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
  20-24.6.2016, No. 628  
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Foreign Policy

Indonesian leader Widodo sails to Natunas on warship in show of force to China (SCMP)
The visit by the Indonesian president to the Natuna islands where his country has clashed with China over fishing rights was aimed at sending a strong message to Beijing, a Jakarta senior official and analysts said. Indonesia President Joko Widodo toured the archipelago in the South China Sea aboard a warship accompanied by his chiefs of security, foreign affairs and military, among others. In a meeting held aboard the navy corvette, Widodo told the military to step up patrols following the confrontations between Indonesian and Chinese vessels in recent months. “The capabilities of the military ... in securing our seas should be improved, whether it's technology or general preparedness,” Widodo said, according to an official statement. Beijing does not dispute Indonesia's sovereignty over the Natunas, but insists the 200 nautical mile of exclusive economic zone around the islands overlaps with the “historical waters” within the nine-dash line that Beijing uses to demarcate its “maritime rights and interests” across most of the South China Sea. In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “We hope that Indonesia can meet us halfway, objectively recognise the relevant dispute and appropriately resolve the relevant fishing issue” to ensure stability and peace. Jakarta reiterated it was not a party to contested South China Sea waters, where Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have competing claims, and denied having any territorial disputes or “overlapping waters” with China. But in recent months, the Natunas have seen a significant rise in tension between the two nations. In March, a Chinese coastguard vessel stopped an Indonesian law enforcement ship from arresting a Chinese fishing trawler. Last week, an Indonesia naval ship opened fire on another vessel, injuring one fisherman, while detaining another seven and seizing the boat. The visit by the top government officials were described by Indonesian authorities as the strongest message yet sent to Beijing over the issue. “In the course of our history, we've never been this stern [with China]. This is also to demonstrate that the president is not taking the issue lightly,” Chief Security Minister Luhut Pandjaitan told The Jakarta Post. Xie Yanmei, senior China analyst of the International Crisis Group, said: “It is unwise to push the biggest country in Southeast Asia to the opposite side, if Beijing doesn't want the entire Asean to unite against China” just as an international arbitration was about to rule on certain claims. ^ top ^

China, Russia, Mongolia endorse development plan on economic corridor (Global Times)
China, Russia and Mongolia inked a development plan here on Thursday to build an economic corridor linking the three neighbors, pledging to boost transportation connectivity and economic cooperation in border regions. The plan was signed after a meeting of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent ahead of an annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). While chairing the trilateral meeting, the third of its kind, the Chinese president reviewed the achievements the three countries have made in implementing their mid-term roadmap for cooperation, saying progress and positive results have been made in such areas as trade and economy, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, transit transport, tourism and sports. "The Chinese side is satisfied with the momentum of our trilateral cooperation," Xi said. He proposed that the three countries continue to center on the aligning of China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, Russia's development strategies, especially its transcontinental rail plan, and Mongolia's Steppe Road program to actively advance the trilateral cooperation. Xi called on the three countries to well implement the development plan to build the economic corridor and strengthen cooperation in transportation infrastructure connectivity, port construction, industrial capacity, investment, trade and economy, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and environmental protection, thus producing outcomes at an early date. "We three sides should actively engage in the discussion of building cross-border economic cooperation zones, enhance industrial tie-in, boost sub-regional cooperation in our adjacent areas, and promote the common development of our adjacent areas," Xi said. The Chinese president also urged the three countries to expand cooperation within the framework of the SCO, especially in such areas as transit transportation, food security, disaster reduction and energy. Putin said Russia, China and Mongolia are friendly neighbors based on equality, respect and mutual benefit. He said Russia, in light of the three countries' consensus, is committed to working with China and Mongolia to well implement the projects of transportation and infrastructure construction, speed up simplifying port procedures, and promote regional economic integration process. Russia is also willing to increase cultural and people-to-people exchanges with the other two countries, he added. For his part, Elbegdorj said the development plan on the economic corridor linking the three countries is very important, adding that Mongolia stands ready to join hands with China and Russia to advance the construction of transportation infrastructure and strengthen economic cooperation in border regions. Mongolia also hopes to enhance cooperation with the other two countries in agriculture and disaster relief, he said. After the meeting, the three heads of state also witnessed the signing of a trilateral agreement on the mutual recognition of the customs supervision results on certain commodities. The 16th meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State is scheduled to be held in Tashkent on Thursday and Friday. ^ top ^

Xi, Putin meet on promoting SCO's regional role (Xinhua)
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on enhancing bilateral ties and promoting the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)'s role in regional development and security. The two heads of state met briefly late Thursday ahead of the 16th SCO summit in Tashkent and Putin's upcoming visit to China on Saturday. Noting that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the signing of the China-Russia good-neighborly treaty of friendship and cooperation and the 20th anniversary of the two countries' strategic partnership of coordination, Xi said Putin's state visit to China bears special significance. China is willing to join hands with Russia to carry forward their friendship from generation to generation, consolidate political and strategic mutual trust, and beef up support to each other, Xi said. The two countries should push for the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and carry out closer coordination in major international and regional affairs, Xi said. China stands ready to make joint efforts with Russia to play a positive role in the SCO's steady and healthy development, he said. The SCO members should expand mutual support, deepen convergence of interest through win-win cooperation, and gradually resolve differences through dialogue and consultation, Xi said. The Chinese president also urged SCO member states to facilitate regional trade and investment so as to further activate practical cooperation within the organization. On strengthening security cooperation, Xi called for working out an anti-extremism convention at an early date and improving the mechanism for drug control. For his part, Putin extended his deep sympathy and heartfelt condolences over the serious casualties and losses caused by a tornado that hit China's Jiangsu province Thursday. The Russian president said he is looking forward to the upcoming state visit to China and an in-depth exchange of views with Xi on boosting bilateral ties and cooperation. The SCO has huge influence in safeguarding regional peace and stability as well as promoting regional economic integration, said Putin. The Russian president agreed with Xi on synergizing the EEU and the Belt and Road Initiative within the SCO framework, adding that he hopes new members' entry into the SCO would help the organization play a bigger role in international affairs. Pakistan and India are expected to sign a memorandum of obligation to join the SCO at the 16th summit slated for Thursday and Friday, which is a key step for the two countries to obtain membership of the organization. Founded in 2001, the SCO has six full members, namely China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and six observers -- Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan. ^ top ^

China, US, EU pledge to increase efforts to ensure safety of goods bought by internet shoppers (SMCP)
China, the European Union and the US have pledged to increase cooperation to ensure the safety of products sold online amid the huge rise globally in internet shopping. Officials from the three sides said in a statement after a product safety summit in Beijing that regulators would closely monitor online sales, especially cross-border e-commerce. This would include tracking products to their manufacturers and cooperating on recalls if some goods were deemed unsafe. Chinese men, not women, are the hedonists of online shopping, survey finds The three also pledged to increase communication and the sharing of information. The first product safety meeting between the three sides was held in 2008 after a series of safety scandals involving Chinese-made exports. These included contaminated pet food and defective tyres. The latest pledge marked the first time the meetings attended by the world's three major economies produced an agreement to “do something concrete”, said US envoy, Elliot F. Kaye, chairman of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Kaye said the US-Chinese relationship on product safety was close and cooperative, in contrast to disputes in other areas. Food and drug safety in China is 'grim', regulator admits after string of scandals More than 2,000 dangerous products triggered EU-wide alerts last year and 62 per cent of them came from China, the region's largest source of imports. About 65 per cent of internet users in the EU shop online and regulators are facing greater challenges on how to ensure product safety, said Vera Jourova, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, at a press briefing. Jourova said regulations were needed to effectively protect the rights of online shoppers and help increase their trust in the market. She also stressed the importance of law enforcement and urged China's government to conduct a better overview of supply chains. Watchdog: Most unsafe products in Europe come from China “Sometimes the product is dangerous because a small component in the final product is of substandard and it's difficult to track the manufacturers,” she said. The EU has so far filed 11,540 notifications over dangerous products with China through the Rapid Alert System China mechanism that allows both sides to share information about dangerous consumer products in the region. Only 3,748 follow-up actions were taken, however, as in many cases tracing the sources remains difficult on the mainland. ^ top ^

China to launch new Long March-7 carrier rocket in Hainan (Global Times)
China plans to launch its new Long March-7 carrier rocket sometime between June 25 and 29 from a new launch ground in South China, said the manned space engineering office on Wednesday. The rocket has been moved vertically to the launch pad after a three-hour journey from the test lab this morning, the office said in a press release. Components of the new generation of Long March-7 carrier rocket arrived in Wenchang, Hainan Province in May for the launch. The Long March-7, a medium-sized rocket that uses liquid propellant, can carry up to 13.5 tons into low Earth orbit. It will transport cargo for China's planned space station and is expected to become a main carrier for space launches. The Wenchang tourism department said that the city can provide accommodation for 80,000 tourists and suggested tourists avoid the maiden launch, as there will be more space launches afterwards. By Sunday, all of the city's hotels were fully booked. The construction of the Wenchang satellite launch center, which has two launch pads, started in 2009 and was completed in November 2014. The seaside resort city boasts both mountain and seaside scenery for spectacular space launch views. Xue Xiangwen, head of the city's tourist board, said the eight observation areas covering 45 hectares in total can receive a maximum of 25,300 people at a time. ^ top ^

China, EU to set up legal issues mechanism (Xinhua)
China and the European Union (EU) have set up a dialogue mechanism for legal matters, according to the State Council's Legislative Affairs Office. The mechanism is a result of an agreement at the 17th China-EU leaders' meeting in June last year, according to a statement issued by the office on Tuesday. More than 60 officials and experts from both sides participated in the first round of dialogue, a one-and-a-half-day event which opened on Monday, to discuss e-commerce development and the legal framework for consumer protection. The mechanism will help enhance an understanding of legal systems, boost mutual trust and create a sound environment for friendly cooperation between the two sides, said Song Dahan, director of the Legislative Affairs Office. European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourova said the platform would lift China-EU legal cooperation to a new level. With improving cooperation, the mechanism should be seen as a starting point for the sharing of experiences on legal issues, and a good foundation for the development of China-EU relations, Jourova said. China and the EU have developed more than 60 ministerial-level dialogue mechanisms on issues of common concern. The second round of the China-EU dialogue on legal matters is scheduled to be held in Brussels in 2017, according to the Legislative Affairs Office. ^ top ^

