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
  11-15.6.2018, No. 722  
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Mongolia learns Columbia and Ecuador's experiences in artisanal mining (Montsame)
Since 2005, Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) have been implementing Sustainable Artisanal Mining (SAM) project. The project aims to improve legal environment for artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) supply chain and to support exchange of international knowledge and experience. As part of this work, SDC supported the Mongolian government to conduct a study tour to Colombia and Ecuador to learn from best practices and lessons learned on formalizing ASM supply chain on 19-30 May. ^ top ^


Foreign Policy

President Putin meets Chinese vice premier on cooperation (Xinhua)
Russia is ready to increase cultural and people-to-people exchanges with China, including cooperation in sports, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, while meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan here on Thursday. Putin asked Sun to convey his cordial greetings to Chinese President Xi Jinping and thanked Sun for attending the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup as Xi's special envoy. Sun's visit demonstrated that China attaches significance to and supports major sports events in Russia and the development of football in the world, Putin said. Sun said Xi and Putin met recently in Beijing and exchanged views on deepening the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, making a new blueprint for the further development of bilateral ties. China is willing to work with Russia to implement the important consensuses reached by the two presidents and increase cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, said Sun. Sun said she is confident that Russia will hold a brilliant FIFA World Cup and showcase its economic and social developments to the world. The Chinese senior official wished the games a success and the Russian national team a good result. ^ top ^

Overseas parks boost China-Africa industrial cooperation (Global Times)
A Uganda-China mining industrial park will begin operation in October in the East African country, serving as an example of production capacity cooperation between China and Africa. "China's experience in industrial development and pollution management will be implemented into the park's operation, prioritizing environmental protection," said Lü Weidong, chairman of Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group Co. Ltd., investor and builder of the park. "Some areas in China developed the economy at the cost of the environment. We've learned from our mistakes and now implement green development at the very beginning, even if it means a significant hike in investment," Lü said. With a total investment of 620 million US dollars, the park in Uganda's Tororo District consists of plants that process minerals, manufacture phosphate fertilizer or steel, or smelt tin. It also has a brick factory and a slag grinding plant, both of which use steel slag, and a sewage treatment plant which provides water circulation for the whole park. Meanwhile, the redundant gas and heat will also be recycled. "It is a complete industrial chain, which not only increases the added value of resource products, but also prevents harm to the natural environment," Lü said. Some African countries have been actively building industrial parks and special economic zones to create new drives for economic and social development, longing for China's experience and investments. In Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone, a park located in Nigeria's Ogun State, 26 companies in its 2.24-square-km startup area generated a combined output value of 1.5 billion yuan (234 million US dollars) in 2017 and have hired nearly 5,000 local employees, according to Zhu Layi, president of Guangdong New South Group Co. Ltd., operator of the zone. Star companies in the park include Goodwin Ceramic, the largest ceramics manufacturer in Africa with a daily output of 120,000 square meters of ceramics, and Hewang Packaging & Printing FZE, the largest carton box factory in Nigeria with a daily output of 600,000 pieces. Both companies are built with Chinese investment. National Bureau of Statistics data shows that in the first quarter of the year, the trade volume between China and Africa increased by 12.4 percent year on year. China's investment in Africa has totalled over 100 billion dollars and the country has built more than 20 economic zones in the continent, with more planned, according to Huo Jiangtao, assistant dean of the Institute for African Studies at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. China attaches great importance to infrastructure and the business environment before building economic zones. "Attracting foreign investment and promoting local employment are also high on its agenda," Huo said. "Many Africans believe that these experiences are worth learning." Teferi Melesse Desta, Consul General at the Consulate General of Ethiopia in Guangzhou who is responsible for investment affairs, has been visiting companies and industrial parks in the Pearl River Delta region. "The number of Chinese companies investing in Ethiopia is increasing. With these new industrial parks, cooperation between China and Africa will be further expanded," he said. "Chinese companies focus on social responsibilities and international market rules when investing and building industrial parks in Africa," Huo said. "China has brought tangible changes and benefits to the African society through improving local infrastructure, building schools and hospitals, and offering training courses," she said. Looking into the future, Chinese entrepreneurs believe there is great potential for China-Africa industrial cooperation since the African market is full of opportunities. Lyu Weidong said DongSong plans to launch energy development projects in Cameroon and Mozambique within three years. New South Group also plans to build 10 industrial parks and 10 medical centers in Africa in the next five years. To foster increased cooperation, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Guangdong Committee announced earlier this month that it is working to establish the Africa Guangdong Association of Commerce. "We'll guide the industrial cooperation between Guangdong and African countries, help bridge governmental and private resources, and enhance mutual understanding between China and Africa," said Lin Tao, chairman of the CCPIT Guangdong Committee. ^ top ^

Chinese president meets US secretary of state (Global Times)
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday. Xi said China and the United States share broad common interests and shoulder important responsibilities in safeguarding world peace and stability and promoting global development and prosperity. Working together, China and the United States can make big things happen to the benefit of both countries and the whole world, Xi said. He called on the two sides to implement the consensus reached by him and U.S. President Donald Trump during their meeting in Beijing, strengthen communication, enhance mutual trust, properly handle differences, and expand cooperation so as to ensure bilateral ties will go forward along the right track to benefit the two peoples and the world. The two countries should always view each other's strategic intentions in a correct way, and respect and take care of each other's core interests and major concerns, he said, noting that is the important lesson derived from the nearly 40 years of development of bilateral ties after they forged diplomatic ties. China is always committed to developing cooperative relations with the United States featuring mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and win-win results, Xi said. The president called for more high-level exchanges and institutional dialogue, expanded cooperation in various areas, and enhanced people-to-people and local exchanges to consolidate the foundation of bilateral ties. Xi expressed his hope that the United States will handle sensitive issues, including the Taiwan issue and economic and trade frictions, in a prudent way to avoid serious obstruction to bilateral ties. China and the United States should strengthen communication and coordination in major international and regional issues and those with global significance, Xi said, calling on the two countries to work together in building world peace and maintaining international order. Pompeo conveyed President Trump's greetings to President Xi, especially Trump's appreciation for Xi's important advice and help over the Korean Peninsula issue. Hailing the continuously developing U.S.-China relations under the joint guidance of both leaders, Pompeo said the United States attaches importance to bilateral ties and stands ready to enhance communication with China, properly handle outstanding issues, deepen cooperation in various fields, and meet global and regional challenges. The United States appreciates China's vital role in the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, he said, adding that the United States is willing to work with China to promote realization of denuclearization and lasting peace on the peninsula. Xi asked Pompeo to convey his greetings to President Trump. He stressed that the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), was historic, fruitful and an important step in the process of a political settlement of the peninsula nuclear issue, saying China extends heart-felt congratulations to both sides. The issues concerning the Korean Peninsula are complex and must be resolved step by step, Xi said. China hopes the two sides respect each other, work for the shared goal and make continuous efforts to the political settlement of the issues. China firmly adheres to denuclearization of the peninsula and its peace and stability, and insists on solving problems through dialogue, Xi said, adding that China will continue to play an active and constructive role, and work with relevant parties, including the United States, to promote the political solution of the issue. ^ top ^

China, Saudi Arabia unveil lunar images gained from space cooperation (Xinhua)
China and Saudi Arabia on Thursday jointly unveiled three lunar images acquired through cooperation on the relay satellite mission for Chang'e-4 lunar probe. This is an important cooperation achievement between China and Saudi Arabia in the relay satellite mission, the China National Space Administration said in a statement. The relay satellite for the Chang'e-4 lunar probe, named Queqiao or Magpie Bridge, was launched on May 21 and entered the Halo orbit around the second Lagrangian (L2) point of the Earth-Moon system, about 65,000 km from the Moon, at 11:06 a.m. Thursday after a journey of more than 20 days. An optical camera, developed by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology of Saudi Arabia, was installed on a micro satellite, named Longjiang-2, which was launched together with Queqiao. The micro satellite is orbiting around the Moon. The camera, which began to work on May 28, has conducted observations of the Moon and acquired a series of clear lunar images and data. According to a memorandum of understanding signed between China and Saudi Arabia on March 16, 2017, the two countries will share the scientific data in this cooperation. China is pushing forward space cooperation with countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. ^ top ^

US Supreme Court rules against Chinese vitamin C producers in antitrust case (SCMP)
The US Supreme Court on Thursday ruled unanimously against a group of Chinese vitamin C producers in a long-running antitrust battle that has pitted the US Justice Department against China's central government. The ruling leaves the Chinese companies, accused of colluding to fix the price and supply of their products, vulnerable to a US$148 million award in favour of the plaintiffs in the case against Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co and other Chinese manufacturers. China's commerce ministry has called the legal moves against Chinese parties "hostile" and disrespectful". The Supreme Court ruling comes amid a high-profile battle within the US government about the fate of ZTE, another Chinese entity accused of breaking US laws, and as China and the US are embroiled in a trade dispute. The US-based plaintiffs that purchased the imported vitamins – an animal-feed company and a vitamin distributor – have argued, since the case was first heard by a federal district court in 2006, that Chinese law did not force the two producers to collude on prices. The plaintiffs won that round, but the verdict was overturned by an appellate court in 2014. It ruled that the lower court did not provide the proper "binding deference" regarding China's own laws. Foreign governments' interpretations of their own laws, the appellate court said, should be respected in the interest of "international comity". At each stage of the case, China's commerce ministry – or "Mofcom" – filed an amicus brief with the US courts arguing that the defendants were only following Chinese law and could not obey both that and American law. The Supreme Court even took the highly unusual step of allowing China to present arguments even though it was not an official party to case. But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing the 9-0 Supreme Court decision announced on Thursday, said US courts "should accord respectful consideration to a foreign government's submission, but the court is not bound to accord conclusive effect to the foreign government's statements." The opinion continued: "In ascertaining foreign law, courts are not limited to materials submitted by the parties, but may consider any relevant material or source. "In the spirit of 'international comity' … a federal court should carefully consider a foreign state's views about the meaning of its own laws. The appropriate weight in each case, however, will depend upon the circumstances; a federal court is neither bound to adopt the foreign government's characterization nor required to ignore other relevant materials." The justices' decision sends the case back to a federal appellate court in New York. Lawyers for the plaintiffs called the ruling a victory for open markets. "We are thrilled that our effort will continue following today's unanimous decision that our case should not have been dismissed on the say-so of the Chinese government," said Michael Gottlieb, a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner. "The decision will promote free and open markets while protecting the independence of the US courts." The Supreme Court ruling comes as the other two branches of the US government forge ahead with initiatives that are testing Washington's relationship with China. Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, and Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, are trying to push through Congress an amendment that would undo US President Donald Trump's deal giving a reprieve to ZTE, one of China's largest telecom equipment makers. Trump's agreement releases ZTE from a ban on US sales to the company, implemented in April to punish it for selling products to Iran and North Korea in violation of US sanctions. Meanwhile, Trump is expected to announce as early as Friday that he will impose punitive tariffs on US$50 billion worth of annual Chinese imports to address a record trade imbalance in China's favour. ^ top ^

