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
  5-9.11.2018, No. 741  
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Foreign Policy

Trump's Asia strategy: send Vice-President Pence on whirlwind tour to try counter China's dominance (SCMP)
More than a dozen Pacific nations will convene in the capital of Papua New Guinea next week, where US Vice-President Mike Pence will lay out the next phase of the Trump administration's ever evolving Asia strategy. His task is to convince the countries of Southeast Asia that the United States and its allies can offer them better options than capitulation to Chinese economic regional dominance. With the midterm elections behind it, the Trump administration is turning to foreign policy in a major way. President Donald Trump will visit Paris later this week and Argentina for the Group of 20 summit at the end of the month. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is trying to arrange a second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, while Pence, who rolled out the new US approach to China last month, is headed to Asia for a week-long tour that will culminate in a major speech on the administration's Indo-Pacific strategy at a meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders on a ship off the coast of Port Moresby. Pence's whirlwind Asia tour – his third since taking office – will also take him to Japan, Singapore and Australia, representing the United States at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit and the East Asia Summit. These three conferences comprise the most important diplomatic gatherings of Asian leaders each year. Pence will also meet leaders of Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand along the way. His trip comes at a crucial juncture in the US relationship with countries in Southeast Asia and the Trump administration's strategy on China. "He's going to the region with an affirmative message to talk about what we and our partners are doing across the region to reinforce the idea of a free and open Indo-Pacific," said a senior White House official. The idea is to put meat on the bone of the Asia strategy Trump unveiled at last year's Apec meeting in Vietnam. Pence is not going to the region to criticise the Chinese government directly, as he did in his recent speech. The plan is to argue that the US vision for the region is better for those countries economically and politically – and that the US commitment there is real. Whether the countries of Southeast Asia believe the Trump administration has the capability or focus to put forth a real alternative to China's comprehensive regional expansion is another question. Beijing has been flooding Southeast Asia with billions of dollars in infrastructure projects and other investments as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. So far, the United States' counterproposals have been light on actual resources. Officials said the vice-president is preparing announcements that will add more substance to the US argument that private investment by American companies – along with US government support for governance and technological infrastructure development – is healthier than China's often predatory lending schemes. "One Belt, One Road is a one-way street," the senior administration official said. "It is a political and geostrategic ploy by the Chinese government to insinuate themselves into the politics of countries and advance military basing options under the guise and rubric of development assistance." There's good reason to think Southeast Asian nations are open to the US pitch. The new governments in Malaysia and the Maldives have sought to undo the huge and hugely corrupt infrastructure deals their predecessors struck with Beijing. Chinese projects in Pakistan and Sri Lanka have shown that taking massive loans on unfair terms can have grim consequences for a country's financial and territorial sovereignty. Southeast Asian nations do not want to be forced to choose between China and the United States, and many are still sore about Trump exiting the Trans-Pacific Partnership. When it comes to Asia, Trump has been more focused on tariffs than making deals. But on infrastructure and investment, the United States has more to offer since Congress passed the Build Act, which could provide up to US$60 billion for private development financing. Offering real competition to Beijing's massive investment scheme is not just about economics, especially not for the Chinese government, according to David Shullman, senior adviser at the International Republican Institute. He said these Chinese programmes are used to cultivate regional leaders, which then enables China to neuter democratic institutions and roll back liberal norms. "China's willingness to invest heavily in developing countries irrespective of good governance bolsters the fortunes of illiberal leaders who take credit for Chinese investment and dilutes Western leverage to press for human rights and rule of law reforms," Shullman said. In other words, economics is emerging as the key battleground in the greater competition between China and the world's democracies over who will decide the regional and world order for the next decades. The Trump administration has correctly articulated the strategic challenge, but now the United States must put its money where its mouth is. ^ top ^

Argentina seeks new currency swap deal with China as Beijing pursues closer ties in Latin America (SCMP)
Argentina is seeking a new currency swap deal with China that would add another 60 billion yuan (US$8.7 billion) to its reserves, as the Latin American nation tries to boost confidence in the peso amid an economic crisis in the region. It marks the latest effort by China to step up its presence in Latin America, which has triggered unease in the United States. Earlier this year, Washington said El Salvador's decision to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing would affect the security and economic health of the entire region. "Argentina and China have signed a currency swap totalling 70 billion yuan before, and we are looking to expand it by adding another 60 billion yuan," Guido Sandleris, Argentina's new central bank governor, said in Beijing on Thursday. A new deal would help to boost China's trade ties with Argentina, the second largest economy in South America, Sandleris said. He did not give details of the deal, but said the two sides "have reached a consensus".Sandleris took over from Luis Caputo as central bank chief in late September after Caputo unexpectedly resigned in the middle of negotiations over International Monetary Fund loans. He is leading a high-level Argentinian delegation on a visit to Beijing – along with presidential adviser Francisco Cabrera and Finance Minister Santiago Bausili – and met People's Bank of China Governor Yi Gang on Wednesday. The two sides "exchanged views over the financial situations of China and Argentina as well as bilateral financial cooperation", according to state broadcaster CCTV. Their trip comes just days after the IMF executive board approved a US$56 billion loans package for Argentina to help stabilise the country's battered economy, which has been hit by an inflation rate of more than 40 per cent, according to official data. Argentina's central bank has announced a series of measures – including strict limits to preserve its monetary base in nominal terms until July next year – as part of efforts to control inflation, which is now its top priority, Sandleris said. The visit also comes as the two countries are preparing for Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Argentina later this month. Xi will also join the leaders of the world's largest advanced and emerging economies for the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires, and he will sit down with US President Donald Trump for their first direct talks since a trade war erupted between China and the US in July. "This is a very important visit and we are going to sign around 30 protocols on all areas," said Diego Ramiro Guelar, Argentina's ambassador to China. Beijing has been pursuing closer ties with countries across Latin America over the past decade, mostly through increasing trade and investment and by extending financial support to debt-laden governments in the region, raising concern about China's expanding influence in the United States' backyard. American officials including Vice-President Mike Pence have fuelled those concerns this year, warning countries in the region against excessive reliance on economic ties with China. Just last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Panama's TVN Noticias that Latin American nations should "keep their eyes open when it comes to China's investments". In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Pompeo was "lying through his teeth". ^ top ^

South China Sea: Canada sends warship to join international forces shadowing Beijing's navy (SCMP)
Built to hunt Russian submarines, Canadian frigate HMCS Calgary is instead chasing Japanese and US subs in western Pacific drills as Canada joins other maritime nations in seeking to contain Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region. "The expectation is to see one, if not two ships, on a year-round basis doing a variety of things with a variety of partners in the region," Commander Blair Saltel, the captain of Calgary, said in Yokosuka, Japan. His ship, docked at the naval base near Tokyo along with Canadian navy supply ship the Asterix, left Canada in July on a mission that has taken it through the East China Sea, to Australia and into the contested South China Sea, where it encountered Chinese warships. Last week, it joined Japanese and US warships, including the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, for anti-submarine warfare exercises in the western Pacific that were part of the biggest combat readiness exercise yet staged in and around Japan. "There's an opportunity for Canada to demonstrate that we have experience working with allies within coalitions," Saltel said. Canada's decision to sent ships to Asian naval exercises comes as other nations, including Britain and France, bolster their presence in a region, fearing China's growing military power could see put commercial sea lanes under Beijing's sway. Britain this year has sent three warships to the Indo-Pacific, including its largest amphibious assault ship, HMS Albion. On its return journey west following a visit to Japan, the 22,000 tonne vessel, with a contingent of 120 marines, sailed close to islands claimed by China in the South China Sea. Beijing, which says its presence on island bases there is peaceful, said the operation was a "provocation". Japan, which operates the second largest navy in Asia, this year sent the Kaga helicopter carrier on a two-month tour through the South China Sea, and into Indian Ocean, where it sailed with the latest British warship to travel to the region, HMS Argyll. Before returning to Canada, the Calgary this month will sail to Sasebo in western Japan, another key base for both the US and Japanese navies, for more anti-submarine warfare drills. "It's a steady progression toward a mutual agreement to make sure we can share information, share logistics and be able to cooperate at a moment's notice should our navies require," Saltel said on the Calgary's bridge as his crew and local Japanese engineers carried out maintenance work. ^ top ^