Cambodia to deport 13 Taiwanese fraud suspects to mainland China (SCMP)
Cambodia said on Monday it would deport 13 Taiwanese nationals arrested on fraud charges to the mainland as Taipei said its emissaries had been prevented from meeting the suspects. The imminent deportations come at a time of increased tensions between Taiwan and the mainland with Taipei accusing Beijing of “abducting” citizens from countries that do not recognise the island's government. A group of 13 Taiwanese and 14 mainland suspects were arrested by Cambodian police last week for internet fraud, immigration officials said. “We have decided to deport them to China because they all are Chinese. The Chinese side has asked us to wait while they work out whether to send a plane or buy tickets for them,” said Major General Uk Heisela, director of inspection and procedure at the General Department of Immigration. He said Cambodia refused to distinguish between Chinese and Taiwanese as the country adhered to a “one-China” policy. Cambodia is historically one of Beijing's closest allies in Southeast Asia. Malaysia and Kenya deported Taiwanese nationals to the mainland in April, sparking uproar in Taipei. Observers see the cases as Beijing putting pressure on Taiwan's new government, which took office in May, as Beijing does not trust the traditionally pro-independence ruling Democratic Progressive Party. Taiwan's foreign ministry confirmed the Cambodia arrests and accused Beijing of pressuring Phnom Penh. “China requested Cambodia to send all the suspects to the mainland as most of the victims in this case are in China, and they obstructed our personnel from visiting the Taiwanese suspects,” the ministry said. The island has sent its representative in Vietnam to negotiate with Phnom Penh, seeking to have the group repatriated to Taiwan instead. The foreign ministry said another four Taiwanese had been arrested at the Phnom Penh airport on Saturday. While Taiwan's new president Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly pledged to maintain the “status quo”, she has not bowed to pressure to accept Beijing's definition of cross-strait relations. ^ top ^

China, Russia expected to sign multibillion dollar high-speed rail deal during Putin's visit to Beijing (SCMP)
A multibillion-dollar high-speed rail deal between China and Russia is expected to be signed during Russian president Vladimir Putin's visit to Beijing this week, when the two nations are expected to extend military cooperation. China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang announced on Monday the Putin would start his state visit on June 25. Official details of the trip have not been announced, but observers closely following the matter said that up to 30 trade agreements could be signed. China has recently confirmed plans to provide a 400 billion-rouble (HK$48 billion) loan to build a high-speed railway between the Russian cities of Moscow and Kazan. In April, two Chinese state banks agreed to lend more than US$12 billion to develop a liquefied natural gas plant in the Russian Arctic, after more than a year of delays. Negotiations between the two sides were complicated by US sanctions against the project's majority shareholder Novatek, which is partly-owned by Putin's close ally and Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko. If implemented, the deal would make China the biggest consumer of Russian gas, importing 68 billion cubic metres annually. The railway deal is expected to be signed, and the first batch of the loan for the gas deal is expected to be agreed upon during Putin's upcoming visit, said Alexander Gabuev, a senior associate and the chair of the Russia in the Asia-Pacific Programme at the Carnegie Moscow Centre. “China is a large market for commodities… [and] a source for capital, technology, and infrastructure. Russia has an abundance of mineral resources, which requires capital, technology, and infrastructure. That's a natural match.” The visit comes as Russia seeks to further advance ties with China to combat the effect of Western sanctions, while China is looking for Russia's military support to counter US involvement in the Asia-Pacific region over disputes in the East and South China Seas. The deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile system by the United States in the Korean Peninsula would further push the two nations to coordinate on the military front, analysts said. In June, Chinese and Russian navies sailed into the disputed waters near the Diaoyu islands – known as the Senkakus in Japan – in the East China Sea at around the same time. Many believed this to be the first of the two countries' joint operations in the East China Sea. Moscow and Beijing held their first computer-aided missile defence drill in May, and China has purchased Russia's cutting-edge S-400 surface-to-air missile system. Gabuev said he saw an increasing pattern in which the two countries coordinate in response to common security threats. Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong said as the two countries faced increasing pressure from the US, similar symbolic cooperation would become more frequent. But because of differences in military standards and underlying mistrust, the two countries had a long way to go before their cooperation was on the level of NATO or the US-Japanese alliance. “The two countries' anti-missile cooperation is more about exploring and understanding each other's military capabilities at this stage. It is more of a protest against the US, rather than actual cooperation,” said Wong. China and Russia have often tried to present a united front – from vetoing United Nations Security Council resolutions to taking a common stance in global affairs. In his trip to Beijing last September for a huge military parade commemorating the end of the second world war, Putin said Sino-Russian ties had “reached a peak in their entire history”. In April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in April that Moscow was calling for the South China Sea disputes to be resolved directly between the countries involved, without any interference from third parties – echoing China's position. Russia did not take a stance on the legality of territorial claims by the claimants, said Anton Tsvetov, a researcher of Southeast Asia at the Russian International Affairs Council. “Moscow does not ... articulate in this case whether it considers it legal for military ships to conduct reconnaissance in other states' [Exclusive Economic Zones] without asking permission – which is one of the key US-China differences,” he said. Wong, the Macau-based expert, questioned how far Russia could go in backing China over the disputes. Russia has close ties with Vietnam, one of the claimant countries in the disputed waters, and cooperates militarily with India, Malaysia and Indonesia in the region. The country's oil exploration project in the South China Sea also meant Russia could not side solely with China, said Wong. ^ top ^

China, Poland issue joint communique on upgrading ties (Xinhua)
China and Poland issued a joint communique here on Monday and agreed to upgrade their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, in a display of their shared commitment to further deepen bilateral cooperation. China and Poland regard each other as a long-standing and stable strategic partner, and see the other's development as an important opportunity for mutually beneficial and win-win results, according to the document signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the country. China and Poland pledged to promote bilateral ties in an all-dimensional manner to benefit the two peoples by enhancing cooperation in politics, economy, society and culture, and expanding coordination and cooperation on global and regional affairs in a spirit of mutual respect, equal treatment and win-win cooperation, the document said. To further deepen their comprehensive strategic partnership, China and Poland agreed to strengthen high-level exchanges, and expand bilateral communication and cooperation at all levels between the two countries' central and local governments, legislatures and parties. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment on mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as mutual understanding on each other's interests and major concerns. Poland said it supports peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait and renewed its adherence to the one-China policy in the document. The two sides are ready to push forward bilateral cooperation within the framework of Poland's sustainable development strategy and China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, said the communique. China and Poland will strengthen the synergy of their development strategies, and conduct and deepen mutual beneficial cooperation to realize peace, sustainable development and common prosperity. The two countries stand ready to further deepen their all-dimensional economic relations in the light of the principles of equality and mutual benefit. They pledged fair treatment of each other's companies. China and Poland will make use of existing bilateral mechanisms to deepen cooperation in such areas as economy and trade, finance, transportation and logistics, infrastructure construction, civil aviation, energy, agriculture, e-commerce, science and technology, and environmental protection. The two sides vowed joint efforts to promote balance of two-way investment and bilateral trade by further facilitating market access. China and Poland will continue to encourage and support their enterprises to extend cooperation and actively explore new modes of cooperation in the fields such as infrastructure construction and production capacity cooperation. China welcomes Poland's participation in Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founding member. China and Poland agreed to expand cooperation in such areas as culture, education and sports, deepen exchanges in areas including tourism, medical care and think-tank, and push forward communication between the two countries' young people. The two sides are willing to improve visa application procedures to best serve bilateral personnel exchanges. China and Poland believe that the mechanism of China-Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) cooperation has effectively boosted practical cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, and thus become a significant platform for China and CEE countries to deepen friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation. The China-CEE cooperation, in alignment with major initiatives by the European Union (EU), prompts the development of China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. China and Poland stand ready to beef up communication and coordination in accordance with the principles of openness, inclusiveness, mutual benefit and win-win results, to jointly push for greater development of China-CEE cooperation. China speaks highly of Poland's role in China-EU relations. Both sides support an early conclusion of negotiations on an ambitious and extensive China-EU investment agreement, which covers market assessment and investment protection. The two sides stressed commitment to push forward democratization and institutionalization of international relations in accordance with principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations. They called on world countries to jointly face challenges, seek development and share prosperity on the basis of equality and mutual trust, inclusiveness and mutual learning, and win-win cooperation. The joint communique also includes items on other global and bilateral issues. The Chinese president arrived in Poland on Sunday, the second stop of his three-nation Eurasia tour, which also includes Serbia and Uzbekistan. ^ top ^

Legal challenge may delay court rulings on claims in the South China Sea (SCMP)
Fresh uncertainty is hanging over an impending international tribunal's ruling over territorial claims in the South China Sea after a Hong Kong-based legal organisation challenged the case the Philippines has brought against China. Mainland analysts believe that the legal opinion put forward to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague by the Asia-Pacific Institute of International Law is likely to further delay the ruling, previously expected early this month. The institute maintained in a 41-page legal document that the case, which is essentially about sovereignty disputes among rival claimants including Beijing and Manila, lies outside the tribunal's jurisdiction. The organisation is led by lawyer Daniel Fung and its brief was endorsed by several legal experts from Hong Kong, Britain and Australia, state news agency Xinhua said. “Our motives are not about arguing whether the Philippines or China is right. Rather, we want to maintain the perfection of the international law system and the perfection of the arbitration tribunal which is one of the instruments of the system,” Fung said in an interview with Xinhua. “We are unwilling to see the international law system being jeopardised or its reputation being damaged,” he added. Professor Xu Xiaobing, an international law expert at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said the institute's legal opinion may cast fresh uncertainty over the highly charged case, which was widely tipped to go against China. There are growing signs that the ruling may have been postponed due to the latest developments surrounding the case,” he said. Xu also agreed with the institute's argument that the arbitration would do little to help resolve the escalating disputes and would inevitably exacerbate tensions in the South China Sea. China has mounted an unprecedented propaganda campaign over the past three months to question the authority of the tribunal and to enlist support from other nations. The tribunal has yet to formally respond to the institute's legal argument. ^ top ^

