it has been trying so hard to build in the international arena, they say. They also say its general lack of respect for universal values such as human rights and democracy have chipped away at its credibility as a respectable power. […] Beijing has always insisted on its "peaceful rise" and craves respect and recognition as a superpower. It has tried to spread its language and culture abroad by hosting international events such as the Olympic Games and the World Expo. It has also spent a huge amount of resources on building its image by expanding the Chinese media's presence abroad. […] "The harm to its standing is very high, almost incalculable," he said. "If they overplay it, the effect is opposite in terms of public opinion. “When you push too hard, people react, and it gives people some sense what Liu Xiaobo is up against.". ^ top ^

NGO creates 'Peace Prize' (Global Times)
A Chinese committee, based on the mainland, has decided to award Lien Chan, honorary chairman of the Taiwan-based Kuomintang (KMT), the first-ever Confucius Peace Prize Thursday, a day before the Nobel Committee is due to award its Peace Prize to the convicted criminal Liu Xiaobo. Tan Liuchang, chairman of the Confucius Peace Prize Committee, told the Global Times Wednesday that his organization had informed Lien about the award through non-governmental channels. "Lien contributes immensely to the development of cross-Straits relations and to world peace," Tan said. An award ceremony is planned for Thursday at a downtown Beijing hotel, although Tan said he could not confirm the attendance of Lien. "We'll show the rest of the world how the Chinese understand peace," Tan said. "China itself is a symbol of peace and a force in upholding peace, especially in a world that is full of conflict." […] Reuters quoted organizers, however, as saying in an e-mailed statement Wednesday that "It is kind of a peaceful response to the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize." Tan insisted that his committee was a non-governmental organization, but he declined to further elaborate on details of the award. The invitation to the award ceremony was apparently issued by a division of the Ministry of Culture in charge of protecting local arts, suggesting at least a measure of government support for the prize, Reuters reported. The ministry denied any connection with the award. "We are not aware of this award. It has nothing to do with us," Zhou Guangming with the information office at the ministry told the Global Times Wednesday. Lien won out over five other nominees: Nobel Peace Prize winners Mahmoud Abbas and Nelson Mandela, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Chinese poet Qiao Damo and the 11th Panchen Lama, according to an online statement issued by the seven-member committee. The identities of the committee members were not made public. The nominees were named based on the results of an online poll, the statement said. […] A spokesman for Lien Chan's office in Taipei, however, said the office "has not received any notice or confirmation from the Confucius Peace Prize committee," noting that they became aware of the award via media reports only. […]. ^ top ^

Most nations won't attend Nobel ceremony, China says (SCMP)
China says most nations support its call to boycott this week's Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony for jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, but host Norway said only a handful of countries' envoys will not attend. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said more than 100 countries and groups would stay away from Friday's event in Oslo for the pro-democracy activist that Beijing labels subversive and a criminal. "As far as I know, at present, more than 100 countries and organizations have expressed explicit support for China opposing the Nobel Peace Prize, which fully shows that the international community does not accept the decision of the Nobel Committee," she said yesterday. Jiang declined to name those that were to skip the ceremony. […] "After the ceremony, you will see that the vast majority of the international community did not attend the ceremony. Some countries have resident missions in Norway, they will not send representatives to the ceremony," she said. China has denounced Liu's award as an "obscenity" and has unleashed a torrent of diplomatic scorn towards Norway, with Beijing pressuring diplomats to boycott the ceremony. "I would like to say to those at the Nobel Committee, they are orchestrating an anti-China farce by themselves," Jiang said. "We are not changing because of interference by a few clowns and we will not change our path." But the Norwegian Nobel Committee said only 19 states, including China, would miss the ceremony. Invitations are only sent to envoys in Oslo. With Liu serving an 11-year jail term, his wife under house arrest and many others prevented from travelling, nobody is expected to pick up the Nobel medal and US$1.5 million award on his behalf. Friday's ceremony will be the first time that a laureate under detention would not be formally represented at the awards gala since Nazi Germany barred pacifist Carl von Ossietzky from attending in 1935. The Nobel Committee said that in addition to China, the countries declining invitations were Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco. The committee has said China had mounted an unprecedented campaign to keep envoys from attending. "One of the reasons [for states not coming] is undoubtedly China," Nobel Committee executive secretary Geir Lundestad said. […] He said 44 embassies would attend the ceremony, including those of South Korea, Japan and Indonesia, as well as big emerging states India, Brazil and South Africa. Algeria and Sri Lanka had not replied. China has detained or placed under house arrest dozens of activists since Liu's award was announced in October, including his wife, Liu Xia, who is under house arrest. ^ top ^

Nobel Committee harbors political motives behind prize to Liu Xiaobo: experts (Xinhua)
Chinese experts reiterated that conferring an award to convicted Chinese criminal Liu Xiaobo is "gross interference" in China's judicial system, one day before the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. "Giving the prize to figures like Liu Xiaobo has clearly demonstrated the Nobel Committee's anti-Chinese attitude," said Gao Mingxuan, a noted Chinese Criminal law expert.

