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
  2-6.7.2018, No. 724  
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Foreign Policy

US-China trade war begins as Beijing vows to strike back against tariffs on US$34 billion worth of Chinese goods (SCMP)
After three rounds of failed talks, a trade war between the world's two largest economies is on.On Friday, China's Ministry of Commerce said China will fight back against the US and report to the World Trade Organisation."China will not fire its first shot, but is inevitably forced to strike back to defend the core interest of the nation and its people," a statement from the ministry said. "We will report to the World Trade Organisation on a timely basis."The remarks were in response to Washington's decision to impose 25 per cent duties on a similar amount of Chinese imports, which also came into effect on Friday.US President Donald Trump had threatened to target another US$400 billion in Chinese products with tariffs if Beijing continued to hit back.On top of that, each country has prepared a second tariff list of goods worth about US$16 billion. The effective dates are pending as the office of the US trade representative is in the midst of a public comment period on its list.The trade war became official after Trump repeatedly said he wanted to reverse the United States' massive trade deficit with China, which rose to about US$375 billion last year. That number is US$100 billion higher than China's own calculation.Economists Stephen Gallagher and Yao Wei from Société Générale said a trade war between the US and China would hurt everyone."One channel of spillovers is via weakened demand from the two largest economies in the world; and the other equally important and likely quicker transmission would be along global value chains," they said in a statement.Asia would be worst affected because their economies were deeply embedded in China's supply chains, the economists said. Taiwan has the highest exposure – 2 per cent of its GDP – to US demand through its value-added contributions to China's exports, followed by Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore.Targeted goods:The American tariffs on a total of US$50 billion worth of Chinese imports were based on a US investigation into China's forced technology transfers and intellectual property theft from US businesses operating in China. In retaliation, the US government proposed a list of 1,333 targeted products in early April.In an updated list published on June 15, Washington dropped many China-made consumer goods, such as TVs and flat panel screens, and added more intermediary products like semiconductors and plastics, after opposition during a public hearing in May.The second tariff list, which is still under review, focuses particularly on "Made in China 2025", a Chinese industrial policy aimed at getting ahead in hi-tech industries. It includes electronic integrated circuits and the machines that produce them.China struck back in April with a list of US$50 billion worth of US imports, many of which were agricultural products. Beijing later removed US$16.3 billion worth of US aircraft from the list and added more food such as fish and nuts.The primary US goods affected are soybeans and vehicles, while it is mostly Chinese industrial goods hit by US tariffs.Economic costs:Who bears the brunt of these rounds of tariffs? Eventually consumers.Analysts said imposing tariffs on Chinese goods such as semiconductors would eventually increase prices for American consumers because they were key components of electronic products. And it's not an easy business decision for US manufacturers to shift sourcing after tariffs are in place."Alternative sources do exist for most of the Chinese products on the targeted list, but less expensive products purchased by less affluent consumers are likely to see larger price hikes as manufacturers substitute more expensive parts for Chinese inputs facing tariffs," Mary Lovely, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, wrote."These consumers may not see much difference in performance due to one higher-quality part, but they are likely to see a difference at the cash register."Chinese consumers, on the other hand, could pay higher prices for imported seafood and fruit.Beyond the US$50 billion worth of imports, the US also began studying US$200 billion more in Chinese goods for an additional 10 per cent tariff after China retaliated. Trump has also threatened another US$200 billion if China's countermoves continue.In theory, China cannot keep matching the scale of the American tariffs. Last year, China imported about US$130 billion worth of goods from the US but exported US$500 billion worth.So if the trade war keeps escalating, China may have to resort to non-tariff measures, such as limiting US investment in China, although Beijing has so far hesitated to officially go down that route.One potential target could be the total sales of US-invested companies in China, which reached US$481 billion in 2015, according to data from the US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis."China may well see curbs on US businesses in China as a justifiable response to restrictions on Chinese investment in the US," Xie Yanmei, an analyst with the investment research firm Gavekal, wrote in a recent note. "There is a large arsenal of regulatory tools it could deploy." ^ top ^

Mahathir's date in Beijing shows China 'can't be ignored' by Malaysia (SCMP)
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's tentative plan to visit China in August signals the 92-year-old leader's hopes of strengthening ties with the Asian juggernaut even as he puts some US$20 billion of Beijing-linked projects on ice, analysts say.Two diplomatic sources told This Week in Asia that talks were underway for Mahathir, 92, to visit the Chinese capital sometime between August 13 and 21.And in a press conference on Friday afternoon, Mahathir said he wanted to visit Beijing as soon as possible, but had to work out dates based on the availability of Chinese President Xi Jinping.The actual dates and length of the visit have yet to be determined, the diplomats said.The secretive annual gathering of Chinese leaders at the Beidahe resort – usually held some time in August – and the Muslim Eid-ul-Adha festival widely celebrated in Muslim-majority Malaysia are among events that need to be "de-conflicted" before a firm date can be agreed upon by both sides, they said.A senior aide to Mahathir meanwhile told This Week in Asia that "talks are ongoing at the ministry of foreign affairs level".What anti-China sentiment? Beijing's man in Malaysia heartened by Mahathir's overtures"There are dates suggested but it depends very much on the availability of both parties to meet the suggested dates," the aide said.Shahriman Lockman, a keen observer of Malaysia-China ties, said the plans showed Mahathir – the victor in the May 9 general election that saw the defeat of his protégé Najib Razak – was an indication that "China is a country Malaysia simply cannot ignore".Defeated Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak had sanctioned various Beijing-linked infrastructure projects. Photo: AFPThe veteran politician has vigorously beaten back accusations that he is "anti-China" since his victory, pointing out that his campaign messages slamming Najib-sanctioned, Beijing-linked infrastructure projects are not targeted at the Chinese government.Mahathir's government this week temporarily suspended three infrastructure projects worth US$20 billion in which Chinese state-owned entities are involved: the 81-billion ringgit East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) being constructed by the Chinese Communications Construction Company and two pipeline projects worth 9.4 billion ringgit billion being built by China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau.Malaysia's then prime minister Najib Razak looks at a model of the East Coast Rail Link during the project's launch. New Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has put the project on ice. Photo: APThe government is expected to renegotiate the price of the projects which it deems too expensive.That development in turn has triggered claims that the Malaysian leader is actively working towards taking Malaysia out of Beijing's diplomatic embrace, after years of strengthening bilateral ties under Najib.Najib, who now faces criminal charges for his alleged involvement in the multibillion-dollar 1MDB scandal, was one of the foremost foreign proponents of President Xi's Belt and Road Initiative.But Mahathir, in an interview with the South China Morning Post in June, said he had no intention of throttling Malaysia's relationship with Asia's biggest economy.The renegotiation of lopsided infrastructure deals with Chinese companies would come in tandem with efforts to strengthen ties with Beijing, Mahathir said.Shahriman said the premier's visit was not only about renegotiating the projects."We need to take a couple of steps back and see this visit for what it is: a visit to strengthen bilateral relations by a newly elected prime minister," the Institute of Strategic and International Studies researcher said."Sure, the projects will be on the agenda but it's not going to be the main item. China is a country that Malaysia simply cannot ignore. It is expected that China would be among the first countries for the prime minister to visit," Shahriman said.Mahathir Mohamad meets Chinese President Jiang Zemin in 1995. Photo: ReutersMahathir's Beijing visit will be his eighth as prime minister. He visited Beijing seven times during his first turn as Malaysia's prime minister from 1981 to 2003.The premier's visit will be preceded by a separate visit next week by Daim Zainuddin, a close confidante who now leads a "Council of Elders" tasked with advising the government.Daim, 80, served two stints as finance minister under Mahathir in the 1980s and 1990s. ^ top ^