Indonesia detains Chinese fishing boat and crew for illegal fishing (SCMP)
An Indonesian navy warship arrested a Chinese boat and seven Chinese crew members for fishing illegally in Indonesian territorial waters bordering the South China Sea, Indonesia's navy spokesman said on Saturday, according to Kyodo. The Indonesian warship KRI Imam Bonjol-383 responded to a report from maritime air surveillance officials that 12 foreign fishing boats were illegally working in the Natuna Sea, First Admiral Edi Sucipto said. “When approached by our warship, the foreign fishing boats manoeuvred and escaped,” Edi said. The warship chased after them and fired a warning shot, but the boats ignored it. “Finally, after some warning shots, one of the 12 foreign fishing boats stopped,” the navy officer said. He added that after being stopped and checked, the vessel was discovered to be a Chinese boat with one women and six men as crew, all Chinese citizens. Indonesia has recently strengthened its capability to defend its land and waters in the South China Sea, namely around the Natuna Islands, around which the country has declared an exclusive economic zone that overlaps China's so-called “nine-dash line” maritime claim. Indonesia currently has about 800 military personnel in the Natuna region. This year, the number will rise to about 2,000. Indonesia protested against China's nine-dash line map, with which China claims almost the entire South China Sea, when it was submitted to the United Nations in May 2009. Through diplomatic channels and notes, Indonesia has repeatedly sought clarification from China on the nine-dash line shown on a map published in 1947 by the then Republic of China to justify its claim to most of the South China Sea, but to no avail. Although Indonesia is not a claimant state in the disputes over islands and reefs in the South China Sea, which mainly involve China, Vietnam and the Philippines, it has been warily monitoring China's development of infrastructure there, including rigs and lighthouses, as well as its seismic surveys and fishing activities. ^ top ^

US views China investment talks as 'productive' after new offers (SCMP)
Bilateral investment talks between the United States and China “continue to be productive”, the US Trade Representative's office said on Friday after the two sides exchanged new offers this week. A USTR spokeswoman said US and Chinese negotiators exchanged revised “negative lists” of sectors that would stay off-limits from foreign investment as they try to reach a deal for a bilateral investment treaty (BIT). “China will need to demonstrate the substantial liberalisation of its investment market, ensure that US firms can compete on a level playing field, and address other key priorities to facilitate the progress and successful conclusion of a mutually beneficial and high standard BIT,” the USTR spokeswoman said in a statement. Obama administration officials and US companies have complained that China has more than 100 sectors of its economy closed to US investment and that these must be narrowed substantially to reach a treaty deal. Chinese officials have said that US security reviews of Chinese acquisitions of American firms are too onerous, particularly for investment in high-technology sectors. The USTR statement did not specify any new sectors that China had offered to open to US investment or divulge other details of Beijing's latest offer. US businesses have complained about Chinese ownership restrictions in key areas such as financial services, health insurance, agriculture, and audio-visual, while the Chinese side has complained about limited market access in certain US sectors such as transportation, radio communications, natural resources and high-technology companies. US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Thursday said that “the jury is still out” on the merits of China's latest negative list, and that Beijing's negotiating stance in the bilateral investment treaty talks were “one important barometer” in China's commitment to reform its economy and open it to foreign competition. Lew also has said that time was running short to complete a treaty deal during the final months of the Obama administration and that an optimum time to reach an agreement was prior to a G20 leaders summit in China in early September. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Arbitration board rules against HIV-positive man suspended from work (Global Times)
A man with HIV in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province on Wednesday lost his arbitration case addressing job discrimination against HIV-positive individuals. The local labor dispute arbitration committee in Guangzhou on Wednesday dismissed the request of plaintiff Ah Ming (pseudonym) that he be given his job back because he was suspended from work at a public institution in Guangzhou after being found to be HIV positive during a physical exam in April. The arbitration committee stated in its ruling that it believes infectious disease prevention and treatment regulations stipulating that HIV-positive individuals should be quarantined until they are proven to no longer be infectious are still in effect, so the employer's decision is appropriate. Disappointed by the result, Ah Ming told the Global Times on Thursday that he will ask the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), which issued the regulations on the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, to explain its reasons for requiring people living with HIV to be treated in quarantine. Qiu Hengyu, Ah Ming's attorney, said his client will lodge an appeal against his employer, most likely at the People's Court of Baiyun district, Guangzhou. "The Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases already excludes HIV carriers from those needing to be treated in quarantine," Qiu told the Global Times on Thursday. "However, the arbitration committee totally ignored a law that was passed by the National People's Congress, while citing the regulation only," Qiu added. "The Rules on AIDS Prevention and Treatment have been in effect for 10 years since 2006. But their goal of ensuring HIV carriers' equal employment rights has never been achieved," Peng Yanhui, director of LGBT Rights Advocacy China, told the Global Times. ^ top ^

Twister kills 78 in Jiangsu (Global Times)
The death toll from extreme weather in East China's Jiangsu Province has climbed to 78, the ministry of civil affairs said late Thursday. Nearly 500 people have been injured, 200 critically. Downpours, hailstorms and a tornado battered parts of Yancheng at 2:30 pm, destroying many houses, the city government said in an earlier press release. Gales of 125 kilometers per hour battered several outer townships in Funing county, while in Sheyang, winds reached 100 kilometers per hour. Many houses collapsed in the gales, with 51 deaths reported and dozens injured as of 8:30 pm. Some regions reported blackouts and communication interruptions. Witnesses said they saw huge trees falling and whole villages being leveled. Victims were dragged from the ruins of their homes and rushed to hospital. "I heard the gales and ran upstairs to shut the windows," said Xie Litian, 62, from Donggou township in Funing. "I had hardly reached the top of the stairs when I heard a boom and saw the entire wall with the windows on it torn away." As he ran downstairs, the roof collapsed. "I crouched in a corner of the ground floor for at least 20 minutes, afraid to move." When the gales subsided and Xie escaped, all the other houses in the neighborhood were gone. "It was like the end of the world." Xie said he saw utility poles uprooted and his tractors were blown away. "I was drowned in my own sorrow, until I heard moans for help from a neighbor buried in the debris of her home." Xie helped the woman out and took her to a hospital 10 kilometers away on his motorbike. "The road was blocked with rubble and fallen trees," he said. Top officials from Yancheng are leading rescue and relief efforts in the affected villages. A State Council work group headed by deputy minister of civil affairs Dou Yupei is en route to Yancheng. The ministry has dispatched relief materials, including more than 1,000 tents and 2,000 folding beds, to the affected regions. Meteorologists said that while tornados had been fairly frequently recorderd in Jiangsu frequently, with 1,070 between 1956 and 2005, but a tornado at this scale in Yancheng is very rare. The last time a similar tornado hit this area was in 1966. ^ top ^

Rising star from Chinese Communist Party's Youth League tipped to become provincial governor (SCMP)
A rising political star from the Communist Youth League is tipped to be appointed governor of province before a major power reshuffle in autumn next year, according to sources familiar with the matter. With the approval of the Communist Party's Central Committee, Yang Yue was on Thursday named a member of the provincial party standing committee. The next step would see Yang made executive deputy governor of Jiangsu in the near future, replacing an official who was recently placed under investigation for graft, one source said. Another source familiar with the political situation in Nanjing, Jiangsu's provincial capital, said Yang would likely be made governor. The move would be an elevation for Yang, who has served as a member of the Fujian provincial party standing committee and party boss of the capital Fuzhou. Yang used the pseudonym “Shan Shan” to pen an article in Wednesday's Fujian Daily bidding farewell to the city where he had worked since 2011, the Shanghai-based news portal reported. According to the report, Yang said in his article: “General Secretary Xi Jinping once said that Fuzhou is ... blessed by God and people who live here are also blessed by God.” The current executive vice-governor of Jiangsu, Li Yunfeng, was late last month put under investigation for “serious violation of party discipline”, a common euphemism for corruption on the mainland. Sources said putting Yang in his place would make him a strong contender for further promotion in the coming months. Jiangsu provincial party chief Luo Zhijun, 65, is due to retire and current governor Shi Taifeng, 60, is expected to become the next party chief. The retirement age for mainland ministerial or provincial level officials is 65. The sources said Yang might be promoted as provincial governor before the power reshuffle at the Communist Party's 19th National Congress to be held in autumn next year. “This is a good opportunity for Yang to pursue further promotions after being stuck in Fujian for nearly 10 years,” one source said. The source said Yang had little chance of being promoted to Fujian governor, given the position was held by Yu Weiguo, who is 61. Yu was formally named as provincial government head in January, succeeding Su Shulin, who has been accused of graft. At 47, Yang is one of the youngest deputy ministerial level officials on the mainland. He was widely considered a rising political star when he became a member of the Fujian provincial party standing committee in 2008 when he was 40. Yang previously served as the deputy of Hu Chunhua, who was the first party secretary of the Communist Youth League between 2006 and 2008. Hu is currently a member of the decision-making Politburo and also party chief of Guangdong province. ^ top ^