Chinese, U.S. senior officials agree to promote ties (Xinhua)
Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday in Beijing. Yang, also director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, said a healthy and stable development of China-U.S. relations is in the fundamental interests of both peoples. He expressed hope that the United States will work with China to expand practical cooperation in various fields, properly handle differences and promote the bilateral ties for bigger progress. Pompeo said the United States adheres to the one-China policy, and stands ready to enhance cooperation with China in order to make bilateral relations more fruitful. They also exchanged views on the Korean Peninsula issue. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Pompeo on Thursday. Wang said China and the United States have wide and important common interests. He called on the United States to work with China to implement the important consensus reached by their leaders and promote a healthy development of bilateral ties. Wang called on both sides to constantly inject impetus into their cooperation, and settle the trade issues properly with a win-win approach. He said the two countries should be aware that common interests as well as dialogue and cooperation remain the mainstream of the China-U.S. relationship, and both sides should respect each other's core interests and major concerns, adding that he hopes the United States will firmly adhere to the one-China principle and handle Taiwan-related issues properly. The meeting between the leaders of the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has important historic significance, as it brought the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue onto the right track of dialogue and peaceful settlement, Wang said. China will continue its constructive role in the political settlement of the Peninsula nuclear issue, he said. ^ top ^

Anti-China protests in Vietnam set to aggravate tensions with Beijing (SCMP)
Vietnam's worst flare-up of anti-Chinese sentiment in years could strain already troubled relations with the country's powerful neighbour, as the government tries to keep a lid on nationwide protests. About 100 people have been arrested so far, but on Wednesday hundreds of defiant demonstrators again gathered at Tan Huong Industrial Park in the southern province of Tien Giang, holding up banners with slogans such as "I love the fatherland – don't let China lease our land". Videos posted on social media showed hundreds of workers facing down police at factory gates and marching through the streets. The anti-China protests – the worst seen in Vietnam since 2014 – began on Saturday at Taiwanese-owned shoe factory Pou Yuen in Ho Chi Minh City, where workers demonstrated over the government's plan to set up three new special economic zones that would allow 99-year concessions. The protests spread, and violence erupted at other rallies in southern province Binh Thuan on Sunday. Although the government did not specifically mention who would invest in the zones, protesters fear they will be dominated by Chinese interests. "The links between the Vietnamese and Chinese authorities are becoming more and more conspicuous each day, and make citizens frustrated and angry," said Do Thi Minh Hanh, president of the Viet Labour Movement, a labour rights organisation. The protests are set to aggravate the already tense relations between the two countries. China's embassy in Hanoi on Sunday issued a safety warning to Chinese nationals, calling the protests "illegal gatherings" with "anti-China content", and said it would pay close attention to the developments. "For the Vietnamese leadership, the anti-Chinese nationalism poses a greater challenge for Vietnamese foreign policy, because China is such an overwhelmingly powerful neighbour," said Robert Ross, a professor of political science at Boston College. "It's difficult for Vietnam to appease their nationalists with anti-Chinese behaviour and anti-Chinese policies without incurring potential Chinese retaliation." In April, the foreign ministers of both countries met in Hanoi and pledged to address their disputes – especially over contested territory in the South China Sea – peacefully. But last month, Vietnam asked China to remove military equipment it had reportedly installed on three man-made islands in the disputed Spratly chain claimed by China and Vietnam, among others. The demonstrations turned violent over the weekend when police moved in to shut them down. In Binh Thuan, rioters looted public buildings and clashed with police, while in Hanoi more than a dozen protesters were detained. The protests continued on Monday even after the National Assembly voted to defer discussion of the special economic zones bill until October. Thousands of workers have also taken part in strikes across southern Vietnam since the unrest began, including at Pou Yuen and Ching Luh, another shoe factory in Long An province, and at Tan Houng Industrial Park in Tien Giang province, according to Minh Hanh. Adding to the simmering anger towards the government is a new cybersecurity law that will require digital businesses like Facebook and Google to store the data of Vietnamese users in Vietnam. While the vote on the special economic zones has been postponed, an analyst said any amendments to the bill were likely to be cosmetic. "There is so much money and power involved for [Communist Party of Vietnam] officials, they will make some minor concessions – such as shortening the allowed lease period of 99 years – but they would not let this affect their ties with China," said Tuong Vu, a professor of political science at the University of Oregon. Lawmakers could shorten the lease term from 99 to 70 years, the maximum allowed for investors under current Vietnamese law, online newspaper VnExpress reported. Anti-China riots erupted across the country in 2014 after a Chinese oil rig was stationed in a disputed part of the South China Sea claimed by both Vietnam and China. Rioters attacked police and Chinese workers, leaving more than 20 people dead and nearly 100 injured. ^ top ^

China puts missiles back on contested South China Sea island as United States pushes allies for bigger military presence in waters (SCMP)
China has redeployed missiles it removed last week from a disputed island in the South China Sea amid rising tensions with the United States, satellite images show. Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International (ISI) said images taken on Friday indicated that China had returned its surface-to-air missile systems on Woody Island, known in China as Yongxing Island, in the Paracels "exactly to the positions they were". Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International (ISI) said images taken on Friday indicated that China had returned its surface-to-air missile systems on Woody Island, known in China as Yongxing Island, in the Paracels "exactly to the positions they were". Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Wednesday accused the US military against "hyping up militarisation and stirring up trouble", adding that China would do whatever was necessary to protect its sovereignty. The "routine" fly-by mission came just days after US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis warned at a regional security summit of "consequences in the future" for China over its militarisation of artificial features in the South China Sea. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Wednesday accused the US military against "hyping up militarisation and stirring up trouble", adding that China would do whatever was necessary to protect its sovereignty. The "routine" fly-by mission came just days after US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis warned at a regional security summit of "consequences in the future" for China over its militarisation of artificial features in the South China Sea. The reappearance of the missile systems confirmed ISI's and defence analysts' assessments that the removal was likely to be temporary. "On the other hand, it may be a regular practice," ISI said. "If so, within the next few days we may observe a redeployment in the same area." Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said on Monday that the quick redeployment of the HQ-9 missiles could indicate that they had been removed for maintenance and repair during the typhoon season. He said earlier it would not be the first time that Beijing had moved its missiles. The last time was in July 2016, just days before the Permanent Court of ­Arbitration in The Hague rejected Beijing's claims to the South China Sea. Colin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said the satellite images could indicate that the redeployed systems belong to two distinct firing batteries of HQ-9, with one facing north and the other facing east. He said the HQ-9 was a long-range, high-performance air defence system designed to combat enemy aircraft but with only limited use against low-flying cruise missiles. The missiles' temporary withdrawal might have been due to their routine maintenance and repair, he said, adding that their deployment close to the sea made their sensitive circuitry vulnerable to the elements, especially salt. Regular "downtime" was to be expected, he said. "They might have been withdrawn to mainland bases or just to nearby, out-of-sight shelters from which they could be swiftly redeployed. "The deployment, withdrawal and re-deployment can be easily accomplished because of the [short] distance between Woody Island and Hainan [province], and the availability of airlift to transport the systems at short notice." Koh said that the deployment pattern also had a "tactical" element and was a sign of China's increasing control over the South China Sea. "The systems can be deployed, withdrawn and re-deployed whenever politically expedient," he said. "And they do not lend themselves easily to verification, compliance and enforcement processes that often characterise arms control." Whether or not Beijing wanted the deployment of the HQ-9 system to be seen, Koh said it underscored the fact that "the PLA is capable of deploying state-of-the-art weapon systems to areas of strategic interest, including the South China Sea, at any time". ^ top ^

Xi, Putin agree to promote greater development of China-Russia ties at high level (Global Times)
President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday agreed to promote greater development of China-Russia relations at a high level. The two leaders reached the consensus during talks in Beijing. Putin is on a state visit to China, and he will also attend the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the eastern Chinese coastal city of Qingdao on Saturday and Sunday. The two leaders agreed that China and Russia should adhere to the concept of everlasting friendship and the spirit of strategic coordination, and expand and deepen cooperation in all areas. Xi extended congratulations to Putin again on starting his new term as Russian president, and expressed appreciation to him for choosing China as the first country he pays a state visit to in his new presidential term. Xi described China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination as "mature, stable and solid." No matter how international situations change, China and Russia always firmly support each other in defending their respective core interests, deepen cooperation in all areas, jointly and actively participate in global governance, and play a pivotal role in establishing a new type of international relations and building a community with a shared future for humanity, Xi said. China is ready to work with Russia and make unremitting efforts to consolidate high-level mutual trust, expand cooperation in all areas, deepen people-to-people exchanges and mutual learning, enhance international coordination and cooperation, pass down the concept of everlasting friendship from generation to generation, continuously enrich the meaning of the two countries' strategy of coordination, and carry forward and renew bilateral ties day by day, so as to benefit the two peoples, Xi said. With concerted efforts, cooperation between China and Russia in various areas has maintained a strong momentum, and the integration of mutual interests has deepened constantly, Xi said. The two sides have reaped important early harvests in aligning the Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union, Xi noted. Both sides should explore new ideas and measures to promote all-round cooperation, and turn the two countries' advantage in high-level political relationship into more practical cooperation results, Xi said, calling for strengthening people-to-people and cultural cooperation to deepen the friendship between the two peoples. China and Russia, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, firmly safeguard the international order and system with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter as the core, stand for democracy in international relations, push for political settlement process for hotspot issues, and continue to play their active role in maintaining world peace and international strategic stability, Xi said. China is willing to work with the other SCO member states, including Russia, to take the Qingdao summit as an opportunity to further carry forward the "Shanghai Spirit" and ensure the healthy and stable development of the SCO, Xi noted. Stressing that Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination remains Russia's diplomatic priority, Putin said the two countries have taken care of each other's core interests and major concerns, actively promoted dialogues and cooperation in political, economic and people-to-people and cultural areas, and worked closely in international affairs. The Russia-China relations are at their best level in history and have set a good example for state-to-state relations in the present world, which has played an important role in safeguarding international peace, security and stability, Putin said. Russia is willing to enhance cooperation with China in areas of economy, trade, investment, energy and infrastructure, he said. He noted that Russia appreciates China's efforts to promote cooperation among SCO members after taking over the SCO rotating presidency and supports China in hosting a successful summit in Qingdao. Russia would like to develop closer coordination and cooperation with China in international and regional affairs and under the multilateral frameworks including the United Nations, BRICS and G20, Putin said. The two heads of state also exchanged views on issues of common concern including the situation on the Korean Peninsula and Iran nuclear issue. Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, attended the talks. After the talks, Xi and Putin signed a joint statement, witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation agreements and met the press. Before the talks, Xi held a welcome ceremony for Putin outside the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing. ^ top ^