China fears Europe will 'stab it in the back' as trade conflict with US escalates (SCMP)
China's foreign minister Wang Yi urged his European counterparts not to "stab China in the back" amid the escalating trade tensions between China and the United States.Brussels has also been irked by Trump's plans to impose tariffs on European goods, but Beijing fears that the EU will strike its own deal with Washington, leaving China isolated.Wang made the comments in a meeting on Thursday with his Austrian counterpart Karin Kneissl, where the Chinese foreign ministry also quoted him as saying: "China is at the forefront of opposing unilateralism and trade protectionism."He was speaking ahead of the formal announcement that US tariffs would come into effect.On Friday, China's Ministry of Commerce said China would fight back against the US and would take its case to the World Trade Organisation.The remarks were in response to Washington's decision to impose 25 per cent duties on US$34 billion of Chinese imports.China has been seeking support from the EU to counterbalance America's actions – despite Europe's complaints about "unfair" Chinese state subsidies to hi-tech firms and restrictions on market access – and officials are still working to build closer ties with the bloc.A source close to Sino-Europe relations said that at high-level talks last month China had not pushed the EU to accept it as a market economy at the WTO as strongly as it had done previously.The market economy designation would make it harder for China's trade partners to defend anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods under WTO rules.China seeks stronger ties with EU to counter US trade threatsAt the talks, both sides agreed to set up a working group to revamp the World Trade Organisation to counter US unilateralism.The source,said the dialogue had gone "very well", adding that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Vice Premier Liu He were open to the EU's concerns.Wang said China's opposition to protectionism was an effort to uphold its own legal rights and those of all countries of the world, including the EU's member states.Wang and Kneissl also spoke about cooperating to uphold the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signatories to which include China and the EU.On Friday Wang is due to meet foreign ministers from France, Germany, Russia, Britain and Iran to discuss the plan after the United States withdrew from the deal in May this year. ^ top ^

Chinese premier arrives in Bulgaria for official visit, China-CEEC meeting (Xinhua)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday arrived in Bulgaria for an official visit to the country and the seventh meeting of heads of government of China and 16 Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) in Sofia.It marks Li's first tour to Bulgaria after taking office, and also the first visit to Bulgaria paid by a Chinese premier in 18 years.Upon his arrival, Li said that China and Bulgaria enjoy traditional friendship, as Bulgaria was one of the first countries to forge diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China, and the bilateral relations have always enjoyed a sound and stable development momentum.Li expressed the expectation to consolidate China-Bulgaria traditional friendship and promote practical cooperation in various fields through this visit, so as to elevate China-Bulgaria comprehensive friendly cooperative partnership to a new level.China-CEEC cooperation has played a constructive role in enhancing China-CEEC ties and promoting the process of European integration, said Li.In the context of the current rising trends of protectionism, unilateralism, and anti-globalization, the Chinese premier voiced the hope to maintain multilateralism and economic globalization, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, together with the CEEC leaders through concrete moves, so as to better benefit the people and inject impetus into regional and world peace and development.During Li's visit to Bulgaria, he will meet with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, and hold talks with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. The Chinese premier and his Bulgarian counterpart will also witness the signing of multiple cooperation documents and meet the press.With regard to the China-CEEC meeting, Li will discuss future cooperation with 16 CEEC leaders, witness the signing of cooperation documents and meet the press. He will also attend the 8th China-CEEC Economic and Trade Forum, visit a local achievements exhibition of the 16+1 cooperation, and jointly inaugurate an agricultural demonstration zone.Li will also hold bilateral meetings with CEEC leaders during his stay in Sofia.After the Bulgaria visit and the meeting, Li will travel to Germany for the fifth round of China-Germany inter-governmental consultation and an official visit till July 10.Li's Europe tour is being made at the invitation of Borissov and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. ^ top ^

China's top legislator meets Russian Federation Council speaker (Xinhua)
China's top legislator Li Zhanshu Wednesday held talks with Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, in which he stressed the need to "provide legal support for promoting the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination."Li, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), said with great attention and promotion by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, China-Russia relations have witnessed rapid development and reached their best stage in history.Mature and stable relations between the two countries are not only the precious treasure of both countries and peoples, but also important support for global peace and stability, he said."China stands ready to firmly deepen the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination and safeguard each other's interests and common interests against the backdrop of complicated and volatile international situations," Li said.Pointing out that President Xi and President Putin announced 2018 and 2019 as years of China-Russia local cooperation and exchange, Li said local cooperation plays a unique role in China-Russia relations.He called on both sides to "promote the implementation of the consensus reached by the two heads of states, promote the integration of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, expand the scope and depth of bilateral cooperation, provide legal support for bilateral trade exchanges, major cooperation projects and new areas of cooperation, and inject strong impetus to the development of bilateral relations."Li briefed the Russian delegation on how the NPC serves the country's overall development. He said the NPC and its standing committee always perform their duties in accordance with the law and focus on meeting the priority tasks of the CPC and the country, adding that China is ready to exchange experience with Russia on state governance.Li and Matviyenko also co-chaired the fourth meeting of the cooperation committee between the NPC and the Russian parliament in Beijing.Both sides agreed to use the exchange mechanism to make plans for cooperation between the legislative bodies of the two countries, promote cooperation under local, bilateral and multilateral mechanisms, and enhance economic and trade cooperation as well as people-to-people exchanges.Matviyenko said Russia and China have set examples for new type of relations between countries featuring non-alignment, non-confrontation, and not targeting at any third party.She said the Russian Federation Council stands ready to enhance cooperation with the NPC, strengthen exchanges on legislative experience, deepen cooperation within the framework of multilateral parliamentary organizations, and promote the establishment of a cooperation mechanism for legislative bodies of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization countries. ^ top ^

China hopes ministerial meeting to send clear signal of maintaining Iran nuclear deal (Xinhua)
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday expressed belief that the upcoming foreign ministers' meeting on the Iran nuclear issue would surely send a clear signal of solidarity to maintain and implement the Iran nuclear deal.Wang made the remarks while responding to a question at a press conference joint held with Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl.The meeting to be held Friday in Vienna by foreign ministers of France, Germany, Russia, Britain, Iran and China will be the first foreign ministers' meeting by parties remaining within the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) after the U.S. withdrawal from the deal.He stressed that all parties to JCPOA, an international multilateral agreement endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, have obligations to comply with and implement it.Failure to maintain and implement the deal would not only affect the Iran nuclear issue itself but also cause serious negative impacts on the functioning of the non-proliferation regime as well as on the situation in the Middle East, Wang said.Calling the upcoming meeting as "very timely" and "necessary", Wang said China is willing to work with the European side to continue to make unremitting efforts towards maintaining and implementing JCPOA. ^ top ^