Floods are receding but heat will stay (China Daily)
Storm dangers are not over, forecasters warn; southern China swelters under scorching sun Scorching temperatures in South China are expected to continue into the end of this month as the national forecaster warned of more rainstorms in the river basin areas of the Huaihe River in coming days. The rainstorms have given way to lingering heat waves in parts of Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces in the past two days, and the hot days and warm nights are expected to continue until the end of the month, according to the National Meteorological Center. "The area will be in the firm grip of a belt of atmospheric high pressure in the coming days, which means the heat will linger there in the foreseeable future," He Lifu, chief forecaster with the center, said at a news briefing on Wednesday. High temperatures in South China, expected to be about 35 to 39 degrees, could even extend to the beginning of next month, unless a typhoon comes and interrupts, He said. Meanwhile, in North China the heat is expected to disperse starting from Thursday after the arrival of a cold front, he said. Zhang Jianzhong, deputy chief of the meteorological service office of the center, said the lingering heat could raise the level of energy consumption in South China and increase risks of heatstroke. The national forecaster said that the basin area of the Huaihe River could experience two sweeping rainstorms starting from Thursday, which could trigger flash floods and landslides in Henan and Anhui provinces. The strongest rainstorms are expected to occur on Thursday and Sunday, with some areas expected to receive precipitation of about 250 millimeters during the period. "It is vital for people in those areas to keep close tabs on the weather alerts and react in time to the early warnings by authorities," Zhang said. It is still difficult to forecast whether Yangtze River areas will experience similar flooding to that of 1998, forecaster He said. "The patterns of El Nino and the subtropical ridge are all similar to that of 1998. But it is still too early to know whether we can expect a similar lingering rainfall," he said. In 1998, the basin areas of the Yangtze River experienced more than 70 days of torrential rainfall. Those storms eventually triggered a major flood that left at least 1,800 people dead, with more than 100 million people affected. Floods triggered by heavy rain left 22 people dead and 15 others missing in South China since Saturday, according to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. ^ top ^

2020 health plan to ease burden on people in poverty (China Daily)
All Chinese living below the poverty line in rural areas will have access to basic medical care and other health services "close to" the national average by 2020, according to a guideline released by 15 central government departments on Tuesday. The government will mobilize various social resources and take more precise measures to support the development of health and medical care services in poor areas, the guideline said. The health poverty alleviation project is part of a national strategy to ensure that all people living below the poverty line in China climb out by 2020, the guideline said. Of the 55.7 million people living in poverty in rural China as of 2015, about 44 percent were impoverished because of expenses related to health, Hong Tianyun, deputy director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, said at a news conference on Tuesday. The current poverty line in China is 2,800 yuan ($425) per person a year. To tackle health-related poverty with precision, several ministries, including the National Health and Family Planning Commission and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, have organized a nationwide investigation into the major health conditions responsible for the poverty of the rural population, said Wang Pei'an, vice-minister of the commission. The investigation, to be conducted by grassroots health workers, will cover every household that fell into poverty because of health expenses, and a record will be created for each in a database after the investigation is completed in July, he said. A report will be made based on the investigation and database to help authorities provide assistance to different groups according to need, Wang said. To help impoverished regions gain access to more health resources, the government will increase subsidies for insurance for the rural poor and encourage the private sector and nongovernmental organizations to invest in poor regions, Wang said. Medical resources such as hospitals and doctors are seriously lacking in the 832 counties with the largest number of poor people, a major gap between supply and demand, Wang said. Despite China's universal coverage for basic health insurance, a person with low income can easily go bankrupt because of out-of-pocket expenses. For example, a person may be reimbursed for 80 percent of a medical procedure, but the remaining 20 percent can gobble up a year's earnings or more. Nearly 30 million Chinese are in poverty because of this sort of basic math, according to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation. The foundation has partnered with an IT company to launch an online crowdfunding website to give poor patients direct access to donations for lifesaving medical care, the foundation said on Tuesday. ^ top ^

Chinese lawyers say judicial officials barred them from advising Wukan protest chief (SCMP)
Two renowned rights lawyers based in southern China say judicial authorities told them to avoid the case involving the Wukan village chief who has been detained on suspicion of bribery after calling for protests over land grabs. But they pointed out that under mainland law, Lin Zuluan was entitled to counsel, whether he was guilty or not. Lin, 70, was taken from his home in the fishing village in Guangdong province early on Saturday morning after calling on residents to mount a protest over alleged land grabs. Prosecutors accused him of “pocketing a large sum of money” through contracting village infrastructure projects, and officials later aired a video showing his confession. But local villagers say he's not guilty and continue to press for his release. On Monday Lin's family hired Ge Yongxi to act as counsel. They signed documents with the law firm and deposited a retainer fee. But Ge said his firm was contacted by the municipal judicial authorities and ordered to return the funds on Wednesday. “The firm was banned from accepting any client from Wukan village, which obviously interferes with our normal, legal business,” Ge told the South China Morning Post. “He should not be denied the right of legal counsel, whether he has taken any bribe or not.” Villagers remain adamant the video confession was forced, saying he appeared to be reading from a prepared statement. They marched within the village on Wednesday, the fourth straight day since their public action began on Sunday, calling for his release and his name restored. Another Guangzhou-based lawyer, Ge Wenxiu, said the judicial authority as well as security personnel approached him twice on Tuesday and told him to stay away from the case. “I have not been approached by Lin's family ... but I am putting it on record that if Lin or any Wukan villagers come to me for legal defence, I will take it into serious consideration,” he said. “I don't understand the authorities' logic as it is clearly illegal to deny the accused party access to legal counsel.” Wukan made global headlines in 2011 when residents staged landmark protests over corruption and land seizures. They were allowed to directly elect their leaders following the stand-off, but allegations that officials were misusing land persisted, and have led to the recent protests. Officials in Shanwei, a higher administrative authority, this week accused Hong Kong media of planning and directing the protests and threatened “to take measures”. Ge Yongxi said: “I do not wish to speculate on the authority's motive, but a corruption case involving a village chief is very minor and the amount involved is nowhere near [the level of] corrupted county chiefs, mayors, governors or even Zhou Yongkang's family,” he said, referring to the disgraced former security tsar who was jailed for life for corruption and abuse of power last year. Renmin University political scientist Zhang Ming said he was pessimistic over the villagers' hopes for justice. “It's hard to tell, but I do not have a good feeling about ... maintaining social stability with [such] high pressure,” Zhang said. ^ top ^

China's media regulator vows 'severe punishment' for TV programmes ridiculing state policies (SCMP)
The media regulator on the Chinese mainland has vowed to strengthen the vetting of television programmes and severely punish people responsible for those found to be ridiculing state policies or hyping social media trending topics, its deputy director says. Tian Jin, deputy director of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said in a commentary published by the People's Daily, the party's mouthpiece, that the country's media workers at “mainstream” media outlets – newspapers, TV and broadcaster stations – should closely follow the party line and show “unlimited loyalty” to the party and the people. His article, published on Sunday, comes weeks after the country's top graft buster, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, criticised the country's propaganda department for failing to shape public opinion and promote the party's point of view forcefully enough. The commentary said media workers should strictly comply with “propaganda disciplines”, which are not only a principal request for all media organisations, but also act as guarantees so that they will prosper. “[Media organisations] should resolutely overcome a tendency to ignore disciplines and rules,” the commentary said. “[They] should not provide any ways for promoting wrongful ideas and voices. “Programmes that are hyping trending social hot topics, ridiculing state policies, disseminating wrongful views, advocating extreme views, and sparking conflicts will be severely punished,” the commentary says. Chinese censor pushes liberal magazine to brink of closure, says former chief editor( Following Tian's pledge, the administration on Sunday issued strict limits on programmes that are copies of foreign TV shows so as “to boost innovation and the creation of original works”. The directive said some TV channels were “too dependent on broadcasting foreign-inspired programmes” and did not have original ideas. Only original TV programmes with Chinese cultural inheritance “can better carry the 'Chinese Dream' themes, the socialist core values, as well as patriotism and Chinese fine traditions”, the article said. New rules stipulate that all satellite TV channels will be allowed to broadcast only two programmes with imported copyrights during prime time from 7.30pm to 10.30pm every year. Such programmes need to have the approval of local regulators in order to be broadcast on satellite channels. Reality shows with imported copyrights have become an instant hit on the mainland over the past few years, including Running Man, Where Are We Going, Dad? and The Voice of China . Only one new such programme is allowed to broadcast every year, but it cannot be broadcast during prime time periods in the first year. The shows will also be allowed to broadcast only one season each year. ^ top ^

Yulin's dog meat vendors cover signage (Global Times)
Restaurants in Yulin, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, covered the Chinese character "dog" on their signboards in order to "avoid trouble" ahead of the start of a controversial dog meat festival on Tuesday. Fearful of the protests from animal rights activists that have inundated past festivals, many restaurants and vendors in the city covered the Chinese character for "dog" on their signboards. Some restaurants even changed their names entirely. A dog meat seller surnamed Zhou who works at the city's Dongkou market told the Global Times on Sunday that she just wanted to "avoid trouble." Another dog meat seller surnamed Li who works near Liangbin Road told the Global Times that the government has required vendors to cover their signboards. "Recently, authorities have frequently asked to check the licenses of these restaurants and vendors, including their food sanitation permits and business licenses," Li said. Many animal activists did not buy vendors' attempts to hide what they are purveying. "They know it is something disgraceful, so they try to cover the name," Wang Xiaojun, senior communications manager at international animal rights group World Animal Protection, told the Global Times on Sunday. On Jiangbin Road, dubbed "dog street" for the cluster of dog meat restaurants there, a line has formed as people wait for these restaurants to start hanging their dog meat and prepare for dinner at 6 pm. Before mass media coverage of the festival - which has been held on the summer solstice since the 1990s - began in recent years, only local people bought dog meat around the solstice, whereas now many people from Northeast China or neighboring Guangdong Province also come here to taste the meat, a local citizen surnamed Zhang told the Global Times on Sunday. Zhou, the dog meat seller, said that eating dog meat is a long-standing tradition that people from outside the area may not understand. Past festivals have witnessed confrontations on the street between restaurant owners, vendors and animal welfare protesters, who claim the festival is barbaric and who have called upon the city to stop the "cruel celebration" of dog meat, lychees and strong liquor. "The government is capable of telling the public that this kind of tradition is improper and should be banned," Jiang Hong, head of a Xi'an-based animal protection group, told the Global Times on Sunday. "The market stimulated the production chain. In order to get dogs, many people resorted to stealing and poisoning them, which may be dangerous, since some people were likely to have been poisoned by eating poisoned dogs," Jiang added. A supervisor of the Dongkou market surnamed Pang told the Global Times that all the dog meat sold in the market had been approved by the local food safety watchdog, adding that no law or regulation prohibits residents from buying or selling dog meat. According to a report by West China Metropolis Daily, some 10,000 dogs are consumed during every dog meat festival. ^ top ^