China Focus: Xi holds talks with Cuban president to advance ties (Xinhua)
Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with visiting Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel here on Thursday, calling on the two countries to cherish their traditional friendship and write a new chapter in China-Cuba friendly cooperation. Xi extended welcome for Diaz-Canel's first state visit to China and asked Diaz-Canel to convey his cordial greetings to Raul Castro, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba. Hailing Cuba as a great country, Xi said it has won the respect of the world by insisting on its own development path despite difficulties and obstacles over the past half a century. As socialist countries, China and Cuba are good friends, comrades and brothers, said Xi, adding this is a proven fact and the relationship has withstood the test of time and international situation changes. "Chinese people will never forget that Cuba, led by Comrade Fidel Castro, was the first nation in the western hemisphere to forge diplomatic ties with China 58 years ago," Xi said, expressing gratitude to the Communist Party of Cuba and Cuban people for their firm support toward China in safeguarding sovereignty and developing the country. Xi recalled his two visits to Cuba and in-depth conversations with Fidel Castro, calling on the two countries "to double cherish the friendship forged and cultivated by the older generations of leaders, inherit and develop it and jointly write a new chapter of bilateral friendly cooperation." Speaking highly of the unswerving determination of the Cuban party, government and people to develop bilateral ties, Xi said both sides need to have an overall plan from a long-term perspective so as to promote the in-depth development of China-Cuba ties. He called on both countries to further consolidate mutual trust and support, conduct win-win cooperation and enhance exchanges on governance. The two countries should continue to support each other on issues concerning core interests and major concerns, said Xi, adding that China firmly backs Cuba on safeguarding its national sovereignty and choosing a socialist path that suits its national situation. China believes that with the strong leadership of Raul Castro, Diaz-Canel and other leaders, Cuba will surely score new achievements, said Xi. He said China appreciates Cuba's contribution to the relations between China, Latin American and Carribean countries and would like to maintain close coordination with Cuba on major international and regional issues. China welcomes Cuba's participation in the Belt and Road construction, said Xi, calling on both sides to enhance cooperation in areas of trade, energy, agriculture, tourism and biopharmaceutical manufacturing. Noting that Diaz-Canel visited the first China International Import Expo held in Shanghai prior to his arrival in Beijing, Xi encourages Cuba to make the best use of the expo to expand exports to China. "China's cooperation with Cuba follows the principle of upholding justice and pursuing shared interests," said Xi, adding that China will "support Cuba in all aspects that we can support." He also called for people-to-people and cultural exchanges so as to boost mutual understanding and friendship between Chinese and Cubans, especially for the young people. Diaz-Canel, who arrived in Shanghai Tuesday to start his three-day state visit, said that Cuba appreciates China's lasting support and the new generation of Cuban leaders will staunchly continue the traditional friendship with China. He said Cuba admires the achievements China has scored and highly agrees with the development ideas put forward at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Cuba is willing to learn from China to update its domestic economic and social model and promote the cause of socialist construction, said Diaz-Canel, calling on the two countries to maintain high-level exchanges and political dialogue, strengthen exchanges in trade, education and culture and enhance communication and coordination in international affairs. Prior to the talks, Xi held a welcoming ceremony for Diaz-Canel at the Great Hall of the People. After the talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of a series of documents. Earlier on Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Diaz-Canel. Noting that China always upholds an open attitude and win-win principles to promote cooperation with Cuba, Li said China stands ready to strengthen bilateral cooperation in major areas including new energy, information communication and biological pharmacy. The Chinese government supports its enterprises to invest and develop in Cuba and is willing to import more products with Cuba's unique advantages, Li said, also expressing the willingness to promote knowledge cooperation and development experience communication with Cuba. Li Zhanshu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, also met with Diaz-Canel on the same day, calling for more cooperation between the two countries' legislatures. ^ top ^

President Xi meets Henry Kissinger, calls him 'old friend of Chinese people' (Xinhua)
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Beijing on Thursday. Calling Kissinger an old friend of the Chinese people, Xi hailed the "historic contribution" he has made to China-US relations. Despite twists and turns, China-US relations have generally maintained steady progress over the past four decades, he said. As the world undergoes unprecedented changes not seen in the past 100 years, it is the international community's expectation that China-US relations will continue to move forward in the right direction, the Chinese president said. "I agreed with President Trump to meet during the upcoming G20 summit in Argentina, where the two sides can have an in-depth exchange of views on issues of common concern," Xi said.  ^ top ^

China reasserts its right to manage the internet its own way (SCMP)
China reasserted its determination that every country should choose its own internet "governance model", with its propaganda chief vowing on Wednesday to fight "all forms of hegemony" in cyberspace administration. In his keynote speech at the opening of the World Internet Conference in the misty river town of Wuzhen in eastern China, Huang Kunming argued that every country should be entitled to take part equally in international cyberspace management. The annual event – traditionally a high-profile platform for China's narrative on internet governance – began in unusually low-key fashion against a backdrop of the prolonged trade war with the United States and international wariness of the spreading "China model" of internet control. "We should adhere to the principle of respecting cyber sovereignty, respecting every individual country's right to choose its own development path for cyberspace, model of cyber governance and internet public policy," said Huang, who is in charge of media and public information in China – which still blocks Google, Facebook and Twitter. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who pushed the idea of cyberspace sovereignty at the same event in 2015, sent a letter to the conference, read out by Huang before his speech. In the letter, Xi said the world should seek "mutual trust and collective governance" of the internet based on the shared goals of developing the "digital economy" and addressing cyberspace threats. China's vision of an internet centred on sovereignty and control contrasts with the open, free internet advocated widely elsewhere, although there are shared interests in specific issues such as security and e-commerce. Beijing and Washington held their first cybersecurity dialogue in October 2017. This year's internet conference, which also showcases China's use of the internet to serve economic growth and life improvement, was the first not to be attended by any of the Communist Party's supreme Politburo Standing Committee – an apparent downgrading of the event. It has been overshadowed by the ongoing inaugural China International Import Expo in Shanghai, attended by Xi and other top leaders including Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua. Since 2014's first internet conference, a member of the seven-member committee had always been present to give the keynote speech in a symbolic show of support for the event and its importance. Premier Li Keqiang attended in 2014, followed by Xi a year later. In 2016, the then ideology tsar Liu Yunshan was there, with Xi sending a video message. And last year, Liu's successor as ideology guru, Wang Huning, read out a letter from Xi. Huang addressed the topic of "creating a digital world for mutual trust and collective governance". While the three-day forum is still the biggest annual gathering for a who's who of China's internet world – including Pony Ma of Tencent and Jack Ma of Alibaba – Western internet firms were less represented in Wuzhen. Unlike last year, when Apple chief executive Tim Cook and Google's Sundar Pichai took the stage, there are few A-list US tech firms on the schedule. Steve Mollenkopf, chief executive of Qualcomm Technologies, is the guest of honour and spoke at the opening ceremony. Whitfield Diffie, a cybersecurity innovator and winner of the Turing Award for computing in 2015, also gave a brief speech at the opening ceremony. Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon sent their vice-presidents or regional heads, and only Harry Shum from Microsoft was expected to give a speech at a conference session, according to the official schedule of the conference. The lower ranking of attending Chinese officials might be designed to reflect the light presence of top foreign tech chiefs, said Severine Arsene, managing editor of the digital journal AsiaGlobal Online, published by the University of Hong Kong's Asia Global Institute. "Given the fact that fewer top executives from abroad are coming, putting a higher-ranking leader before them would be a loss of face," she said, adding: "Meanwhile, the choice of the head of the propaganda department shows where the priority is." Ryan Hass, a China expert at the Brookings Institution, who attended the internet conference last year, said the Chinese leadership might want to keep the international focus on the import expo in Shanghai, and not divide attention between it and Wuzhen. But the drop in enthusiasm from major Western tech executives could also be due to their "commitment fatigue", after receiving repeated Chinese pledges of progress on liberalisation that have not yet materialised. "There could be growing wariness by chief executives of major multinational firms about the direction of China's tech policies towards tightening and control," said Hass, who directed China policy for the US National Security Council during the administration of former US president Barack Obama. The conference comes with China having been ranked bottom for internet freedom by Freedom House for the fourth year in a row. The US-based web watchdog said in its latest report this month that China's restrictive internet policies were being actively exported around the world, and warned that China's "digital authoritarianism" could threaten democracies in other countries. ^ top ^

Australian PM Scott Morrison rebukes Victoria state that broke ranks to join China's belt and road (SCMP)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rebuked the state government of Victoria for signing up to China's "Belt and Road Initiative", saying he was "surprised" it had not been more "cooperative" by consulting the commonwealth first. Morrison's remarks, made on the campaign trail, put him at odds with Foreign Minister Marise Payne, who downplayed the significance of the secret memorandum of understanding earlier on Tuesday. On October 25, the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, finalised the MOU with the Chinese ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, making Victoria the first and only Australian state to support President Xi Jinping's global trade and infrastructure plan. In response to questions from the Nine Network on November 2, the Victorian government said that it "consulted with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) during the MOU's drafting process and DFAT have been provided with a copy". While DFAT responded that it "became aware in June that Victoria was considering" joining the Belt and Road Initiative, as it is also known, it said the government was not informed the MOU had been signed until October 25, when it was announced. On Tuesday, Morrison told reporters on the Sunshine Coast that he was "surprised that the Victorian government went into that arrangement without any discussions with the commonwealth government at all or taking … any advice … on what is a matter of international relations". "They're the responsibilities of the commonwealth government and I would've hoped the Victorian government would've taken a more cooperative approach to that process. "They know full well our policy on those issues and I thought that was not a very cooperative or helpful way to do things on such issues." Earlier on Tuesday, Payne told ABC she had not seen the MOU before it was signed and the commonwealth was not advised, explaining it was a "matter for Victoria". "We encourage the states and territories to expand opportunities with China" but those practices should reflect the need for "stability, security, prosperity and the usual transparency requirements", she said. Payne said it was "not in the least [bit]" embarrassing the commonwealth was not consulted, explaining "the states and territories … make arrangements of this nature, at this level, regularly, with other countries in this region and more broadly". "Any treaty level arrangements, of course, are made at the commonwealth level," she said. Asked if it was normal practice to keep the MOU secret, Payne refrained from criticism of the Victorian government, explaining it "depends on arrangements between the parties" and it was a matter for the states and territories to decide. The trade minister, Simon Birmingham, had also reportedly welcomed Victoria's deal with China despite not having seen the details of the MOU. "I haven't discussed the content of it with Victoria but we have been, and are, positive for Australian engagement in BRI, where those projects are sustainable projects that provide clear benefits for the recipients," he reportedly told The Australian. "If Victoria has seen opportunities to do so consistent with those terms, that's something we welcome." Payne also said the Australian government had noted reports of construction of internment camps for the Uygur minority and had "serious concerns" about the human rights situation in China's Xinjiang province. She said there would be "statements made in the [United Nations] human rights council this week" and she would pursue the matter in discussions "in the appropriate way". ^ top ^

