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
  21-25.2.2011, No. 359  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea


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Foreign Policy

China key driving force of global growth: Kazakh president (Xinhua)
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev lauded China's development, saying China's economic success is an important driving force of the global economic growth. […] In the future, Kazakhstan hopes to deepen its cooperation with China, placing priorities on such areas as high technology and the construction of railways and highways, including high-speed railways, he said. During the visit this time, the two sides are expected to sign a series of agreements on alternative energy, chemical industries as well as oil and gas projects, the Kazakh president said. On cooperation within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Nazarbayev stressed that as the defender of regional security and stability, the status of the SCO is increasingly rising and China has made very important contribution to the consolidation of world and regional security. The settlement of border issues between member countries through dialogue is the SCO's main achievement, he said, believing this helps enhance mutual trust and broaden multilateral and bilateral cooperation among SCO members. One of the main functions of the SCO is to tackle terrorism, said Nazarbayev. […] Kazakhstan, this year's rotating chair state of the SCO, will host a SCO summit in its capital city of Astana on June 15 to review the development of the organization over the past decade and to discuss and formulate its future missions. In the coming decade, the SCO should fully tap its potential and coordinate the interests of energy producers, transporters and consumers, said Nazarbayev. In addition, the SCO members will see a broad prospect for their cooperation in culture, tourism, education and sports, he said, vowing that Kazakhstan will do its best to expand the SCO and enhance the organization's efficiency. Nazarbayev also said that his country since 2010 has started an innovative industrial development plan aimed at fostering exports-oriented and technology-intensive industries in the country. He welcomed Chinese enterprises to invest in Kazakhstan. ^ top ^

China calls for closer G20 cooperation, stable currency rates (Xinhua)
Chinese Finance Minister Xie Xuren on Saturday called all major economies to continue to strengthen cooperation on international economic issues and maintain the stability of main reserve currencies. At the Paris meeting gathering finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 20 economies, Xie said that G20 members should enhance cooperation in making economic policies and cement the economic recovery against the downside risks. Speaking at the meeting, Xie urged countries to reduce malicious capital flows that are aimed at arbitrage on international levels and have the potential of pushing up global inflation. The Chinese minister also urged countries to continue fighting against all sorts of protectionism and to boost international trade and investment. China will sustain an active fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy through 2011, and continue to make economic structural reform in a bid to transform its model of economic growth, Xie said. China will adapt to a better growth pattern that is driven by consumption, investment and export in a coordinated way, and will strive to increase citizens' income and improve its social security services, Xie added. Also on Saturday, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the Chinese central bank, said the reform of the international monetary system (IMS) should take into account both long-term visions and short- term achievements as the reform addresses such a wide scope of contents. […] The meeting issued a statement confirming an agreement on a list of indicators to assess global economic imbalances after discussions and debates on global economy, reforms of the IMS, international financial regulations, the excessive volatility of main commodities. The statement agreed on a bigger role for the International Monetary Fund in coordinating economic policies on international level. What achieved so far was just the first step, said French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde in a press conference, noting further discussions on guidelines to assess the indicators, detail recommendations on IMS reforms and other important common concerns were expected by April, when the second finance meeting of 2011 will place in the United States. ^ top ^

China should be judged properly (China Daily)
Germany hopes for G20 deal despite Chinese opposition. China resisting G20 deal on indicators. China blocking G20 agreement on indicators. These are some of the headlines that flashed across the Western media during the weekend. While the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors were at a close-door meeting on Saturday to set yardsticks to measure global imbalance, Western journalists were playing up the partial disagreement between China and other countries. After using words such as "opposition, resisting and blocking", Western journalists could jolly well say "China hijacks " to once again make it the scapegoat if no agreement or compromise is reached on the issue. […] Misusing a country's partial difference to say it is "opposing, resisting or blocking" a deal is not only unfair, but also can mislead the public. The Western media has long ignored China's basic situation: The country is home to 1.3 billion people. Hence, at the two-day meeting, Finance Minister Xie Xuren and Central Bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan were speaking on behalf of nearly one-fifth of the world's population. If one bears this in mind, it would be easier to understand Chinese negotiators, especially when they face difficulty in finding converging points of national interests and global agenda. Foreign reserves, currency and trade issues are no small decisions for a country such as China to take. It is unrealistic to expect the world's largest developing country to make changes overnight, for it cannot afford to commit a big mistake with such decisions. But China is a pragmatic country, and at many international meetings, it has shown flexibility and cooperative spirit, such as at the G20 meeting on Saturday. Coincidently, when the G20 meeting was organized in Paris on Saturday, Beijing held a high-profile seminar on social management, which was attended by the country's top leaders, including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. The profound implication of the two separate meetings in Paris and Beijing is that China will assess social impacts first while considering any policy shift. It can bring unnecessary domestic and social pressures if it does not make a proper decision on trade, foreign reserves and other issues on the global stage. The Western media should understand the complexity when China takes some time to make a decision on an international issue. Taking time to make a decision does not mean China is unwilling to fulfill its international obligations. […] These actions, for sure, will be accompanied by China's active participation in perfecting the rules of the global game. China has realized that global participation should not be one-party-wins or a zero-sum deal, and knows how to achieve win-win situation. During the G20 meeting in Paris, the international community and the Western media might not have been satisfied with China's stance on revaluation and internationalization of the yuan, and many leaders might have urged it to take faster action. But China has good reason not to have acted according to the West's demands. For example, if Beijing takes radical measures to revaluate the yuan, countries exporting goods to China will be unhappy when it implements its new import policy later this year. So, when reporting about China, Western journalists should be more objective and insightful. ^ top ^