Spotlight: "16+1" mechanism set to bolster China-Europe ties (Xinhua)
The 16+1 cooperation mechanism, a platform jointly launched by China and 16 Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) here in 2012, has yielded positive results in various fields, providing promising opportunities for both China and Europe.As Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is about to attend the seventh leaders' meeting of China and CEEC in Sofia, Bulgaria, it is generally believed that the meeting will inject fresh impetus into the comprehensive and in-depth development of the 16+1 bloc.
On the back of the 16+1 cooperation as well as the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, interconnectivity between China and Europe has witnessed remarkable development.Polish President Andrzej Duda said his country wants to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, and is willing to link the country's Responsible Development Plan with the initiative.Over the past six years, China and CEEC have jointly implemented a series of cooperation projects, covering the fields of infrastructure, transportation and logistics, trade and investment, local exchanges and energy, among others.Zivadin Jovanovic, a Serbian senior diplomat, told Xinhua that the cooperation between China and CEEC has boosted infrastructure modernization in the fields of railways, highways and waterways, which is beneficial to all parties involved.Many major cooperation projects in the region, which involve Chinese companies, have seen smooth progress, such as Serbia's E763 Highway project, the Hungarian section of Budapest-Belgrade Railway and the China-Europe land-sea express line.A Chinese consortium led by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) signed in April a contract to build the first phase of the Peljesac bridge and its access roads.Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said the project will add more substantive content to the good relations between the two countries.
The acquisitions of Huta Stalowa Wola civil engineering machinery division and KFLT Bearings Poland by Chinese companies have enabled these enterprises to regain their vitality and become industry leaders.Moreover, the China-Europe express railway route has become a key channel of land transportation in the global logistics market and is an important link between China and CEEC.The railway has seen over 7,600 trips made as of March this year, connecting Chinese cities with Europe. The rise of the express train program has played a role in balancing bilateral trade and helped promote local development.According to China Customs' statistics, China's trade volume with CEEC totaled 67.98 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, a 15.9 percent increase compared to that of the previous year.The bilateral trade between China and the 16 countries of this region has therefore maintained good growth momentum.Lina Sabaitiene, Lithuanian Energy Vice Minister, said that the 16+1 cooperation provides a useful platform for multilateral cooperation, which not only gives Lithuania the opportunity to cooperate with China for win-win outcomes, but also pursues complementary and mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries in the region.
The 16+1 cooperation has witnessed growing ties in the areas of culture, education and tourism.From 2012 to 2017, China and CEEC opened six new direct flight routes, while the number of Chinese tourists visiting this region increased from 280,000 to 930,000. The number of exchange students also doubled.China's agreement on a mutual visa-free regime with Bosnia and Herzegovina officially entered in force in May. Also, China has set up in Budapest, Hungary, its first tourism office in Central and Eastern Europe and established in Bucharest, Romania its first visa application service center in the region.China and CEEC are also dedicated to promoting educational and cultural exchanges.The two sides have opened China-CEEC Coordination Center for Cultural Cooperation in Macedonia, and set up a China-CEEC training center for young artists and China-CEEC Cultural and Creative Industries Exchanges and Cooperation Center in China's southwestern city of Chengdu.According to Jovanovic, cultural and educational exchanges help promote direct contacts between peoples and nations, thus strengthening economic ties. Cooperation in the fields of tourism, air traffic, mutual visa exemptions, cultural exchanges, think tanks and NGOs also helps promote direct links between CEEC and China, said the expert. ^ top ^

China, Myanmar to deepen law enforcement, security cooperation (Global Times)
Chinese State Councilor Zhao Kezhi and Myanmar's Minister of Home Affairs Kyaw Swe co-chaired the sixth China-Myanmar ministerial meeting on law enforcement and security cooperation in Beijing Tuesday. Zhao, also minister of public security, said the two sides should strengthen security cooperation in Belt and Road projects, jointly upgrade cooperation in law enforcement and security, and inject new vigor into the China-Myanmar comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. Kyaw Swe said Myanmar was ready to deepen bilateral law enforcement and security cooperation, delivering benefit to both peoples. ^ top ^

China, Europe should resist trade protectionism hand in hand (Xinhua)
Evidently, trade protectionism is now posing a real and serious challenge for global free traders and, if left unchecked, it is very likely to retard or even reverse the current hard-won world economic upturn. Later this week, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is set to embark on an official visit to Europe. It presents a good chance for the two sides, both staunch supporters of global free trade, to cement cooperation and enlarge their consensus on defending the rules-based multilateral trading system. During the week-long trip, the premier will also attend the 7th meeting of leaders from China and the Central and Eastern European Countries in Sofia, Bulgaria, and co-chair in Berlin the 5th round of China-Germany intergovernmental consultations with his German counterpart, Angela Merkel. China and European countries are natural partners. They are even more so in a world of growing uncertainties. They firmly believe that free trade is a powerful engine for global economic growth, while unilateralism and trade protectionism could trigger volatility and recession in the global economy. In Washington, trade hawks seem to have betrayed the current multilateral trading order it used to defend, and are instigating protectionism by playing with tactics of tariffs. In just several months' time, the Trump administration has fired a fusillade of tariff warning shots. It has decided to slap steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from many of its European Union allies and threatened to levy punitive tariffs on tens of billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports. In the face of these challenges, European nations and China have refused to sit still. Their responses so far are as reasonable as they are legitimate. While sparkplugging the very spirit of free trade, they should also jointly work to reform existing global economic governing institutions so that they can be more open, inclusive and resilient. Also, they should call on all members of the international community to resist the temptation of resorting to unilateral actions in fixing trade disputes, and to stay committed to talks within the framework of the World Trade Organization, the backbone of today's multilateral trading system. Over the past 40 years since China adopted the reform and opening-up policy, it has done its fair share of promoting economic openness and free trade, and has made great contributions to the world. It has promised to do more. Only days ahead of Li's visit, China introduced huge new tariff cuts covering consumer goods and automobiles to help increase imports. That is part of Beijing's proposed measures made at Boao Forum for Asia in April to pursue further opening up, including significantly increasing market access, creating a more attractive investment environment, strengthening protection of intellectual property rights and expanding imports. Germany is home to many of the world's car manufacturing giants. For these businesses, China's latest moves mean more direct market opportunities. As China further opens its doors as it has promised, China and European countries can further tap their great potential for cooperation in areas including high-tech, innovation, agriculture, finance, digital economy, e-commerce and climate change. In the final analysis, it is their joint responsibility to use their fruitful and mutually-beneficial cooperation to prove to the rest of the world that free and open trade is the only sure way towards fair benefits for all. After all, closing doors and indulging in protectionism would produce losers uniformly. The only difference is who loses more. ^ top ^

Belt and Road dispute settlement mechanism discussed at Beijing forum (Global Times)
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and law society called on countries involved in the Belt and Road initiative (BRI) to improve international rules-based systems and establish dispute settlement mechanisms to fairly protect the rights of all parties, according to a statement from a forum on BRI legal cooperation. Legal cooperation, which is indispensable to international cooperation under the BRI, should be developed on the basis of "extensive consultations, joint contributions and shared benefits," according to a statement released on Tuesday. The parties participating in the BRI are encouraged to promote laws to enhance cooperation related to financing, taxation, transportation, intellectual property rights, labor and counter-terrorism. The statement also proposed the establishment of treaty-based mechanisms or institutions to prevent and resolve disputes and to strengthen mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, and establish an online platform that provides information on foreign laws and judicial cases. Kong Xuanyou, vice minister of Foreign Affairs of China, and Chen Jiping, executive vice-president of China Law Society, are co-chairs of the forum. Government officials and experts attending the forum said that dispute settlement mechanisms and results under the BRI should be transparent and fair to all countries. Han Kok Juan, deputy secretary of Singapore's Ministry of Law, said at the forum that the dispute settlement mechanism has to be trustworthy, its rules have to be professional, fair and transparent, and it must be neutral if it is to enjoy international credibility. He said that Singapore is willing to work with China and other countries to develop a dispute settlement mechanism to support BRI's further development. Qu Guangqing, president of Quanzhou Normal University in East China's Fujian Province who attended the forum, told the Global Times that to ensure fairness and transparency, dispute settlement mechanisms should be established and led by third-party international organizations rather than dominated by one country. "China in the meantime could sign bilateral treaties with other countries to improve efficiency and prevent and solve disputes," Qu said. The forum, jointly held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and the China Law Society, attracted more than 350 delegates from governments, international organizations and academic institutions. Qu said China should also regulate Chinese enterprises investing in Belt and Road countries, to prevent firms from conducting illegal activities in the name of the BRI. "Chinese enterprises should abide by local laws and related labor regulations, so that local people and governments won't be resistant to the BRI," Qu said. Nearly 90 countries and international organizations have signed Belt and Road initiative cooperation agreements with China. China has invested $70 billion in Belt and Road projects in other countries, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday. The BRI is still at an early stage and some countries and some people "use political eyes" to see it, making it crucial to form a consensus on the laws that will be used to govern projects in other countries, Wang Junfeng, president of All China Lawyers Association, said at the forum. Avelino V. Cruz, President of the ASEAN Law Association, said the forum could ease many countries' concerns, such as suspicions that China is leveraging access to resources for strategic interests. "I believe that these concerns pale in comparison to BRI's impressive prospects for ASEAN nations, because of its unprecedented scale and potential," Cruz said. Although China and some ASEAN countries have unresolved maritime disputes in the South China Sea, they won't weaken ASEAN countries' enthusiasm to cooperate with China on BRI, Cruz told the Global Times in an exclusive interview Tuesday. Cruz said that China and ASEAN countries have decided to proceed with negotiations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea. "Once the COC is in place, there will be no problem," Cruz said. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at the 20th China-ASEAN (10+1) leaders' meeting in Manila in November 2017 that he hopes all parties will adopt the COC at an early date and make it a stabilizer of peace in the South China Sea, the Xinhua News Agency reported. Countries like the Philippines have been friendly with China, and Cruz believes that tensions brought by the maritime disputes have been relieved. China has also been ASEAN's largest trading partner since 2009 and ASEAN has been China's third largest partner since 2011, according to Cruz. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Chinese vice premier stresses reform, opening-up in Hainan (China Daily)
Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng underscored advancing reform and opening-up in the southern province of Hainan to build the region into "a new model."Han, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of a leading group overseeing Hainan's comprehensive reform and opening-up, made the statement at a meeting of the group here on Monday.President Xi Jinping has personally planned for, arranged and promoted the major national strategy which entrusts new missions to the Hainan Special Economic Zone, he said.Han urged building Hainan into a new model of China's comprehensively deepening reform and opening-up in the new era.The vice premier stressed solid development of the pilot free trade zone in Hainan, and urged gradually exploring and steadily pushing ahead with the building of a free trade port with Chinese characteristics in the island province.He said concentrated efforts should be made to further advance development of Hainan into an international tourism island and an international tourism consumption center. Han also said the strictest rules for ecological and environmental protection should be implemented in Hainan. ^ top ^