China and Singapore wrap up talks to upgrade free-trade agreement (SCMP)
China and Singapore have concluded talks to upgrade their free-trade deal, bringing to an end three years of negotiations. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Chinese Vice-Commerce Minister Fu Ziying and Singaporean Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing on the sidelines of the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, the Chinese commerce ministry said in a statement late on Monday. Talks to upgrade the free-trade agreement, which took effect in January 2009, started after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Singapore in November 2015. The statement said the two countries would sign the upgraded trade protocol at a later date. The agreement includes broader economic cooperation between the two Asian economies on legal and financial services, as well as e-commerce and the environment. The announcement came hours after Xi said the country would further open its economy and cut import tariffs amid global economic uncertainties, during a speech to open the expo. Xi also said China would seek to boost domestic consumption, strengthen enforcement of intellectual property protection and push forward trade talks with Europe, Japan and South Korea. Beijing has stepped up efforts to build a global trade network with greater use of free-trade deals to diversify its markets and counter protectionism. At present, China has 17 free-trade agreements with 25 countries and regions and it is in talks for at least 12 new or upgraded deals. China is Singapore's largest trading partner, while Singapore is among the biggest foreign direct investors in China. Under the current free-trade pact, 95 per cent of Singapore's exports to China are already duty-free, and there are no tariffs on any Chinese exports to Singapore. Channel News Asia reported that the upgraded free-trade agreement was expected to give businesses from Singapore more investment protection and improved market access in China. After a seventh round of talks on the upgraded free-trade deal with Singapore in July, Beijing said it would send a strong message that the two sides took a firm stance on trade liberalisation. ^ top ^

Brazil's president-elect Bolsonaro highlights ties with China (Xinhua)
Brazil's president-elect Jair Bolsonaro on Monday said Brazil attaches great importance to relations with China and considers China as a "great cooperation partner." Bolsonaro made the remarks at a meeting in Rio de Janeiro with China's ambassador to Brazil, Li Jinzhang. Bolsonaro, who is scheduled to take office in January, said his government will actively seek to broaden and expand ties of cooperation with China, and will strengthen the bilateral relationship. China's top envoy in Brazil said his country was willing to work with Brazil to promote the continued development of their comprehensive strategic partnership based on mutual respect, equality and benefit. Joining forces to pursue win-win cooperation would fulfill the goal of improving the wellbeing of both countries and strengthen cooperation between the two emerging markets, added Li. ^ top ^

Xi, foreign leaders tour CIIE exhibition hall (Xinhua)
Chinese President Xi Jinping and foreign leaders who are attending the first China International Import Expo Monday toured around the Country Pavilion for Trade and Investment, which showcased development achievements and feature products from more than 80 countries. They visited the booths of Hungary, Egypt, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Kenya, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Laos, Georgia, Vietnam, Pakistan and Russia at the Country Pavilion. During the visit, Czech President Milos Zeman improvised a melody on a Czech-made piano and invited Xi to taste beer from his country. Flowers from Kenya, coffee from El Salvador and fruits from the Dominican Republic also attracted the leaders. At the Russian booth, Xi was accompanied by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and was introduced to the achievements of both sides' cooperation in nuclear power, natural gas and plane manufacturing, as well as local exchanges. Xi noted the exhibits from all the countries are various and distinctive, and he expected all sides to take the advantage of CIIE to discover market opportunities, enhance cooperation and improve their competitiveness, so as to achieve mutual benefits from exporting quality products that can enrich the Chinese market and satisfy the increasingly diversified demands from Chinese consumers. The group of leaders also visited the Chinese booth that is organized around the country's vision of innovative, coordinated, green, and open development that is for everyone, which showcased the country's achievements since the reform and opening-up and new opportunities brought to the world by the Belt and Road Initiative. Laotian and Vietnamese prime ministers had a simulated ride on the Fuxing, China's latest generation of high-speed trains, which run at 350 km per hour. China's independently developed C919 large passenger aircraft and a model of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge that opened recently also interested the visitors. The leaders said CIIE shows China's open mind for inclusiveness and responsibility as a major country. They spoke highly of and warmly welcomed Xi's keynote speech at the opening ceremony. They noted China is an important and promising market, and they will tap the potential for cooperation and promote bilateral trade growth and the development of free trade globally. With an area of 30,000 square meters, the Country Pavillon for Trade and Investment is an important part of CIIE, held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) from Nov. 5 to 10, where 82 countries and three international organizations set up 71 booths. A total of 12 countries, namely Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, Russia, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Germany, Canada, Brazil and Mexico, attended the expo as guest countries of honor. ^ top ^

Global media outlets see Xi-Trump phone conversation as constructive (Xinhua)
The recent phone conversation between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump was constructive, sending a signal that the two countries are making headway on their trade issue, according to leading global media outlets. Xi and Trump talked over phone at the request of the US side on Thursday, during which they spoke of bilateral trade and the Korean Peninsula issue and agreed to meet bilaterally during the upcoming G20 summit in Argentina. Trump said on Twitter that he had a "long and very good conversation" with Xi and they "talked about many subjects, with a heavy emphasis on trade." "Those discussions are moving along nicely with meetings being scheduled at the G20 in Argentina," he said, adding that they also "had good discussion" on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). In an article published on Friday, Bloomberg said that Thursday's phone conversation was the first "publicly disclosed call" between the two leaders in six months, with both sides reporting "constructive discussions" on bilateral trade and the Korean Peninsula issue. Citing US National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, the Wall Street Journal said that the call represented "a thaw" in relations. "At the presidential level, relations and communications are resuming," Kudlow, Trump's top economic adviser, was quoted as saying. Meanwhile, Reuters said in a report on Friday that the Xi-Trump conversation raises hope of easing trade tensions between the world's two largest economies, and that investors are glad to see them taking steps to resolve their ongoing trade disputes. In a report published on its website on Friday, the Financial Times said that Trump's comment on his phone conversation with Xi helps assuage "concerns over the rumbling trade dispute between the two countries." Another leading British media outlet BBC said the news of Xi-Trump meeting in Argentina shows that the two countries have maintained communication on various levels and Thursday's phone conversation was a positive signal for improving bilateral relations. The ABC News said in a report published Friday on its website that the Xi-Trump conversation revives hopes that the two countries can resolve their trade disputes amicably. The Australian ran reports over the Xi-Trump conversation on both Friday and Saturday, saying that it cheered up investors and Trump's comment marked a positive signal ahead of the G20 summit. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

China's new cybersecurity chief takes aim at identity theft (SCMP)
China's newest public security vice-minister will be tasked with improving cybersecurity both inside and outside his place of work, observers said on Thursday. The appointment of Lin Rui, which was announced on Wednesday, less than five months after he was named an assistant public security minister and head of its cybersecurity bureau, is indicative of the importance Chinese President Xi Jinping puts on cleaning up cyberspace, sources said. And his first major crackdown on cybercrime appears to be well under way. "I know lots of people working for big data companies have been detained by the cyber police since last month," a source who once worked for one of the country's biggest data firms said on condition of anonymity. "This crackdown is much bigger than the one they had in May." The person said part of the investigation was into a widespread leak of peoples' official identity photographs from public security agencies. The images often made their way into the hands of criminal gangs who would then use them to blackmail people. "The success rate of this type of con scheme is actually very high," he said. "But we need to ask, where do they get the ID photos from?" With a degree in applied computing from the People's Public Security University of China, Lin, 51, is regarded as a specialist in cybersecurity and cybercrime prevention. Xi expressed his determination to combat cybercrime at an industry conference in Beijing in April. "Without web security, there's no national security, there's no economic and social stability, and it's difficult to ensure the interests of the broader masses," Xinhua quoted him as saying at the time. Lin is also regarded as one of Xi's trusted allies, having worked for many years in southeast China's Fujian province, where the president spent 17 years during the earlier stages of his political career. Three other vice-ministers at the pubic security ministry also worked in Fujian, namely Wang Xiaohong, the deputy secretary of the ministry's party committee, Xu Ganlu, head of the State Administration of Immigration, and Deng Weiping, the anti-corruption chief. Lin's promotion also followed the detention of the former president of Interpol and public security vice-minister Meng Hongwei. As chief of police in the Fujian city of Xiamen in 2014, Lin was praised for his crackdown on a criminal gang involved in telephone scams, that succeeded after he persuaded all of the parties involved – from banks to telecom firms and the police themselves – to work together. A former colleague said that after that success, "police from all over China visited Xiamen to learn about anti-fraud centres" and that "Lin became well-known in China's public security system". ^ top ^