China evacuates nationals from chaotic Libya (People's Daily Online)
China will dispatch chartered flights and its cargo ships now operating in the Mediterranean to be ready in aiding evacuation of Chinese citizens from unrest-ravaged Libya as political turmoil has not abated in the North African state. The prime-time evening news on CCTV, China's national broadcaster, Tuesday led with a statement that President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao has ordered"all-out efforts to secure the life and property of Chinese nationals in Libya." A government task force, led by Vice-Premer Zhang Dejiang and State Councillor Dai Bingguo, was set up Tuesday by Beijing to lead and orchestrate efforts for evacuating Chinese citizens, including compatriots from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, from Libya. The task force decided at a meeting Tuesday in Beijing to immediately send chartered flights from Chinese airlines with medical and food supplies to the region. […] Apart from chartered flights, ships from the China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO), as well as Chinese fishing boats operating in nearby waters, will also carry supplies and help an evacuation, the task force said. At a regular news briefing on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said China was very concerned about the current situation in Libya. China hopes the African country "can restore social stability and political order as soon as possible", he added. […] A Chinese embassy spokesperson in Libya, Du Minghao, confirmed on Tuesday that dozens of Chinese citizens had been injured, 15 of whom were in hospital. Du also said that Chinese invested companies and construction sites had been vandalized. Other foreigners have also been targeted in Libya. On Monday, some 500 local people looted a South Korean construction site west of Tripoli, the South Korean foreign ministry said. ^ top ^

East Africa, China explore new areas of cooperation (Xinhua)
The East Africa Community (EAC) and the Chinese government held talks on Wednesday to explore new areas of cooperation and boost trade between both sides. A statement from the EAC Secretariat said China's Ministry of Commerce Director Department of West Asian and African Affairs Chai Zhijing held discussions with Secretary General of the East African Community Juma Mwapachu on bilateral cooperation. "The Chinese delegation were at the EAC Headquarters to explore areas of cooperation specifically trade and investment opportunities in areas such as agriculture, animal-husbandry, production and processing of mineral and other natural resources, manufacturing, commerce and logistics, and tourism," the statement said. It noted that the delegation wants to know how China could support and facilitate cross-border infrastructure projects such as transport, communication and power. The Chinese and EAC officials also discussed cooperation in human resource development and training. Speaking during the meeting, […] He noted that Chinese companies were involved in the construction of the EAC Arusha-Namanga-Athi River Road project The EAC secretary general said the regional economic bloc, which comprises Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, was truly looking forward to forging a lasting relationship with China. Chai said China has very good economic and cultural relations with all the five partner states of the East African Community and that all the five states were enjoying economic stability. […] The two sides agreed to come up with a concrete framework for engaging each other in the identified areas of cooperation, within one month. ^ top ^

Pressure on China to let UN security group grow (SCMP)
Facing a renewed bid from the so-called G4 countries - India, Japan, Brazil and Germany - for permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council, China is coming under increasing pressure to help find a solution. On February 11, the four countries again urged the UN to speed up reform, saying that most member states supported the expansion of permanent and non-permanent members, and that tangible results should be achieved by the next UN General Assembly in September. Since the early 1990s there have been increasing calls for reform of the Security Council - the top international decision-making body in matters of peace and security - to reflect a changing global order. China, the only developing and Asian country among the five permanent members, inevitably holds the key to reform. […] However, China has been non-committal on any reform proposals, emphasising the need for broad consensus to be reached before any changes are made, given the growing list of countries vying for membership and equally strident opposition to such moves. The G4 grouping further complicates the matter: while China has called for increased participation of developing countries in the United Nations, its opposition to Japan is well known. […] A WikiLeaks document also revealed that deputy foreign minister He Yafei told his US counterparts in April 2009 that "it would be very difficult for the Chinese people to tolerate if Japan becomes a permanent member". While South Korea also opposes Japan's bid, the US has been a staunch supporter of Japan, partly because it's the second-largest financial contributor to the UN. China's position on India is more ambiguous, and even Chinese academics are split as to whether China would say no if India went solo on its bid. On the one hand, India and China are becoming increasingly aligned on many global issues; on the other hand, they still share a disputed border. China's current position is ambiguous support for India "to play a bigger role" in the UN. […]. Instead he called for further negotiations and a reform plan that would address "a basket" of issues, not just expansion of permanent and non-permanent membership. Other issues that were previously discussed include possible new categories of membership, the veto right and other voting rights, and new working methods for an enlarged Security Council. The need to balance all regional interests has been cited as the main reason for China's unwillingness to support any particular country's bid for permanent membership. […] But a growing need to re-establish the UN's relevance and authority, expectations from neighbours and allies, and China's own need for similar voices on the Security Council have all made it more difficult for China to stick to a passive approach. India has in particular seen China's lack of support as a top sticking point in the fragile bilateral relationship, already troubled by border disputes and trade frictions. The four other permanent members expressed support for India's bid last year. […]. ^ top ^

China to fulfill duty as rotating Security Council president in fair, neutral way: envoy (Xinhua)
China will perform its duty as the rotating president of the UN Security Council in March in a fair, neutral way in order to effectively maintain international peace and security, the Chinese UN envoy said here on Thursday. Li Baodong, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, made the statement in an interview with the UN-based Chinese media after he exchanged views with UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on the work of the 15-nation Council in March. […] The Council presidency rotates among the members of the Security Council in the English alphabetical order of their names. Each president holds office for one calendar month. China previously assumed the presidency in January 2010. According to the current provisional work program in March, the Security Council is expected to review such issues as Afghanistan, the Middle East, Lebanon, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Li said. Proposed by China, the Security Council is scheduled to hold an open debate on March 10 on Somalia to explore how to hammer out a comprehensive strategy to promote a proper solution to the issue of Somalia, he said. ^ top ^