National pricing system to curb pollution (People's Daily)
China plans to build a national pricing system by the end of 2020 to encourage a reduction in pollution by putting a price on pollutants in a variety of sectors, including water contaminants and carbon emissions, according to the nation's top economic regulator. Faced with rising population and shortages of natural resources, the government plans to build a national-level pricing framework to guide enterprises' behavior in order to curb environmental damage while trying to keep the economy afloat. The nation has launched a number of pilot programs in trading permits for pollutants and carbon emissions. China started its much-anticipated national carbon trading plan in December to reduce the amount of carbon emissions because costs and risks were not reflected in market prices. Similar to that plan, the national pricing system is expected to increase the cost of pollutant discharges and goods or services created with them. That provides economic incentives for market players to curb environmental risks as the nation moves away from the old resource-led economic development model, according to a guideline released by the National Development and Reform Commission on Monday. Specific rules of the national system are expected to include a series of new rates for water pollution, power generation and discharges of waste, according to Niu Yubin, a deputy head of the pricing bureau of the commission. They also will include incentives for deployment of environmentally friendly technologies, Niu said. "The guideline serves as a starting framework and sets targets for the next few years," said Zhou Banxue, also a deputy bureau head of the commission. "We will not roll out national pricing rates for different types of pollutants. Rather, we will support the efforts of provinces and cities to adopt innovations according to their own plans to achieve sustainable development." Some attempts made at regional levels have had fruitful results, officials said. In Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, the concentration level of phosphorus in wastewater has steadily declined by around 20 percent year-on-year since the municipal government levied a charge for discharge of the pollutant in 2012, according to the commission. Starting in April, China started to levy taxes nationwide on enterprises and institutions that discharge pollutants. A series of efforts to clean up the environment based on market-based principles will push industrial plants to eliminate outdated capacity and improve their production in a cost-effective way, said Jia Kang, an economist with the Chinese Academy of New Supply-side Economy. ^ top ^

US 'so scared' of China's progress? Communist Party mouthpiece doesn't think so (SCMP)
The Communist Party's mouthpiece has joined a chorus of criticism against overblown claims about China's strength and progress, saying media boasts that "the US is scared" or "Japan is in awe" of its achievements are hollow and leave the country open to attack. The commentary on Monday was the first in a three-part series on the People's Daily website and comes amid an escalating trade dispute between the United States and China over Beijing's ambitious hi-tech industrial policies, and growing concern over the "China threat" to other countries. "Recently, headlines like 'the US is so scared', 'Japan is in awe of', 'Europe now regrets' [China's achievements] have been getting lots of clicks," the commentary read. "But most of these apparently explosive articles... are worrying." It also took aim at stories with exaggerated claims that "China is the undisputed world No 1 in several areas", unsubstantiated claims that "Chinese technological power has surpassed that of the United States", and generalisations about China "taking the global centre stage". "These articles are arbitrary, they are exaggerated and they provide ground for others to criticise [China]," the commentary read. Reports online that tried to stir nationalistic sentiment by inflating the country's achievements were doing the most damage and would ultimately hold China back, the newspaper said. "Arrogance won't make a country powerful," the commentary read. "Deliberately trying to provoke extreme sentiment and spread bias will trap the public in a vicious circle of arrogance and self-aggrandisement [based on] fragmented information." The ruling party's flagship newspaper was referring to reports in Chinese media that have been popular online, on topics ranging from technological innovation to China's military build-up, which has been billed as dwarfing its counterparts in the West. It followed calls from intellectuals and other officials cautioning against overconfidence at a time when the world's two largest economies are locked in a trade row – with technology at its centre. One of those came from the editor of a state-owned publication, who last month said China was fooling itself if it thought it would soon overtake the United States as a world leader in science and technology. "The large gap in science and technology between China and developed countries in the West, including the US, should be common knowledge, and not a problem," said Liu Yadong, editor-in-chief of Science and Technology Daily, which is under the Ministry of Science and Technology. Pang Zhongying, a Beijing-based foreign affairs specialist with Ocean University of China, said the tone of Monday's commentary suggested the leadership may have realised the media campaign was backfiring. "The decision-makers might have realised their domestic propaganda to encourage people is facing a backlash abroad, and they're starting to try to correct this sentiment," he said. "My guess is there could have been an order from the leaders during the meeting on foreign affairs last week." At that diplomatic work agenda meeting, President Xi Jinping urged diplomats and top officials to "create a friendly environment" with China's neighbours and to approach with cool heads the country's positioning and role in the world. ^ top ^

Xi calls for concerted efforts on rural vitalization (Global Times)
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for concerted action on the vitalization of rural areas.Rural vitalization is the principal strategy to advance work in agriculture and rural areas in the new era, said Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.In an instruction, Xi said work should cover industry, talent, culture, the environment and rural organizations.During the process, the rural people's enthusiasm, initiative and creativity should be stimulated so that they have a stronger sense of gain, happiness and security, Xi said.Premier Li Keqiang has also made an instruction on rural vitalization.Li ordered authorities to increase input in sectors relating to agriculture, rural areas and rural people, and implement favorable policies.He said the country will pursue agricultural supply-side structural reform, accelerate technological progress in the sector and build a modern industrial, production and management system of agriculture.The government will work to innovate systems and mechanisms for the integrated development of urban and rural areas, improve rural infrastructure and public services, with a three-year action plan to improve rural living environment, the premier said.Hu Chunhua, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the central leading group of rural work, spoke at a national meeting Thursday on rural vitalization.In his speech, Hu said a long-term mechanism should be established to ensure the implementation of policy.The meeting made arrangements for implementation of major tasks laid out in The Plan for Rural Vitalization Strategy (2018-2022) which was recently issued by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. ^ top ^