"They (members of the Nobel Committee) are obviously harboring political motives," Gao said. Ni Feng, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, "It is not strange that the human rights issue is usually haunting the relationship between China and western countries." "They try to impose their standards of human rights on China," Ni said. […] Liu's words were obviously inciting people to subvert the legitimate state power of the people's democratic dictatorship that is under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and overthrow the socialist system, Gao said, citing Liu's remarks such as "change the regime" and "set up a federal republic of China." "These words went beyond the scope of free speech and were harmful to society," said Gao, "If Chinese people do act according to his desire, the country will surely suffer from wars and conflicts, destroying the present peace which China has gained with great efforts." Gao said China should continue with efforts to develop its economy and further the reform and opening-up policy. As for its social problems, China should face them head on and gradually make a change. "These will be the best answer to those hiding special political purposes against China. ^ top ^

China expresses firm opposition to U.S. resolution on Liu Xiaobo (Xinhua)
China on Thursday expressed its firm opposition to a U.S. congressional resolution on convicted Chinese criminal Liu Xiaobo, winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, and urged U.S. lawmakers to change "arrogant and rude" attitude. "The so-called resolution approved by the U.S. House of Representatives disregards facts and distorts truth, and is flagrant interference in China's internal affairs," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu at a regular news briefing. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the resolution on Wednesday that congratulates Liu for winning the Nobel Peace Prize and calls on China to release him. […] "We urge relevant U.S. lawmakers to stop their wrongdoing on this issue, change their arrogant and rude attitude and show due respect for the Chinese people and China's judicial sovereignty," said Jiang. China has repeatedly voiced opposition to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu. Jiang said earlier that more than 100 countries and international organizations had expressed support for China's stance. "Justice lies in the heart of the people," said Jiang. "A vast majority of the international community does not support the Nobel Committee's wrong decision and any move by the committee will not change the fact that Liu Xiaobo commited crimes," she said. "Any attempt to use the issue to exert pressure on China or block China's development cannot succeed," said Jiang. "The people on the Nobel Committee must admit they are the minority. The Chinese people and a majority of countries and people in the world all oppose what they have done," Jiang said. ^ top ^

'Most nations' oppose peace prize to Liu (People's Daily Online)
Most nations support China's stance on the Nobel Peace Prize, and China will not yield to outside pressure on this issue, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Thursday in response to a question concerning the prize being awarded to convicted criminal Liu Xiaobo. "Any attempt to deter China from development will be futile," she said. She made the remark during a regular press briefing, a day before the award is due to be formally bestowed. Jiang denounced what she said were "double standards" applied to China's legal system, and criticized the US House of Representatives for calling on the Chinese government to release Liu. She said most nations do not support the Nobel Committee's "wrong decision". Any move by the committee will not change the fact that "Liu committed crimes", she said. More than 100 nations and international organizations have expressed their support for China's stance, she stressed. The majority of countries keep their distance from the Nobel Committee and many have declined to attend Friday's ceremony, she said. […] According to Jiang, Liu had incited others to subvert State power and overthrow the socialist system through writing incendiary articles, releasing them on the Internet and organizing and inducing others to sign in support of his articles, which violated Article 105 of the Criminal Law. "The behavior by Liu is not just a matter of critical comments, it has become harmful to society," said Jiang. […] "The people on the Nobel Committee must admit they are the minority. The Chinese people and a majority of countries and people in the world all oppose what they have done," she said. Jiang said earlier that the Nobel Committee's decision to grant the peace prize to a convicted criminal was tantamount to overt support for criminal activities in China, and a gross interference in China's judicial sovereignty. She indicated that the Nobel Committee had no right to judge China's internal affairs. Some foreign observers also supported China's position. […] "A group that has demonstrated such unfamiliarity with modern peacemaking ideas is disqualified and should resign immediately," said Heffermehl, author of the book The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted. Heffermehl, speaking of the purpose of the prize, noted that "the 2010 Peace Prize reflects the mindset of people still caught in Western paternalism and a Cold War mentality". While many analysts have argued that the Nobel Peace Prize has become a tool for the Nobel Committee's political goals, some committee officials have admitted publicly that interference with China's social institutions has been a long-term goal. For instance, Geir Lundestad, secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said during a talk at Oxford University at the end of October that in recent years, the committee judges had gradually come to believe they had to "address the China question", and finally, Liu became an "obvious choice" for them to "address China". ^ top ^