China and Japan open hotline to prevent military clash (FT)
Japan and China have launched an initiative to prevent an accidental clash between warships or fighter jets in the latest sign of warming relations between the two fierce east Asian rivals.The new communication mechanism took 10 years of negotiations and came into effect 30 days after Chinese premier Li Keqiang's visit to Japan.The initiative has three parts: an annual meeting between top military commanders, a hotline between the Japanese and Chinese defence ministries and a means for aircraft and vessels to contact each other directly.Its creation shows how China and Japan hope to manage their territorial dispute over the Senkaku or Diaoyu islands, as well as the momentum towards better relations impelled by US President Donald Trump's disruptive diplomacy in Asia.[…] There have long been fears that an accidental collision could spark a diplomatic crisis or even a conflict."It's not a way to improve relations but at least it's a mechanism to prevent deterioration. It's a good thing," said Shen Dingli, a defence expert at Fudan University's Center for American Studies in Shanghai."It would help avoid an emotional situation like the EP-3 collision which was hard to resolve," he said, referring to a 2001 incident in which a US EP-3 spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet near Hainan island, sparking a dispute. Mr Onodera said the two sides would move as fast as possible to select technology for a hotline, such as a videoconferencing system, and designate officers to use it.At sea, the two sides will continue using the international Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, which obliges them to communicate in English. "It would be unfair for Japanese to speak Chinese or Chinese to speak Japanese," noted Mr Shen."This crisis management system will reduce the risk of conflict in the region," said Huang Dahui, a professor of Japanese studies at Renmin university in Beijing. "From a political perspective, this of course will have an important function in easing tensions and reviving relations between Japan and China. However, it has its limits in function and presents no fundamental solution to regional conflicts." The easing of geopolitical tensions with Japan is in contrast to China's more militant position to the south-west in the South China Sea, where territorial boundaries are also in dispute. Last year, China began militarising its artificial islands in the region, according to aerial footage published by CSIS, a US think-tank.China has denied any military build-up on the rocky outcrops, calling any new construction defensive."Having self-defensive facilities with military functions is natural and serves as a deterrent against invasion," said Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, a government think-tank on Hainan. "Whether China will build military facilities does not depend on China. It will depend on the actions of the US." ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Xi calls for efforts to boost innovation ability in economic and social development (Xinhua)
President Xi Jinping has called for efforts to implement a new vision of development in order to achieve high-quality growth, boost the ability of innovation in economic and social development, and satisfy people's ever growing needs for a better life. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks during an inspection tour in east China's Shandong Province from June 12 to 14. When visiting a national laboratory on marine science and technology in the city of Qingdao on Tuesday, Xi underscored the importance of understanding the ocean and accelerating the pace of innovation in marine science and technology to develop China into a major maritime power. At a residential community in Licang District, Qingdao, Xi visited the community's canteen and talked with residents. He asked local authorities to provide more space for people's leisure activities and exercise, and improve services to residents by allocating more resources to the community level. In Weihai City, Xi visited a battery relics and the museum of the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-1895. He talked with Party members taking a training course there and museum staff, saying that Chinese people must draw lessons from history and work hard to build China into a better and stronger nation. When inspecting an ecological restoration project, Xi stressed that good ecological environment is an important basis for sustainable and healthy economic and social development. He urged authorities to give higher priority to ecological conservation. On Wednesday, Xi visited the city of Penglai, once a starting point of the ancient Maritime Silk Road. He asked officials to learn from history and enhance protection of cultural relics. While visiting the industrial park of Wanhua Chemical in Yantai city, Xi stressed the importance of independent innovation to make breakthroughs in the development of key technology. Xi visited the Yantai base of CIMC Raffles and inspected submerged oil drilling platform and other marine engineering equipment manufactured by the firm. Xi talked with company officials and workers, and stressed that state-owned enterprises (SOEs), especially central SOEs, must strengthen their independent innovation capacity and develop more advanced equipment for the country. On Thursday morning, Xi made a trip to a high-end fault tolerant computer production base of the Inspur Group in the high-tech zone of Jinan, capital of Shandong Province. He inspected the assembly line and was briefed by company officials on their efforts in building an intelligent factory and improving products quality and efficiency. Xi stressed that it is very important to set specific target and path for a country's development, while reiterating the importance of innovation. After leaving the Inspur Group, Xi visited Sanjianxi Village, Zhangqiu District in Jinan, where he stressed the importance of talent to realize rural vitalization. For agricultural and rural work, the key point lies in increasing farmers' income, Xi said while visiting the home of one of the villagers. On Thursday afternoon, Xi heard the work report by the Party committee and government of Shandong Province. He urged the province to implement the spirit of the Party's 19th National Congress and the thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era and stick to the underlying principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability. With the supply-side reform as the main clue, reforms should be made to improve quality, boost efficiency and upgrade the driving force of economic development, Xi said. He also called for efforts to advance industrial upgrading, innovation-driven growth and infrastructure upgrading, build Shandong into a strong maritime province, enhance opening up and reform and make progress in realizing high-quality growth. As a major agricultural province, it is Shandong's responsibility to ensure grain security of the country, Xi said, calling for efforts to ensure grain production, optimize agricultural structure, increase farmer's income, win the battle against poverty, implement the rural vitalization strategy, and develop Shandong into a model of rural vitalization. Xi underlined the importance of improving people's well-being, which is the fundamental purpose of development. Solid efforts should be made to address social issues such as employment, education and social security to ensure social justice. ^ top ^

Xi sends congratulatory letter to China Welfare Institute (Xinhua)
President Xi Jinping has sent a congratulatory letter to mark the 80th anniversary of the China Welfare Institute. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, urged the institute to unite the people working for women's and children's affairs and provide services for nurturing a new generation of capable young people who have good moral and intellectual grounding and are well-prepared to join the socialist cause. He said over the 80 years the institute has played its unique roles and gained fruitful outcomes in advancing the women's and children's cause, promoting national reunification, and safeguarding world peace and development. Xi emphasized his hope for the institute to fully implement the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress, remain committed to the cause for the future, boost the health and development of women and children, and make greater contributions to realizing the two centenary goals and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. A grand commemoration was held Thursday in Shanghai. Li Qiang, a member of Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee and secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee, read Xi's letter at the meeting and called for faster development of China's welfare cause. China Welfare Institute was originally named the China Defense League, founded by Madame Soong Ching Ling in 1938. It was renamed in 1950 and is tasked with work in maternal and child health care, children's culture and education, and social welfare. ^ top ^

China stresses Internet's role in poverty relief (Xinhua)
Chinese authorities are seeking to narrow the urban-rural digital gap with the help of the Internet as part of government efforts to fight poverty. China will encourage the role of the Internet and big data in poverty reduction and continue to develop rural e-commerce and Internet-based healthcare, according to a plan jointly released by regulators including the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission and the National Development and Reform Commission. The plan listed 21 major tasks, including expanding Internet access in rural areas, piloting e-commerce projects and encouraging more Internet companies to take part in poverty alleviation efforts. A cooperation mechanism between east and west China will be established to carry out projects in areas including online education training and long-distance healthcare, according to the plan. China will also improve its big data platform for poverty relief to encourage cross-region and cross-department cooperation in the area. By the end of 2017, 30.46 million people in China were categorized as poor. The government is aiming to eradicate poverty by 2020. ^ top ^

Former insurance regulator chief Xiang Junbo stands trial for graft (Xinhua)
Xiang Junbo, former chairman of China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), stood trial on bribery charges Thursday at a court in Changzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province. The prosecutors said that between 2005 and 2017, Xiang, taking advantage of the power of his posts as senior official of the People's Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, and then CIRC, offered to illegally help some organizations and individuals with project contracting, case handling, loan issuance, qualification reviews, and personnel promotion. In return, he accepted money or gifts worth over 19.4 million yuan (3.03 million U.S. dollars) directly or through his associate Yang Guang, whom the indictment described as a "person of specific relation." During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence which Xiang and his defense attorneys examined. Both sides have fully expressed their opinions, according to the court. In his final statement, Xiang pleaded guilty and expressed repentance. More than 60 people, including national and local lawmakers, political advisors, journalists, and members of the public, attended the trial. The court ruling will be announced at a later date. ^ top ^

China launches campaign against pornographic web novels (Xinhua)
Chinese authorities have begun a campaign to crack down on web novels with vulgar or obscene content, delivering improper ideas to the public, or involved with copyright infringement. The campaign, jointly launched by the State Administration of Press and Publication and the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications, began in May and will run until August. It will also shut down websites and apps that are against basic moral values or not capable of proper operation, and handle with a number of cases, according to a news conference Thursday. The two authorities have, in coordination with other departments, closed more than 400 literature websites based both in China and overseas that had violated laws and regulations. ^ top ^

Immigration procedures for Chinese citizens less than 30 minutes (Xinhua)
Immigration procedures for Chinese citizens leaving or entering China will be shortened to less than 30 minutes as of June 18, the State Immigration Administration announced Thursday. Procedures at airports, sea ports and border crossings have been improved to increase efficiency, the administration said at a press conference held by the Ministry of Public Security. In recent years, authorities have simplified inspection procedures, increased the digitization of documents required for exit and entry, and added more self-service immigration lanes, the administration said. Immigration authorities have also asked border inspection agents to take measures to ensure smooth exit and entry of foreign citizens. Over 598 million exits and entries were made across China's border in 2017, among which 512 million were by Chinese citizens. ^ top ^