Neighbours of Chinese village protesting over land grabs are involved in similar disputes (SCMP)
Residents of villages near Wukan in southern Guangdong province say they are involved in land disputes similar to their neighbour's, but are not being heard because they lack financial support and competent leadership. Liu Yongjiang, a resident of Xialongtan about 5km from Wukan, said officials in his village had made 200 million yuan (HK$236 million) by selling communal land, a hotel and two other properties that belonged to villagers. Xialongtan's case was similar to the unresolved land seizures that brought thousands of villagers in Wukan onto the streets on Sunday. Wukan's dispute has festered for five years since the village last protested and the latest demonstrations have been met with the detention of Wukan's village chief Lin Zuluan on allegations of bribery. Liu said Xialongtan village residents were also involved in long-standing land disputes, but their momentum was lost three years ago when one of their petition leaders was jailed for causing disturbance. He said people in Wukan could demonstrate because they were under less financial pressure than his village. He said Wukan residents were poor years ago, but some had gone to Hong Kong to make a living and provide financial support to their village. “With the money, the basic living costs could be secured in case something adverse happened to fellow villagers involved in demonstrations,” said Liu. “Residents become bold and united when they have nothing to worry about.” A Wukan resident said it took only four hours from the seaside village to Hong Kong by speedboat and 1,000 Wukan natives were now living in Hong Kong. A resident in Longtou, just a few minutes drive from Wukan, said about 660,000 square metres of communal land had been sold by officials without villagers' consent. “Unlike Wukan, we've got neither financial nor competent people to lead the way,” said the resident. The man in his 30s said local officials paid no more than 300 or 400 yuan per square metre to buy farmland from his fellow villagers – then sold it to property developers for 2,000 to 3,000 yuan per square metre. “Quite a number of people in Wukan made a lot of money over the past few decades. When one gets rich, he or she will become powerful,” said the man. He said protests could not happen without financing, as they involved huge amounts of money just to provide a single bottle of water to each demonstrator, not to mention legal fees. He said a fellow villager had spent up to 300,000 yuan on petitioning other residents since 2013. Liu of Xialongtan said a capable and clean leader was a vital factor in the success of mass protests. He said Wukan's Lin Zuluan had both these characteristics, which had helped him in rallying the support of most of his fellow villagers. ^ top ^

Villagers in southern China defy warnings and press ahead with demonstration to demand chief's release (SCMP)
Thousands of people in Wukan in southern Guangdong province defied a police warning and staged a protest march yesterday, demanding that authorities release their village chief and return occupied land. Under a scorching sun, more than 2,000 residents from children to the elderly gathered at about 2pm amid a heavy presence of riot police, waving national flags and giant white banners declaring their grievances. “Release our party secretary, return our land,” they chanted in the village's central plaza. Authorities had attempted to halt the assembly by detaining Wukan's party secretary, Lin Zuluan, at midnight on Saturday. All shops and restaurants were closed as the villagers gathered for the first time in nearly five years. The fishing village 120km east of Hong Kong made international headlines in September 2011 when residents staged a series of protests over land seizures. The Guangdong provincial government eventually relented and, in an attempt to end the protests over their land, granted the villagers a grass-roots election to select their own leaders. But almost five years later, villagers complain that the land disputes have not been resolved and, if anything, are worse. Lin, 70, was snatched from his home on Saturday by about 10 police officers, after he called on villagers to join a march planned for tomorrow over the alleged continued abuses. Authorities in nearby Lufeng had warned that villagers who took action would be “severely dealt with by iron fists”. But villagers remained defiant yesterday, vowing to go ahead with tomorrow's protest, then proceeded to march around the village under the eyes of riot police, who feared a repeat of what happened five years ago, when protesters vandalised police vehicles. “No one organised this assembly, everyone came on their own. It's no fun to stand in the sun like this if not for supporting Lin,” a 25-year-old villager who refused to be named said. “We want to show the world what is happening in Wukan. How on earth is it possible for them to arrest Lin in the middle of the night? We must seek justice for him.” Lin's wife, 68-year-old Yang Zhen, said the villagers would gather signatures today and proceed with tomorrow's petition, demanding that authorities release her husband. “I'm very happy to see such a large turnout today. We must remain united to get our land back,”she said. “I am not afraid of being arrested. The people here are covering my back.” Officials attempted to dissuade villagers from marching earlier yesterday. Zhang Shuijin, a Wukan village deputy secretary, told reporters that the Lufeng city government had recently set up a working group of about a dozen members to study Wukan's land disputes. “There is no need for a general assembly. We must rely on the city government to solve the issue for us,” Zhang said. Despite their defiance, the villagers remained fearful of a police crackdown. As night fell, they prepared diesel generators as rumours spread that the village's power supply would be cut. Other villagers organised shifts to guard the lanes overnight where journalists were staying, fearing a midnight raid. They also expressed fears over Lin's safety in police custody, and remembered how their protest leader Xue Jinbo died mysteriously after being detained in 2011. ^ top ^



China's top legislature opposes US lawmakers' meeting with Dalai Lama (Xinhua)
The National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislative body, on Friday voiced strong dissatisfaction after some US lawmakers met with the Dalai Lama in Washington. "The meeting went against the US commitment that Tibet is a part of Chinese territory and it does not support 'Tibet independence'," said a statement issued by the NPC's Foreign Affairs Committee. The meeting also breached basic norms of international relations and constituted a severe interference in China's internal affairs, the statement said. US House Speaker Paul Ryan, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and some lawmakers met with Dalai Lama in Washington on June 14. ^ top ^

US does not support 'Tibet independence': Kerry (China Daily)
The United States maintains that Tibet is an inalienable part of China and does not support the independence of Tibet, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday. During a telephone conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Kerry said the U.S. policy on the Tibet issue remains unchanged and will not change. Wang, for his part, reiterated China's principled position on the issue of Tibet, urging the U.S. side to refrain from interfering in China's domestic affairs, and take practical actions to safeguard the overall China-U.S. relations. Kerry hailed the success of the recent U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogues and U.S.-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange, which were held in Beijing earlier this month. The United States stands ready to further push forward U.S.-China relations, Kerry said. Wang said the latest round of China-U.S. dialogue was successful thanks to the joint efforts by both the Chinese and U.S. sides. The recent dialogue has sent clear signals that both sides are committed to building a new type of major-country relationship, which will create favorable conditions for the further healthy and stable development of China-U.S. relations, Wang said. ^ top ^



Xinjiang expo exhibits Silk Road leadership (Global Times)
As the 5th China-Eurasia Expo is set to kick off in September in Urumqi, the strategic importance of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as a core area for China's Silk Road Economic Belt continues to rise. During the expo from September 20 to 25, Chinese leaders, foreign envoys of Asian and European countries, specialized agencies, business leaders and heads of international organizations will be invited to attend both the expo's opening ceremony and the China-Eurasia Economic Development Cooperation Forum, Shohrat Zakir, Xinjiang's chairman, told a news conference on Wednesday in Beijing. Six other ministerial-level forums will also be held during the expo, including the China-Eurasian Forum on Cooperation in Entry-Exit Health Quarantine at Ports, the Financial Cooperation Forum, the Scientific and Technological Cooperation Forum and the Forum on Development of Overseas Chinese Businesses and Construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt. The expo will be divided into 14 sections to better meet the needs of domestic and foreign enterprises attending the event. Shi Dagang, vice chairman of Xinjiang, said at the press conference that despite the fact that the exhibition space's total area will be doubled this year, it is still unable to fully meet the demand. Xinjiang has its eyes set on playing a greater role in China's Belt and Road initiative, as the region borders eight countries in Central Asia. Its status as a transportation hub will be further strengthened with the upcoming completion of the China-Pakistan railway and the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway. According to Zakir, Xinjiang plans to become a regional center for transportation, logistics, medical services, finance and culture in addition to science and education. He said by the middle of this century, Xinjiang plans to establish itself as a base for oil and gas production, processing and storage, coal power and wind and solar energy. The region also intends to construct 10 import and export industrial parks for fields such as machinery and equipment, textiles, building materials, chemical products, information services and animal husbandry products. These industries will also be featured at the expo. Since its establishment in 2011, the China-Eurasia Expo has witnessed the signing of agreements worth a total of 900 billion yuan ($136.7 billion). In 2015 alone, 149 projects worth 129 billion yuan were inked during the expo. Tong Daochi, an assistant commerce minister, said at the Wednesday press conference that direct investment in countries related to the Belt and Road initiative reached $14.8 billion in 2015, an increase of 18.2 percent over the previous year. ^ top ^



New party seeks Hong Kong's independence, via return to British rule (SCMP)
A group of activists are setting up another political party to campaign for Hong Kong's independence. Calling itself the Alliance to Resume British Sovereignty over Hong Kong and Independence, the extreme localist group is the second political party formed within three months that advocates Hong Kong's independence. The first was Hong Kong National Party, formed in late March. Among the core leaders of the new party is activist Billy Chiu Hin-chung, 31, who said the party was planning to field candidates in the Legislative Council elections in September. Unlike the National Party, Chiu said they would not aim to make Hong Kong an independent state in one-go, rather, they would want Hong Kong to become a British colony again first before asking Britain to let the city go independent. “We do not recognise the Sino-British Joint Declaration. So, the only logical result that Hong Kong has to return to British rule. It will be transitional. And we shall aim ultimately at going independent,” said Chiu on Tuesday. He added that they had prepared to set up the party for about half a year. The party is to be formally inaugurated on Sunday. Despite the seemingly common goal of Hong Kong's independence, Chiu said they had no ties with the National Party, adding that the form of independent state the National Party was seeking was not “genuine independence”. “The National Party claim they would recognise those outsiders who flee to Hong Kong [as Hong Kong nationals],” said Chiu. Chiu was formerly with the League of Social Democrats and later founded the protest group Hongkongers Come First in 2013. He managed to catch media attention by waving the colonial-era Hong Kong flag during protests. He and several others made a political stunt in late 2013 when they broke into the People's Liberation Army barracks in Admiralty while waving a colonial flag and asking the PLA to “get out of Hong Kong”. He was at last sentenced to two weeks in jail for entering a closed area without a permit, but the term was suspended for 12 months. In one of the latest cases, Chiu was found guilty of taking part in an unlawful assembly in June 2014 when he and other protesters stormed into the Legislative Council building during a violent protest against the government plans to develop the northeastern New Territories. Chiu was sentenced to 150 hours of community service by the court in February. ^ top ^