Sexual harassment in China's male-dominated civil service accepted as the norm, observers say (SCMP)
Sexual harassment and gender discrimination are rampant in Chinese government jobs, according to a study by an international rights group, which called for an equitable workspace and speedy resolution of misconduct complaints. At an annual government recruitment programme last month, Beijing published a list of nearly 10,000 job openings for 2019, of which almost 20 per cent were effectively off limits to women, according to Human Rights Watch. The descriptions of the positions, which included some of the most sought-after jobs in the country, used phrases such as "men only", "men preferred", or "suitable for men". The proportion of these "men-only" jobs was about the same as it was on an equivalent list published by the government last year, which in turn was up from about 13 per cent in 2016.Li Ying, director of the Yuanzhong Gender Development Centre in Beijing, said that while gender discrimination at work was a global issue, the situation in China was more severe than in Western countries because Chinese women were widely expected to shoulder the burden of domestic work. "The whole of society expects women to do most of the daily chores, and the reality is, we're doing so," she said. The lack of support services like baby feeding facilities in the workplace and grass-roots child care organisations were also contributing to the problem, she said. A woman who works as a customs officer in Beijing said that when she joined the service through the national civil servant recruitment programme more than a decade ago, about half of the new intake were women. In the years since, most of the men she joined with had been promoted, while almost all of the women, including herself, had stayed where they were. "Bosses think that women are basically useless for at least two years once they get pregnant, and their priorities change when they become mothers," said the officer, who declined to be named for fear of retribution. Another woman who works at a science and technology bureau in east China's Zhejiang province said that employers' preference for men was so prevalent that most people did not even find it unusual. In contrast, outside the civil service, many fields are still regarded as primarily a woman's domain, such as nursing and teaching young children. "We need to break these career stereotypes," Li said. "Having women-only sectors naturally increases concerns about possible shortages caused by pregnancy and so on. "Human Rights Watch said the number of allegations of sexual assault in the civil service had increased as a result of the #MeToo campaign. While they could not all be verified, there had been a spike in the number of complaints made on social media, the group said. Many women working in the civil service complained of verbal and physical abuse after being coerced into going for meals, or drinks or to karaoke bars with their supervisors. In China, such predatory behaviour is seldom checked as higher authorities do little to bring the culprits to book. "The Chinese government needs to send an unequivocal message to its workforce that it will not tolerate sexual harassment," said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. The group said also it was difficult for victims of abuse to seek legal redress as the law lacked a clear definition of sexual harassment and how such complaints should be handled. A study published in June by the Yuanzhong centre said that "of the more than 50 million court rulings made from 2010 to 2017 that are publicly available, just 34 involved sexual harassment". And of those 34, "just two were brought by victims suing alleged harassers, and both were dismissed for lack of evidence," it said. "In addition, because the Chinese Communist Party controls the courts, it is unlikely that a party official could be sued successfully for sexual harassment." ^ top ^

Senior CPC official calls for steadfast, professional efforts among pressmen (Xinhua)
A senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official on Thursday called on China's press circles to make steadfast, professional and innovative efforts to fully play their role in China's publicity work. Huang Kunming, head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks at the award ceremony of this year's China News Award and Changjiang Taofen Award, the country's top two journalism awards, in Beijing. In his address, Huang urged journalists to improve their political integrity, cultivate their professional spirit, hone their skills and be innovative and open-minded. Huang also called on all those working in the forefront of news reporting to travel more, discover more, think more, write better and improve their writing style to make their work appeal to the common people. Thursday also marked China's 19th Journalists' Day. ^ top ^

China releases guideline on firefighting personnel ranking badges (Xinhua)
The State Council, China's cabinet, has released a guideline on the patterns of firefighting personnel ranking badges as well as on how to wear them, according to a State Council decree signed by Premier Li Keqiang. The guideline is a supporting policy of the regulation on the ranking system for firefighting personnel that entered into effect on Oct. 27. The guideline stipulates the patterns of badges for firefighting personnel of different rankings, noting such badges are to be worn on the shoulder or collar. The change or removal of a badge shall be conducted by the approval authority, according to the guideline. The guideline comes into force on Nov. 8, 2018. ^ top ^

China unveils plan for Huaihe River green economic belt (Xinhua)
China unveiled a plan on Wednesday to promote the construction of the Huaihe River green economic belt in a bid to foster regional economic and ecological development. The plan, issued by the National Development and Reform Commission, maps out the strategic positions and targets of the economic belt. It will be developed as a demonstration area for ecological civilization, distinctive industries, a new type of urbanization, and central and eastern regional cooperation, said the plan. By 2035, the plan aims to build the economic belt into a beautiful and dynamic area with an improved ecological environment, boosting the local economy and narrowing the gap between urban and rural areas. Covering 243,000 square km, the Huaihe River green economic belt refers to surrounding areas along the Huaihe River in central and eastern China. By the end of 2017, the gross domestic product of the area had reached 6.75 trillion yuan (about 976 billion U.S. dollars), with 146 million permanent residents. ^ top ^

Arrest of Huarong ex-chief symbolizes China's war on corruption (Global Times)
The Tianjin Procuratorate on Wednesday ordered the arrest of Lai Xiaomin, former board chairman of China Huarong Asset Management Co. Ltd., who had been investigated by the discipline inspection organs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) for multiple violations. The decision was made after the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and National Supervisory Commission conducted an investigation into Lai's case in October. Lai was found to have violated the central authorities' principles and policies on financial work, and the company's pell-mell expansion and out-of-order operations have resulted in a serious deviation from its primary business, according to a CCDI statement in October. He had pursued personal gratification, engaged in superstitious activities and refused to cooperate in the investigation, the statement said. By attending banquets using public funds, visiting private clubs and luxury restaurants and allowing relatives to travel also with public funds, he violated the Party's eight-point rules on improving Party and government conduct, it said. Lai's case shows that anti-corruption struggles remain complicated while preventing and defusing financial risks continue to be tough, Bank of China's Supervision and Management Committee said on November 1. Lai worked at the Bank of China and was appointed to the China Banking Regulatory Commission in 2003. Lai became Huarong Party chief and board chairman in 2012. ^ top ^

Latest sign of stricter IPR protection (China Daily)
On Monday, China Audio-Video Copyright Association required karaoke businesses to stop using 6,000 songs. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments: A quick glimpse at the 6,000 songs shows most of them are songs that date back to the early 2000s even the 1990s, with many of them composed and originally sung by Hong Kong singers. Why are there few songs from later years or mainland performers? It is because until recent years, China's copyright protection left much to be desired. As a result, singers and songwriters could hardly earn a fair income from their intellectual products. Without the rewards, many singers and song writers gave up and turned to other ways to make a living. With singers and songwriters not making money there was little incentive for investors to put money in the industry, which led to the shortage of original music in the late 2000s. This situation had its roots in technology, because with computers and the internet gaining popularity at unprecedented speed at that time, many young people found it easy to download their favorite music for free, instead of buying CDs. As China began strengthening its measures to protect intellectual property rights, the situation improved, with music-sharing websites featuring only authorized products. China has been strengthening the legal and regulatory framework for intellectual property rights protection and in September last year, China announced a tough crackdown on intellectual property infringements to curb counterfeiting and combat copyright infringements. And this July, China's copyright watchdog launched a four-month national campaign to crack down on online copyright infringement targeting online reposts of articles, video clips and animation games. The move banning karaoke businesses from using the 6,000 songs is the latest initiative by China Audio-Video Copyright Association. Hopefully, it will not only boost China's music industry as a whole but also help promote a better awareness of intellectual property rights among consumers. ^ top ^

Anti-corruption teams to be installed at China's state banks and insurance companies, acting like 'human surveillance cameras' (SCMP)
Anti-corruption teams will be stationed in China's state-owned financial conglomerates by the ruling Communist Party in the latest bid to curb rampant graft in the sector. Targets include China's four biggest banks and insurers, such as People's Insurance Group and China Life Insurance, according to Zhao Leji, chief of party watchdog the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). Zhao described the move as "just like installing surveillance cameras" in the institutions, keeping the companies and their top management team under constant watch. Speaking at a recent internal meeting, Zhao said the new discipline inspection and supervision teams were part of a stepped-up effort by the CCDI to curb corruption and malpractice in the financial sector's mega state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The central party watchdog had previously relied on the SOEs' internal disciplinary systems, which were then checked by CCDI inspection teams. In 2015 these inspection teams checked each of the state-owned financial institutions but none were stationed permanently with them. In recent years the inspection teams have taken down a few "tigers" – as corrupt senior officials are known – including Xiang Junbo, former chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, who pleaded guilty last year to taking 19.4 million yuan (US$3 million) in bribes. In June 2016, Yao Zhongmin, previously head of the supervisory board of China Development Bank, was detained for investigation, and was later found guilty of taking bribes totalling 36 million yuan (US$5.3 million). Wang Yincheng, president of the People's Insurance Co (Group) of China, became the highest-ranking cadre in the insurance industry to be investigated for corruption when he was taken away for questioning in February 2017. Observers believe the introduction of permanently stationed supervisory teams within organisations would have "a significant and immediate effect" on Beijing's anti-corruption effort. Wang Jiangyu, associate professor from the National University of Singapore's law faculty, said the move would have a profound effect "because the SOEs, especially those in the financial sector, have lots of resources but too little supervision". "There are very serious problems of insider control, sometimes the corruption can be unscrupulous," he said. Wang said the move indicated the party was serious about widening and deepening its anti-corruption efforts, especially in the financial sector. Government departments have already been under scrutiny for some time. According to party documents issued in November 2015, the CCDI has teams stationed in all 139 central party and state agencies. Moreover, with the establishment in March this year of the National Supervisory Commission, surveillance will not only cover party members, but also widen to staff who do not belong to the party. "By setting up stationed teams, Beijing can also achieve better control of these financial SOEs to move in the direction it wants, like directing funds to the real economy, etc" Wang said. But one source who works for a financial SOE sounded a note of caution. He said it would take some time for the teams to settle down and clarify the working arrangements with the SOE's current disciplinary organisations, "otherwise, there might be confusion on who is going to do what". ^ top ^