Chinese truck drivers, activists warn of more protests over fuel, fines and cutthroat rates (SCMP)
Protests by long-haul truck drivers over rising costs and shrinking incomes could flare up again after sporadic highway demonstrations on the weekend, drivers and activists said. Thousands of truck drivers are believed to have taken part in protests in a dozen places – including Shanghai and Chongqing – since Friday. Footage and photos posted online showed drivers honking horns, driving slowly, chanting slogans and holding up banners. As well as complaining about high fuel costs and random traffic fines, the drivers were protesting over changes to an Uber-like online truck logistics platform that pairs owner-drivers with freight shippers. Long-distance truck drivers have protested before but the action this time is significant for breaking through the heavy censorship of China's media to show the impact of internet companies on Chinese workers. In the videos, some protesters urged drivers to boycott an online truck logistics platform owned by Manbang Group. Manbang was formed from the merger of Yun Man Man with rival Huo Che Bang, creating what drivers claim is a monopoly that forces drivers to bid for freight orders at cutthroat prices. "We are struggling just to survive," one driver based in Yantai, Shandong province, said, refusing to rule out similar action later this year. "We did not plan the strikes, there is no leadership or organisation. We speak out from time to time. "We can't make a living any more now that haulage rates are under fierce competition and the diesel price is 7 yuan (US$1.09) a litre... We are also often randomly fined for traffic violations." Diesel prices have climbed steadily – this time last year the price was 5.6 yuan per litre. In the online videos, a number of trucks were also vandalised after their drivers refused to take part in the protests. Manbang did not respond to requests for comment. According to Ministry of Transport, there are 18 million long-distance truck drivers but other estimates put the number at 30 million – a sizable group whose growing grievances the authorities cannot afford to overlook. Earlier reports said Huo Che Bang, which had more than 6.4 million registered drivers, set up an arbitration committee to resolve dozens of disputes. Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin, which tracks industrial disputes on the mainland, said food delivery motorcyclists also protested against mobile apps Meituan and on Thursday in Zhejiang, Shandong and Shaanxi provinces, where increased competition among delivery platforms has drastically reduced workers' take-home pay. Alibaba owns both Eleme and the South China Morning Post. China Labour Bulletin spokesman Geoff Crothall said the protests by truck drivers would grow. "In the next few months, I would expect to see more strikes like this especially if fuel prices continue to rise and there is no meaningful or concrete response from the government," he said. Earlier this week, Chinese authorities appeared to have responded to the protests by opening a handful of "drivers' homes" in 10 provinces, offering the truckers rest stops, Wi-fi and maintenance services. "[The government response] is clearly not enough for they remain superficial measures designed to take the edge off workers' grievances, making lives a bit easier for them on the road," Crothall said. "But the fundamental concern for them is not to have a good meal or shower on the road but rather a decent haulage rate for the job they do." In April, the Social Sciences Academic Press released study that found Chinese truck drivers had to work over 12 hours a day for an average monthly income of about 8,000 yuan in 2016. The drivers were constantly on the road, slept in their trucks and could not see their family for months in a time, the study found. ^ top ^

Chinese military phases out profit-making contract work (Xinhua)
Chinese authorities have stressed that profit-making contract work conducted by the military is being phased out. A circular issued by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission said the move was a key part of military reform and a crucial decision in the building of powerful, world-class armed forces. The circular said that the gradual phasing out of profit-making services provided by the military had begun in 2016 and achieved significant progress, though there was still more work to be done. It said all such contract work should end by the end of 2018, and that programs should be closed down if they sought profit, deviated from the military's core responsibility or provided solely civilian services. Different strategies may be adopted to terminate existing programs deemed complex or sensitive. Some former military services can be absorbed by the military-civilian integration system. These include certain state programs suitable for the armed forces and those where the military has an advantage and is needed for state construction projects. After service termination, evacuated land and property will be managed by the Central Military Commission. The circular said terminating such services was the shared responsibility of the military as well as central and local authorities. "Leading officials should take the lead, discipline be observed and a good work ethic enforced to ensure the task is accomplished in time and in full," it said. ^ top ^



South Korean missionaries fearful as crackdown on 'infiltration' in China gathers pace (SCMP)
Foreign missionaries in China say they are bracing for more trouble after two South Koreans were arrested – the latest in a nationwide crackdown targeting "Korean Christian infiltration" that is expected to be ramped up in the coming months. The two South Korean men were rounded up during a raid on their hotel near Wenzhou in Zhejiang province on May 27, according to a source from the city's Christian community. About a dozen local Chinese were also arrested in a second raid on an underground church there the same day, the source said. More than 20 law enforcement officers were seen at the Protestant church – one of many unregistered places of worship in China that operate out of living rooms or factory buildings in violation of state regulations – which was set up by one of the two South Korean missionaries. It remained closed last week, the source said. In the last month alone, more than 30 South Koreans and Japanese have reportedly been arrested across the country, including in the Ningxia region and in Shanxi, Hebei and Henan provinces. All of them are believed to be members of foreign religious groups, and most have already been deported. Foreign religious activities came under close scrutiny after an amendment to the religious affairs regulation took effect in February, but sources close to the missionaries said the full impact of the crackdown would not be felt until October, when local authorities are expected to have finished carrying out investigations. The campaign began in earnest in April, when local religious affairs departments were told to engage in a "special action plan to investigate and prosecute Korean Christian infiltration according to the law". At the same time, the ruling Communist Party's United Front Work Department began overseeing religious and ethnic affairs as part of a sweeping restructure aimed at strengthening the party's control over all aspects of life in China. Official documents on plans to clamp down on Korean Christian missionary activities in China – including implementation goals, crackdown measures and progress reports – have since been posted on government websites across the nation including in Gansu, Hubei, Jilin and Zhejiang provinces and in the Guangxi region. "We have worked with the United Front Work Department to organise township and community authorities, police and cyberspace affairs authorities on the special action plan to investigate and prosecute Korean Christian infiltration according to the law," a work report posted on the official website of Minle county, Gansu reads. The "special action plan" against Korean Christian activities is expected to last until September, according to government documents, and it could see more South Koreans being denied visas and expelled from China as they come under greater scrutiny. Those documents put Korean Christian activities on a par with Beijing's other religious targets – Tibetan Buddhists and Muslim Uygurs in the troubled Xinjiang region. While China is officially atheist, its constitution does allow "freedom of religious belief" and religious groups that register with the state may possess property, conduct services and collect donations, among other activities. But over the years, China has taken a tougher line on unsanctioned religious gatherings. Those efforts have become more sophisticated, well-planned and less fragmented in the months since the amended regulation on religious affairs came in, giving local authorities more power to enforce the rules and penalise anyone involved in unsanctioned religious gatherings. The South Korean embassy in Beijing has yet to respond to the South China Morning Post's inquiries on the Wenzhou detentions. An officer at Japan's embassy meanwhile said they had "appropriately addressed" the protection of the arrested Japanese nationals, all of whom have been deported, saying Chinese police had accused them of violating local laws and regulations, without elaborating. Foreigners are prohibited from setting up religious organisations or proselytising in China, but the rule was not stringently enforced until President Xi Jinping took office in 2012, according to a South Korean pastor who gave his name as Peace Wang. The pastor spent more than 20 years preaching in China until he had to leave because his visa was not renewed in 2013. Despite the ban, a large number of foreign missionaries have flocked to China – working as English teachers, businesspeople or studying – since the 1980s, when the nation began to open up. South Korean missionaries numbered nearly 4,000 "in country X of northeastern Asia" as of December, according to a yearly national poll conducted in South Korea by local website Christian Today. Wang, 60, said "country X of northeastern Asia" was a common reference to China among South Korean missionaries. The pastor estimated there were more than 1,000 South Korean missionaries deported between 2013 and 2017, and he expected large numbers to be expelled by October, once the amended regulation had been fully implemented and the authorities had carried out investigations. "We entered using different visas – everything from student to tourist visas. The local authorities knew of our existence but most turned a blind eye," Wang said. "As soon as Xi took power from the end of 2012, the rules and regulations started being more effectively implemented, and more missionaries were deported." In the past 18 months to two years, more than 1,000 South Korean missionaries have either had visa applications rejected or been expelled from China, according to Reverend Eric Foley, CEO of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, a Seoul-based non-government organisation that works with persecuted Christians. "Korean churches have a long history of missionary work in China... but what we have seen in the past 18 months to two years has been a steady crackdown on the part of Chinese officials on South Korean missionary activities in China aimed at helping North Koreans," Foley said. "It's a story that has not been told in China or Korea." Last year, two Chinese Christian missionaries were abducted and executed by Islamic State militants in Pakistan. In response, Pakistan tightened up business visas and sent 11 Chinese missionaries who were part of the same group, run by a South Korean missionary agency, back to China. It was followed by a crackdown on the church in China that had sent them to Pakistan. Foreign groups have since been blamed by the authorities for training Chinese missionaries, as Beijing tries to minimise religious influences from overseas. Ying Fuk-tsang, director of the divinity school at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said there would be more deportations of missionaries as "Chinese authorities tighten their grip over religious affairs to limit foreign infiltration". "China has never welcomed foreign missionaries... and it has become more visible, the Chinese authorities limiting the activities of missionaries by cancelling their visas or restricting visa extensions," Ying said, adding that this had seen long-term missions replaced by more short-term and underground ones. He added that the growing number of Chinese Protestants, particularly university students, was also worrying the government. The number of Christians in China has been rising over the past decade. There were more than 38 million Protestants in the country in 2017, up from 10 million in 1997, according to official data. There were also 6 million Catholics in China last year, according to the official estimate, up from 4 million in 1997. ^ top ^