Confusion Prize brings Beijing doubtful reward (SCMP)
Beijing's attempt to seize the media spotlight from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo descended into farce yesterday when the newly created Confucius Peace Prize was handed to a six-year-old girl. She was standing in for the intended recipient, former Taiwanese vice-president Lien Chan, who was a no-show, with his office saying he was unaware he had been chosen or even that there was such a prize named after the famed Chinese sage. The event was meant to rival today's ceremony in Norway, at which the imprisoned laureate, Liu Xiaobo, will be honoured for his two decades of non-violent struggle for human rights. Little Zeng Yuhan, whose background the Confucius award committee refused to reveal, looked puzzled by all the attention at a chaotic news conference and was hidden behind members of the staff as reporters jostled to ask whether she knew why she was there. […] The inaugural Confucius prize, which comes with a purse of 100,000 yuan (HK$116,750), puts forward the Chinese "viewpoint of peace", according to the award committee, which is made up of professors from three Beijing universities. The prize is based on the ancient Chinese philosopher's idea of harmony, said Tan Changliu, a Beijing Normal University philosophy professor who chairs the award committee. […] According to a brochure handed out at the news conference, Lien was selected by internet users from among eight nominees - including the 11th Panchen Lama, a mainland poet with a post at the Ministry of Culture and six international figures - for his efforts to build peace between the mainland and Taiwan, However, asked when and on what website the online voting was done, Tan said that, in fact, the organisers failed to carry it out because of "technical problems". As doubts were being raised over the selection of the eight nominees and the winner, Tan said it was "a very long and complicated process. We can discuss this in the future". Two other members of the award committee accompanied Tan, and one nominee presented himself at the ceremony. […] Tan called his group a non- governmental organisation and denied the prize was motivated by Liu winning the Nobel. […] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared the same thinking as the new award's creators. In fresh criticism yesterday of Liu's prize, spokeswoman Jiang Yu said, "those people at the Nobel committee have to admit they are in the minority. The Chinese people and the overwhelming majority of people in the world oppose what they do." […] Xinhua published an English-language commentary on Wednesday accusing the West of launching a new round of China-bashing ahead of today's event in Oslo. "Liu has done everything he could to subvert the Chinese government, and that suits the strategy of some organisations and people in the West towards China", the commentary said, explaining why the Nobel committee chose Liu as the winner. ^ top ^



Tibet to ensure free bilingual preschool education by 2015 (Xinhua)
Education authorities in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region said Friday all children in Tibet's farming and herding areas will receive at least two years of free preschool education in both the Tibetan language and Mandarin Chinese by 2015. "By then, at least 60 percent of Tibetan children will attend kindergarten, compared with the current 24.5 percent," a Tibet education bureau spokesman said. He said the move aims to improve the early childhood education of Tibetans who largely rely on farming and herding for a living. The move will improve children's proficiency in both Tibetan and Mandarin and prepare them for formal school education, he said. The central government will fund the free preschool education. City dwellers will still have to pay for their children's preschool education, like elsewhere in China. The spokesman said some rural primary schools will be encouraged to have preschool classes, particularly those in sparsely-populated herding areas that have few kindergartens. Tuition fees, as well as food and lodging expenses on campus, have been free for all primary and secondary school students from Tibetan herders' families since 1985. ^ top ^