Chinese activist Huang Qi will die in custody if denied medical treatment – rights groups (SCMP)
China's first "cyber-dissident" Huang Qi is in danger of dying in police custody if he does not receive medical treatment for a host of severe health conditions, human rights groups warned on Monday. The 55-year-old Huang, who was arrested in 2016 for "leaking state secrets", is being held in Mianyang Detention Centre in southwestern Sichuan province, according to his mother. Huang ran a website called "64 Tianwang", named after the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. The website, which has reported on local corruption cases, police brutality and other topics rarely seen in ordinary Chinese media, is blocked in mainland China. According to human rights organisations, Huang suffers from chronic kidney disease, hydrocephalus – accumulation of fluid in the brain – and heart disease. "Huang Qi's current condition is extremely urgent," his 85-year-old mother, Pu Wenqing, who travelled to Beijing in October to make a case for her son, told Agence France-Presse. "I don't want my son to die in prison. I hope the authorities will let him receive medical treatment," she said, adding that he has been denied medical bail despite multiple pleas. Fourteen non-profit organisations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House, released a statement calling for Huang's immediate release. Citing Huang's lawyer, the organisations said that the Chinese dissident is not receiving adequate medical care in detention, and his condition is so dire that there is an "immediate threat to his life". "His health condition is not very good. He has high blood pressure," Liu Zhiqing, Huang's lawyer, told Agence France-Presse, declining to speak further. According to Pu, her son has a blood pressure of 221/147 mmHg – well above the normal range of 140/90 mmHg. "The Chinese government must immediately and unconditionally release Huang, who has been detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression, and end its policy of denying prompt medical treatment to prisoners of conscience, which is a form of torture," the statement said. Mianyang Detention Centre's deputy director declined to comment. Huang's work has repeatedly drawn the ire of Chinese authorities. In 2009, Huang was sentenced to three years in prison after campaigning for parents of children killed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which left nearly 87,000 people dead or missing. In 2014, Huang and at least three citizen journalists that contribute to 64 Tianwang were detained by police after the site reported on a woman who set herself on fire in Tiananmen Square. There is no trial date set for Huang. The rights groups cite the cases of other human rights defenders and ethnic group activists who died in recent years due to a lack of prompt medical care. Last year, Chinese authorities rejected international pleas for them to allow dissident Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo to leave the country to receive treatment for liver cancer. Liu died in a hospital in northeast China while still under custody after receiving medical parole from an 11-year sentence for "subversion". ^ top ^



Beijing's air pollution is changing, new research shows (SCMP)
The composition of air pollution in Beijing is changing, according to the latest research into the subject. Potentially harmful pollutants, known as nitrates, emitted by cars and factories are now the main component of the tiny atmospheric particulate matter known as PM2.5 in some parts of the Chinese capital, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Sunday, citing an unnamed official from the city's environment watchdog. Readings taken on Saturday evening in Fangshan and Mentougou districts found that nitrates had overtaken sulphates and black carbon as the main component of PM2.5, the report said. It said also that the PM2.5 level in the city had risen to 226 micrograms per cubic metre, while air quality in the wider Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region had also deteriorated. The reason for the reduction in sulphates and black carbon might be due to the government's efforts to close factories and ban the use of coal-fired residential heating systems, local media reported. The World Health Organisation said in a report earlier in the year that air pollution levels remained dangerously high in many parts of the world, including China. About 2 million people in mainland China die every year from ailments linked to air pollution, the report said. Improving air quality is one of Chinese President Xi Jinping's priorities, along with fighting financial risk and reducing poverty. A campaign held in northern China late last year and designed to reduce people's dependence on fossil fuels for heating caused a public outcry after tens of thousands of families were left without heating through the long and freezing winter. The problem arose when officials ripped out people's coal-fired stoves before replacements fed by natural gas were ready to be installed. ^ top ^



Xi stresses furthering reform and opening-up, elevating city core competitiveness during Shanghai inspection (Xinhua)
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for firm confidence and determination to further reform and opening-up, and accelerated efforts to increase city core competitiveness to better serve the country's reform and development, during his two-day inspection in Shanghai, which ended Wednesday. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, stressed upholding and taking the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as a guide and resolutely implementing decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee. Xi made the trip after inaugurating the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai. During the trip, Xi visited places including local enterprises and communities, where he learned about the economy, sci-tech innovation and urban management. Located in Lujiazui, the 632-meter Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in China and the second-tallest in the world. It was Xi himself who approved the design of the building in 2007 and pushed for its construction when he was working in Shanghai. On Tuesday morning, Xi arrived at a Party service center on the 22nd floor of the tower, where he talked with Party members working at the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone. He said the goal of setting up Party organizations in various kinds of enterprises is to provide Party members with services while uniting them to abide by the law as well as company regulations. Xi then went up to the observation deck on the 119th floor of the tower to view the city's skyline. After viewing a gallery representing the past and the present of the city, Xi said Shanghai is a good example of the tremendous changes that have taken place in China since the reform and opening-up. Highlighting Shanghai as China's economic hub and the forefront of the Yangtze River Delta area, Xi said continued efforts must be made to increase the city's core and international competitiveness. Afterwards, Xi visited a community center in Shanghai's Hongkou district and inspected the center's service counters, a nursery for the elderly and a workstation for Party building. As Chinese society ages, "it is our common wish that elderly people lead a happy, healthy and long life," Xi said, stressing the need to implement well elderly care policies to benefit more people. Xi also stressed that waste-sorting is a new fashion and Shanghai should make sure garbage management is done well. He visited the urban management center of Pudong New Area on Tuesday afternoon and expressed hopes for Shanghai to continue exploring a new path of mega-city management with Chinese characteristics. A first-class city must have first-class management, and efforts should be made to ensure scientific, precise and intelligent urban management, Xi said. When visiting Yangshan Port, Xi said the construction and operation of the port have both created better conditions for Shanghai to open wider to the outside world and accelerate the construction of an international shipping center and a pilot free trade zone. Xi also visited the Zhangjiang science city, where he stressed that the impact of science and technology on a country's future and the people's wellbeing has never been as profound as today. Xi urged efforts to strengthen basic research and application, pay attention to the role played by enterprises, enhance intellectual property protection, value innovative talent, and foster and strengthen new industries and innovation-driven enterprises. He also called for pushing forward the building of a comprehensive national sci-tech innovation center in Zhangjiang with international vision and standards, aiming at building a cluster of globally-advanced labs, research institutions and research-oriented universities. On Wednesday afternoon, Xi heard a report on the work of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the CPC and the Shanghai Municipal Government. He recognized all the work done by the local authorities and said he hopes that Shanghai will continue to be a pioneer in the country's reform and opening-up as well as its innovation-driven development. Xi stressed that China is still in a period of historic opportunity, with a bright future but tough challenges ahead. As long as China maintains its strategic resolve and focuses its attention on its own things, the country is set to meet its targets, he said. Shanghai should develop itself while serving the whole country as it occupies an important position in the overall work of the Party and the state, Xi said. Xi ordered Shanghai to better serve the country's overall reform and development. Shanghai should properly fulfill the country's three new major tasks: expanding the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, launching a science and technology innovation board on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and experimenting with a registration system for listed companies. Shanghai should exert all efforts to serve the Belt and Road Initiative, the Yangtze River economic belt, and play a leading role in promoting higher quality growth and integration of the Yangtze River Delta to ensure it becomes the country's strong and robust growth pillar, Xi said. Xi called on Shanghai to improve economic productivity, optimize the allocation of global resources and achieve major breakthroughs in key technology fields to make innovation a strong momentum for high quality development. Xi also urged for pushing forward reforms in key areas and deepening capital market reform to attract and nurture more home-grown tech firms. Shanghai should build a world-class business environment, promote all-round and high-level opening-up to lay a solid foundation for long-term development, take a lead in supporting private businesses and build for them a good institutional environment. Xi also called for the enhancement of innovation in social governance to address major public concerns including employment, education, healthcare and elderly care. The quality of basic public services must be raised to ensure a stronger sense of fulfillment, happiness and security among Chinese people, he said. Party building was also highlighted by Xi, who called for imposing strict governance over the CPC, prioritizing political performance, enhancing the study of the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, nurturing and inviting competent professionals, strengthening primary-level party organizations and emphasizing ideological work. During his inspection, Xi also met with senior military officers stationed in Shanghai and extended greetings to all the soldiers there. ^ top ^



Chinese workers say silicosis protest was broken up with beatings and pepper spray (SCMP)
Chinese workers who are terminally ill with silicosis complained of being pepper-sprayed and beaten by police during a demonstration outside Shenzhen government offices on Wednesday night. According to protesters, who provided videos and photographs to support their claims of heavy-handed policing, more than 300 workers from Sangzhi and Leiyang in central Hunan province travelled to Shenzhen on Monday for the ninth time this year to petition authorities for work injury compensation and medical costs after contracting the lung condition, for which there is no cure. They were representatives of more than 600 people who worked on construction sites across Shenzhen in the 1990s and 2000s.One demonstrator – who suffers from advanced silicosis – said they marched to Shenzhen city government building on Wednesday afternoon, where they demanded to meet the mayor. They started a sit-in which ran into the evening, but a scuffle broke out about 8pm after a female protester tried to stop a security agent from filming her. "She touched the video recorder but was kicked so hard that she fell on the ground. This has angered a lot of workers," said the demonstrator. Workers claimed there were beatings by police and demonstrators were pepper-sprayed. Ambulances arrived and protesters were taken to hospital for treatment. A spokesman for Shenzhen said the city government would not comment on the incident .In the videos, demonstrators were seen coughing and falling to the ground. One protester, a 50-year-old from Leiyang, claimed pepper spray caused him to cough so hard he brought up blood. "No one cares about whether we lived or died after the scuffle broke out. So more than 100 of us went along the road to a bridge. We wanted to jump off the bridge together," he said. Their attempts to reach the bridge were blocked by police. "We cannot accept that the Shenzhen government just kept holding us off and used violence on us. What is the point of keeping this life?" he said. The workers' campaign began in 2009 and many have succumbed to their illness since then .Professor Pun Ngai, a China labour rights expert with University of Hong Kong, called on the Shenzhen city government to respond to workers' calls with "concrete action". "The petition of Chinese silicosis workers has shown us the social injustice behind today's economic development. What place do Chinese labourers have in China's dream? Workers have struggled to win compensation for the cost to their health as they had no documentary proof of their employment. China introduced a law in 2008 that required employers to issue contracts to staff. ^ top ^