Job losses and slower growth feared in Chinese provinces in expanded anti-pollution drive (SCMP)
The front lines of China's war on pollution are moving beyond smog-prone Beijing and surrounding cities, driven by an effort to improve air and water quality across the country. The eastern province of Jiangsu, which boasts China's second-biggest provincial economy, has become the next front in the battle to clean up the environment as Beijing seeks to head off public discontent and accelerate a transition to a greener economy. In recent months, hundreds of steel, cement and coal-fired power plants, as well as petrochemical makers, in the major industrial cities of Xuzhou and Lianyungang have been shut as local governments scramble to cut pollution, according to local authorities. Up to now, anti-pollution measures have targeted provinces further north such as Hebei, the steel heartland of China, according to official data. Xuzhou started to implement its own restrictions on industrial activity after air quality worsened last year. Unlike the efforts further north, the Jiangsu city's efforts are not restricted to the winter season when there are spikes in coal burning, and consequently air pollution. The Chinese government has made the campaign against air pollution a national priority and plans to expand its scope to also include water, soil and waste treatment. It is unclear so far how the campaign will affect China's economic growth target of 6.5 per cent this year. The drive has hit industrial output in the north, but strong growth in other parts of the economy – such as real estate and services – has helped soften the blow, according to official data. The Xuzhou restrictions – which the government said would be temporary for an unspecified period – followed a visit by President Xi Jinping in December. During his visit, according to the official Xinhua news agency, he said "the new concept of green development should be strictly followed". Air quality in Xuzhou was the worst of 74 major Chinese cities in the first five months of this year, according to data from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The plant shutdowns in Xuzhou have left thousands of workers with only subsistence wages, and disrupted businesses along the supply chain and those that rely on worker spending, according to company executives and workers in Xuzhou. "No one knows exactly when the government will let us reopen," said Wang Guangrui, a manager at Xuzhou Jinhong Steel, who estimated his daily losses at about half a million yuan (about US$80,000). Some steelworkers in Xuzhou said they had not been paid for two months. "There is not much we can do. All factories in town are closed and I won't be able to find a new job," said a worker at Jiangsu Xingda Steel, one of 18 mills in Xuzhou. Workers in Xuzhou told Reuters that over 20,000 people were out of work due to the shutdown. The Xuzhou government did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment. In Lianyungang, a port city next to Xuzhou, more than 200 chemical companies have been shut since February after an industrial zone was exposed on national television for illegal sewage disposal. The area smelled strongly of chemicals during a visit by Reuters, but locals said air and water quality had improved since the closures, although some complained the measures were too extreme. "I think it's unfair to close all of the companies in industrial parks only because a few of them violated environmental rules," said a worker, who asked to remain anonymous, at Rosi Chemical. Another worker in the industrial park said local authorities had switched off gas supplies to companies and inspections to ensure there were no violations being carried out at night. Lianyungang government did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters. In Xuzhou, Zhao Song runs a restaurant with his wife near the front gate of a mill operated by Xusteel Group, the city's largest steel producer. Zhao said his monthly earnings had fallen to about 3,000 to 4,000 yuan from about 7,500 yuan since the mill closed. "We make just enough to get by now," Zhao said as his toddler played among the tables. "We're actually lucky because we don't have any outside staff. Some bigger restaurants have closed because they can't pay their staff." In Lianyungang, a shopping centre near blocks of flats housing workers at the closed chemical industrial park was nearly deserted during a midday visit. The manager of a mobile phone shop said business was down 80 per cent since the plant closures. As the anti-pollution campaign expands further south, policymakers will have to walk a fine line between cracking down on pollution and ensuring economic growth. In Tangshan, an industrial city in Hebei, gross domestic product growth slowed from 6.5 per cent last year to 5.6 per cent in the first quarter. Xuzhou has been offering incentives, including cash subsidies, to attract new businesses and develop a hi-tech sector and transition away from heavy industry. The city recently started construction on an industrial park for cloud computing, and factories making electric vehicles are being built in the area. The city's economic growth has been steadily slowing over the past five years, but at 7.7 per cent last year it was still well above the nationwide average. TusStar, a start-up incubator affiliated with Tsinghua University in Beijing, started operations in downtown Xuzhou two years ago as it looks to foster new businesses in the city. Wang Tao, a Xuzhou native and partner at the local software start-up Xuzhou Jiangxin Network Technology, moved back to the city last year from Shanghai. Wang said the government offered subsidies of several tens of thousands of yuan to open an office in Xuzhou, where he has about 10 employees. He said Xuzhou had lower home prices and costs than Shanghai, and he praised the city's effort to improve the environment. "If the pollution was as bad as it was 10 years ago, there's no way I would have moved back," he said. ^ top ^

Chinese firms with good environmental records to be exempted from output curbs (SCMP)
Authorities in northern China's Hebei province, the country's smoggiest, will exempt environmental "pace setters" from output curbs as part of a new plan aimed at providing more incentives for local firms to cut pollution, local media said on Thursday. Hebei, which produces about a quarter of China's steel, has been on the front line of the country's four-year campaign to reduce pollution, with authorities anxious to prevent its heavy smog from drifting into neighbouring Beijing. Cities throughout Hebei were part of a punishing winter campaign that forced all companies in major industries like steel to cut production when air quality declined, but firms complained they were being punished whether they had complied with state pollution standards or not. China has since promised to put an end to a "one size fits all" approach to environmental compliance and aims to devise more nuanced environmental policies that will minimise economic disruption. In the first phase of Hebei's new "pace setter" scheme, three to five leading companies from industrial sectors like steel, cement, glassmaking, coking and waste-to-energy will now be given preferential treatment, Yanzhao Metropolis Daily reported. According to "implementation guidelines" published earlier this month on the website of the Hebei environmental protection bureau, the plan will encourage firms to cut pollution and carbon emissions, upgrade technology and improve efficiency. "Firms that have obtained 'pace setter' status … do not need to be included in output restriction lists," the document said, adding that they would also be entitled to "targeted assistance" from local authorities. Third-party assessors will select firms that have imposed stricter than necessary emissions standards or implemented a "green supply chain" system, as well as those that have relatively low levels of coal and water consumption. The list will be refreshed every two years, but "pace setters" found to have exceeded emissions standards or violated other environmental rules would have their status revoked, the document said. ^ top ^

Inspectors expose polluting companies (China Daily)
One hundred and ninety-three companies in northern China were exposed this week as having broken environmental regulations. Law enforcement teams sent to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region carried out checks at 1,544 enterprises across 185 counties on Monday. It was the first day of far-reaching inspections by the country's top antipollution watchdog. The 103 companies - 13 percent of the total - were found to have violated rules aimed at preventing air pollution, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in a statement on Wednesday. Inspectors found 47 poorly managed polluting companies that had failed to rectify problems that had been identified in the central government's previous round of checks. They also found three others were left off a list of air-polluting companies, meaning their operations were restricted during times of heavy air pollution. In April last year, the Ministry of Environmental Protection - now part of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment - mobilized 5,600 environmental officers nationwide for a yearlong inspection targeting air pollution in 28 major cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. Each of the inspectors conducted inspections for two weeks out of their home cities and would hand off any violations or problems they found to a succeeding team. On Monday, officers also found that 86 construction sites, factories and mines had failed to cover their materials as required, potentially becoming sources of airborne dust. According to the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, dust has been a major contributor to concentrations of PM2.5 - tiny particulate matter harmful to health. While 18 companies were found without the required air pollution control facilities, the equipment at 19 other enterprises failed to operate normally. The ministry handed off all the violations it found to local governments for further investigation and punishment. The ongoing inspections, which will last until April, will also cover the Fenhe and Weihe river valleys in Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces and the Yangtze River Delta. According to another statement from the top environmental watchdog, major cities in China have seen an increasing number of days with fairly good air quality this year. The average density of PM2.5 in those cities decreased by almost 8 percent year-on-year. In May, the 338 major cities in the country saw about 83 percent of days with fairly good air quality, up by 23 percent over January and almost 9 percent over April. The concentration of PM2.5 stood at 31 micrograms per cubic meter, down by about 6 percent year-on-year. The concentration of PM10 - larger particulate matter - also dropped by 2.3 percent to 85 mg per cubic meter. Despite the improvement, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region continues to suffer the worst air quality in the country. Only about 51 percent of days in the region had fairly good air quality in May, though the region has seen decreases in both PM2.5 and PM10 year-on-year. Nine of the 10 cities at the bottom of an air quality ranking of 74 cities in May are from the region or areas nearby. Beijing shows up in the list at No 69. ^ top ^



Startups cash in on Chinese traditional culture (Xinhua)
Tingting Jiejie (Sister Tingting), a music label which composes Chinese poetry into music and sings them to children, has announced a 50 million yuan (7.8 million U.S. dollars) series A funding earlier this month, after obtaining 22 million yuan from angel investors last year. Tingting Jiejie is just one of a burgeoning cohort of new media start-ups that have found success as Chinese are more willing to pay for content due to rising incomes and popularity of mobile payments. With over 300 million plays and 200,000 paid subscribers, the founder, Hu Tingting, started her career by singing a poem of legendary Chinese poet Li Bai, to lull her son to sleep three years ago. Her recording was well-received at Ximalaya FM, an audio sharing site. The business-savvy mom saw a new market. Chinese traditional culture, including poetry, literature classics and idioms, is an integral part of Chinese education and has been passed on for generations. With wealthy parents eager to pay for their children's education, new entrepreneurs are now using traditional Chinese culture as a way to break into the market. To build her brand, Hu has incorporated over 150 poems with musical elements such as Peking Opera, Huangmei Opera and Spanish Flamenco. Two audio programs have been developed to help children learn the literary masterpieces. "The demand to learn poetry is very strong," said Hu. "It has huge market potential." Besides being aired on major Chinese mobile audio sharing platforms, Hu's video programs are also broadcast on nine Chinese TV stations. Three foreign TV channels also bought her programs. Across the country, over 10,000 kindergartens have also adopted them as teaching materials. "Thanks to mobile internet technologies, assimilating Chinese classics is more interactive. We hope this can help promote our culture around the world," Hu added. Hu is not an isolated example of successful cultural startups. Kaishu Jianggushi (Uncle Kai Telling Stories), another children's stories content provider, has also raised about 250 million yuan from investors in just one year. According to a report released by consulting firm iResearch in March, the value of China's pay-for-knowledge market is about 4.9 billion yuan in 2017 and is predicted to top 23.5 billion yuan by 2020. "Content startups are no longer limited to the elites. It is encouraging to see more people explore the market of traditional cultures," said Zhao Zizhong, dean of the New Media Institute with Communication University of China. Meanwhile, Zhao warned entrepreneurs not to distort the classics when educating children. For Wang Peiyu, a Peking Opera actress, commercialization is an approach to bring the classic art form to the mass market. Wang started to tell stories on Ximalaya FM in September 2016 and has accumulated 1.68 million plays. "In the age of the internet, people are interested in a diversified range of subjects. Due to this, traditional arts such as Peking Opera have a chance to be noticed," said Wang. "To modernize Peking Opera, we must find ways to present it to the younger generations," she said. "We are still learning and experimenting to find the best way to build the aesthetic of Peking Opera through pay-for-knowledge platforms." ^ top ^



Hundreds of works on traditional Tibetan medicine go digital (Xinhua)
The Qinghai Tibetan medicine research institute has completed the digitalization of more than 600 works on traditional Tibetan medicine. The books and documents were created between the 7th century and the early 20th century. "It's of great significance to share the valuable research materials with public through digitalization," said Khardrogy, director of the institute's literature information center. Digitalization can help preserve the original rare ancient books and documents, and provide a more convenient platform for knowledge exchange, Khardrogy added. There are more than 5,000 ancient works on traditional Tibetan medicine, but many are damaged or lost due to poor storage among other factors. The institute has dispatched researchers to other parts of China and more than 10 countries including Britain, Italy and the United States, collecting over 1,000 documents. More than 600 have been put into a database, together with introductions to thousands of traditional Tibetan medicinal materials and preparations, 300 diagnoses and treatments as well as 800 academic journals. Tibetan medicine, known as Sowa Rigpa in Tibetan, has a history of over 2,000 years. It was added to China's intangible cultural heritage list in 2006. ^ top ^

Over 150 invasive species discovered in Tibet (Xinhua)
Scientists have found over 150 unsafe invasive species in Tibet Autonomous Region after two years of research. Led by Tibet's regional institute of plateau biology, the research team found over 130 invasive plants including crofton weed, and more than 20 invasive animals in the region, like bull frogs and the red-eared slider (a type of turtle), both on the list of the world's 100 most invasive species. They are also found in other parts of China. Tu Yanli, associate researcher with the institute, said the drastic increase of these species in the area is due to the rapidly growing economy and the more convenient transportation. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, where Tibet is located, has long been recognized as a natural biological shield. To prevent the invasive species from damaging the local environment, the regional government has taken various measures such as strengthening border inspection and establishing quarantine zones. ^ top ^