Mongolian president meets Chinese FM on ties (Xinhua)
President Elbegdorj Tsakhia met here Thursday with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on promotion of relations between their two neighboring countries. Yang said the Chinese and Mongolian peoples share a long history of friendly exchanges. Developing long-time friendly, mutually beneficial and cooperative ties with Mongolia is an important part of China's foreign policies toward neighbors, and is also China's unchangeable policy, Yang said. China is willing to make joint efforts with Mongolia to keep high-level exchanges, deepen economic and trade cooperation especially on big programs, push bilateral ties onto a new platform, and further benefit the two countries and peoples, Yang said. Tsakhia, for his part, said developing friendly ties with China is one of the priorities of Mongolia's foreign policies. He said China is Mongolia's biggest trade partner and investment source country, adding that bilateral ties have a solid foundation, huge potential, and bright prospects. He also expressed the hope that the two countries will strengthen communications and coordination, positively push forward pragmatic cooperation in various fields, and lift bilateral ties to a new high On Thursday, Yang also met his Mongolian counterpart Gombojav Zandanshatar. Both sides expressed a strong desire to further promote relations between the two countries. After the meeting, the two ministers attended a signing ceremony for three agreements involving fire prevention in border regions and the exchange of a note about Mongolia's establishment of a general consulate in Hong Kong. Yang arrived in Mongolia on Thursday for a two-day visit. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Hundreds join 'Jasmine Revolution' (SCMP)
Crowds turned out in Beijing and Shanghai city centres yesterday, following an online call for a "Jasmine Revolution" in 13 cities in response to pro-democracy protests across the Middle East. Nervous that the gatherings might turn into larger protests, the authorities went on high alert. Tens of thousands of police and state security agents were mobilised to quell the gatherings. More than 20 mainland cities, including Tianjin, Chengdu and Guangzhou, stepped up security measures, with state security, police and armed forces ordered to stand by in case of emergency, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. Universities in Shaanxi and Jiangsu were ordered to shut their gates to prevent students from leaving campus, it reported. Rights group China Human Rights Defenders said at least 70 to 80 people across the country had their freedom of movement restricted by police over the weekend. Some were detained at police stations, while others were put under house arrest or forcibly taken out of their homes by police. Among them were Beijing-based rights lawyers Teng Biao, Jiang Tianyong and Xu Zhiyong. Teng's wife said state security police summoned him on Saturday afternoon and later returned to confiscate his computer and various documents. They were among a handful of lawyers detained late last week when they held a gathering to discuss how to help Chen Guangcheng, a blind activist whose family has been put under house arrest for five months since his release from prison. In Beijing, hundreds gathered outside a McDonald's restaurant on the busy Wangfujing pedestrian shopping street at around 2pm yesterday despite a heavy police presence, said witnesses and Xinhua. Police dispersed the crowd within an hour, although a few bystanders remained. Xinhua issued an English-language dispatch, saying police took away two men. At one point, someone scattered several white flowers on the ground outside the restaurant. […] In Guangzhou, few people turned up at the People's Park, where a rally initiated online was supposed to take place, but there were at least 500 uniformed police officers and 30 police vehicles at the scene, guarding the park's gates and Metro station exits. A student told TVB (SEHK: 0511) news he was disappointed by the lack of support. […] In Hong Kong, a group of about 20 activists from the League of Social Democrats staged a rally outside the Beijing authorities' representative office to show support for the "Jasmine Revolution". Led by party chairman Andrew To Kwan-hang as well as party legislator "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, the protesters shouted slogans "Long live democracy" and "Long live the people's revolution" as they tossed paper drawings of jasmine flowers into the Beijing Liaison Office compound in Western. ^ top ^

'Jasmine' protest plea set to fall on deaf ears (SCMP)
Mainlanders may gripe about inflation and corruption like the crowds in Egypt, but online calls for their own "jasmine revolution" are unlikely to escalate into a full-scale pro-democracy movement, analysts said yesterday. There is also little chance that Sunday's gatherings in Beijing and Shanghai will push the authorities into considering political reform, they added. "The chances of it becoming a jasmine revolution are very small," said Professor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, a political scientist at City University of Hong Kong. Despite widespread discontent on the mainland over rampant corruption, social inequality and the lack of rights, ordinary people's living standards have improved markedly in the past 30 years. And Cheng said people would not be compelled to risk their current way of life to bring about political change. "There are grievances... but not strong enough to induce people to make a sacrifice to bring about a change in regime," Cheng said. […] "What is different about China is that the economy is doing well and people still have money in their pockets." At the same time, analysts say, there is no indication the government feels any pressure to make concessions on its monopoly on power. Indeed, it has intensified political crackdowns over the past few years. And it is reluctant to change its authoritarian style because it has learned the smart way to head off grievances, the analysts said. The government now tries to suppress dissatisfaction by improving people's livelihoods through steps such as controlling inflation and improving housing and welfare. […] The Communist Party has also learned its lessons from the Tiananmen pro-democracy movement and moves quickly to nip in the bud any unrest that appears to be brewing. Nowadays, while the government gets tough with a handful of activists it perceives as leaders of potential unrest, it is often relatively soft-handed with the rallying crowds. Around 100 activists and rights lawyers across the country were put under various forms of detention ahead of the rallies on Sunday. Police arrested a handful of people at the scenes of the protests, but most people who showed up were simply told to leave. However, the central government went on high alert and mobilised tens of thousands of police and state security agents to be on standby on Sunday in case the rallies spiralled out of control. […] Unlike in the 1980s, when disgruntled professors and intellectuals led the calls for reform, the government is now smart enough to garner their support by improving their wages and benefits, the analysts said. Few are willing to risk their jobs to speak out against the government. And unlike the Tiananmen pro-democracy movement, which started off as a public commemoration of much-loved reformist leader Hu Yaobang, there are no overwhelming emotions running high on the mainland now.[…]. ^ top ^

Hu points way to harmony, stability (China Daily)
President Hu Jintao called on Saturday for improved social management and innovations to "ensure a harmonious and stable society full of vitality". "The overall aim of enhancing and innovating social management is to stimulate vitality in society to the greatest extent, maximize factors conducive to harmony and minimize those detrimental to it," said Hu at the opening ceremony of a high-profile seminar attended by provincial and ministerial-level officials. At the event, which was held at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing, Hu also stressed the need to "build a socialist social management system with Chinese characteristics to safeguard people's rights and interests, promote social justice and sustain sound social order". The mechanism will help "solve prominent problems that might harm the harmony and stability of society", he said. Hu acknowledged that, despite China's remarkable social and economic development and the growth of its overall national strength, the country is "still at a stage where many conflicts are likely to arise". He said: "There are still many problems in social management." With a population of 1.3 billion people, China is experiencing rapid economic and social development, he said, which poses a number of "prominent problems that could cause unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development". […] By doing so, a correct and effective mechanism will be formed to coordinate various interests, let people express their concerns, ensure they have solutions to their disputes and that people's rights and interests are safeguarded, he said. […] It is imperative to further boost and improve management and services for the migrant population and other special groups by building a national database of basic information about the country's population, he noted. In addition, the country should improve its grassroots social services and strengthen the public security mechanism to ensure the safety of food and drugs, advance work-related safety, enhance social order and raise emergency response capabilities. Other major tasks listed by Hu include enhancing the CPC's leading role and the government's social management functions and allocating more personnel, funds and materials to grassroots organizations to improve their service quality. Hu stressed the importance of information network management and urged the improved management of the "virtual society" as well as better guidance of public opinions on the Internet. […]. ^ top ^