Bilingual preschool policy spurs fears of marginalising of Tibetan (SCMP)
The central government plans to offer two years of free, bilingual preschool education in rural areas of Tibet by 2015. Activists says it is a move to make sure all Tibetans, including semi- nomadic herders, learn Putonghua from childhood, but a Tibetan scholar said the plan would aid farmers' and herdsmen's children and provide them with an equal chance to be educated like their peers in city areas. […] Beijing-based Tibetan activist Tserang Woeser said the move indicated the central government was stepping up efforts to marginalise the Tibetan language in Tibet. "Bilingual education has been widely implemented in all primary, secondary and high schools in Tibet since the 1980s, except for kindergartens. But many kindergartens in city areas like Lhasa are actually starting so-called bilingual education," she said. "Now it's even been extended to preschool education in farming and herding zones, it means the Tibetan language has been further marginalised." She said the so-called "bilingual education" policy forced Tibetan children to take either a "Putonghua class" or a "Tibetan language class" when in kindergarten. The "Tibetan language class" is designed for Tibetan children, who have to learn both Tibetan and Putonghua, while the "Putonghua class" is for Han Chinese. With parents of the rural children largely reliant on farming and herding for a living and with no stable income or living places, she said kindergartens had to operate like boarding schools, putting Tibetan language skills at even greater risk. However, Dr Tanzen Lhundup, director of the research office at the government-backed China Tibetology Research Centre, said the policy would have a long-term positive impact on rural Tibetan children and would not marginalise the language. "There is a great gap between children in cities and rural areas in Tibet, with most farmers' and herdsmen's children lacking clean, nutritional food and safe living places," he said. "With 80 per cent of the Tibetan population farmers and herdsmen who live in poverty, the new policy will not only improve the younger generation's education level, but also their growing environment if our government can provide them with a quality preschool education as well as good board and lodging.". ^ top ^



China aims to narrow east-west gap with more investment, expertise (Xinhua)
On frosty Sunday morning, Wang Jinjian joined residents of Huocheng County in far west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to clear streets blanketed by heavy snow. Wang, who just arrived in Huocheng two weeks ago after being appointed the head of the county committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), wanted to get acquainted with local people as soon as possible. […] Wang is among thousands of cadres and experts who were being dispatched by the central government to Xinjiang to assist local development by using their expertise and successful experience in the east. This marked a new round of China's efforts to narrow the development gap between the west and the east. In 2010, besides increasing capital investment and policy support, the central government decided to begin a new round of assistance to Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang by pairing relatively developed provinces and cities with the two regions. A series of decisions were announced after the CPC Central Committee held conferences on the development of West China, Tibet and Xinjiang this year. Observers said the three meetings were milestones in working out the plan for narrowing the east-west gap as the western region is a difficult but key point in building a well-off society in a comprehensive way. The government is aimed at narrowing the gap between east and west in the next decade, with western regions making great progress in comprehensive economic strength, people's living standards and environmental protection. ^ top ^

Senior Chinese leader calls for stability, development in Xinjiang (Xinhua)
A senior Chinese leader has called for more efforts in the next five years to seek long-term stability and all-round development in the country's northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks at a meeting held here on Thursday. Zhou said the region's government and the central government agencies that are responsible for aiding Xinjiang, should carefully create five-year and ten-year development programs for Xinjiang and put more efforts on stock farming, housing and education. Also,the governments should maintain social security and stability in Xinjiang by preventing penetration and sabotage by terrorism, separatism and extremism, Zhou said. ^ top ^



Top political advisor meets with Taiwan finance delegation (Xinhua)
A top political advisor called for closer financial ties between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan while meeting with Fredrick Chien, the head of a Taiwan finance delegation here on Thursday. Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People' s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said that financial cooperation was crucial for the cross-Straits economic bond. With the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), financial cooperation had made substantial progress and entered a new stage. Jia said closer financial cooperation across the Strait would help financial industries on both sides to fend off international risks and benefit the economic growth of both sides. Fredrick Chien, also the president of Cathay Charity Foundation, agreed to cooperate and to seize the opportunity to create a win-win situation. The ECFA, taking effect on Sept.. 12, is widely seen as a landmark deal to enhance cross-Strait economic cooperation between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. Under the agreement, the two sides pledged to gradually reduce and remove trade and investment barriers, and continue discussing agreements for commodities trading, and trade in services and investments. ^ top ^



Behind China's trade surplus with United States (People's Daily Online)
For an iPod player that is assembled in China and sold in the United States at a price of 299 U.S. dollars, its corporate headquarters in the United States would get 163 dollars and Chinese laborers 4 dollars. But every iPod player would add 150 dollars to China's trade surplus with the United States. This inconvenient truth behind China's trade surplus is often "ignored" by U.S. politicians, who would point a finger at China for trade imbalances with the United States. […] These cases show that U.S. companies that have operations in China, instead of Chinese, are the biggest winners in U.S.-China trade. The Chinese side, at the same time, takes the blame for causing trade imbalances. China's trade surplus with the United States is as high as 27.8 billion U.S. dollars in September, 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. But China's trade surplus mainly comes from processing or products of foreign-funded companies in China, which are fattening foreign companies. As a matter of fact, in China-U.S. trade, China had a surplus in processing, but a deficit in general trade; it had a surplus in trade of goods, but a deficit in trade of services. […] It means that the structural characteristics of China-U.S. trade is determined by economic globalization, international industry transfers and comparative advantages of China and the United States. It is unreasonable for some people to link U.S. unemployment with China's trade surplus with the country, because U.S. companies would move out of the country for cheap labor anyway.