Xinjiang schools promote Xi thoughts (Global Times)
Universities in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have begun a lecture series on the thoughts of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The nationwide "Ten million teachers and students having the same class to study new thoughts" campaign began in Xinjiang on Friday and will run until June 20, Zhang Lijuan, a lecturer of the Xinjiang campaign and a professor at Xinjiang Normal University's School of Marxism, told the Global Times on Wednesday. The campaign will cover all colleges and universities in Xinjiang, including vocational schools, Zhang said. The lectures have been delivered in 20 schools. Xinjiang students welcome the lectures as colleges and universities actively take part in the campaign, Zhang said. Colleges and universities can either accommodate 800-1,000 students for the lectures at once in classrooms or live-stream the lecture, according to Zhang. Organized by the Ministry of Education, the campaign is aimed at promoting Xi's thoughts from his speeches - one recently delivered at Peking University and the other on May 4 at the meeting of the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth, read a statement on the ministry's website on Tuesday. The lectures are also being aired on television and streamed online in Xinjiang to make sure every student takes part in the campaign, the statement said. "The campaign is focused on developing qualified successors of socialism, and to cultivate virtuous talent," Zhang told the Global Times on Wednesday. The lectures are closely integrated with practices in Xinjiang, Zhang said, adding that they also discuss the anti-secession and anti-infiltration struggles in the autonomous region. From what we have experienced, some students in Xinjiang have been influenced by religious extremism. The three evil forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism are competing with us for our next generation, Zhang warned. "We must win this fight… Colleges and universities in Xinjiang are shouldering an important historic duty on this aspect," Zhang stressed. The Xinjiang Police College held a lecture under the campaign on Monday. Some 800 teachers and students studied the new thoughts and the Communist Party of China's strategy on how to govern Xinjiang, Xinjiang Television reported on Monday. "Especially in Xinjiang, people need to learn the new thoughts and Party's strategy on governing Xinjiang," Xiong Kunxin, an ethnic studies expert and professor at Tibet University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. Xinjiang has many minorities, and may have very distinct cultural backgrounds. The study of the new thoughts can bring different groups together, Xiong said. "The lectures contribute greatly to social stability, ethnic solidarity and people's awareness of a stable Xinjiang," Xiong noted. ^ top ^



Hong Kong's controversial China rail checkpoint bill finally passed by lawmakers amid protests, delays and expulsions (SCMP)
Hong Kong's legislature on Thursday night finally passed a bitterly contested bill to set up a joint border checkpoint with mainland China in the heart of the city after a marathon debate that saw attempts to delay the vote descend into chaos. The so-called co-location bill was passed by 40 to 20 votes, five months after it was tabled at the Legislative Council for approval to station mainland Chinese immigration officers at the West Kowloon terminal of the HK$84 billion (US$10.75 billion) high-speed railway that will link the city to Guangzhou. In a reflection of the controversy surrounding the issue, around 300 demonstrators gathered outside the Legco building at Tamar to watch a live broadcast of the vote and debate preceding it – those backing the bill were outnumbered by protesters opposing it. Lawmakers resumed the final debate on Wednesday and Thursday following deliberations last week on the proposed legislation. Discussion on the second reading of the bill in the chamber began last Wednesday, following three months of scrutiny by a bills committee during which opposition lawmakers accused the government of failing to address their concerns. Thursday's discussions mainly centred on 24 amendments proposed by nine filibustering pan-democrat lawmakers. Their suggested changes included a sunset clause, penalties for mainland officers operating outside the zone designated as a port area for them at the West Kowloon station, and allowing for the possibility of a Hong Kong court overturning the arrangement. All were voted down by the pro-establishment majority. The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (Co-location) Bill allows for passengers to clear both Hong Kong and mainland border checks at a single location, which means mainland laws will be enforced on Hong Kong soil for the first time. Opposition politicians and their pro-democracy supporters see it as a violation of Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, which would undermine the city's autonomy under the one-country, two-systems governing policy. "Its passage comes not only at the cost of our core value of the rule of law, but it also shows people the legislature is only a rubber stamp," unionist lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung said. Civic Party lawmaker Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu said the vote had opened a Pandora's box to further unconstitutional arrangements being imposed on Hong Kong. Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan said before the bill was put to vote that the conflict was rooted in difference in beliefs and faith. He urged opposing lawmakers to embrace the co-location arrangement with an open attitude. Opposition lawmakers were having none of it, tearing up copies of the bill in protest. Some of them surrounded the minister outside the chamber, chanting "shame" at him. Chan said the co-location arrangement would provide young Hongkongers with opportunities for business and development. "I hope lawmakers can experience the express rail and co-location with an open attitude," he said, adding he would respect citizens' right to challenge the arrangement by judicial review. Chan declined to explain why officials such as Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah were not present. The pro-democracy camp expressed dissatisfaction with Legislative Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen's handling of the debate. Leung had set Thursday as the deadline for the vote, a day after he expelled five opposition lawmakers from the chamber for staging a rowdy protest. The Legco president continued to deny them entry into the chamber for Thursday's final session. Asked if the bloc would launch a judicial review against the co-location arrangement, its convenor, Charles Mok, said it was "very possible." However, the lawmaker said the camp would seek legal advice on how best to challenge the arrangement. According to Legco's secretariat, the council spent 38 hours since June 7 to finish the second and third reading of the bill. During the debate, legislator Luk Chung-hung, of the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions, accused the opposition of being "anti-China". "The opposition in fact don't care about constitutionality of the bill. They are just anti-China. They would oppose anything that is related to China," he said. Fellow pro-establishment legislator Kwok Wai-keung said: "Without the co-location arrangement, it will defeat the purpose of having a high-speed train." A similar arrangement – but in reverse – is in place at Shenzhen Bay Port, where Hong Kong officers operate in mainland territory. But lawyers at the Hong Kong Bar Association have deemed West Kowloon's co-location arrangement unconstitutional. The Basic Law, the city's mini-constitution, states no mainland law shall apply in Hong Kong except those relating to defence, foreign affairs and "other matters outside the limits" of the city's autonomy. Any exceptions must be listed in Annexe III of the Basic Law before they can be applied. Despite this, China's top legislative body, the National People's Congress Standing Committee, endorsed the legal foundation for the checkpoint plan late last year, but that has not stopped local legislators opposing the bill. More than 70 amendments were submitted to Legco in a bid to delay Thursday's vote. To counter such filibustering, the Legco president capped debate time for the bill at 36 hours to ensure it would be passed before the legislature's summer break in mid-July. He also allowed only 24 of the amendments to be debated. The new rail line, which will connect Hong Kong to China's growing high-speed railway network, is slated to begin operating in the third quarter of this year. The project has been plagued by controversy since the government first floated the idea in the early 2000s, with many of the objections focused on rising costs. The plan was first put forward in 2007, but it was not until last July when Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor took office that the arrangements were finalised and announced. A cooperation agreement was signed between Hong Kong and mainland authorities last November and formally approved by the NPC Standing Committee the following month. The co-location bill was then tabled to Legco in January this year. ^ top ^

Activists' sentence a blow to 'HK independence' (Global Times)
The sentence of three Hong Kong pro-independence activists on Monday is a blow to pro-independence forces that intend to achieve their goals through violence, observers said. Edward Leung, 27, the former convenor of political group Hong Kong Indigenous, was sentenced by Hong Kong's High Court to six years in jail after pleading guilty to assaulting a police officer during the Mong Kok riot in February 2016. Two other defendants in the case, Lo Kin-man and Wong Ka-kui, were sentenced to seven and three-and-a-half years, respectively, for rioting, according to Reuters. It wasn't clear if Leung would appeal. "It is a blow to pro-independence Hong Kong people who once hailed him as a hero and supported Leung. Although it doesn't directly target the issue of independence, the sentence is a warning to people who try to violently pursue their political goals," Yin Hongbiao, a Peking University professor, told the Global Times on Monday. In contrast to the illegal "Occupy Central" movement in 2014, in which suspects were only given a light punishment, the Mong Kok riot saw people being sentenced much heavier. It means that Hong Kong has "zero tolerance against violence," added Tian Feilong, an assistant professor at Beijing-based Beihang University. One week before Leung's sentence, two other pro-independence activists and former lawmakers were sentenced to one month in jail for an illegally assembling in the legislature while still in public office, Reuters reported. Over 90 police officers were injured in a clash with rioters following a clearing operation of illegal hawkers in Mong Kok, a busy commercial district in Hong Kong. ^ top ^

Hong Kong activist Edward Leung, the face of city's independence movement, jailed for six years over Mong Kok riot (SCMP)
Edward Leung Tin-kei, the young activist seen as the face of Hong Kong's marginalised independence movement, was jailed for six years on Monday for his role in one of the city's worst outbreaks of civil unrest in decades. The stiff sentence for the 27-year-old former student leader over the Mong Kok riot more than two years ago was the second most severe punishment handed to a Hong Kong protester since public order laws were introduced in the 1960s. Judge Anthea Pang Po-kam described the riot that rocked the busy shopping district on February 8 and 9, 2016, as "organised violence" that was "extremely serious". Carried out by a mob with a bitter desire for "revenge", the offences committed that night could not be mitigated by one's political aspirations, Pang said. The court would not allow people to resort to violence in the name of pursuing social and political causes. "That would send a wrong message to the public that those fed up with the government can resolve matters with violence," the judge said. The length of Leung's sentence was surpassed only by the penalty given to his co-defendant in the same case, Lo Kin-man, 31, who was jailed for seven years over one count of rioting. On May 18 this year, Leung, the former convenor of localist political group Hong Kong Indigenous, was found guilty unanimously by a nine-member jury on one count of taking part in a riot, but was cleared of inciting unrest. The jury was undecided on another riot charge, for which Leung would face a retrial, prosecutors revealed on Monday. At the start of the trial, Leung also pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer. A third defendant, Wong Ka-kui, 27, who admitted to one count of rioting, was jailed for 3½ years. [… ] Prosecutors during the trial described how the night of chaos in 2016 began on Portland Street with what appeared to be a scuffle between hawker control officers and street vendors. It escalated very quickly into violent clashes during which angry mobs hurled objects at police, who resorted to pepper spray and batons to disperse them. Streets were set on fire, and protesters attacked officers with bricks, wooden crates and other items. A policeman drew his gun and fired two warning shots at one point as he tried to protect an unconscious colleague from the rioters. Prosecutors said protesters also wreaked havoc on nearby Argyle, Shantung and Fa Yuen streets. The judge on Monday noted that protesters were seen donning masks and arming themselves, indicating that the unrest had been organised, a fact that necessitated "a deterring sentence". […] ^ top ^