New property rules driving rent prices (People's Daily Online)
The demand for apartments in China's first-tier cities continues to boom despite the soaring cost of rent, driven in part by the government's stricter policies for home purchases and the large numbers of migrant workers who came to big cities after the Spring Festival holidays. By January, the country's real estate rents had risen by 7.1 percent above what they were a year earlier, according to figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Feb 15. […]

In the capital, non-Beijing residents are not allowed to buy an apartment until they have paid their monthly income taxes or social security fees for five consecutive years, according to new regulations released by the Beijing government. The latest rules, which took effect on Thursday, also stipulate that people with Beijing hukou (permanent residence permits) will be allowed to have two properties while non-locals who meet other qualifications will be limited to one apartment. Studies from the marketing department of Woaiwojia, a large real estate agency selling second-hand homes in Beijing, show that more than 30 percent of potential buyers will be affected by the measures meant to deflate bubbles in property values. About 64.5 percent of the city's second-hand property buyers do not have a Beijing hukou. And fewer than half of them can prove they have paid taxes for five years, the house agency said in its official blog on […]The situation is similar in China's economic hub, Shanghai, which in 2010 ranked as the 24th most expensive city in the world to rent a house in, according to the latest report released by ECA International Ltd, an international human resources consulting firm. The house-leasing business has been booming in Shanghai since the fourth quarter of 2010. By February, rents had risen from 5 percent to 15 percent, according to Shanghai Deovolente, a local property agency. In South China's Guangzhou city, the average rent price rose to 2,530 yuan a month this January, which is near to the highest price recorded in 2010, according to Yangcheng Evening News. […] But the ban should only be temporary, Li said. Otherwise, it may lead to other social problems such as social instability and a loss of talents, both of which will impede the expansion of big cities. ^ top ^

Chinese VP stresses mass work for social management (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping called for greater efforts in mass work on Wednesday, calling it a basic, regular, and essential task of social management. […] At the opening ceremony of the seminar on Saturday, Chinese President Hu Jintao said that officials should improve social management capabilities and make innovations in management to "ensure a harmonious and stable society full of vitality." Xi added that the governance of the Communist Party of China (CPC) cannot be effective without vigorous mass work and, since social management is primarily the service and management of people, it is, indeed, equivalent to mass work. Xi, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, noted that the principle of serving the people wholeheartedly must be fully implemented if outstanding mass work is to be achieved. That would require officials to solve the most important and immediate issues of the people, such as education, employment, health care and housing, he said. Xi added that improving people's livelihood is the most fundamental part of mass work. Xi noted that the Party organizations and cadres at the grassroots level are the most basic, direct, and effective forces in performing mass work. He also urged greater efforts to provide help for them. The seminar was held in the Party School of the CPC Central Committee. ^ top ^

Beijing sees no chance of Chinese 'jasmine' revolt (SCMP)
A spokesman for the central government's top advisory body yesterday rejected the notion that an uprising inspired by the "jasmine" revolts in Egypt and Tunisia could break out in China. He was the first high-ranking official to respond directly to fledgling protests in mainland cities on Sunday. "I can tell you in full confidence that kind of revolution will not happen in China," said Zhao Qizheng, a spokesman for the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Zhao's comments came as a renewed call for activism was being distributed online, appealing for demonstrations in 18 cities this Sunday and as news broke of further arrests in relation to last weekend's protests. Meanwhile, Vice-President Xi Jinping, wrapping up a four-day study session on strengthening social control, told provincial government and military leaders to investigate new methods to "work with the masses through every aspect and every segment of social management to maintain social harmony by eliminating social contradictions at their source". Xi made no direct reference to the recent protests. An open letter posted on the US-registered blog encouraged mainlanders to go for a "walk" at 2pm every Sunday in prominent locations across the country. […] It added new cities to the list of demonstration venues - including Urumqi in Xinjiang and Lhasa in Tibet, both scenes of protest in the past. There were minor protests and scuffles with authorities in 13 cities on Sunday. The protests - styled after the "jasmine revolution" in Tunisia - saw several hundred people gather in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities, but many were onlookers and it was difficult to estimate the number of genuine protesters. Activists received an unexpected boost when the US ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, was photographed near the Beijing protest. The US embassy said yesterday his presence was "purely coincidental". Rights organisations condemned the response to the protests, which a Hong Kong campaigner called "white terror" tactics. China Human Rights Defenders estimated on Sunday that 70 to 80 dissidents and lawyers had been detained or placed under house arrest, including Beijing-based rights lawyers Teng Biao, Jiang Tianyong and Xu Zhiyong. Internet censorship also appears to have been tightened, with mainland-based search engines rejecting searches for terms including the word "jasmine" in Chinese. The Hong-Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said yesterday that Beijing-based dissident Chen Wei was now formally under arrest, while another activist, Wuxi resident Hua Chunhui, had also been detained for distributing information about the rallies on the internet. There were unconfirmed reports in Shanghai that at least three activists detained after Sunday's demonstration could not be contacted. CPPCC spokesman Zhao dismissed as absurd any speculation that the disturbances could build into something akin to the storm of pro-democracy protests that have spread across the Middle East. […] In Hong Kong yesterday, about 30 activists - from the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China and the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic diocese - marched to the central government's liaison office to call on Beijing to release detained activists and lawyers. ^ top ^