Inconsistencies emerge from Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee's comments on his detention (SCMP)
Fresh questions have emerged after Causeway Bay Books founder Lam Wing-kee gave marathon media interviews on Sunday. While he offered an account of what happened between October last year when he was detained in Shenzhen and last week when he returned to Hong Kong, Lam also came up with inconsistencies when he touched on the disappearance of fellow bookseller Lee Po. Lee's case was the most high-profile – before Lam's explosive exposé – as he was the only one to have vanished on Hong Kong soil before resurfacing on the mainland, raising questions about whether mainland officers had carried out duties outside their jurisdiction. During his press conference on Thursday, Lam claimed that Lee told him he was abducted to the mainland when the pair met up on Lam's return to Hong Kong. But Lee quickly rebutted his claim. On Sunday, Lam toned down his wording and said it was Lee's tone that led him to believe Lee's departure from Hong Kong was an involuntary act. “It was very obvious. You could tell from [Lee's] tone,” he said. “His tone. He didn't say it directly.” Lam maintained his “unambiguous” understanding that Lee was taken away against his will. Lam added that Lee had no choice but to deny the claim because he had family members in Fujian. Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan, who accompanied Lam at his press conference, said the government had the best evidence. “There was CCTV footage showing how Lee left the warehouse in Chai Wan,” Ho said. “Police can get it.” Daughter of last bookseller in custody slams Chinese government for not respecting fair trial (Lam also revealed on Sunday that while in custody, an interrogator told him the authorities planned to hand down a sentence against fellow bookseller Gui Minhai between September and December and set the others free. Gui's daughter, Angela, told the Post that she had no idea why only her father had been targeted. “I have no idea. I wish it had been made clear to me. And it doesn't seem that Lam knows either,” she said. “That's the kind of information I have wanted for so long.” She added: “If they have already planned to sentence him, that obviously means they haven't planned to give him a fair trial. That's a continuation of the illegal behaviour we have seen, which makes me really sad not just for personal reasons, but also because that's not the way it is supposed to be.” Angela is studying in Britain. Her father, who vanished in Pattaya, Thailand, is a Swedish citizen. The father has been accused of ordering his bookstore associates to deliver about 4,000 books banned on the mainland to customers there since October 2014. He was also accused of killing a 23-year-old university student in a drink-driving case in Ningbo, Zhejiang province in 2004. ^ top ^

Refugees call Hong Kong people: 'don't put us all in the same basket' (SCMP)
Some say people from countries like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan cannot be genuine asylum seekers. But men like John, from Bangladesh, and Sid, from India, prove them wrong. They both saw their claims recognised in Hong Kong in recent months – both on appeal. They were the first successful cases regarding applicants from those countries. “Many cases are genuine, but the way Immigration handles them sometimes make them look bogus. One needs to be lucky to have good people advising them,” John, not his real name, said. He left his country for fear of political persecution in 2007 and arrived in Hong Kong because he was misled by a travel agent. John, who wanted to go to South Korea, said he faced an adversarial system, from the UN to the Immigration Department. “Even though many interviews were held, I felt that there was not enough time to tell my story in detail... But I waited patiently, because my claim was true,” he said. Negative comments against asylum seekers have increased over the past year, along with mention of “bogus refugees”, particularly in Chinese-language newspapers. Pro-establishment lawmakers have suggested the reopening of refugee camps. Sid, also not his real name, who arrived in 2006 after being tortured by police in India, noted that no one knew whether a case was fake before it was screened. “Everyone should be given a fair chance to tell what happened to them,” he said. Ben, from Africa, whose claim was substantiated last year and who is waiting to be resettled in another country, said he wished human rights were better upheld in the city. “People think that we take advantage, but this is a prison for us. We are not allowed to do anything here... This is also like torture,” he said. “There are people who came here to work illegally, but they can't put us all in the same basket ... Many of us came to seek help and protection.” ^ top ^



Closer to home: China's anti-corruption drive turns towards Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (SCMP)
Communist party and central government officials in Hong Kong and Macau are about to feel the heat of Beijing's unprecedented ongoing anti-corruption drive, it was announced late Wednesday night. The nation's top anti-corruption watchdog – the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) – is turning its ongoing graft inspections as part of the nationwide clean up campaign towards, for the first time, the agency under the State Council responsible for Hong Kong and Macau affairs. The anti-graft watchdog says inspection teams will be sent to the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, as well as the National People Congress' agencies including the Basic Law committees for Hong Kong and Macau, and 29 other ministerial-level party and government organs. Man meant to oversee discipline in Mainland China's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office found to have broken the rules himself Unveiling the plan yesterday CCDI head Wang Qishan said anti-graft inspections were one of the most effective methods of curbing rampant corruption. “Inspections are an important way to carry out internal-party supervision,” he said. Inspectors must stay in step with President Xi Jinping and “examine whether the party's guidelines and policies have been truthfully enforced in a bid to resolutely safeguard the party's central leadership”, Wang said. The round of inspections that includes Hong Kong and Macau is the 10th since Xi took office in late 2012. The aim is to cover all party and central government organs as well as all the provinces and state-owned enterprises, the CCDI said. Inspectors will also be sent to the ministries of foreign affairs, finance, and public security. They will also revisit Tianjin, Jiangxi, Henan and Hubei provinces, which were scrutinised in previous rounds of inspection. Although the party has routinely sent out inspection teams in the past, this round of audits has made international headlines after Xi kicked off a ruthless campaign against corruption, which he admitted had severely undermined the credibility of the party's rule. Dozens of senior government officials and state enterprises executives have been snared as a result of such procedures. Corruption in Hong Kong? Top Beijing official 'studying' situation and vows 'no area left unchecked' The latest stage of Xi's crackdown comes just weeks after a mainland official in charge of the internal control of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office was found to have breached discipline himself by treating friends to a meal at a hotel on business expenses. That warning came three months after the internal control body assigned an official to the Hong Kong office to oversee its discipline inspection work. Hong Kong-based China watcher, Johnny Lau Yui-siu said: “It signals that the central government is serious about cracking down on corruption, and no department is spared. In the past, they might not highlight the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office or the Basic Law Committee in their propaganda. But that does not mean the two departments were corruption-free.” ^ top ^



Chinese gov't to take measures to encourage private investment at home (Xinhua)
The Chinese government will take a series of measures to encourage private investment in the country, further unleashing business potential in the private sector. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called Wednesday on central and local government departments to take concrete steps to boost private investment, after hearing reports from a related inquiry at a State Council executive meeting he chaired. During the meeting, Li urged the government at all levels to pay attention to problems revealed in the inquiry, especially difficulties privately-run companies meet in financing as well as excessive administrative charges. He stressed that private investment is of critical importance for China to maintain stable economic growth, secure employment and reform its economic structure. The nationwide fact-finding mission on a slowdown in private investment was initiated by the State Council a month ago, covering 30 provinces and regions. A third-party evaluation was carried out by the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce as well as related research institutes. More than 500 enterprises were involved and over 10,000 questionnaires on the implementation of private investment policies were handed out in the survey. Major factors leading to a decline in private investment are found to include pressure of an economic downturn, reduction of excessive capacity, insufficient policy implementation, as well as financing difficulties facing local smaller, privately-run companies. Li said accomplishing goals in nurturing new economic driving forces, developing a new economy and carrying out a supply-side reform among other structural ones require the development of privately-run small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China. "Otherwise, we will not achieve the goal we set," he said. The survey revealed that many state-level policies to boost private investment were not fully realized. For instance, the implementation of those unveiled by the State Council in November 2014 met setbacks at local levels or didn't mesh well with established practices. Some surveyed private enterprises complained that though the central government has done a lot over the years to reduce institutional barriers in doing business and stimulating their growth, they were denied equal treatment with local state-owned enterprises (SOEs), being sometimes blocked by the threshold the local government set for access to certain projects. Li pointed out during the meeting that properly handling the relations between the government and the market in addition to deepening reforms are vital to boost private investment. "The government should fulfil its duties, but must not abuse its power," he said. More measures are expected to be unveiled by the State Council to resolve the abovementioned problems of privately-run companies, such as in improving access to credit, increasing institutional support for local public-private partnership (PPP) programs, reducing administrative costs and further widening market access. "Building up strong confidence in private investment is important to China's economic growth when it is slowing down," Li said. During a visit on Monday to China's central bank, People's Bank of China (PBOC), the premier also noted that the financial sector should support the real economy and develop financial products encouraging startups and innovations by ordinary Chinese. Private investment has been playing a vital role in China's economic development in recent years. It now accounts for 60 percent of China's gross domestic product (GDP), 80 percent of jobs, more than half of the tax revenue as well as 67 percent of China's direct outbound investment. ^ top ^