Australian foreign minister uses first visit in almost three years to chastise China for Xinjiang interment camps (SCMP)
Australia's foreign minister raised China's internment of Uygur minorities in Xinjiang at a meeting with her Chinese counterpart on Thursday as Beijing comes under increasing international scrutiny over its controversial security policy. Marise Payne spoke after meeting with China's chief diplomat Wang Yi on the first visit to Beijing by an Australian foreign minister in nearly three years as both countries pursue a thaw in relations. Earlier this week, Payne said she would register "serious concerns" over the huge facilities in northwestern Xinjiang, where activists say up to one million Uygurs and other, mainly Muslim, minorities are detained in political re-education camps. "We did exchange views on that matter," Payne said at a press conference alongside Wang, but she did not elaborate on what she had told him behind closed doors. It is rare for foreign officials to publicly chastise China over its human rights record during a visit to the country. Wang, who opened his statement by wishing everyone a happy Chinese journalists' day, asked media to view the issue of Xinjiang from the perspective of combating terrorism. "China is firmly against terrorism, and will take strict precautions against the spread of terrorism domestically," Wang said. "This is not only in accord with our own interests but the shared interests of the international community." The United States and other countries called on China to release people held in the centres as the country faced a grilling at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday. The Chinese delegation reiterated Beijing's description of the camps as vocational "training centres" that were built to help people drawn to extremism stay away from terrorism and allow them to be reintegrated into society. Payne visited Beijing for the Fifth Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue. While China is Australia's largest trading partner, ties between the two governments have been strained in recent years over allegations Beijing was interfering in domestic politics and using donations to gain access. Australia has also barred Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE from operating the country's new 5G network – a decision that has infuriated Beijing. On Wednesday, Australia also blocked a bid of more than US$9 billion from Hong Kong giant CK Group for the country's biggest gas pipeline company, saying that it would be against its "national interest." But amid a growing trade dispute between the US and China, Payne's visit was an opportunity for Canberra to leverage its economic relationship. Though no deals were announced after Wang and Payne's hours-long meeting, both foreign ministers came out sounding positive, especially on bilateral trade and investment. Payne emphasised Australia's commitment to "deepening" its strategic partnership with China, and said the two countries share many interests and goals, from countering protectionism to addressing climate change. Addressing Australia's $1.5 billion infrastructure fund to support Pacific islands – seen by some as a counter to Beijing's rising regional influence – Wang said the two countries were "not competitors" but partners, and said they could combine forces to develop trilateral relations with Pacific islands. ^ top ^

China spending spike on Xinjiang 're-education camps' revealed amid UN scrutiny of rights record (SCMP)
An extra 20 billion yuan (US$2.89 billion) was spent on building security facilities in China's far western region of Xinjiang last year as authorities implemented a controversial re-education camp programme, a new study has estimated. The programme was also a focus of a periodic UN human rights review in Geneva on Tuesday, with many Western countries urging China to halt the internments targeting citizens of ethnic minorities and allow independent observers unhindered access to inspect the camps. In August, another UN panel said camps in the region were holding up to a million Uygurs and other Muslims, subjecting them to enforced political indoctrination. But Chinese authorities described the camps as "vocational training centres" used in the country's religious de-radicalisation campaign. Chinese officials also denied that any citizens were detained arbitrarily and that the UN's figure was accurate. There is still no word from Beijing nor Urumqi on the scale of the re-education camp programme. In a study released this week, Adrian Zenz, a specialist on the region from the European School of Culture and Theology in Germany, examined outlays by national and local governments, including their finance departments, and found an unusual rise in spending by various levels of administration in Xinjiang for the 2017 financial year. In particular, five categories of expenditure by police, justice departments and other domestic security agencies grew to between double and nearly quadruple from 2016 – in contrast to the budget for vocational education which shrank by 7 per cent. "Just like [China's] former re-education through labour system, Xinjiang's re-education campaign seems to be managed by [justice bureaus], administered by the public security agencies, and funded largely out of the budgets of these same authorities," the report said. According to Zenz, the region spent 58 billion yuan (US$8.3 billion) on domestic security in the year, with nearly three-quarters of the amount coming from the central government. The outlay in Xinjiang was three times the national average on a per capita basis. Zenz also found that while spending on prosecutions in Xinjiang rose by 7 per cent and outlays on the court system fell 1 per cent, expenditure on prisons increased by 94 per cent, suggesting that many people could have been detained without trial. The Xinjiang regional news office refused to comment on the figures. The practice of massive internment camps began on early 2017 in Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uygur ethnic minority, soon after regional Communist Party boss Chen Quanguo took office. Witnesses and personal accounts have since revealed that overseas and local Uygurs as well as Kazakhs in Xinjiang have been taken away and sent to the camps for political indoctrination. Last month, the Xinjiang government amended its anti-extremism regulation in a move that was seen as an attempt to retrospectively legitimise the internment camps. The region's chairman, Shohrat Zakir, also broke the official silence and told state media in a lengthy interview that the training centres were for "people influenced by terrorism and extremism" who were suspected of minor criminal offences that did not warrant criminal punishment. Some trainees praised the programme, saying it had helped them change and realise that "life can be so colourful", he said. In the UN Human Rights Council hearings on Tuesday, the internment camp policy was under scrutiny from Western countries. While other member countries also called on China to stop criminalising human rights defenders, many developing countries praised China for its efforts to alleviate poverty. China is one of 14 states to be scrutinised on its human rights record as part of the UN's Universal Periodic Review process. The country was also reviewed in 2009 and 2013. Heading the Chinese delegation at the review session, Le Yucheng, deputy foreign minister, said China had contributed to improvements in international human rights. "Regarding the problems in Xinjiang, stability is a priority and prevention is the fundamental and effective measure to counter terrorism," Le said. Patrick Poon, from Amnesty International's international secretariat, said that while the mass detentions in Xinjiang had gained widespread concern from the international community, it was regrettable to see "other Muslim countries did not say a single word" at the meeting. ^ top ^

China dismisses criticism about treatment of ethnic Muslims at United Nations (SCMP)
China on Tuesday once again rejected criticism of its treatment of ethnic Muslims, telling the United Nations that accusations of rights abuses from some countries were "politically driven". At a regular UN review of the country's human rights record, China characterised the far west region of Xinjiang as a former hotbed of extremism that has been stabilised through "training centres" which help people gain employable skills. Former detainees of such centres, on the other hand, have described the facilities as political indoctrination camps where ethnic Uygurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities are forced to renounce their faith and swear loyalty to the ruling Communist Party. The UN has previously said there are credible reports that as many as 1 million people are being held in this form of extrajudicial detention. At Tuesday's review – part of the Human Rights Council's periodic review process for every member state – the US, Canada, Japan and several other countries called on Beijing to address growing concerns over its treatment of Xinjiang Muslims. US charge d'affaires Mark Cassayre urged China to "immediately release the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of individuals" arbitrarily detained in the region. Representatives from both Canada and the UK said the country's human rights situation has "deteriorated." But Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng dismissed the censures, saying: "We will not accept the politically driven accusations from a few countries that are fraught with biases." Yasim Sadiq, the Uygur mayor of Xinjiang's capital of Urumqi, told the session in Geneva that current policies are in line with the people's wishes. He repeated China's frequently cited claim that no terrorist attacks have occurred in the region for 21 months, and that "trainees" who were previously "controlled by extremist ideology" have since immersed themselves in cultural and athletic activities at the centres. Sadiq said visitors are always welcome in Xinjiang, but he did not address requests from several countries to allow independent UN observers inside the region. In recent years, Xinjiang has been outfitted with a hi-tech security network, making police checkpoints and surveillance cameras ubiquitous throughout the region. Human Rights Watch said the UN review showed the contrast between Beijing's view of its human rights records and "the grim realities." "China's efforts to whitewash its record have failed to convince a growing number of states who recognise China's deliberate and systemic abuses, and suppression of dissenting voices, can no longer be ignored," John Fisher, the organisation's Geneva director, said in an emailed statement. About 500 people, including ethnic Uygurs but also pro-Tibet demonstrators, marched through Geneva before holding a boisterous, colourful rally at Geneva's landmark three-legged chair outside the UN offices. Chanting "Shame on China" and accusing its government of tyranny and "terrorist" repression, the demonstrators waved light-blue flags representing East Turkestan – some Uygurs' preferred name for Xinjiang – and held aloft photos of loved ones who have gone missing or were taken into custody by Chinese authorities. ^ top ^