Organ traffickers may get death penalty (China Daily)
Criminals convicted of forcefully removing organs will be eligible for the death penalty under a draft law amendment being reviewed by the top legislature. The amendment, submitted on Wednesday to the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee for a third reading, stipulates that criminals convicted of "forced organ removal, forced organ donation or organ removal from juveniles" could face punishment for homicide. Under Article 232 of the Criminal Law, a person found guilty of homicide faces either a death sentence, life imprisonment or a fixed-term imprisonment of not less than 10 years. However, in the draft submitted for a second reading, reviewed by legislators in December 2010, criminals involved in the illegal organ trade could only be charged with the crime of intentional bodily harm (IBH). According to Article 234, a criminal convicted of IBH can be sentenced to either a jail term of no more than three years, criminal detention or public surveillance. In the case of severe bodily injury, the culprit shall be sentenced to a jail term of not less than three years and no more than 10 years. Only when the criminal causes death(s) or "severe bodily injury resulting in severe deformity by especially cruel means", can he be sentenced to jail terms of not less than 10 years, life imprisonment or death, Article 234 says. […]The amendment will help deter potential criminals, as it shows the government's determination to crack down on the illegal trade, Liu said. Until recently, criminals convicted of forced organ removal were sentenced on a charge of illegal business operation, since there is no specific offence covering the act in the Criminal Law. Last August, the crime of forced organ removal was included in the first draft of an amendment to the Criminal Law for legislative review. […] About 10,000 organ transplants are carried out each year on the Chinese mainland. It is estimated that around 1.3 million people are waiting for a transplant. The huge gap between supply and demand has led to the emergence of the illegal organ trade, the Beijing-based Procuratorial Daily reported. To better manage organ donation and prevent illegal trafficking, Qin suggested punishing hospitals and doctors who deal with traffickers. If the latest draft amendment to the Criminal Law is passed at the bimonthly meeting of the NPC Standing Committee, which will last until Friday, it will come into force on May 1. ^ top ^

China to invest 1.5 trillion yuan on aviation (People's Daily Online)
Beijing will invest a mammoth 1.5 trillion yuan ($229 billion) to uplift its aviation sector, including buying 700 new planes and building 45 airports to better serve people's travel demand and aid economic growth. Li Jiaxiang, commissioner of Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the government's air transport regulator, told a news conference in Bejiing Thursday that the 1.5 trillion yuan will be spent in the 12th Five-Year Plan period spanning from 2011 to 2015. Demand for air traffic is booming as the world's second-largest economy roars ahead on near double-digit annual economic growth and increasingly affluent Chinese people travel more frequently. It is estimated that 800 million people will travel by air by 2014 by IAEA, and over a quarter of them from China, raising the need for more efficient traffic management and airports. […] The rapid development has benefited foreign aviation industry players as well, amid a huge demand for aircraft and airport facilities, according to Li. Of the 200 billion yuan in commercial deals China made in November when President Hu Jintao visited France, 104.1 billion yuan was spent on civil aviation-related goods. Also, when President Hu visited the United States in January, $19 billion out of the total $45 billion in commercial deals was spent in the aviation sector, said the report. ^ top ^

Anti-corruption agency at bottom of transparency list, says blue book (People's Daily Online)
Fifty-one out of 59 government administrations under the State Council and 70 percent of 43 selected city governments failed to pass an administrative transparency evaluation, according to a blue book report released on Thursday. The blue book, an annual report on China's rule of law that was released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said administrative transparency has become the government's "shortcoming" and needs "improvement". The report reviewed the implementation of the Regulations on the Disclosure of Government Information, a guideline issued by the State Council in 2007. To do so, it looked at information provided on the official websites of the administrations and city governments it was evaluating. On the national level, the research panel chose "budget information" as the realm to assess the transparency of ministries and government administrations. […] A total of 13 local governments scored more than 60 points. […] Asked to comment on the poor performance of the country's anti-corruption authority, Tian stressed that the index used for the evaluation was "objective". ^ top ^

Chinese Vice Premier calls for building of 10 mln affordable housing units this year (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday ordered local governments to increase funding for affordable housing projects, stressing that the construction of 10 million units was a mandatory task that must be fulfilled this year. Speaking at a national conference on affordable housing for low and middle income groups, Li said that the construction of 10 million affordable housing units this year is of great significance for the government to stabilize public expectations, control housing prices, improve people's lives and boost domestic consumption. […] To facilitate the government's subsidized affordable housing projects, Li said that local governments should ensure basic market supply with small units and guide the public to "reasonable consumption." More efforts are also needed to develop low-rent public housing and satisfy the demands of residents for affordable public housing, Li said. To support the construction of affordable housing, local governments can use tax breaks, determine the rent for public housing reasonably and finance construction projects in different ways, such as bank loans and social investment, he added. Li also called on local governments to increase land supplies for common commercial housing construction. The vice premier called on authorities to ensure transparency and fairness in the distribution of affordable housing units to benefit low-income groups who are in need. He stressed the need to discourage house purchases for the purposes of investment and speculation and to increase the supply of common commercial apartments and strictly implement the central government's macro control policies for the real estate market. The Chinese central government signed strict agreements with provincial governments to guarantee the construction of 10 million government-subsidized apartments this year. The target of building 10 million government-subsidized apartments is 72.4 percent more than last year, according to official figures. China's affordable housing provisions are divided into different categories, including "economic housing" that are sold below market prices, "price-capped housing," government-owned "low-rent housing" for extremely poor residents and "public-rent housing" for a wider range of people. Many local governments obtain a large part of revenues from the construction of commercial apartments because a fee is charged for the release of land to developers. Subsidized housing, in contrast, is sometimes ignored because the government often has to provide the land for less money to attract the interest of developers. The policy comes after the State Council, or China's Cabinet, introduced eight measures on Jan. 26 to curb rising housing prices. The measures called for an increase in the supply of apartments that poor residents could afford, the introduction of rules preventing residents from buying more than a certain number of properties and the adoption of higher transaction taxes. Sixty-eight out of 70 cities reported that the prices of local homes had risen from last year's figures, the National Bureau of Statistics reported on February 18. Ten out of the 70 cities surveyed saw prices rise by more than 10 percent, according to the bureau. ^ top ^