Li vows to boost support for real economy (China Daily)
China will strengthen the financial sector's role in supporting the real economy by providing reasonably sufficient liquidity and achieving stable exchange rates for the renminbi, according to Premier Li Keqiang. Li made the vow on Monday during a visit to the headquarters of the People's Bank of China — the central bank — and to China Construction Bank in Beijing. Amid a volatile international financial market, China's financial reforms have been progressing smoothly to mitigate risks and keep renminbi exchange rates stable, effectively supporting domestic economic growth, Li said. However, some regions and industries in the real economy are facing growth difficulties, "and prudent monetary policies must better coordinate with proactive fiscal policies for flexibility and accuracy in financing," Li said. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the central bank, said prudent monetary policies have provided reasonably sufficient liquidity to prop up the real economy. Guo Tianyong, head of the China Banking Research Center at Central University of Finance and Economics, said, "The destination for loans is consistent with China's macroeconomic and industrial policies. But banks should further enhance accuracy in lending to targeted business sectors to better serve the real economy." Li said the financial sector must also support the new economy, which features in integration with the internet, innovative enterprises and smart manufacturing. He called on financial institutions to back small and medium-sized enterprises and private businesses at lower cost. "Commercial banks should support the development of the real economy by financing major infrastructure projects, SMEs and innovation-driven companies," he told China Construction Bank employees. As of Monday, the bank had 2.8 trillion yuan ($427 billion) in loans for infrastructure projects, including new loans of 110 billion yuan in this field for the first quarter, a year-on-year increase of 86 percent. Li called on banks to continuously finance companies purchasing agricultural produce and to back agricultural manufacturing as a way to increase farmers' income. The international market has questioned if China intentionally manipulated the renminbi's depreciation after the exchange rate to the US dollar fell by 2 percent following a reform on Aug 11 last year. Li said the exchange rates for the renminbi should be kept at a reasonably stable level instead of fluctuating unilaterally. Wu Qing, deputy director of banking research at the State Council's Development Research Center, said Chinese banks have limited measures to support the real economy, as they are under pressure from the regulatory authority and other government departments. "Traditional means such as collateral loans cannot satisfy the financial demands of SMEs, which are pinning their hopes on financial innovation," Wu said. "But most financial institutions lack the ability to innovate, partly due to regulatory restrictions and a widespread copycat culture. There is a gap between the desire and the reality to serve the real economy." But Wu said there is still hope for better-regulated internet finance companies after an industrywide cleanup. ^ top ^

Apple's appeal in iPhone case accepted by IP court (China Daily)
The Beijing Intellectual Property Court has accepted an appeal by Apple to review a ruling by the capital's patent office ordering the company to halt the sales of its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in Beijing after finding the design too closely resembles a Chinese phone. The Beijing Intellectual Property Office said in a statement on its website that it ordered Apple and a reseller of its products in Beijing, Beijing Zoomflight Communication Equipment Co, to stop selling the two iPhone models after it found they infringed upon the rights of a Shenzhen-based company. A spokesman for the court said it had accepted Apple's appeal to review the ruling, but it has not set a time for the hearing. An Apple spokesman told AFP that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE models are "all available for sale today in China". "We appealed an administrative order from a regional patent tribunal in Beijing last month, and as a result the order has been stayed pending review by the Beijing IP Court," the Apple spokesman said. The complaint against Apple was filed by Shenzhen Baili Marketing Service Co, a small Chinese brand that designed a cellphone model called the 100C. Despite a number of differences between the 100C and the iPhone 6, "the differences are too tiny to be noticeable by average consumers, and thus it should be deemed that there is no apparent difference between the two phone models", according to a verdict by the Beijing patent tribunal. The tribunal made its ruling in May, and it was reported by Chinese media recently. The IP dispute is the latest faced by Apple over the design of its products in China, its second-largest market after the Americas. The company lost a four-year fight against a Beijing leather products maker in May after the Beijing Municipal High People's Court ruled in favor of Xintong Tiandi Technology, which sells a number of leather products such as smartphone cases and handbags under the name "iphone". In 2012, Apple paid $60 million to a Shenzhen-based maker of computer screens and LED lights to settle a dispute over the iPad trademark on the Chinese mainland. The company, Proview Technology, claimed that the Taipei subsidiary of its Hong Kong-based parent registered the iPad trademark in a number of countries and regions in 2000. Even though the iPad trademark was purchased by Apple from Proview Taipei in 2009, Proview Shenzhen said it reserved the right to use the trademark it registered on the Chinese mainland in 2001. ^ top ^



China's top nuclear envoy urges for early resumption of six-party talks (Global Times)
China's special representative on Korean Peninsula affairs Wu Dawei urged all parties to restart the six-party talks at an early date. Wu made the remarks at the 26th Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD) on development and peace on the Northeast Asia, regional multilateral security, major power relations and other topics. Wu, once China's chief delegate to the six-party talks, said all parties should give up the cold war mentality and insist on the denuclearization of the peninsula, through dialogue and consultation. The six-party talks played an important role in maintaining peace and promoting denuclearization, Wu said, adding that the September 19 2005 Joint Statement and its principles are guidance for a solution to the peninsula issue. The six-party talks, involving China, DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan, was a multilateral mechanism aimed to solve the Korean nuclear issue. The talks began in 2003 and stalled in December 2008. The DPRK quit the talks in April 2009. The NEACD was held in Beijing from Wednesday to Thursday. Choe Son Hui, Deputy Director General of the Department of U.S. Affairs of DPRK Foreign Ministry, Kanasugi Kenji, Director-General of the Asian and Oceania Affairs Bureau of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Kim Gunn, Director General for korean nuclear affairs of the ROK Foreign Ministry, Davydov, Ambassador-at-large of Russian Foreign Ministry and Sung Kim, Special Representative for DPRK Policy of the U.S. Department of State, attended. Later on Thursday afternoon, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying urged all parties to avoid any action that would escalate tension, in response to the DPRK missile launch on Wednesday.  ^ top ^

North Korea dismisses restarting stalled six-party talks on its nuclear weapons programme (SCMP)
North Korea has ruled out resuming the stalled six-party international talks on its nuclear weapons programme, despite the repeated urgings of its closest ally China. A North Korean official attending a security forum in Beijing said on Thursday that restarting the negotiations was not an option. “For now, we have no thoughts about taking part in talks to discuss the DPRK's denuclearisation,” said Choe Son-hui, deputy director-general at the North American affairs bureau in Pyongyang's foreign ministry. “Under these circumstances where the US hostile policy is still there, the DPRK is not in a position to talk about denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” she said. The North formally quit the negotiations aimed at curbing its nuclear weapons programme in 2009. It has since carried out a series of nuclear and missile tests, angering neighbouring countries including China. Choe was attending a security forum attended by officials from all six nations involved in the stalled talks. They also include the United States, Japan, South Korea and Russia. It was the first time Pyongyang had sent anybody to the security dialogue since 2012. North Korea successfully tested two powerful Musudan medium-range missiles on Wednesday, one of which flew 400 km into the Sea of Japan. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, applauded the test as a “great event” that significantly bolstered Pyongyang's pre-emptive nuclear attack capability, the official KCNA news agency reported. “We have the sure capability to attack in an overall and practical way the Americans in the Pacific operation theatre,” Kim was quoted as saying. Susan Shirk, a former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and an organiser of the security forum in Beijing, said she did not expect the six-party talks to be resumed any time soon. “We had very frank discussions and the atmosphere was extremely friendly,” she said at a press conference wrapping up the event. She added it was very important to maintain communications, especially when official talks have broken down. Su Ge, president of the China Institute of International Studies, told the press conference that China maintained its position calling for denuclearisation and added that resuming the six-party talks would require joint efforts. ^ top ^

DPRK announces successful test-launch of medium- and long-range strategic ballistic missile (Global Times)
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday announced that it has successfully test-launched a surface-to-surface medium- and long-range strategic ballistic missile Hwasong-10 and the top leader Kim Jong Un watched the launch on the site, according to state media KCNA. The ballistic missile "took off a self-propelled launching ramp and accurately landed in the targeted waters forward 400 km after flying to the maximum height of 1413.6 km along the planned flight orbit," the KCNA said. The test-fire confirmed the flying kinetic feature of the DPRK ballistic missile with an updated system and its safety and control and the technical specifications of newly-designed rocket structure and its dynamic system, according to the state media. The test also verified heat-resistance of a warhead in its re-entry section and its flight stability. Kim gave the order to start the missile launch after hearing a report on the plan. Kim said that the DPRK surely has the capability to attack the Americans in the Pacific region and that the country should have the powerful offensive means to pose a threat to the enemy and to defend its people from the US threats and other hostile forces. He also stressed the need for the DPRK to increase its "preemptive nuclear attack capability in a sustained way" and to continue to develop strategic attack weapons, adding that the nuclear attack capability should be steadily bolstered to protect the country and the people from US nuclear threat. On Tuesday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the DPRK launched two ballistic missiles which were suspected to be intermediate-range Musudan missiles near the Wonsan area on the eastern coast. The first was launched at about 5:58 am Seoul time (2058 GMT Tuesday), but it appeared to have failed as the missile flew in an abnormal trajectory in a distance short of what a normal ballistic missile can fly. The DPRK test-fired a second missile at about 8:05 am Seoul time (2305 GMT Tuesday), which flew about 400 km. It is believed that a ballistic missile is required to fly at least 300 km to be considered successful in test-firing. The latest intermediate-range missile launch was the sixth test-firing of its kind by Pyongyang after the five earlier launches were all believed to have failed. ^ top ^

North Korean diplomat arrives in China for security conference (SCMP)
A senior North Korean diplomat, who has long been in charge of her country's talks with the United States, arrived on Monday in China to most likely attend a security conference. The arrival of Choe Son Hui, deputy chief of the Foreign Ministry's North American affairs bureau, was confirmed at Beijing Capital International Airport. She did not respond to questions from reporters. The two-day informal conference from Wednesday, called the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue, brings together government officials and experts from China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia and the United States, the members of long-stalled talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programme. The US State Department said on Friday that Sung Kim, special representative for North Korea policy, would visit Beijing from Tuesday to Thursday to hold meetings with Chinese officials and take part in the closed-door security dialogue. China and Japan are also considering sending their top nuclear negotiators, Wu Dawei and Kenji Kanasugi, to the talks, organised almost every year by the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California, San Diego, according to officials familiar with the situation. Diplomatic sources said earlier this month that North Korea, which did not send any official to the event for the last three years, was expected to be represented by Choe. The gathering provides a rare opportunity for officials from North Korea and the five other countries in the nuclear negotiations to sit together. It comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made it clear early last month at a once-in-a-generation party congress that his country would continue to upgrade nuclear capabilities as a deterrent to perceived threats from the United States. In the months leading up to the congress of the ruling Workers' Party, North Korea carried out a wave of weapons tests and issued belligerent statements toward South Korea and the United States. But following the congress, held for the first time in 36 years, Pyongyang has sent some signals that it might be more willing to engage in diplomacy. North Korea's new top official in charge of foreign affairs, Ri Su Yong, met with President Xi Jinping on June 1. It marked Xi's first meeting in three years with a senior North Korean official in the Chinese capital. The institute has provided no details of the forthcoming conference, but it has explained that the framework has proven “its value as the only ongoing regular channel of informal communication among the six governments” since 1993 when it was initiated by Susan Shirk, a former senior US official and a professor of the university. Attention is focused on whether the US special representative will hold talks with North Korean officials on the sidelines of the dialogue. The 2006 conference in Tokyo, attended by then North Korean chief nuclear negotiator Kim Kye Gwan paved the way for the resumption of the six-party talks. The multilateral talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions have been deadlocked since late 2008. ^ top ^