China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation benefits both countries. As a matter of fact, the Americans are gaining handsomely from trade with China. Trade imbalances, of course, need to be addressed. On the one hand, China needs to continue to increase imports from the United States. But Washington, on the other hand, should recognize China's market economy status and loosen restrictions on export of U.S. products to. ^ top ^

CPI growth to hit record high: economists (Global Times)
Ahead of the release of the November economic data, chief economists from 23 financial organizations predicted that the growth of the consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, in November is expected to hit a record high of 4.75 percent, according to a China Business News (CBN) report Monday. Shen Jianguang, chief economist with Mizuho Securities China, said that compared with the inflation in 2007 and 2008, the liquidity and the assets bubble are stronger, and labor and resources face the pressure of cost increases. The economists also said that the inflation for the whole year will not be too high, as the CPI in December will drop further and the CPI for the whole year is expected to grow 3.2 percent.

Zhou Wangjun, deputy chief of the price management department at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said Sunday that the December CPI growth will not exceed 5 percent and will be lower than the growth of November. Some economists are concerned about rising inflation next year but Lian Ping, chief economist with the Bank of Communications, said that inflation is unlikely to be harmful. Zhang Ping, vice director of the Institute of Economics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said on Saturday that the country's CPI will grow more than 5 percent in the first quarter of next year.

Zhang pointed out that although the inflation pressure is large, the inflation will be under control if the government can keep a stable monetary policy, and he is still optimistic about the economic growth trend. Zhang also said that the developed countries' monetary policies will be of some concern and that China's economic growth will still mainly rely on the growth of domestic demand. According to Zhou, China should set up a salary increase mechanism to curb the increases of the commodity prices. He also said that the control of commodity prices should be made in priority with the use of economic and legal measures and he cautioned against the use of administrative measures. […]. ^ top ^

China's farm produce and materials prices continue to fall (Xinhua)
China's top economic planner said Thursday that prices for agricultural produce and materials continued to fall from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5, with some varieties seeing big drops. Food prices monitored in 36 major cities fell 0.2 percent from the previous week, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). Vegetable prices fell the most, with wholesale prices dropping for the fourth consecutive week and 16 out of 18 staple vegetables falling in price from early November, it said. […] Meanwhile, vegetable prices in 18 of the 36 cities were down by more than 15 percent on a monthly basis, said the NDRC. […] Also, prices in eight cities, including Shenyang, Shenzhen and Ningbo, were all down by more than 20 percent. Prices of production materials fell for a third consecutive week, according to the NDRC. Compared with the previous week, prices of major production materials fell 0.4 percent, up 0.3 percentage points. Urea prices moved down 1.5 percent week on week, while natural gas prices dropped 1.3 percent week on week. Prices of aluminum fell 0.8 percent, and those of rubber were down by 0.2 percent. Official figures showed that the country's grain output rose 2.9 percent year on year in 2010 to 546.41 million tonnes, marking the seventh consecutive year of growth for China's grain output. Food prices account for about a third of the weight of China's consumer price index (CPI), a major gauge of inflation, and the falling prices in farm produce and production materials are expected to ease some inflationary pressure. China's CPI rose to a 25-month high of 4.4 percent year on year in October and the hike was largely attributed to a 10.1 percent surge in food prices. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said it would release the November CPI figures on Saturday. ^ top ^