Senior Chinese leader stresses stability in Tibet (Xinhua)
China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin has urged officials to maintain stability and improve social management in Tibet and other Tibetan-inhabited areas. Enhanced ethnic unity, improved social management, and social harmony and stability were prerequisites of economic growth and people's well-being, said Jia, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), at a meeting on Tibet and other Tibetan-inhabited areas in the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan, all neighboring Tibet Autonomous Region. The two-day meeting, which opened Wednesday, was attended by senior officials of central government departments and the five regions. Also present at the meeting were Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu, and Du Qinglin, head of the United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The fight against the Dalai Lama clique must be continued and deepened while each task in maintaining stability must be circumspectly deployed, said Jia, also member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. He said issues related to Tibetan Buddhism must be handled well, and government-backed mechanisms that safeguard people's rights and interests must be strengthened and improved. Jia said that raising the living standards of the people, especially farmers and nomads, in Tibet and the other Tibetan-inhabited areas was a central task and plans must be made for leapfrog development in these areas in the next five years and beyond. He called for greater funding to help these areas develop their characteristically advantageous industries and economic dynamism as well as stronger environmental protection and better living standards. Jia said greater efforts must be paid to comprehensively strengthen and improve partner-aid programs to these areas. ^ top ^



Four Uygurs sentenced to death for fatal attacks (SCMP)
Four people were sentenced to death for last year's series of fatal attacks in Xinjiang, a hotbed of ethnic unrest, state media said yesterday. The executions were recently approved by the Supreme People's Court, the Xinjiang Daily said on its website, meaning they can be carried out any time. The names of the four indicated they were members of the Uygur ethnic minority, many of whom are strongly opposed to Chinese control of their homeland. Two of them, identified in Chinese as Tuerhong Tuerdi and Abudula Tueryacun, were involved in an August 19 bombing in Aksu, a city near the border with Kyrgyzstan. According to the report, the court in Aksu had sentenced Tuerhong and Abudula for making and detonating explosives. Two other men involved in the attack were given death sentences with two-year reprieves, which typically become life imprisonment. The Supreme People's Court had also approved the latter sentences. […] Officials at the Supreme People's Court, which reviews all death verdicts, refused to comment. […] The central government blamed the unrest on "separatists" but provided no evidence of any organised campaign. More than 25 people had either been executed or received the death penalty for their involvement in the violence, state media reported. ^ top ^



Multinationals in Taiwan anticipate more cross-Strait progress (People's Daily Online)
The effect of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), which was signed last June between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, is not only a concern for Taiwanese businessmen, but is also being observed and evaluated by multinationals in Taipei. Chris James, the Chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (ECCT), told Xinhua that the improving relationship between Taiwan and the mainland would improve the island's business environment and growth prospect. He adds that the ECFA is "good for the economy, good for jobs, and good for business." James said that improved trade ties across the Strait would make Taiwan's business environment "more attractive" to foreign investors. He added that the ECFA's "early harvest program" of 500-plus products for which the tariff was being reduced was "definitely a step in the right direction." However, he also noted that it was only a small step and that the ECFA was "still at an early stage" because "there are more than 2,000 items on the list of products which are banned for import from the mainland." "Until this list of items is significantly reduced, there will be a barrier to investing in Taiwan," said James, who is also the president of Allianz Taiwan Life Insurance Company Ltd. Under the ECFA's early harvest program, the mainland reduced tariffs on 539 Taiwan goods by nearly 1 billion U.S. dollars. It was also estimated that the program would create about 260,000 new jobs on the island, which would benefit about 23,000 small and medium-sized enterprises. Taiwan also agreed to reduce duties on 267 items imported from the mainland. ^ top ^

Cross-Straits body meets on economic cooperation (People's Daily Online)
Mainland and Taiwan negotiators have opened the inaugural meeting of the cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Committee (ECC) in a bid to push for closer economic exchanges. Behind closed doors, the day-long meeting in Taiwan's Taoyuan county was co-convened by Zheng Lizhong, vice-president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation Vice-Chairman Kao Koong-lian. The negotiators discussed issues concerning the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), a landmark economic pact that took effect in January and sets the stage for unprecedented cross-Straits economic interaction. On the agenda were the establishment of working groups under the cooperation commission and issues concerning merchandise, the service industry, an investment protection agreement, a dispute-settling mechanism as well as the evaluation of the implementation of the framework agreement's "early harvest" program. The commission was established last month under a framework agreement signed between the mainland and the island in June last year. […] Zheng said that "actively promoting the implementation of the ECFA" was enshrined in the mainland's proposal for formulating the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) on economic and social development. Kao said both sides paid great attention to the commission meeting and both should be sincere and work hard to ensure the framework agreement benefits people on both sides. […] Shao Qiwei, head of the National Tourism Administration, also visited the island on Tuesday with a 400-strong delegation. Upon his visit to Chiang Pin-kung, the Straits Exchange Foundation chairman, Shao said the mainland will allow residents in several pilot cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, to travel to Taiwan as individuals from the second quarter of this year, if the preparation work goes on well. He also said the mainland would like to qualify more travel agencies to offer Taiwan tour packages. The number of mainland tourists to Taiwan reached a record high of 1.2 million last year, up by 103 percent year-on-year. The president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, Chen Yunlin, will arrive in Taiwan on Wednesday for a six-day visit to learn about the island's agricultural sector. ^ top ^

Eggs, flowers hurled at Beijing negotiator on Taiwan visit (SCMP)
Chen Yunlin, the mainland's top negotiator for Taiwan, yesterday travelled to southern Taiwan, a hotbed of anti-Beijing sentiment, as protesters threw eggs and flowers in a reference to Tunisia's "Jasmine Revolution". Close to 200 demonstrators were waiting for Chen as he arrived for a business forum at the port of Kaohsiung, the island's second-largest city. "Support Taiwan independence," the protesters chanted, as some of them threw eggs and chrysanthemums in the direction of Chen's motorcade. They said they would have liked to throw jasmine, but it was not the season. None of the projectiles hit the passing vehicles, and the demonstrators were kept at a distance by a large police presence. […] However, tension remains in the political arena, highlighted in situations such as Beijing's deployment of missiles in parts of the mainland close to Taiwan. "Withdrawing the missiles is much better than placing orders with local businesses," said opposition politician Dr Lee Ying-yuan, near Yunlin in southern Taiwan. ^ top ^