Construction begins at Yanqing Olympics hub (China Daily)
The construction of sports venues in Yanqing for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will use high technology to make the Games sustainable, officials said on Thursday.The planning and design of the Yanqing Zone, one of the three main venue clusters for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, has been completed and the construction work has started, they announced.Designers said it will not only serve the Games, but also leave a reusable treasure for the local residents.Yanqing, 74 kilometers northwest of central Beijing, will host several events in 2022, including Alpine skiing, bobsleigh and luge. There will be four venues for the Games in Yanqing - the National Alpine Ski Center, National Sliding Center, Yanqing Olympic Village and mountainous area media center.The 2022 Winter Olympics will use a total of 26 competition and noncompetition venues in Beijing's downtown, Yanqing and co-host city Zhangjiakou in Hebei province.By year's end, half of the construction on the National Alpine Ski Center and 35 percent on the National Sliding Center will be finished, Yu Dequan, head of the construction office in Yanqing Zone, said on Thursday. By the end of 2019, the National Alpine Ski Center will meet test event requirements by the standards of the International Olympic Committee.Li Xinggang, the venues' chief architect, who was head of the Chinese portion of the design team for the Beijing National Stadium - also called the Bird's Nest - for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said China aims to build world-class venues and infrastructure to host a green Games with sustainable development for local residents."The buildings will embody a design philosophy of integrating with nature while being compact, convenient, green and embellished with unique Chinese characteristics," Li said.Given the high mountains and dense forests in the Yanqing region, its venues will be the "most challenging buildings designwise in Winter Olympics history because they must have all the functionalities of world-class sporting venues but also with minimal disturbance to the original landscape", Li said.To do that, engineers must rigorously survey the landscape, create building parts that best fit the existing space and assemble them on the spot, Li said. Once the Olympics is over, unnecessary buildings can be easily dismantled for recycling or reuse, thus restoring the original ecology."Architecture is frozen music. It has beats and rhythm that can evoke people's emotions and affect their interactions with the environment," Li said. "We hope people who are not familiar with Chinese culture will enjoy living and working in our facilities and grow to appreciate their rich philosophy and details."The Olympic Village will provide 1,430 beds for athletes and government officials from abroad. After the games, the facilities will be managed in sustainable and effective ways, serving as high quality, professional venues for top sporting events and a training ground for China's national teams."The local residents will see great improvement to their earnings and way of life," Li said. "I want my architecture to not only serve the Olympic Games, but also leave a legacy that can benefit the local people and future generations." ^ top ^



Official: China's vehicle pollution picture grim (China Daily)
China is facing a grim situation when it comes to controlling pollution from motor vehicles, said Ding Yan, deputy director of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment's vehicle emission control center, citing problems from manufacturing to fraudulent testing.He called for improvements in environmental enforcement in a written statement on Thursday in response to questions from China Daily. Motor vehicles are a major air polluter whose numbers are increasing sharply. Consequently, better enforcement is needed to help achieve goals set in a three-year air pollution action plan, Ding said.The sale and manufacture of vehicles with excessive emissions has not been completely curbed and many emissions testers falsify results, he said.Inspections by authorities have found that half the fuel stations in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei province region sell substandard diesel, and only 10 percent of the trucks in the region use the standard formula.Road transportation, where diesel vehicles are common, is used for nearly 79 percent of the country's passengers and 77 percent of its freight.And the limited number of environmental law enforcement officers with automotive vehicles has only made the problem worse, Ding added, noting that there are only about 3,000 such officers from 186 cities across the country."On average, one officer needs to be responsible for 140,000 vehicles and pieces of mobile machinery. That's far from enough officers," he said.The State Council, China's Cabinet, released a three-year action plan for air pollution control on Tuesday. The plan provides a timetable and road map for improving air quality and also vows to "significantly" reduce discharges of polluting gases. By 2020, discharges of sulfur dioxide and nitric oxide, for example, should drop by at least 15 percent from 2015 levels, under the plan.While freight transported by rail should increase by 30 percent by 2020 from its level in 2017, plans are also in the works to launch a special campaign to reduce pollution from diesel trucks and establish a comprehensive supervision system for vehicle management.There are 310 million motor vehicles in China. The number of cars has reached 217 million and is expected to top the world by 2020, with an annual increase of more than 20 million.Vehicle exhaust has been a major air polluter in China with emissions of 40 million metric tons of major pollutants annually, Ding said.Automobiles have been a top contributor of fine particulate matter in metropolises such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.In Beijing, motor vehicles contribute 45 percent of the pollutants. In Shenzhen, the contribution is even higher, at about 52 percent, Ding said.China has taken a series of steps to combat pollution from motor vehicles.In 2017, for example, more than 20 million old motor vehicles with high emissions were weeded out. ^ top ^

Evaluations aim to help innovation (China Daily)
New ways of measuring performance of top talent, projects offer many benefitsTo promote innovation, China has launched its most detailed performance evaluation systems so far for talented researchers, institutes and projects, officials said on Thursday. The system will be more streamlined and efficient, they said.The systems are part of recent reforms to cut bureaucracy in the auditing, evaluation and managerial process of scientific research and projects, according to new guidelines, which were issued recently by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council."The new evaluation systems are the most comprehensive and detailed mechanisms to date," said He Defang, director of the department of policy, regulation and supervision of the Ministry of Science and Technology."These types of institutional reforms are typically proposed by departments, but this time it is straight from the top, which proves that State leaders are paying more attention to science-related government affairs."Earlier evaluation reforms began nearly two decades ago, but they lacked clear, enforceable guidelines, which led to issues ranging from cumbersome paperwork to conflicts of interest, He said. The situation began to improve in 2013 as more government departments began experimenting with policies to reduce bureaucratic workload.At the same time, most science evaluations tend to focus on individual projects, but China lacked both general and mid- to long-range evaluations about the role of research institutions and the social benefits of their output, he said. Zhang Xu, deputy director of the ministry's department of innovation and development, said the new evaluation systems aim to optimize management, unleash the potential of scientists, clarify roles and research directions for research institutes and increase their capability to better serve national needs.The new systems will also integrate different types of evaluations across various levels, including self-evaluations and institutional, departmental and third-party evaluations, leading to more balanced and objective results, Zhang said.Each research institute will create a charter that acts as a set of basic governing principles and the basis for evaluations, Zhang said. The main items of the charter include research targets, responsible fields and national duty.The results of an evaluation will have more weight in policy formation, project planning, talent recruitment and other major decisions related to the functions of the institute, Zhang said, adding that the legal entity for the institutes will be granted more power to make such decisions.More practical criteria - such as socioeconomic benefits - will be added into a scientists' evaluations' for promotions, He said. Legacy criteria, such as awards and the number of published papers, will serve only as references and not deciding factors, as in past evaluations."After all, it is unfair to hold back a capable surgeon's promotion because he spent all his time doing surgery and not writing papers," He said. As for institutes, success will be measured by their end products and social impact, not just department size or budget, He said. Users of the technology will have greater say in the evaluation. Xie Xin, deputy director of the ministry's department of resource allocation and management, said the reform will also strengthen the credibility of evaluations and the reviewers, with a zero-tolerance stance on fraud. ^ top ^

Beijing eyes UNESCO status for Mao Zedong's Mausoleum and Tiananmen Square (HKFP)
Beijing wants to have Mao Zedong's Mausoleum and Tiananmen Square, powerful and controversial symbols of Chinese communist might, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, official media reported on Thursday. The Chinese capital wants to apply for 14 sites in total to receive UNESCO World Heritage status by 2035, the state-run Global Times quoted city official Shu Xiaofeng as saying. Mao Zedong's Mausoleum. The 14 sites are located along the city's ancient Central Axis which runs north-south though Beijing and covers nearly two-thirds of the old city area. Among the sites is the colossal Mausoleum, built after the 1976 death of Mao, who founded the communist regime and whose political and economic campaigns caused the death of millions of Chinese after he seized power in 1949. Thousands of people still file past the tomb every day to pay their respects.The massive tomb, which holds his embalmed body, dominates the south side of Tiananmen Square, the world's largest public plaza, which was built in the 15th century and has played a part in many major events in Chinese history.It was at the heart of the 1989 demonstrations for democracy, which resulted in a government crackdown that cost hundreds of lives. Mao Zedong's body. The Forbidden City, the former imperial palace to the north of the square, as well as the Temple of Heaven, are already on the UNESCO list.Shu was quoted as saying that residents in the heritage area would be rehoused "to restore the heritage sites to their original state." ^ top ^