Leaders of Mongolia and China hold meeting (Montsame)
On sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit underway in Tashkent, President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj held on June 23 a bilateral meeting with President of China Xi Jinping at the Kuksaroi (Blue Palace) State Resident. “Heads of state of China and Mongolia have previously had several bilateral meetings where a several number of vital agreements were reached. Our countries are succeeding in developing comprehensive strategic partnership relations which are even more advancing and expanding with emergence of new potentials”, said the Chinese leader. Mongolia and China are progressing at the level of comprehensive strategic partnership relations. The agreement on developing such forms of ties were reached during a state visit of Mr. Xi Jinping to Mongolia, recalled Mr. Elbegdorj and welcomed dynamic advancement of the relations. “Mongolia is expecting to host an official visit of Premier of the State Council of China Li Keqiang which will coincide with the upcoming ASEM Summit in Mongolia. We believe that a number of issues would find their solution during the visit, noted the President of Mongolia. There are urgent issues we need to focus on today. One is providing four border checkpoints with international status. In this context, Gashuunsukhait and Gants mod border checkpoints are confronted with challenges related to railway, explained Mr. Elbegdorj and requested his Chinese colleague to pay a particular attention to it. Other points are related to negotiations on creating possibilities for Mongolia to reach seaport through the territory of China and railway transit transport, highlighted the Mongolian leader as well as to hydropower plant to be constructed on Eg river with soft loans of the Government of China. Same day, President Ts.Elbegdorj will have a trilateral meeting with his Russian and Chinese counterparts. ^ top ^

President Ts.Elbegdorj arrives in Tashkent to attend SCO meeting (Montsame)
President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj arrived Thursday in Tashkent city to take part in the 16th meeting of the heads of states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, to be held on June 22-25. On the airport, the Mongolian President was welcomed with the guard of honor by Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan; Abdulaziz Kamilov, the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan; Daniyar Kurbanov, the Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Mongolia; and B.Batkhishig, the Ambassador of Mongolia to Uzbekistan. In the scope of the SCO meeting of state heads, Ts.Elbegdorj will hold a trilateral meeting with his counterpart of Russia and China. Following the trilateral meeting, the State leaders will attend a ceremony of signing documents. Furthermore, Ts.Elbegdorj will meet with Islam Karimov, the President of Uzbekistan, and then will partake in an expanded meeting of the Council of SCO State Leaders. Mongolia received the observer status at the 2004 Tashkent Summit.  ^ top ^

Ts.Elbegdorj meets President of Russian Tatarstan Republic (Montsame)
President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj received Wednesday visiting Rustam Nurgaliyevich Minnikhanov, the President of the Russian Tatartstan Republic. At the beginning of the meeting, the Tatartsan President said his visit is continuing here successfully, and informed his delegation participated in a Mongolia-Tatarstan Republic joint meeting. “As we are visiting here with a big composition of delegates from the private sector and business, I really hope our joint meeting has been held fruitfully. There is an opportunity for us to develop the economic partnership and commercial ties between Russian Tatarstan Republic and Mongolia. I am confident that we will face no challenges in intensifying the ties,” Minnikhanov said. Tatarstan Republic has vast experiences in oil and petroleum industries, so the sides are able to cooperate in it, he pointed out. Expressing the satisfaction with activation of the relations between Mongolia and the Russian Tatartsan Republic and organization of meetings and events, Ts.Elbegdorj believes that officials and business people included in the Tatarstan's delegation will set up effective cooperation with Mongolian organizations and enterprisers. Present at the meeting were A.Battor, advisor to the President on foreign policy; D.Gankhuyag, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; I.K.Azizov, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Mongolia; A.A.Karimov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Tatarstan Republic; and other officials. ^ top ^

Water levels reach critical level due to heavy rain (Montsame)
Thunderstorms are expected in northern region on June 22, some parts of central and eastern provinces on 23rd, in western provinces and western parts of central provinces on 24th, and in some parts of western and central provinces on 25th, according to the Information and Research Center of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment. The water levels are critical in the rivers Bogd, Zavkhan and Uliastai sourcing from the mountains of Bulgan, Khar But, Khovd and Khuvsgul, and in rivers Selenge from Khentii Mountains, rivers Baidrag and Shargaljuut in Bayankhongor province, and river Ongi of Ovorkhangai province, with threat of flood. In the concern, Deputy Prime Minister and the head of the State Emergency Commission Mr Ts.Oyunbaatar announced a warning on Tuesday. The heavy rain, which started last night and is on until now, has caused dramatic increase in water levels of large rivers. It is expected that it will continue raining for the next three days. The Deputy PM warned the citizens to take extra caution near rivers and lakes and while driving, not to bring small children near waters. He also gave obligations to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and local emergency departments to disseminate the flood warning through all means and evacuate families, who are in the flood danger zones. ^ top ^

Cabinet meeting in brief (Montsame)
The cabinet meeting charged Monday Brigadier-General T.Badral, head of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to ensure implementation and observance of the basic rule of fire safety. - Chief of the Secretariat for Government S.Bayartsogt presented a report on settling petitions and requests from people which were addressed to officials of state administrative bodies through the “11 11” center in the first half of this year. - The cabinet approved results of the 6th meeting of the Mongolia-Austria intergovernmental commission for the economic cooperation held on June 23, 2016 in Vienna. The Minister of Mining R.Jigjid was tasked to adopt a plan of follow-up actions and to monitor the implementation. - The cabinet adopted a Mongolia-USA intergovernmental agreement on land exploitation for the US Embassy in Mongolia, which was signed on June 3 in Ulaanbaatar. - The cabinet reviewed results of the official visit of John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, to Mongolia on June 5, and then ordered the Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren to approve a plan of follow-up actions, and to make certain its implementation. - The cabinet reviewed results of the President's visit to the Republic of Korea hosted on May 18-20, which will be submitted to the National Security Council (NSC). ^ top ^

Agreement approved on terms for railway transit transport (Montsame)
In backing Monday a draft Mongolia-Russia intergovernmental agreement on terms for rail freight transit transportation, the cabinet authorized the Foreign Minister to sign the agreement. It is expected that the agreement will be signed during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit to be held June 23-24 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. When signed, the document will allow Mongolia and Russia to pursue a flexible policy on the railway transportation through their territories, and will ensure a tariff competitiveness of railway transportation for a longer period. Plus, the agreement has a significance for facilitating the process of passing freight through the national borders and creating a favorable condition for transporting freight to seaports in smoother manner. ^ top ^

2nd round of Mongolia-China strategic talks held (Montsame)
With a view to forward the Mongolia-China comprehensive strategic partnership relations, the countries organized 2nd round of the strategic talks at the level of Deputy Foreign Ministers, on June 16-17 in Ulaanbaatar. During the meeting, State Secretary of the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs D.Gankhuyag and Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou held official talks to review the present state of the bilateral relations. The sides talked about ways of implementing agreements reached at a high level, enriching the economic cooperation with new contents and deepening the humanitarian exchange. They took a stand on effective organization of high-level reciprocal visits in near future and consolidation of cooperation between the Foreign Ministries as well. The delegation led by Kong Xuanyou paid courtesy calls on Prime Minister of Mongolia Ch.Saikhanbileg and Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren.  ^ top ^

ASEM Summit steering council meets (Montsame)
The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)'s 11th Summit is to be held in Ulaanbaatar in July. Over 5,000 guests, including 15 presidents, 21 premiers and foreign ministers, are expected to partake. The National Steering Council, led by PM Ch.Saikhanbileg met on Friday for the 30th time. At this meeting, the Prime Minister assigned the council to forward the landscaping of surrounding area of intended Ger Town, to be located in the midst of Shangri La Hotel and the National Amusement Park and preparations at Chingisiin Khuree Complex, where a Nomadic Naadam Festival will take place. ^ top ^

Government budget expenditure increases as of May (Montsame)
In the first five months of 2016, total equilibrated revenue and grants of the Government Budget amounted to MNT 2085.1 billion (1.056 billion USD) where its total expenditure and net lending reached MNT 2962.1 billion, representing a deficit of MNT 877.0 billion in the equilibrated balance. Compared to the same period of 2015, tax revenue decreased by MNT 9.1 billion or 0.5 percent. This decrease was mainly due to decreases of MNT 98.9 billion or 35.8 percent in other taxes by MNT 1.6 billion or 0.4 percent in value added, whereas social contributions, income tax, property tax, excise taxes increased by MNT 6.1-47.1 billion or 2.8-20.6 percent compared to the same period of 2015. In the first 5 months of 2016, total expenditure and net lending of the Government Budget reached MNT 2962.1 billion, which increased by MNT 516.6 billion or 21.1 percent compared to same period of the previous year. This increase was mainly due to increases of MNt 363.0 billion or 16.9 percent in current expenditure, by MNT 129.1 billion or 44.9 percent in capital expenditure,by MNT 100.5 billion or 11.7 percent in current transfers compared to same period of 2015. ^ top ^


Mrs. Mirjam Eggli
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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