Hot money inflows complicate yuan investment (People's Daily Online)
The risk of a surge in "hot money" is one of the reasons why China is unlikely to allow foreign companies to make yuan investments this year, even though a feasibility study was completed last year, said an unnamed source with the Ministry of Commerce (MOC). […] "Hot money", or short-term speculative capital, is a major concern for economic planners as it leads to quickly rising prices in the sector it targets. Some foreign investors have criticized the domestic investment environment after Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, said last summer that it was getting worse. Government officials have since reiterated the nation's policy of greater interaction with the international community and rejected claims of bias against foreign companies. Officials have cited growing figures for foreign direct investment (FDI). Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said earlier this year in Beijing that the government will take measures to simplify the approval process for new investment applications. In response to calls from foreign businesses, the ministry began to study the possibility of yuan settlement for FDI in 2010, said the ministry source. Foreign investors believe that settlement in the domestic currency would be more convenient and reduce costs. In 2010, China's FDI reached $105.74 billion, up 17.4 percent year-on-year, and the figure grew by 23.4 percent to $10.03 billion in January. Currently, foreign companies wishing to invest in China must first get permission from the MOC before winning approval from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) to convert their foreign exchange into the yuan. But the source said the ministry needs to discuss it with the central bank before the proposal is finally submitted to the State Council for approval. […] The government has been concerned about the possible influx of "hot money" into China's real estate and stock markets while the United States continues its loose monetary policy. China's foreign exchange reserves hit a record $2.85 trillion by the end of last year, 18.7 percent up from a year earlier. […] Experts said growing speculative capital inflows could make it harder to control inflation, which hit 4.9 percent in January, up from December's 4.6 percent. But some experts welcomed the plan, saying it would assist China in absorbing more foreign investment and quicken the process of yuan internationalization. "The move would effectively accelerate the internationalization process of the yuan. China could consider allowing foreign companies to invest using the yuan in the near future," said Chen Daofu, policy research chief of the Financial Research Institute at the State Council's Development Research Center. ^ top ^

Central SOEs exit needs time (Global Times)
More State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are slated to exit the real estate sector and focus more on their core businesses, said an official with the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) at a press conference yesterday. In 2010, 14 State-owned enterprises (SOEs), whose core businesses aren't property, fully exited real estate business, and more than 20 more SOEs are expected to fully withdraw this year, said Shao Ning, deputy director of SASAC. But Shao said that some companies needed to finish ongoing projects before they can exit their real estate businesses and focus on their core operations. […]Chen asserted that with only 34 SOEs scheduled to get out of the property business in two years, progress is coming very slowly, and Chen also noted that the difficult task of balancing the interests of different parties might be the reason behind the lag. In March, the government banned 78 central government-owned SOEs from investing in property, as property isn't their core business. And late last year, the banking regulator also banned new property loans to the 78 companies to control risks in property credit and curb asset bubbles. In April, the 78 companies handed in withdraw plans to the SASAC, but execution of the plan was not disclosed later. Chen commented that details on execution of the plan should be more transparent. And shortly after the 78 companies are required to withdraw from the real estate sector, the government started to curb the overheated industry.

Many wonder whether the government was protecting State-owned assets from possible turbulence in the real estate sector. Chen said that is not true. "The real estate sector in general is still a very profitable business, since the government mainly aims to curb soaring home prices, not commercial real estate," said Chen. He pointed out that getting SOEs to focus on their core businesses – and not property speculation – is the main purpose in banning them from investing in the real estate sector. ^ top ^

Consumer confidence edges down (Global Times)
A reading of the consumer confidence index fell for the second consecutive quarter in the last three months of 2010, said an agency of China's statistics bureau Wednesday. The reading, compiled by the China Economic Monitoring and Analysis Center (EMAC) of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and Nielsen Co., was at 100, down from 104 the previous three months, according to a report released by the EMAC and Nielsen at a press conference. For the fourth quarter of 2010, only 30 percent of Chinese consumers considered "now" a good time to buy goods they needed, 11 percentage points down from the previous quarter, said the report. The report said the decline in consumer confidence mainly stemmed from consumers' rising inflationary expectations, especially for food prices. The joint study found 83 percent of consumers expected prices to rise further this year, 6 percentage points higher than in the previous quarter, while 84 percent said food prices would rise this year, also 6 percentage points up. ^ top ^


DPRK and South Korea

N.Korea 'preparing 3rd nuke test' (Global Times)
North Korea is digging tunnels in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province, the site of two previous nuclear test launches, Seoul's Yonhap News Agency reported Sunday. […] North Korea conducted its two previous plutonium-fueled nuclear tests, one each in October 2006 and May 2009, at the Punggye-ri site. […] "We are closely watching its new missile launch site in Dongchang-ri and the Punggye-ri nuclear test site," a South Korean military source told Yonhap. Both South Korean and US officials have voiced concerns of more provocative attacks by North Korea following its walk-out earlier this month from a two-day meeting that aimed to clear the air. However, Chinese experts have dismissed the possibility of a third nuclear test by North Korea in the near future. "At this sensitive juncture, North Korea won't risk the danger to challenge the entire international community, which unanimously advocates a de-nuclearized Korean Peninsula, by conducting another nuclear test," Cui Zhiying, director of Korean Peninsula Studies at Asia-Pacific Research Center of Tongji University, told the Global Times, adding that North Korea has been consistently excavating tunnels at the nuclear test site. […] South Korea and the US are scheduled to conduct an 11-day joint military drill codenamed Key Resolve/Foal Eagle from next week. Meanwhile, China's Vice Foreign Minister, Zhang Zhijun, arrived in Pyongyang and discussed diplomatic ties with North Korean officials, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said Sunday.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak reiterated Sunday that the two Koreas should renew their relations through genuine dialogue, saying, "This year is an appropriate time for North Korea to change itself.". ^ top ^