Prices, balance growth expected to be priorities for 2011 economic policies (People's Daily Online)
China's central economic work conference will convene this weekend in Beijing. It's the highest level economic meeting and will outline the country's policies for the next year. China is now the world second largest economy. But the economic giant is also confronting mounting challenges to sustain its fast growth. With this in mind, the government will soon map out next year's economic policies. For many Chinese, the more pressing issue is rising prices. A Beijing resident said, "Rising consumer prices and housing prices are worrisome. I hope the government can come out with some effective policies to curb the trend of rising prices. " Analysts predict the government will set next year's inflation target at 4 percent. That's one percent higher than this year's target. Facing increasing inflationary pressures, the Chinese government is expected to change its monetary stance to prudent next year. Banks will lend less, limited to some 6.5 to 7 trillion yuan, analysts have predicted. Sources say China's economic growth target for 2011 is to be set at 8 percent. The figure is unchanged from this year, but inclusive growth will be stressed. As for fiscal policy, the market is expecting the government will favor spending in education, healthcare, technology, and social security in 2011. 2011 is the first year of the next five year plan. It will be crucial for the country's economic transformation. The country must maintain rapid economic growth. but what's even more important is that the quality be balanced, sustainable and benefit all. ^ top ^


DPRK and South Korea

NK warns of escalated tension (Global Times)
North Korea warned Sunday that South Korea's plan to hold a naval live-fire drill in waters near the disputed west coast is escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula. "The enemy's provocative madness has been driving the situation on the Korean Peninsula to an uncontrollably extreme state.... No one can expect how the situation will develop in the future," Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said in a statement, according to AFP. North Korea is now maintaining "maximum self-possession and self-control," the Xinhua News Agency quoted the statement as saying. "If an all-out war breaks out between the two sides, it will seriously affect peace and security not only on the Korean Peninsula, but also in the rest of the region." […] South Korea has staged a series of military exercises, including a massive four-day joint naval drill with the US last week, amid high tension following the November 23 incident. Pyongyang's warning also came after South Korea's newly named defense chief, Kim Kwan-jin, said Friday at his confirmation hearing that Seoul will respond with air strikes if North Korea attacks again. […] The US-South Korean alliance is "stronger than ever," US President Barack Obama said Saturday, according to AFP. Kim also noted that North Korea has an overwhelming edge over South Korea in terms of asymmetrical forces, with more than 200,000 special troops, according to Yonhap. The defense chief said the North's forces, which include strategic weapons, submarines and special operation troops, were increasingly becoming a "serious threat" to South Korea, according to the report. Also Sunday, Pyongyang condemned the US, South Korea and Japan for establishing a triangular military alliance against North Korea, Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported. Pyongyang's blast of the countries' "tripartite military alliance" came as the largest-ever US-Japan joint military exercise entered its third day Sunday, with drills off Japan's southern islands. For the first time ever, South Korea was invited to attend the week-long drill as an observer. "Holding military exercises will not help ease tensions. It is necessary for all parties to take China's advice and sit down for talks to prevent the escalation of the situation," Lü Chao, director of the Korean Research Center at China's Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. "Without China's diplomatic efforts, it's hard to imagine how the situation could have been," he added. ^ top ^

Hu, Obama discuss Koreas (Global Times)
China expressed concern Monday that tensions may be intensifying on the Korean peninsula, as South Korea began a new series of naval exercises off the country's west coast. In a phone conversation Monday, President Hu Jintao told his US counterpart, Barack Obama, that "The fragile security situation on the Korean Peninsula, if not properly handled, could lead to further escalation of tensions, or even run out of control, which is not in the common interests of all parties concerned," according to the Xinhua News Agency. North Korea warned its neighbor Saturday against carrying out such exercises on Sunday, but South Korea paid no heed to the call and pushed ahead with its exercises as planned. […] Choi Choon-heum, a senior researcher with the Korea Institute for National Unification, told the Global Times that the naval firing exercise was preplanned and was not intended to challenge North Korea, nor to clash with the meeting of the three foreign ministers in Washington Monday. "South Korea doesn't believe that North Korea's warnings are sincere," he said Monday, adding that he believes the North is bluffing about its military strength and nuclear capability. Worries about rising friction remain high among residents of Yeonpyeong Island, although the waters off the recently shelled island will not see any naval drills. […] US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met her South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Washington Monday to discuss the recent tensions, the exchange of fire and North Korea's recently disclosed uranium-enrichment program. Their meeting occurred after Hu and Obama's conversation, according to CNN. […] "I don't think the meeting will provide a possible solution to tensions on the Korean Peninsula. But I think they'll form a common purpose in the way to deal with North Korea," Choi said. […] A Washington Post report cited an unnamed senior US official as saying that the Obama administration is "moving to redefine its relationship with South Korea and Japan, potentially creating an anti-China bloc in Northeast Asia.". ^ top ^