British journalist Victor Mallet denied entry to Hong Kong as tourist (SCMP)
Veteran British journalist Victor Mallet, who was earlier denied a work visa renewal by Hong Kong immigration authorities, was barred from entering the city as a visitor on Thursday evening. The Post has learned that Mallet was turned away by the city's immigration authorities after being questioned for nearly four hours. The Financial Times journalist was asked about the purpose of his visit and pressed for details about his business and personal meetings in town. "It's correct that I have been denied entry even for a visit," Mallet told the Post via text message. "No explanation given." Florence de Changy, president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC), told the Post that Mallet was hoping to join the group's board meeting next Saturday. "He was hoping to come … so he could resign properly," de Changy said. Mallet has been the vice-president of the FCC since 2017. It is understood that the journalist's visit was also related to handing over his duties as Asia news editor. Late on Thursday night, all 17 former presidents of the FCC jointly sent an open letter to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor urging the government to offer a complete public explanation for Mallet's de facto expulsion. "We respectfully request the Hong Kong authorities publicly and without caveat clarify whether the Foreign Correspondents Club will continue to be respected as a neutral venue where all people and legitimate and legal parties can openly express their views," the letter said. "Without any public explanation from the Hong Kong authorities, we can only surmise this unprecedented action was official retribution against the FCC for holding a legal event on August 14 with Mr Andy Chan, whose political party was subsequently banned and whose views are anathema to the Hong Kon authorities and the central government in Beijing." The former presidents also warned that the government's action threw into doubt China's commitment to the "one country, two systems" principle, under which the city was guaranteed a high degree of autonomy for 50 years after its handover from British rule in 1997.Mallet's ban from entering the city came on the same day that British Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field arrived in Hong Kong on an official visit. In a response to questions from the Post, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said on Friday that Field would raise Mallet's case as a "matter of urgency" with Hong Kong officials. Field is expected to meet the city's No 2 official, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, during his visit. The FCO added it remained very concerned about the "unprecedented rejection" of Mallet's visa renewal and warned that the decision undermined Hong Kong's freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The United States also weighed in on the issue, saying it was deeply troubled by Mallet's case. "This decision is especially disturbing because it mirrors problems faced by international journalists on the mainland and appears inconsistent with the principles enshrined in the Basic Law," a US State Department spokesperson said, referring to the city's mini-constitution. Mallet was denied a work visa renewal last month. In August, he moderated an FCC event in the city featuring a talk by pro-independence activist Andy Chan Ho-tin, convenor of the National Party. Officials banned the party in September on national security grounds. The Immigration Department's decision sparked major controversy and concern over press freedom in the city. It has refused to give any explanation for the move. Mallet was also grilled by immigration officers when he returned to the city from Thailand last month. He was given only seven days to leave the city last month after his visa refusal, although British tourists are normally granted permission to stay for six months. In response to the development, pro-democracy lawmaker Au Nok-hin said Hong Kong authorities had been unwise in turning Mallet away. Au noted that eight countries had expressed concern over human rights in Hong Kong during a recent United Nations review hearing in Geneva. "Should the Hong Kong government continue with these measures, it will bring consequences worse than what the trade war could do," Au said. "It will appear that the city does not have room for free expression." Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu believed Mallet was being treated like an enemy of the city. "Unless and until a logical explanation is provided – and I am in doubt whether such explanation is at all available – the government is shamelessly harming Hong Kong's reputation as a free and open city," Yeung said. The Post has reached out to the Security Bureau and the Financial Times for comment. Mallet's case came hours after Tai Kwun, a heritage turned arts centre, said it had cancelled two events by dissident Chinese author Ma Jian on Saturday. The centre said it would not allow the venue to become "a platform to promote political interests of any individual". Ma, who had been Invited to the International Literary Festival, was supposed to introduce his latest novel, China Dream, which is critical of Beijing. ^ top ^

Demosisto report detailing human rights concerns in Hong Kong removed from UN review hearing, Joshua Wong claims (SCMP)
A report detailing alleged suppression of politics and human rights problems in Hong Kong has been removed from a United Nations' summary for the current review hearing in Geneva, pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung said on Tuesday. Wong, the secretary general of Hong Kong political group Demosisto, revealed the issue on Tuesday as the UN Human Rights Council kicked off its third five-yearly review hearing on China's human rights record. The report in question was submitted by Demosisto in March to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and was included in the first Stakeholder Summary in September, among 85 individual submissions and 42 joint submissions. However, the report was found to have been removed in October, when the summary was republished after being taken offline for a few weeks due to what the OHCHR called "technical reasons". Also erased were one individual report from a Tibetan group, three joint submissions involving groups concerning southern Mongolia, and references to two Uygur groups. While the other six groups had their submissions or citations reinstated in a Corrigendum document released by the OHCHR last Friday, the Demosisto report did not make its way back onto the list. Wong said the party wrote to Gianni Magazzeni, head of the universal periodical review in the OHCHR, asking for an explanation, but had not received any reply. Other affected organisations who reached out individually to the OHCHR were told in a response from the office that the Human Rights Commissioner and the universal periodical review working group "must respect the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of the state concerned". Further requests to explain in greater details from the NGOs were unanswered according to a joint statement released by the groups on Monday. The Post has contacted the OHCHR for comment. In Hong Kong, Wong said on Tuesday that the Demosisto report did not touch on any controversy related to sovereignty issues. "We raised our concerns on the Hong Kong government's disqualification of lawmakers, and its imprisonment of political activists," Wong said. "We also made our suggestions on how Hong Kong should improve legal protection for human rights." In its seven-page report, the party also mentioned that the city was yet to realise universal suffrage in elections for the chief executive and Legislative Council members, and that the legislation for Article 23 of the Basic Law – the national security article in the city's mini-constitution – would put free speech and political participation in peril. Wong believed that the Demosisto report was removed due to political censorship by the OHCHR under pressure from the government in Beijing. "It proved how the universal periodical review lacks transparency and also that is has come under pressure from the Beijing government," Wong said. "In our previous visits to Britain, US and Geneva, we were aware that China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs had pressured the human rights commissioners, requesting them not to meet pro-democracy activists from Hong Kong," he added. Wong said he would continue to seek an explanation from the UN in joint efforts with other human rights concern groups but said he would not rely on the Hong Kong's No 2 official, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, to speak out and follow up on the issue for them. At Tuesday's hearing, Cheung said concerns raised by a number of foreign countries, including the United States which was worried about Beijing's "continued encroachment on Hong Kong's autonomy" and freedoms, were actually derived from "a lack of understanding" of the city's situation. "Recent concerns over some aspects of our human rights situation are unwarranted, unfounded and unsubstantiated," Cheung told the review hearing. Before the hearing, delegates from the Netherlands, the United States and Germany submitted written questions on human rights conditions in Hong Kong, including press freedom. This came after the Hong Kong government last month refused to renew the working visa of Financial Times journalist Victor Mallet, who invited a pro-independence activist to a talk at the Foreign Correspondents' Club. Switzerland questioned if there would be an independent probe into the disappearance of five booksellers in 2015. One of the sellers who was allegedly detained on the mainland, Gui Minhai, is a Swedish citizen. Cheung said he could not comment on the ban of certain societies and organisations as the case was under appeal. "Hong Kong people do enjoy freedom of association, but such freedom is not absolute," he said, adding that the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the local Bill of Rights provided restrictions to the rights when national security was at stake. The chief secretary and the Office of the Commissioner of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong have been contacted for comment. ^ top ^



Reform, opening-up driving force for cross-Strait relations: senior official (Xinhua)
China's top political advisor Wang Yang on Tuesday noted that China's reform and opening-up is a significant driving force for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, made the remarks while meeting a business delegation from Taiwan's Federation of Industries. As this year marks the 40th anniversary of opening-up, the Chinese mainland has put forward a series of new measures under the reform policy, he said, believing that the measures will further improve development conditions and sense of fulfillment of different market entities including Taiwanese enterprises. He added that Taiwan compatriots will also enjoy better development prospects on the mainland. Speaking highly of the federation's contributions to cross-Strait economic cooperation and the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, Wang noted that national reunification and rejuvenation is the common expectation of all people of the Chinese nation. "Compatriots across the strait should be in line with the historical trend, shoulder the causes of the nation together, resolutely oppose and deter any plot or act of 'Taiwan independence', and push forward the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and the process toward the peaceful reunification of China with action," Wang said. ^ top ^

Taiwan companies seek opportunities at import expo (Xinhua)
Imagine controlling a computer from afar with gestures, by simply wearing a watch-like device on your wrist. This cool sci-fi gadget, developed by a Taiwanese startup, will be on display at a landmark import expo next week. As many as 72 Taiwan-based companies in electronics, smart technology, medical equipment, food and services will be attending the China International Import Expo (CIIE), the world's first national-level import expo, starting Monday in Shanghai. Companies from Taiwan said they are expecting to seize this opportunity to connect with more customers and explore a broader market. Noel Chang, vice president of Prince Group Auto21, the parent company of gesture control technology startup CoolSo, said they have sent more than 20 people to Shanghai for the expo, looking for cooperation with mainland companies. "The expo is a signal by the mainland to open its market further to the world," Chang said. Chang believes the company's gesture control wearable products will have great potential in the mainland gaming industry. "We should seize the opportunity of the consumption upgrade and high-quality development happening in the mainland, and take one step further into the market with the help of the CIIE." For some companies, the expo is also a great place for presenting themselves in front of a global audience. "We will bring seven kinds of testing equipment for semiconductor advanced packaging, all in one go," said Shang-Shu Chen, head of Taiwan-based Ta Liang Technology Co. Ltd. Chen said the company hopes to use the CIIE platform to deepen ties with their mainland customers and partners, find more potential ones, and show the whole world what they have to offer. The import expo comes as the mainland moves to open up domestic markets wider to the world in the year that marks the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up policy. The mainland and Taiwan are closely connected in terms of trade. Data from the island's finance authority shows that Taiwan's exports to the mainland and Hong Kong expanded 10.5 percent year on year in the first three quarters. "Industrial cooperation is key in facilitating integrated development across the Taiwan Strait," said Li-An Chin, who will bring his company Hong Shi's cultural and creative products to the CIIE. Taiwanese companies' active participation in the expo will deepen industrial cooperation, create more opportunities for the island's companies, and inject "positive energy" into cross-Strait relations, said Chin. ^ top ^