Mainland offers 600 internships for young Taiwanese (Global Times)
The Chinese mainland will provide around 600 internships in various industries for young Taiwanese in the coming months, a spokesperson in Beijing said Wednesday. "Many government offices and enterprises across the country have introduced their summer internship programs for Taiwanese youth," said Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson with the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, at a press conference. Ma also pointed out that in east China's Shanghai City and Fujian Province, local governments had each issued over 50 preferential policies covering sectors including education, employment, job security, and medical services, for Taiwanese living in those regions. "Taiwanese need only to pass the law and regulation exams to be securities, futures, or fund practitioners if they had already obtained qualifications in Taiwan," said Ma. Taiwanese companies will also enjoy preferential policies including market access, financial services, fund support and customs clearance, he added. ^ top ^

China lodges representations after U.S. official attending AIT dedication ceremony in Taipei (Xinhua)
China has lodged stern representations with the United States over its official exchanges with Taiwan, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Tuesday. According to reports, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Culture Affairs Marie Royce attended the dedication ceremony of the new office complex of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) earlier Tuesday. Spokesperson Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing that China is deeply concerned about and has lodged stern representations with the United States over the issue. Any official exchange between the United States and Taiwan under any excuse is a violation to the one-China principle and the three joint communiques between China and the United States, and an intervention in China's internal affairs, Geng said. "We urge the United States to honor its pledges made to China on the Taiwan issue, correct its wrong practices to avoid damaging China-U.S. relations as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," said Geng. ^ top ^



High-speed rail builder China Railway swaps out debt for US$1.8 billion in fresh cash (SCMP)
China Railway Group, which spearheads the country's 'railway diplomacy' push to extend its influence around the world, has won fresh funding of 11.6 billion yuan (US$1.8 billion) by swapping debt into equity under a government-backed initiative to help state firms cut debt. According to a stock exchange filing, the company said nine investors took part in the swap, with the new money going to four of its subsidiaries to lower their debt levels, while also cutting the parent company's stakes in the four. The company is the latest state-owned enterprise to effect a debt-to-equity swap under a programme first introduced in 2016 as the authorities fretted over high debt levels at state firms. The idea is to have holders of debt in the company take stock holdings instead, helping the companies and avoiding lenders having to write off bad debt. China Railway Group is at the forefront of China's push to build high-speed rail networks as part of Beijing's global diplomatic efforts, and is expected to play a large role in the country's "Belt and Road Initiative" to link China with the world through trading links and infrastructure. It has worked on projects in Indonesia, Laos, Russia and Ethiopia, according to its website, but has also had some setbacks. In 2016 private US firm XpressWest terminated a joint venture with China Railway to build a high-speed line between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, while a planned high-speed project in Venezuela failed the same year as the country's economy collapsed. According to the stock filing, the nine investors are China Great Wall, China Orient, China Cinda, Structural Reform Fund, Suida Investment, BOC Asset, ICBC Financial, BOCOM Financial and China Reform. The first three are among the top four bad-debt managers in China, and will together transfer 4.5 billion yuan worth of debt into equity. The rest of the investors will pay cash in exchange for the debt. Suida Investment is the only non-state-controlled company among the investors, but is little known. The filing only said it was a limited liability partnership engaged in industrial investment and investment management. The four subsidiaries that will receive the funding are China Railway Erju Engineering, China Railway No.3 Engineering, China Railway No.5 Engineering and China Railway No.8 Engineering. On completion of the deal, the China Railway Group will see its stakes in the four subsidiaries decline from 100 per cent each to 74.7 per cent, 70.6 per cent, 73 per cent and 76.2 per cent respectively. China Railway is listed in both Shanghai and Hong Kong. It is estimated that the assets to liability ratio of the group will decrease by 1.37 percentage points to 78.5 per cent after the deal, and the company is expected to save the annual interest costs of some 580 million yuan. For 2017, China Railway Group reported a rise of 7.8 per cent in revenue to 693.4 billion yuan and an increase of 28.4 per cent in net profit to 16.1 billion yuan. ^ top ^

Donald Trump vows to pursue aggressive trade action in 'coming weeks' against China (SCMP)
US President Donald Trump has pledged to hit China with aggressive trade action "in the coming weeks", signalling that he will not back away from a plan to institute punitive tariffs on goods from America's largest trading partner. "China could be a little bit upset about trade because we are very strongly clamping down," Trump told Fox News's Bret Baier in an interview to be aired on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. The interview was conducted aboard Air Force One, during Trump's flight from Singapore, after he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Trump spoke just days ahead of a deadline he set last month about his administration's imposition of a 25 per cent punitive tariff on US$50 billion worth of annual imports from China, part of an effort to force Beijing to lower restrictions on US companies and exporters to the country's markets. The final list of goods to be targeted is expected to be announced on Friday. "You will see over the next couple of weeks," Bloomberg quoted Trump as saying. "They understand what we are doing." Trump has shown little interest in softening his approach in an effort to draw down long-standing trade deficits with the US's largest trading partners. He has even antagonised Washington's traditional allies, most recently at last weekend's annual G7 summit meeting, when he refused to sign the group's joint statement. The US leader enraged the group's leaders with his decision earlier this month to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, the European Union and Mexico as part of his "America First" agenda. Trump's summit meeting with Kim in Singapore may have emboldened him to take a harder line on China, said Daniel Russel, a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs. The president's "obvious satisfaction with the outcome of the Singapore summit and his willingness to take warmed-over DPRK promises as victory, may in fact embolden Trump to hit the Chinese even harder," Russel, now a senior fellow at the New York-based Asia Society Policy Institute, told the South China Morning Post. Investment restrictions and export controls are to be announced on June 30, the White House said. The tariffs, to be levied under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, and restrictions will be imposed "soon" after the announcement. "To protect our national security, the United States will implement specific investment restrictions and enhanced export controls for Chinese persons and entities related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology," in addition to the tariffs, the White House said in a May 29 announcement. ^ top ^



No nukes, no sanctions for North Korea, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tells China (SCMP)
The US' top diplomat stressed on Thursday that North Korea would not gain any sanctions relief until the country had completely abandoned its nuclear weapons, pushing back against suggestions from China that tough United Nations-led penalties would soon be eased. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underlined the position on sanctions and nuclear weapons in talks in Beijing with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, after meeting his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Seoul earlier in the day. Pompeo said China reaffirmed its commitment to honouring the "UN Security Council resolutions and those mechanisms for relief contained in them". "And we agreed that at [the] appropriate time, those would be considered. But we have made it very clear, that the sanctions and the economic relief that North Korea will receive will only happen after the full denuclearisation, the complete denuclearisation in North Korea," he said. Asked whether China supported the American approach on sanctions, Wang sidestepped the question, stressing only that Beijing and Washington needed to consider Pyongyang's security concerns. "We think we should address North Korea's security interest concerns, which is to establish a peace mechanism for the Korean peninsula," Wang said. "I think that China and the US, as well as North Korea and other parties would agree that our ultimate goal is the same," he said, adding that China was willing to continue to play a constructive role in the coming negotiations towards denuclearisation. Pompeo also said he appreciated China's help in bringing about the landmark summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday. The meeting was the first between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president and ended with a vaguely worded joint pledge to work towards "complete denuclearisation" of the peninsula. "We appreciate all the work China did to put us in the place where the summit could happen," Pompeo said. "We now believe that we have a path forward that can truly create peace on the peninsula." While China, Pyongyang's main diplomatic and economic backer, was not directly involved in the Singapore meeting, Trump and Kim praised Beijing for its role in securing the summit and promoting peace talks. Before his formal talks with Pompeo, Wang said the summit was "of historical importance". "The meeting has brought the nuclear issue of the Korean peninsula into the right track of dialogue and peaceful settlement, which is in line with the common interests of all parties, including the US and North Korea," he said. Wang pledged to continue to work with the US to push for a political settlement on North Korea. During his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping late on Thursday, Pompeo stressed the personal ties between Xi and Trump and expressed hopes to push forward the goal to denuclearise the Korean peninsula "in the months ahead". "[Trump] truly values the relationship personally between the two of you and the relationship between our two countries," Pompeo told the Chinese president. Xi said he had maintained a friendly working relationship and "intimate personal friendship" with Trump. "I am very interested in exchanging information with [you] regarding the US-North Korea summit and views on Sino-US relations," Xi said. Pompeo also met Chinese Politburo member Yang Jiechi. The Singapore summit's joint statement has been criticised for failing to mention how "irreversible and verifiable" dismantling of North Korea's nuclear and missile arsenal would be achieved. Pompeo said in Seoul that North Korea should take major nuclear disarmament steps within the next two years before the end of Trump's first term in January 2021. Just hours after the Trump-Kim summit, the Chinese foreign ministry said international sanctions, which were widely seen as playing a big role in Pyongyang's sudden embrace of diplomacy in recent months, could be eased to encourage North Korea to take further steps towards denuclearisation. "The Chinese side believes that … the actions taken by the UN Security Council should support the current diplomatic dialogues and efforts in progressing towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula," ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday. Pompeo's visit, his first to China since replacing Rex Tillerson as top US diplomat in April, comes amid heightened tensions between Beijing and Washington over trade and China's claims to much of the South China Sea. The White House is scheduled to announce on Friday whether it will slap tariffs of up to 25 per cent on a list of Chinese exports. Pompeo said the trade deficit between the two countries was "still too high" and it was important for Trump to rectify the situation to achieve a more balanced, reciprocal and fair trade relationship. Wang responded by saying that China hoped the US would not take "unilateral" and "unconstructive" action that would create new obstacles for the next round of trade negotiations. Wang also urged the US to stop all official and military exchanges with Taiwan. Pompei also said he expressed US concerns over China's military outposts in the South China Sea, facilities that he said threatened the sovereignty of other nations and undermined regional stability. He said he gained confirmation from his meeting with Wang that China would not "resort to threats, coercion and intimidation" to other claimants in the disputes. ^ top ^

China supports using dialogue to solve the Korean Peninsula issue (Global Times)
The historic summit between US President Donald Trump and the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong Un, has brought the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue on the right track of being solved peacefully through dialogue, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said. He emphasized that this is in line with the common interests of different parties including the US and the DPRK. Wang made the remarks before meeting with his American counterpart Mike Pompeo in Beijing on Thursday. Wang added that the peaceful solution of the nuclear issue through dialogue conforms to the expectations of the international community, helps push forward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and will finally lead to a real and lasting peace on the Peninsula and in the region. China appreciates the relentless efforts made by the US side including its Secretary of State in this cause, Wang stressed. The top Chinese diplomat also said he looked forward to listening to Pompeo's briefing of the summit while the two meet and to further exchanging opinions with the US side, so as to move forward the political solution for the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. ^ top ^