Washington, allies urge more pressure on N.Korea (Global Times)
China insisted Tuesday that the only way to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula is by talking, not force. […] Jiang also urged relevant parties to support China's proposal for emergency negotiations among chief nuclear envoys of the Six-Party Talks. "Once the parties involved start talks, there is always a way to settle the issue," she said. The comments came after foreign diplomats of the United States, South Korea and Japan wrapped up a one-day, closed-door meeting in Washington, DC. During the meeting, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Kim Sung Hwan and Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara continued to put the spotlight on Beijing in their hopes of reining in Pyongyang. The US and its Asian allies condemned North Korea's "provocative behavior" and urged Beijing to pressure Pyongyang to fulfill its commitments and abandon nuclear aspirations. In a joint statement released after the meeting, the three ministers "strongly condemned" the military attack by North Korea and urged it to "cease its provocative behavior" and abide by the armistice agreement that put the 1950-1953 Korean War on hold, the Kyodo News Agency reported. Japan's Sankei newspaper reported that the trio proposed a five-party framework grouping China, Russia, the US, South Korea and Japan to replace the stalled Six-Party Talks mechanism. […] The trio "appreciates Beijing's initiative," but "any effort must start with North Korea ceasing all provocative and belligerent behavior," Clinton said during the trilateral meeting, according to a joint statement released afterward. The resumption of the Six-Party Talks, the statement said, will require North Korea to make a sincere effort to improve relations with South Korea and to "demonstrate a genuine commitment to complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization." Separately, South Korea's military staged its second day of live-fire exercises ahead of a visit to Seoul by Chair-man of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Admiral Mike Mullen. Additionally, the US and Japan Tuesday began "Forest Light," a major field training exercise, in southern Japan's Miyazaki Prefecture, which involves 550 Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces members and 215 US marines and sailors. It will last until December 15. ^ top ^

China says military deterrence may escalate tensions on Korean Peninsula (People's Daily Online)
China on Thursday warned that military deterrence would escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula rather than helping solve problems. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu made the remarks when responding to a question regarding a decision by the Republic of Korea and the United States to continue joint military exercises. "China has repeatedly made clear its position, and we hope the parties concerned take our concerns seriously," she said. Calling the situation "highly complicated" and "sensitive", Jiang warned that inappropriate handling of the issues could tighten tensions on the peninsula, and severely harm regional peace, stability and the common interests of the region. Top military officers from the ROK and the United States announced Wednesday plans to continue joint military exercises that began last week off the west coast of the peninsula after an exchange of fire between the ROK and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Nov. 23. The two officers said the drills were intended to "deter future acts of aggression." Jiang urged the parties concerned to act in a responsible, prudent and more positive manner. She said China's policy towards the Korean Peninsula complied with the long-term interests of the parties concerned, and China had played a positive role in maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, and alleviating tensions. ^ top ^

Kim, China envoy hold in-depth talks (Global Times)
Chinese and North Korean officials met in Pyongyang Thursday in the first meeting between the two countries since the exchange of artillery fire between North and South Korea more than two weeks ago. Citing "candid and in-depth" talks in Pyongyang, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il were said to have struck a consensus concerning the situation on the Korean Peninsula as well as bilateral relations, China's foreign ministry said Thursday. The North Korean KCNA news agency described the talks as being "held to boost the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries and a series of issues of mutual concern." However, no details were forthcoming from either side about the consensus. Jiang Yu, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, warned that the issues at hand merited careful handling to avoid raising tensions that could harm peace and stability in the region. The meeting occurred as top South Korean and US military brass announced Wednesday that last week's joint military exercises would be continued. […] Beijing has proposed an emergency meeting of the Six-Party Talks to discuss defusing tensions. South Korea, the US and Japan have virtually turned down the offer, saying the North should first improve relations with Seoul and demonstrate its denuclearization commitment through action. A high-level US delegation, led by Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, is set to visit China next week in an attempt to call on Beijing to rein in Pyongyang, Yonhap News Agency reported Thursday. ^ top ^