Industry plays big role in poverty alleviation in Xinjiang (Xinhua)
China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has made great progress in the fight against poverty over the past few years, with the development of industries covering a wide range of fields being a contributing factor. Local resident Memtimin Ehet used to search for temporary jobs to support his family. The crops he grew on his 0.2 hectares of land were far from enough to feed his family of four. Fortunately, the 37-year-old was recruited by a local winery set up by a Shanghai wine company in February and this new opportunity brought him a steady income. After three-months of training, Memtimin Ehet officially became a worker, and his diligent as well as excellent grape planting skills earned him a promotion to team leader after just two months. "I earn 3,300 yuan (495 U.S. dollars) every month and I'm very happy with the salary," he said. Memtimin Ehet was one of the over 100 local residents employed by the Shanghai company, while more Xinjiang residents are expecting to be lifted out of poverty since thousands of enterprises across the country have participated in the battle against poverty in the region. They have brought numerous job opportunities and simultaneously increased poor residents' income. Statistics showed that 16 Chinese centrally administered state-owned enterprises have carried out targeted poverty alleviation in 27 poverty-stricken counties in Xinjiang, investing nearly 100 million yuan (15 million U.S. dollars) to help more than 10,000 poor residents in 2017. During the same period, more than 1,600 private enterprises have also joined the campaign and invested more than 6 million yuan into diverse anti-poverty projects, benefitting 170,000 poor people from 830 villages. The regional poverty alleviation and development office said, in 2017, 19 provinces and cities invested around 7.5 billion yuan and launched 545 poverty relief projects in Xinjiang, including improving impoverished people's housing conditions, developing education, and improving healthcare and sanitation quality. A total of 317,400 people and 331 villages were lifted out of poverty in 2017, and the poverty headcount ratio dropped from 15.5 percent in 2016 to 12.6 percent last year, according to the office. However, government data shows there are still 1.62 million impoverished people living in the region. They are scheduled to be lifted out of poverty by 2020. In addition, since 2016, more than 1 million cadres from governments of different levels in Xinjiang and of other provinces have been encouraged to strengthen their relations with local people, to visit them regularly and find out what they really need. Zhou Bangyu, an official from Hunan Province in central China, helped Yiburanyim Abulza, a poor villager in Toksun County sell 800 kilograms of dried grapes in two weeks. "I used to sell dried grapes by the roadside. It used to take four months to sell such a large amount of dried grapes. Thanks to my friend Zhou, the dried grapes sold out online in just a few days," said Yiburanyim Abulza. Meanwhile, Xinjiang has stepped up efforts to develop its tourism and textile industries to boost local employment and increase income in recent years. More than 100 million people visited Xinjiang last year, with tourists spending around 182 billion yuan, up 30 percent from 2016. As the largest cotton grower in China, Xinjiang has attracted many famous textile companies from east and south China to set up branches in the region. As of 2017, there are more than 2,700 registered textile companies in Xinjiang, which have provided jobs for more than 350,000 local residents. The battle against poverty is one of the "three tough battles" that the country must win to build a moderately prosperous society by 2020. To achieve its goal, China needs to lift around 30 million residents out of poverty in the next three years. The National Development and Reform Commission said a total of 3.84 billion yuan is earmarked for reducing poverty this year, with 90 percent going to Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan and Gansu. ^ top ^



Hong Kong could be Greater Bay Area's education hub – with more SAR government help (SCMP)
Beijing's call for more intercity cooperation in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) has prompted the Hong Kong Government to urge local universities and research institutions to collaborate more deeply with their mainland counterparts and industries.International and comparative studies relating to the GBA economy and its development have clearly indicated how the success of such endeavours depends on whether the area's strong cluster of universities can demonstrate leading and path-breaking research, innovation and technological advancements.However, if the Hong Kong Government is really serious about capturing the development opportunities in the 11-city economic zone, then it should adopt a more proactive role in coordinating the city's public and private universities to work with their mainland counterparts and research institutions in the development and positioning of the GBA as the "Education Hub of South China".Indeed, the very rapid and significant transformation of Hong Kong's higher education over the past two decades has resulted in the two-tier system. Based upon international evaluations, the city's eight publicly funded universities are becoming increasingly strong in research, and six of them have been recognised by different university league tables as being among the world's Top 200. Compared to other GBA cities, Hong Kong performs comfortably well with a cluster of world-leading universities, matching those in global cities such as London, New York and Boston. Putting Hong Kong's leading publicly funded research intensive universities into a regional context, the HKSAR could definitely maximise its research and innovation strengths to work with GBA-based universities and other institutions – and jointly establish a leading "education hub" in the East Asia and Greater China.A recent report by China's Ministry of Education has also described how major research-intensive universities with "double world-class status" are mainly concentrated in Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing, leaving the Guangdong area with less "highly rated" institutions.So, to maximise the strengths of Hong Kong universities in the future GBA, the HKSAR Government should take a more proactive role in the quest for regional education hub status by easing and steering deeper collaboration with other GBA-based universities for research, knowledge transfer and innovation-centric entrepreneurship.Since the Hong Kong Government's announcement in the 2000 Policy Address that it would raise the post-secondary education participation rate to 60 per cent within 10 years, the city has experienced the massificaton of higher education, with an increasing number of high school leavers obtaining university or post-secondary education by enrolling in publicly funded universities and self-financed colleges or institutions.Many students have also chosen to study overseas or start their learning journey in different forms of transnational higher education programmes in Hong Kong.So, in view of the proliferation of private providers and the wide range of transnational higher education on offer in Hong Kong, the city's government established a task force for the review of self-financing post-secondary education.Its resulting consultation document (last month) in June 2018 raised major questions for stakeholders, such as about the specific role of the self-financing post-secondary sector – and the government's role in its development.Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Government should also steer the development of the self-financing institutions, by strengthening the regulatory framework to govern and monitor the quality of their programme offerings.It should also facilitate these private colleges (by making some high-quality, private universities) to engage with other GBA-based institutions to provide professional education for the 11-city region's rapid but diverse development needs.Hong Kong's public and private higher education sectors could develop new opportunities with mainland institutions in the GBA. The public universities could collaborate with neighbouring mainland institutions in high quality research, technological advancement and the nurturing of postgraduate students. The self-financing institutions could meanwhile focus on professional and vocational education.As a result, there could be pathfinding experiences in which Hong Kong could lead the GBA's education hub project, and thereby maximise the city's unique strengths and position in international higher education and research to meet the nation's pressing demands.The quest for education hub status not only benefits the higher education sector but also helps Hong Kong to establish itself as a regional talent hub and promote innovation and technological advances, the development of which would scale up innovation-centric entrepreneurship.Given Hong Kong's competitive strengths in its international links; world-recognised legal system; well-established international finance centre and dynamic trade regime, the education hub project would give young Hongkongers opportunities to reach out and develop their futures in the surrounding GBA and beyond.With a sensible adoption of "soft power", Hong Kong could reach out for development opportunities in the GBA and considerably assert the city's position in the regional context.After all, international research clearly suggests the success and sustainability of global cities depends on how well they collaborate with their hinterland municipalities.Hong Kong should therefore not shy away from capturing the GBA's development potential in the Pan Pearl River Delta and position itself as a hub for education, talent and innovation-centric entrepreneurship. ^ top ^