China welcomes DPRK-U.S. summit achievements (Xinhua)
China welcomes and supports the achievements of the meeting between the leaders of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement Tuesday. The statement said the meeting yielded positive achievements, which was important progress in promoting denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the political settlement process. China highly appreciates the political decisions made by the leaders of the two countries, and applauds the efforts made by relevant parties to make the meeting a success, the statement said. "To achieve denuclearization, to end the hostility and confrontation lasting for more than 60 years, and to pursue lasting peace and prosperity of the peninsula and the region are in line with the development of the times and are the universal voice of the international community. The meeting and its achievements are an important step toward these goals." It said that China had made unremitting efforts in pursing denuclearization, maintaining peace and stability of the peninsula, and resolving the problem through dialogue and consultation. "We wish and support the two sides to implement the consensus reached by the two leaders, promote follow-up consultations, further consolidate and expand the achievements, and make the political settlement of the peninsula issue a sustainable and irreversible process," it said. "As a neighbor of the peninsula and an important party of the issue, China stands ready to work with other relevant parties toward denuclearization and the establishment of a peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula." ^ top ^



Orkhon aimag proposes to export meat and meat products to Hungary (Montsame)
On June 13, Deputy Governor of Orkhon aimag S.Batjargal, Head of the Governor's Office D.Soyolchkhuu met Ambassador of Hungary to Mongolia Mihaly Galosfai. Deputy Governor S.Batjargal expressed thanks to the Ambassador for meeting to exchange views on cooperation in social and economic spheres, restoring established relations between Orkhon aimag and Szekesfehervar city of Hungary and put proposals to collaborate in processing leather and hide, establishing a joint factory as well as exporting meat and meat products to Hungary. "Agriculture sector has well developed in Hungary, so it is possible to cooperate in meat processing, supplying equipment and facilities, introducing and using new technologies. Also some 100 people are possible to be involved in student exchange programs, and bachelor, master and doctoral level trainings in Hungary," said the Ambassador. Orkhon aimag and Szekesfehervar city of Hungary established a memorandum of cooperation of 'Partner Cities' to cooperate in economy, health and tourism sectors in 2008. ^ top ^

President opens multinational peacekeeping exercise "Khaan Quest" (Montsame)
President of Mongolia and Commander-in-Chief of the Mongolian Armed Forces Khaltmaagiin Battulga delivered opening remarks at the annual multinational peacekeeping exercise "Khaan Quest", which commenced at the Five Hills Training Area on June 14. Present at the opening ceremony were, President Battulga, Minister of Defense N.Enkhbold, Chief of the General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces, Lieutenant General D.Davaa, and officials, including Ambassadors of the countries participating in the multinational exercise. As the opening ceremony commenced with a march of the soldiers partaking in the 2018 "Khaan Quest" multinational peacekeeping exercise, President Battulga greeted the military personnel of the 26 participating countries, shaking hands with the representatives of each country. President Battulga said in his opening remarks: The foundation of human development is peace and tranquility. Throughout the history, whenever peace was established, society reached high advancements. Many centuries ago, Mongolians had established peace throughout the Eurasia, and created the foundation of the modern world. In the years of the Mongolian peace (Pax Mongolica), trade network connecting the Eurasia reinvigorated, international postal system was created, cultural and knowledge exchange was actively taking place. Scholars and researchers unanimously agree that exactly during this time, commerce, banking, and postal innovations were widely shared, and exchanges between different cultures became more rapid and effective. In this age, keeping the peace in the world is not an obligation of one nation, but a collective effort of all the nations in the world. For this reason, in the past years, as a member of the United Nations, Mongolia has sufficiently proved itself by tangibly participating in the global peace keeping efforts, and being ready to send our peacekeepers to all the corners of the world. Peacekeeping in a conflict zone is an arduous job that requires perpetual readiness, grit, bravery, and professional skills. Establishing peace and keeping tranquility requires high-level of commitment, responsibility, and sense of service. As the Commander-in-Chief of the Mongolian Armed Forces, I am proud that Mongolian peacekeepers prove their military skills and discipline, and represent our nation with dignity wherever they are deployed. I would like to underscore that this very "Khaan Quest" exercise, which is conducting its 16th iteration, opened the door for the Mongolian military personnel to participate in the global peace support operations. From the moment it first took place, "Khaan Quest" exercise had striking similarity to the real-life scenarios and adopted the latest training methods. Thanks to these advantages, Mongolian peacekeepers have been able to gain exceptional ability to operate under tough conditions. Through you, I extend my sincere appreciation to the United States and all participating countries that sent their military personnel for your support to organize Khaan Quest. This training deepens our mutual defense understanding and friendship among the regional countries. It provides opportunities to cooperate and share knowledge and experience with each other. Taking this opportunity, I would like reiterate that Mongolia will steadfastly carry on our peace-prioritizing foreign policy, and willing to cooperate and maintain friendly relationship with all the nations of the world." ^ top ^

Speaker receives representatives of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly (Montsame)
Parliamentary Speaker M.Enkhbold today received representatives headed by Thae Hyong-chol, Member of the Supreme People's Assembly, Head of DPRK-Mongolia parliamentary group at the Supreme People's Assembly and Director of Kim Il-sung University. At the beginning of the meeting, Speaker M.Enkhbold congratulated the historic summit meeting between the leaders of the United States and DPRK which took place on June 12, 2018 in Singapore. Underlining the stable development of friendly ties and cooperation of the two countries the Speaker said he is confident that reciprocal visits of legislative bodies and inter-parliamentary groups will make significant contribution to continue consistent cooperation. Speaker M.Enkhbold also noted it is important for the two countries to intensify traditional relations in education sector, to mutually train Mongolian and Korean youths, to augment export and import, to develop joint factories and tourism as well as to expand a 'Friendly City Relationship' cooperation which was established 16 years ago between Ulaanbaatar and Pyongyang cities. Mr. Thae Hyong-chol expressed his support the initiatives of the Speaker to enrich cooperation and informed on actions to be implemented in the near future in education sphere and capital cities' cooperation. ^ top ^

State-sanctioned tourism routes approved by Cabinet (Gogo)
During its regular session on June 13, Cabinet approved state-sanctioned and cross-border tourism routes. The cross-country state-sanctioned tourism routes will be classified as the Main Tourism Route, Tea Road, Silk Road, and Ikh Tumen Gol. The regional routes will be known as Tourism Routes of the Provinces and Capital. In addition, a plan has been developed to improve tourism products and services and to ensure safety along the Main Tourism Route. Cabinet hopes to bring the number of tourists to one million and earn 1 billion USD from the industry by 2020. In order to achieve this goal, the number of tourists will need to increase by 30 percent, on average, each year. In 2017, 470,000 foreign visitors came to Mongolia, an increase of 14 percent compared to 2016. ^ top ^

Loan agreement on solid waste modernization project supported (Montsame)
At its regular meeting on June 13, the Cabinet backed to submit to the Parliament a Bill on Ratifying the Loan Agreement to be established between the Government of Mongolia and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. 'The Ulaanbaatar Solid Waste Modernization' Project will provide significant environmental and social benefits to the Municipality of Ulaanbaatar and surrounding communities through the provision of a landfill designed to EU standards, building of a new Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW) plant at the Moringiin davaa dumpsite and improving operational efficiency and environment and hygiene standards. Also, it will introduce a unified tariff to solid-waste field, and proper management practices in relations to construction waste. As a result of the project waste collection, transportation, recycling and disposal services will be upgraded and the capital's landfilling capacity will be expanded by 4 million tons. EBRD will co-finance investment grants worth EUR4.5 million and provide a sovereign loan worth USD9.7 million, along the technical assistance worth USD1.5 million for formulating and implementing the project. The loan worth USD9.7 million will have a repayment term of 15 years, with a moratorium period of three years. ^ top ^

Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security approaching (Montsame)
With the aim to strengthen regional security, cooperation and mutual trust, the Fifth International Conference on Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security will be held on July 14-15, 2018. Initially held among researchers, academics and experts, the Dialogue elevated its level to track 1.5 in 2017 by bringing regional policy makers and practitioners to Ulaanbaatar. Hosted by the Institute for Strategic Studies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue will welcome over 150 participants representing Russia, China, DPRK, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the United States, India, Germany and France as well as the United Nations, the EU, the International Red Cross and APEC. This year, participants will discuss Northeast Asian security environment towards 2025 from different perspectives, challenges and opportunities and potential cooperation in the areas of environment, energy and humanitarian assistance. Furthermore, it is important to note that the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue's importance has greatly increased due to the fact that high level talks and summits have taken place frequently in recent months, demonstrating rapidly changing security dynamics in the region. ^ top ^

China, Mongolia pledge more cooperation (Xinhua)
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Mongolian counterpart Khaltmaa Battulga on Sunday pledged to enhance bilateral cooperation during their meeting at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. Describing China and Mongolia as close neighbors linked by mountains and rivers, Xi said that developing bilateral relations is in the fundamental interests of the two peoples. Xi commended his Mongolian counterpart for attaching importance to bilateral relations and for his readiness to advance the comprehensive strategic partnership with China. "Based on the principles of mutual trust, cooperation and mutual benefits, China is willing to work with Mongolia to seize opportunities, remove interferences, and solidly carry out exchanges and cooperation in various fields so as to enrich the partnership and open up new prospects for bilateral cooperation," Xi said. The Chinese president said that both countries should adhere to the right direction of bilateral friendly cooperative relations from a strategic height and long-term perspective, and understand and respect each other on issues involving their respective core interests and major concerns. Both sides should maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges, strengthen exchanges in various fields and on various levels, and enhance political mutual trust, Xi said. He called for carrying out mutually-beneficial cooperation using their respective advantages, giving play to the leading and guiding role of major projects in bilateral pragmatic cooperation, and facilitating the alignment of China's Belt and Road Initiative and Mongolia's "Development Road" program. People-to-people and cultural exchanges should be increased, Xi said, calling on the two countries to well organize activities to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries next year. While pointing out that Mongolia is the first observer state of the SCO, Xi said that China supports Mongolia in raising its cooperation level with the organization. China stands ready to work with Mongolia and Russia to implement the outline for building the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor, and push for greater progress in trilateral cooperation. Battulga congratulated China on successfully hosting the SCO Qingdao summit. He said that Mongolia is ready to raise its cooperation level with the SCO. He expressed appreciation to President Xi for his personal care for advancing relations of the two countries. He also spoke highly of China's important contribution to safeguarding peace and stability in the northeast Asian region. Developing friendly relations and mutually-beneficial cooperation with China is a diplomatic priority of Mongolia, he said. He said that Mongolia adheres to the one-China policy, and holds that both Taiwan and Tibet affairs are China's internal affairs. It will properly handle the issues based on these principles, he said. Mongolia hopes to keep high-level exchanges with China, increase exchanges and cooperation in various fields, and deepen friendship between the two peoples, he said. ^ top ^


Selina Morell
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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