83 recorded cases of HIVAIDS (
Minister of Health S.Lambaa gave a detailed answer in Parliament last week to a question by G.Bayarsaikhan on the implementation of the law on prevention of HIV/ AIDS. The first HIV/AIDS case was registered in 1992 and the number was 83 at the end of November, 2010, 65.3% of them diagnosed since 2007. All the cases were found to have been sexually transmitted. Of those registered, 24 had worked abroad and 4 were infected by foreign citizens working and living in Mongolia. Five of those registered are between15-19, while 15 are between 20-24, 24 between 25-29, 12 between 30-34, 13 between 35-39, 12 between 40-45 and one between 45-50. All five children of HIV/AIDS infected mothers have been found without the infection. Prevention and control of HIV/AIDS is not only a health issue. The Government, donor and UN organizations work together in a UN program to achieve best results. Efforts are always made improve diagnostic and treatment methods of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. All aimag hospitals now offer free blood analysis and 100 doctors and medical workers gave been trained since 2008, in cooperation with NGOs. […]. ^ top ^

Detained Nat'l Security Official's Spouse Gets a Visa to Britain (UB Post)
The British Embassy last week issued an entry permit to wife of B. Khurts, a top national security official of Mongolia, who is in custody since mid September 2010 in Britain. Khurts's wife will attend the hearing of his spouse scheduled on January 5, 2011 at the Westminster Magistrates Court in London. Khurts's spouse has not seen her husband since his arrest at Heathrow Airport and could not attend previous hearings in London as the British Embassy refused to issue her a visa. The last trial of the ex-intelligence officer, who detained for alleged kidnapping of a Mongolian national from France, took place in London on November 15 and was adjourned till January 5, 2011. At this extradition hearing, Alan Jones, a defense lawyer for Khurts, made legal arguments based on testimonies by witnesses and on relevant international legal grounds not to expatriate B.Khurts to Germany. As the Court decided to consider these lawful grounds thoroughly, the case was adjourned. ^ top ^

China, Mongolia pledge closer military ties (
Chinese National Defense Minister Liang Guanglie met with his Mongolian counterpart Lu. Bold in Beijing last week, both pledging to enhance military ties between the two nations. Liang said China attaches great importance to boosting Sino-Mongolian relations and is ready to work with Mongolia to push forward relations between the two countries and military-to-military ties so as to contribute to regional and global peace and development. Bold said Mongolia is ready to make joint efforts with China to further ties. ^ top ^

Parliament to discuss Constitution amendment procedures (
Parliament will this week have the first discussion of the draft setting out procedures for amending the Constitution. The issue was raised in 2004 but it has been such a sensitive issue since the seven amendments passed after the 2000 election when the MPRP was in power, that no proposals were submitted until now. The last amendments are widely perceived to have been against both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. […] The present proposals set out areas where there will be no amendment, such as the governance schedule and human rights provisions. It also forbids amendments in a six-month period prior to a Parliament election, and wants any amendment to be valid for at least eight years. Any change in the basic principles of the Constitution will have to be placed before a referendum. […] The issue of an MP becoming a Government member continues to be thorny. The present system means people are appointed more because of political considerations than on grounds of efficiency. Talent is often ignored in favor of political expediency. Maybe it would be good to have the Prime Minister from among those elected to Parliament and also some important ministries such Finance, Foreign Affairs and Justice to go to MPs, limiting their number to 6% of MPs. ^ top ^

"Preferred shares to turn into loans” (Montsame)
The Investment Agreement between shareholders of the "Oyu tolgoi" mineral deposit--the government of Mongolia, the Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia Inc LLC, the Ivanhoe Nines LTD, and Rio Tinto International Holdings Limited, expected to be amended. The amendment will be made by changing financial method. It is caused by the fact that some people do not understand properly the method on building capital by using preferred shares.
The Oyu Tolgoi LLC will have to negotiate with the government of Mongolia and get permission in case of holding talks or negotiations with any foreign legal person, in accordance with the amendment. The government also must give the permission after negotiating with the State Great Khural and other related organizations. At the regular cabinet meeting held Wednesday, the Minister of Finance S.Bayartsogt and the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy D.Zorigt introduced the cabinet to results of the negotiations held with investors of the "Oyu tolgoi" mineral deposit. In addition to it, a report on procedure of the negotiations has been given by the Premier S.Batbold and these Ministers. .[…] S.Bayartsogt has given a word about the preferred shares. He has said that financing never been made through preferred shares before. "All companies issue simple shares. There are various types of mechanisms for making financing. The preferred shares of the company are issued in order to reduce the financial risk. The company can finance itself. If to do that, the company has to take its entire crisis," Bayartsogt has stressed. He has underlined that the agreement reflects four methods of financing--to make financing in way of issuing additional shares in equal size of stocks of the shareholders, to let those companies not belonging to the sides take loans, to take loan. ^ top ^


Gabrielle Tschopp
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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