China to retaliate against US tariffs to defend the nation's core interests: MOFCOM (Global Times)
China is forced to take necessary retaliatory measures to defend the nation's core interests and the Chinese people's interests following the US' "largest-scale trade war in history," said a statement on the website of China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).The statement was posted on Friday right after the US' scheduled tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese products took effect at 12:01 pm (Beijing Time) Friday. "The duties are typical bullying behavior, which will have a serious impact on the global industrial and value chain and pose obstacles to global economic recovery," the ministry said.The duties will affect "innocent" transnational companies, ordinary companies as well as global consumers, it added, noting US enterprises and consumers will also be hurt.William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, told the Global Times Friday in a note that "there are no winners in a trade war. Counter-productive import tariffs, such as these, hurt not only the economies of the US and China but those of every country in the world."Zarit said he is concerned with US firms doing business in China, stressing that "increased tensions between China and the US will negatively impact their operations in China. "We urge the two governments to return to the negotiating table for productive discussions based on achieving results - focused on fairness and reciprocity- instead of escalating the current situation," Zarit said.China has promised not to fire the first shot amid the trade row, however, is forced to take retaliatory measures, MOFCOM stressed, adding it will report the situation to the WTO in the hope of defending free trade and the multilateral mechanism.MOFCOM also noted that China will closely monitor the impact of US tariffs on companies and take measures to help them.China's additional tariffs on some import products from the US will be implemented immediately after the US tariffs take effect, the country's customs authority said Thursday. In response to the US announcement to impose additional duties on Chinese imports, the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, China's cabinet, decided in mid-June that additional tariffs for 545 items worth about $34 billion, including agricultural products, vehicles and aquatic products, will be effective from Friday. ^ top ^

Investors feel more 'assured, confident' by presence of China's base in Djibouti (Global Times)
Chinese investments in Djibouti have increased after the Chinese Navy launched its first overseas logistics supply base last year, a local businessperson said.Since the Chinese Navy established the base in Djibouti last summer, more Chinese companies have come to the country to do business, Ahmed Mohamed Arab, an investment and marketing official at the East Africa Bank, told the Global Times. "When investing in a foreign country, security is always a big concern. China's first overseas logistic base in Djibouti gives Chinese businessmen more confidence in making long-term investment," Arab said. "We also felt more secure and confident to do business with Chinese companies because they are well taken care of in the country," he added. Several Chinese businessmen in Djibouti, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the Global Times that the base, which sits close to the Doraleh Port jointly developed by a Chinese company and the Djibouti government, makes them feel more confident in developing businesses in the country. The base also provides emergency medical assistance to Chinese business people, employees from a nearby Chinese company said. The port is also a 20-minute drive from the Djibouti Free Trade Zone (FTZ), another project jointly developed by Chinese companies and Djibouti authorities. Djibouti is home to China's first overseas naval logistics base which formally opened in August 2017.Sitting on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the gateway to one of the world's busiest shipping routes, Djibouti is also home to the largest US permanent military base in Africa and one of the largest concentrations of French forces. Foreign military bases make the place more secure, as that is a sign the place will enjoy long-term stability, Mouad Abdulwahab Al-Hashedi, general manager of the Yemen-based Al-Hashedi Djibouti company, told the Global Times. It's a win-win situation, he said. China has stressed that the base is not military in nature and functions as a supply base for humanitarian and peacekeeping missions. Aside from a lack of adequate infrastructure, the biggest challenge for Chinese investors in Djibouti is political uncertainty, Meng Guangwen, a professor specializing in free-trade zone studies at the Tianjin Normal University told the Global Times. As a country that hosts military bases from countries like the US, France and Japan, it is hard to say how much autonomy the country has in policymaking, Meng said.However, Dawit Michael Gebre-ab, senior director of Strategic Planning for Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority, said Djibouti is a sovereign state and the military bases will have no influence over Djibouti developing a service-based economy, and that the Djibouti FTZ is proof of this. ^ top ^



North Korean economic official arrives in China as Pyongyang continues to lean on Beijing for support (SCMP)
A senior North Korean economic policy official is visiting China in the latest sign Pyongyang wants to boost its engagement with Beijing to revive its economy, which has been squeezed by UN sanctions. Ku Bon-tae, vice-minister of external economic affairs, arrived at Beijing International Airport on Monday aboard an Air Koryo plane, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported. A diplomatic source was quoted as saying that Ku's visit was "a show of the will of North Korea and China to seek economic cooperation in earnest". Ku is expected to discuss cooperation in the fields of agriculture, railways and electricity with his Chinese counterparts, the Yonhap report said. North Korea is keen to deepen economic ties with its long-time ally and largest trading partner, after its leader Kim Jong-un pledged to move away from nuclear testing and towards economic development. On Sunday, North Korea's state media reported that Kim, accompanied by his economic advisers from the ruling Workers' Party, visited a textiles factory in the special economic zone of Sinuiju on the border with China. Kim was reported to chastised workers for not working hard enough and complaining too much. After his summit with US President Donald Trump last month, Kim has been keen to boost cooperation with Beijing as a way to break down the sanctions that have made it almost impossible for North Korea to sell its goods overseas. A week after meeting Trump in Singapore, Kim flew to Beijing for his third round of talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in as many months. Japanese newspaper Yomiuri reported on Sunday that the North Korean leader had appealed for Xi's help in bringing an end to the sanctions. "We are feeling great pain due to economic sanctions. Now that we have concluded the US-North Korea summit successfully, I want [China] to work towards an early lifting of the sanctions," he was quoted as saying. Michael Kovrig, senior adviser for Northeast Asia at International Crisis Group, said Pyongyang was aware it needed Beijing's support. "It's trying to encourage China to lobby for the sanctions to be lifted and to provide financial help, trade and investment," he said. "China's long-standing policy has been to encourage engagement and try to change North Korean behaviour through trade and development. So as long as North Korea refrains from provocations, we can expect this dialogue to continue." Lu Chao, a North Korean affairs expert at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, agreed. "China generally supports North Korea's strategic refocusing and economic development, so there's no doubt there will be more economic cooperation," he said. Kovrig and Lu also agreed that while Beijing might support North Korea's efforts to have the sanctions lifted, it was unlikely to go against the UN or global opinion as that would risk secondary sanctions from the US. Despite Kim's apparent desire to call time on his country's nuclear programme, satellite photos seen by the California-based Middlebury Institute of International Studies suggest North Korea is still finalising its work on a missile manufacturing site. Meanwhile, US officials were cited in a Washington Post report that despite the promises Kim made to Trump in Singapore, he has no plans to surrender his nuclear weapons and is rather planning to conceal them. John Bolton, the White House national security adviser, said on CBS that North Korea's nuclear arsenal could be dismantled within a year if Pyongyang cooperated, but added that doing so would require "full disclosure of all [of North Korea's] chemical and biological, nuclear programmes, ballistic missile sites". ^ top ^

China welcomes continued consensus, achievements by DPRK, ROK (Global Times)
China expressed its happiness for the continued consensus and achievements made by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Republic of Korea (ROK), Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Monday. Spokesperson Lu Kang made the remarks at a daily news briefing when asked for comments about the recent positive interactions between the DPRK and the ROK. According to reports, the two Koreas have agreed to hold a reunion for separated families in August at the DPRK's scenic resort of Mount Kumgang, restore a maritime military hotline between battleships, severed since May 2008 and compete with unified teams at some events during the upcoming Asian Games scheduled for August in Indonesia. Lu said the DPRK and the ROK are working to implement the Panmunjom Declaration, which ROK President Moon Jae-in and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un signed after their first summit meeting on April 27 at Panmunjom, and promote reconciliation and cooperation, which are conducive to consolidating the momentum of detente on the Korean Peninsula. "China has always actively supported the two Koreas to improve their relations, and hopes the international community will play a constructive role for the denuclearization and political settlement of the Korean Peninsula," said Lu. ^ top ^