DPRK top legislator meets Chinese vice FM for talks over bilateral ties (Xinhua)
Kim Yong Nam, top legislator of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun in Pyongyang on Monday to exchange views on bilateral relations. During the meeting at the Mansudae Assembly Hall, Kim, president of the DPRK Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, spoke highly of the development of the two countries' relationship. Kim introduced the DPRK's efforts in developing its economy to build a prosperous country and the achievements in this regard. He also wished that China could make more achievements in promoting the scientific outlook on development as well as building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Zhang said the Chinese government has unswervingly remained committed to consolidating and developing the friendship between the two countries. China is ready to work with the DPRK to make constant efforts toward promoting common development and safeguarding regional peace and stability, Zhang said. At the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK, Zhang arrived in Pyongyang on Sunday for talks over the development of DPRK-China relations, peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and denuclearization. ^ top ^

China calls for resuming talks (Global Times)
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met Wednesday in Seoul with his counterpart, Kim Sung-hwan, and with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to discuss bilateral relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Yang urged all parties to create conditions to speed up the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. The last round of the Six-Party Talks, gathering the two Koreas, China, the US, Russia and Japan, took place in Beijing in December 2008. China insists that dialogue is the only effective way of solving problems concerning the Peninsula, and urges early resumption of the talks. South Korea, however, views its highest priority as urging the North to take responsibility for the two deadly attacks on the South last year and to take steps toward denuclearization. Failing to take such responsibility will result in further stalled talks, according to the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency. […] Firstly, South Korea is facing domestic pressure from its weak response to the North's aggression; secondly, the US stands by South Korea on this issue; finally, South Korea thinks the North will make concessions due to its serious financial problems, Lü said. […] The two foreign ministers also agreed to consult closely on the North's uranium enrichment program, a South Korean foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity, according to the AP. Earlier Wednesday, North Korean media criticized a 10-day military exercise by South Korea and the US starting Monday. The drill "proves South Korean warmongers are going crazier in provoking a war, regardless of the people's desire for dialogue and peace," Pyongyang's government newspaper, the Minju Joson, said. "Seoul picked the wrong time for these drills, since inter-Korean military talks just broke down this month. This will intensify the contrast," Lü said. ^ top ^



The State-Run Company Chosen as General Purchaser For 1100 KM-Long Rail Line (Montsame)
The head of Railway authority B.Batbold has handed to the executive director “Mongolian railway” state-owned company B.Batzaya has received a certificate to build basic structure of 1100 km long railway from Dalanzadgad to Choibalsan. Specialists claims that it is of importance for the Mongolian economy to built railway line in the rout of Dalanzadgad-Tavantolgoi-Tsagaansuvarga-Zuunbayan-Sainshand-Baruun Urt-Khoot-Choibalsan. Thanks to this line, an opportunity opens up for landlocked Mongoliart to export its mining products to Russia and third countries via Far East port in Russia. Professional companies will start constructing railway in the first half of this year. As an owner of the special license, the Mongolian railway state-owned company will participate by announcing tenders on railway construction and ordering construction works. “Mongolian railway” was established in accordance with an government resolution in 2008. The company serces to build and exploit the basic structures of railway, to run transportation activities, to produce, assemble, repair rolling-stock, to purchase with own funds, own, rent out locomotives, carriages, other objects. ^ top ^

China's Ambassador Presents Diplomatic Credentials (News.Mn)
The ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to Mongolia Wang Xiao Long presented Wednesday a letter of credence to Mongolia's President Ts.Elbegdorj. The State Head congratulated Mr. Wang on the appointment underlining that the new ambassador has come in times of enriching the bilateral relations with new contents. He has expressed a hope that a frequency of high level mutual visits and meetings will be kept, and that the relations and cooperation will widen in all fields within a diplomatic mission of the new ambassador. Ts.Elbegdorj has mentioned that the bilateral trade and economic collaboration have been intensively developing, for example, the trade turnover between the two countries has reached USD 3.3 billion according to statistics. In his turn, Mr. Wang has conveyed a greeting from Hu Jintao, head of the PRC, to the Mongolian President, and expressed a willingness to contribute to forwarding of the Mongolia-China relations and cooperation. ^ top ^

Coal Mongolia-2011 begins (News.Mn)
The two-day Coal Mongolia – 2011 forum began this morning under the slogan “Mongolia is the new player on the world energy stage”. The forum of international investors is being held in Chinggis Hotel and aims to project Mongolian coal as a global brand. The participants will focus on the huge potential of Mongolian coal, its diverse qualities, size of deposits, accessibility and what is required to bring the coal to market. Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy D.Zorigt described the present situation of the coal sector in the country and how it is likely to develop. ^ top ^

Prime Ministers Hold Individual Meeting (Montsame)
A ceremony ran Tuesday in Canberra city to welcome the Prime Minister S.Batbold who is paying an official visit to Australia. It started with marine troops, air and land forces ceremonial greetings and a march of artillery forces, then the Prime Minister of Australia Mrs. Julia Gillard welcomed her Mongolian counterpart. […] Mr. Batbold thanked for the audience, expressed a willingness to bring the Mongolia-Australia relations and cooperation into a level of expanded partnership, and emphasized that the countries have a great opportunity to intensify the cooperation in the fields of trade, economics, and investment based on friendly political ties. Mentioning that the government of Mongolia is maintaining a policy to boost the sectors of industry and great construction based on its mineral resources and to develop the economics based on education, the Mongolian Premier pointed out that Mongolia wants to become an active and effective participant in the regional collaboration and interdependence of trade, economics and investment spheres adding Mongolia wants to boost a close cooperation with the strongest in the region countries, including Australia, in realization of the above goals.[…] He said Mongolia is carrying out an active policy in Northeast Asia and East Asia, and expressed a willingness to join the regional multilateral activities such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the East Asia Summit (EAS). Then he expressed a hope Australian will support Mongolia's efforts, and invited Mrs. Gillard to visit Mongolia. In response, Mrs. Gillard congratulated the Mongolian Premier on paying the official visit to Australia for the first time, and stated there are a lot of matters related to the both countries.

Mrs. Gillard emphasized an importance of establishing a memorandum regarding an intensive development of the two countries who cherish democracy and free market and have large resources of minerals. […] S.Batbold thanked the Australian side for supporting Mongolian democracy and market economy and for rendering financial and developmental assistance. He expressed a condolence over deaths of people due to floods occurred in Queensland and Victoria States. ^ 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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