Director General of Monaco's Foreign Affairs Ministry on visit to Mongolia (Montsame)
In frame of the 10th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the Principality of Monaco, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Monaco Isabelle Rosabrunetto is paying a visit to Mongolia from July 6 to July 14.Within the visit, Foreign Affairs Minister D.Tsogtbaatar received Ms. Isabelle Rosabrunetto and they exchanged views on cooperation prospective and future opportunities.The parties expressed satisfaction at Mongolia-Monaco's relations and cooperation in education, health, protection of cultural heritage, archaeology and humanitarian areas in 10 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations. Since Mongolia has been selected as a partner country of Monaco's development assistance in 2008, it has implemented many significant projects and programs with funding of the Government of Monaco targeted to conservation and protection of cultural heritage, promotion of nutritional balance, increasing jobs in rural areas and accessibility of preschool education in remote districts of Ulaanbaatar city and in rural area as well as backing social participation of people with disabilities.Monaco's Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation will work in Arkhangai aimag to get familiarized with results of the projects and programs while holding meetings with authorities of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection as well as representatives of the United Nations Children's Fund in Mongolia. ^ top ^

Titre Ulaanbaatar Declaration, Asian Regional Plan adopted at AMCDRR 2018 (Montsame)
The AMCDRR 2018 closed today, on July 6 with adoption of outcome documents including 'Asia Regional plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR 2018-2020', 'Ulaanbaatar Declaration' and 'Statement of Voluntary Commitment of Stakeholders'.Head of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Major-General T.Badral and UNISDR Regional Director of the Asia Pacific Loretta Hieber Girardet introduced the outcome documents. The most frequently discussed issues including prevention, long-term planning and multistakeholder approach were embodied in the two key documents. Afterwards, a press conference on the outcomes of the AMCDRR 2018 was held with the participation of Deputy Prime Minister U.Enkhtuvshin, UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Mami Mizutori and Minister for International Development and the Pacific of Australia, Senator the Hon. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. Mr. U.Enkhtuvshin emphasized again the importance of prevention, planning and close cooperation between the stakeholders, citing examples of some countries that have 30-year long-term strategy on disaster risk reduction.Australian Minister Ms. Concetta Wells also highlighted the importance of prevention actions. "The studies show that USD 1 invested in prevention saves up to USD 15-17 of infrastructure losses," she said. She noted that prevention activities on disaster risk reduction is crucial to achieving Sustainable Development Goals as well.Ms. Mami Mizutori emphasized the symbolism of topic of the videos that were selected in the video contest. "The best videos addressed excessive heat and dzud (harsh winter) issues. These disasters are triggered by the climate change and it seemed like a reminder for us to focus on this issue," she said.In addition to final documents of the conference, cooperation agreements on disaster risk reduction were concluded with Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan. The parties agreed to focus on information exchange system during disasters.The next Asian Ministerial Conference will be hosted by the Government of Australia in 2020. ^ top ^

Minister D.Sumiyabazar receives Secretary of Party Committee of Inner Mongolia (Montsame)
Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry D.Sumiyabazar received on July 5, delegates headed by Li Jiheng, Secretary of Party Committee of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Director of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.At the beginning of the meeting, Mr Li Jiheng expressed gratitude to Minister D.Sumiyabazar for welcoming the delegation and expressed willingness to cooperate with Mongolia in the mining sector. Thus, he emphasized support for Mongolia's appeal to increase border crossings for coal transport and build railways in some places.He also expressed readiness to focus on expanding cooperation between Mongolia and People's Republic of China, especially Inner Mongolia in all fields.The Minister stressed the importance of mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries and expressed interest in cooperating on the development of processing plants. Additionally, he informed them that the government commenced works to put Tavan Tolgoi deposit into economic circulation and possibilities of cooperation on the project.In turn, Mr Li Jiheng showed interest to cooperate on Tavan Tolgoi project. ^ top ^

Minister B.Batzorifg meets FAO delegation (Montsame)
Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry B.Batzorig received a delegation headed by UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific Kundhavi Kadiresan on July 5.At the start of the meeting, Minister B.Batzorig expressed gratitude to Ms Kundhavi Kadiresan for making valuable contribution to the development of Mongolia's food and agriculture sector, and briefed her on current condition, policy ang objectives of the sector. He emphasized that in December 2017, Parliament approved the laws on livestock health and Genetic resources and General Office for Veterinary Service was established, having chief vets in accordance with the FAO's recommendations.The Minister also underlined that the Ministry targets prevention of livestock disease epidemics rather than post-action and requested further cooperation in implementation of the two laws while expressing appreciation with the equipment assistance worth USD 300 thousand for livestock disease treatment. In addition, he said the Ministry is strongly requesting the Parliament to approve a law on pasture land and Mongolia shall have livestock tax.In turn, Ms Kundhavi Kadiresan said she wanted to get acquainted with the Ministry's policy and activities while attending the AMCDRR. She conveyed gratitude for having successfully hosted the 8th Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (GASL) meeting together with FAO in June and noted Mongolia shall cooperate with the FAO in every possible ways as the organization runs a wide range of activities.The Assistant Director-General also expressed the organization's readiness to prodive advice on the draft law on pasture land, reminding the importance of explaining the advantages and significance of livesock tax to the public and herders.After exchanging views on Mongolia's agriculture sector development, legal environment reform and solution to the pressing issues of pasture land, the sides agreed on the importance of developing joint strategy plan. ^ top ^

Animals need disaster risk reduction too (Montsame)
You know what to expect if you live in a place called Dhemaji which translates as "playground of floods." Dalimiya lives there in northern Assam, India, which is hit every year by floods and the main concern of her family is how to protect their cattle and geese on which they depend for a living.She is just one of 800 million people around the globe that live on less than $2 a day who often depend on a good local strategy for reducing the risk of losing their livelihood in a storm or a flood. Her name came up on July 5 in an Ignite Stage presentation by World Animal Protection (WPA) on the sidelines of the Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction: "Unpacking Sendai: Animals in Disasters Initiative". "We have seen a great change since 2015 when animals were integrated into the Sendai Framework and recognized as a productive asset which cannot be ignored," said Hansen Thambi Prem who works on disaster management for WPA.The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is the global plan to reduce disaster losses and calls for strengthening the protection of livelihoods and productive assets, including livestock and working animals.He points out that 25% of agricultural GDP comes from the livestock sector and that a policy change does not matter unless it becomes operationalized. WPA is working now with civil defense and disaster management authorities in countries like India and the Philippines to ensure that animals are taken care of during emergencies.Mr. Prem says that a lot of poor farmers are often reluctant - or can leave it too late - to evacuate in the face of a storm or flood because of their concern at abandoning their animals whose loss can have both a devastating financial and emotional impact.He highlights that the loss of animals is often not included in disaster loss data which makes it difficult to include protective measures in national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction which are supposed to be in place by 2020.Daniella Hiche, WPA external relations adviser, says: "Animals are sentient beings and do depend on us when a disaster strikes and they are part of our cultural identity."Ms. Hiche adds that animal inclusive DRR demonstrates how far a country has advanced in its DRR strategies at national and local level. ^ top ^

NEMA head T.Badral meets Secretary-General of International Civil Defense Organisation (Montsame)
On the sidelines of the AMCDRR 2018, Major-General T.Badral, Head of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has received Secretary-General of the International Civil Defense Organisation, Dr. Vladimir Kuvshinov.During the meeting, the sides discussed cooperation between the NEMA and the ICDO and exchanged views on further cooperation.Secretary-General of the International Civil Defense Organisation, Dr. Vladimir Kuvshinov noted, "National Disaster Management Center was established at the ICDO. Starting from September, experts of the ICDO member countries will have chance to work at the center and exchange experiences."Mongolia joined the ICDO as an observer in 1992, and became a member in 2002 and a member of the Executive Council in 2011. Since the official membership, NEMA officials have been participating in various meetings, seminars and exercises on international civil defense. ^ top ^


Yang Xinhui Yang
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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