Premier Li urges efforts to maintain stable, healthy economy (Xinhua)
Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday called for more efforts to maintain stable performance and healthy development of the economy against increasing pressure at home and abroad. Li made the remarks when discussing with economists and entrepreneurs about current economic trends and development in the next year during a seminar.China has taken coordinated efforts this year to stabilize growth, propel reform and prevent risks and ensured the economy to perform stably on a high base, Li said. "New growth drivers are robust, and employment goals are fulfilled ahead of schedule." However, Li admitted that new downward pressure emerged amid complicated domestic and foreign circumstances, and the real economy faced more difficulties, stressing that the problems cannot be underestimated. China will be fully prepared and map out development in the next year, with measures to make better use of economic resilience and potential and foster new economic pillars, Li said, stressing the economy will perform in a reasonable range and advance toward high-quality development. China will maintain the continuity and stability of macro-policies, make its economic policies more coordinated and targeted and create a stable and predictable macro environment, Li said. In an effort to advance the supply-side structural reform, China should fix weak areas, promote industrial upgrading and move more boldly to cut taxes and fees, Li said. The country will introduce effective measures to alleviate the financing difficulties of private and small and micro businesses and place more emphasis on employment in macro-policies, Li said. To facilitate development, Li called for measures to improve business environments and policies according to the demands of enterprises and unleash market vitality and social innovativeness. China will further reduce administrative approvals and expand market access for private businesses, encouraging them to enter the infrastructure sector and ensuring fairness of competition, Li said. Entrepreneurship and innovation will be promoted to create jobs, and businesses will be encouraged to make technological breakthroughs and enhance their competitiveness, Li said. More energy will be channeled into expanding opening-up, Li said. "China will continue to equally treat state-owned, private and foreign-funded businesses, facilitating their investment and operation and better protecting their rights and property." Economists and entrepreneurs shared their viewpoints on economic situation and policy, the private sector, technological innovation and job markets at the seminar. Vice Premier Han Zheng also attended the meeting. ^ top ^



Chinese firms eye investing in N.Korea, see good prospects (Global Times)
Chinese companies on Thursday expressed optimism in the North Korean market as tensions ease dramatically on the Korean Peninsula, saying the market is an ocean of opportunities, although risks still exist. Hot Tex Woolen Company, a fabric supplier from East China's Jiangsu Province, has received orders worth 300,000 yuan ($43,282) from a North Korean fabric dealer after the Pyongyang International Trade Fair in September, Li Guang, the company's foreign trade manager, told the Global Times on Thursday. This is the first time that Li's company attended the trade fair, which is held in May and September annually. The company has been interested in the North Korean market for years but "hesitated over political uncertainty on the Korean Peninsula," Li said. According to Qi Chengang, organizer of a Chinese delegation to the fair, a delegation of North Korean officials plans to visit China in mid-December to seek more cooperation after the September fair. The delegation is expected to brief their potential Chinese partners about the needs of North Korea's market and local regulations to facilitate their business in the country, Qi told the Global Times on Thursday. "For business people unfamiliar with the country, tight regulations make it difficult to enter North Korea," Qi noted. Some 40 Chinese companies attended the trade fair in Pyongyang in September, almost triple the average before 2018. The fair attracted more than 320 companies from Russia, New Zealand, Italy and Cuba, among others, Washington Times reported in September. The number of Chinese attendees to the fair "is likely to increase next year as long as the situation on the peninsula improves at the current pace," Qi said. "Chinese and foreign companies are all keen on this market with few competitors," Qi noted. The biannual trade fair is sponsored by North Korea's Ministry of External Economic Relations and the fair is believed to be the largest international exhibition held in North Korea, according to the Xinhua News Agency. For Wang Ge, deputy manager of Tianjin-based Saint Ngong Tat Machinery Company (SNT), which specializes in food processing equipment, packaging machines and related products, North Korea is a market with a great potential, due to the country's food shortage and the lack of advanced food processing equipment. Because of the progress in relations between North Korea and South Korea, Wang said that the market is not only attracting Chinese investors. Wang said that a Singapore company she knew from the fair is already manufacturing fruit processing machines for North Korea. North Korean workers are of high quality at relatively low cost, said Wang, noting that the company is considering a joint-venture company in North Korea after learning more about the North Korean market, the country's laws and regulations. Investing in North Korea will be a new trend as the country has introduced incentives and preferential policies to boost foreign investment, Lü Chao, a research fellow at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. However, since Pyongyang continues to face sanctions from the UN Security Council and is in the early stages of international trade, its legal and administrative infrastructure may not be mature, Lü said. Chinese investors need to weigh the risks and avoid rash decisions, he noted. ^ top ^

Donald Trump expects another meeting with Kim Jong-un 'early next year' (SCMP)
US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he expected to meet again with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "sometime early next year". Trump also said a meeting this week between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong-chol, would be rescheduled. The meeting, which was supposed to have taken place on Thursday in New York, was intended to help pave the way for a second summit between Trump and Kim to discuss the denuclearisation of North Korea. The US State Department said in a statement early on Wednesday that the meeting had been postponed, without stating a reason, raising concerns that talks could break down again. The statement said the meeting would be rescheduled "when our respective schedules permit". "Ongoing conversations continue to take place," the statement said. "The United States remains focused on fulfilling the commitments agreed to by President Trump and Chairman Kim at the Singapore Summit in June." Trump said at a White House news conference on Wednesday that the change was "because of trips that are being made," but did not elaborate. "We are going to make it … another day," he said. "But we're very happy with how it's going with North Korea. We think it's going fine. We're in no rush." He expressed confidence that his second summit meeting with Kim would take place. "Some time next year, I would say. Sometime early next year," Trump said. Harry Kazianis, director of defence studies at the Centre for the National Interest, a Washington-based think tank, said he suspected that the abrupt postponement of Thursday's meeting showed the two sides were struggling. "It seems most likely talks were cancelled to spare both sides the negative press of a failed negotiation, as North Korea and Washington seem very far apart on a viable path forward on denuclearisation," Kazianis said. "The North seems quite angry that the Trump administration has not detailed any 'corresponding measures' when the Kim regime offered during the third Inter-Korean summit to close their Yongbyon nuclear facility," he said. Daryl Kimball, executive director at the Arms Control Association, echoed that opinion. "Neither side appears to be ready to take the necessary action-for-action steps on denuclearisation and peace that would move the process along," Kimball said. "The North Koreans continue to express their frustration with what they see as the failure of the United States to consider easing some international sanctions, or agree to a political declaration on the end of the war, in exchange for additional meaningful steps toward verifiable denuclearisation, such as the decommission of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex," he said. Both sides will need to adjust their positions if there is to be meaningful progress in the negotiations, Kimball added. Last Friday, Pyongyang threatened that it could revive its nuclear program if the US did not lift economic sanctions. The North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the "improvement of relations and sanctions is incompatible". "The US thinks that its oft-repeated 'sanctions and pressure' leads to 'denuclearisation.' We cannot help laughing at such a foolish idea," it said. Pyongyang has rejected the notion of unilaterally dismantling its nuclear weapons, demanding "corresponding measures" from the US side, such as sanction relief, before it takes further denuclearisation steps. "Without any trust in the US," North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said during the United Nations General Assembly meeting in late September, "there will be no confidence in our national security, and under such circumstances there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first." China and Russia have also been vocal about asking for "adjusted sanctions" against North Korea. Early last month, the three countries' deputy foreign ministers met in Moscow to coordinate an approach to the Korean denuclearisation process and called on the UN Security Council to "adjust" the sanctions against Pyongyang. Pompeo and Kim Yong-chol met in New York in late May to prepare for the first summit between their countries' leaders in Singapore in June. Preparation for the second Trump-Kim summit was expected to be on the agenda between Pompeo and Kim Yong-chol as the White House has been coordinating on the schedule and location for the leaders' meeting. Kristie Kenney, a US State Department counsellor and former ambassador to Thailand, the Philippines and Ecuador, said North Korea would hold the key for Trump to claim "some big wins" after the US midterm elections on Tuesday. "I think the president is still optimistic and upbeat after his Singapore meetings with the North Koreans, and I think he's going to want to see real progress," Kenney told an Asia Society round table in New York on Wednesday. "Despite today's meetings being cancelled … I think you'll see a strong presidential push for a second summit … early in the year." Kazianis worried that if the talks failed, Pyongyang could resume nuclear and missile tests. It "could again start testing missiles, and more specifically, long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that can hit the US homeland", he said. "If talks were to collapse, and I would argue at this point we are a long way from that point," he said, "it seems most likely the North would want to test at least one ICBM to show it has the full range and technological sophistication needed to strike a US city." ^ top ^



Speaker responses to President's proposal on Parliament's self-dissolution (Montsame)
On November 6, Parliament Speaker M.Enkhbold gave a response to the official letter of President Kh.Battulga, dated October 29, which proposed to consult on self-dissolution of the Parliament as the President condemned that Parliament fails to fulfill its full powers and work in conformity with the law in exercising the State power. In the response letter, it reads, "…There is no ground to consider the Parliament of Mongolia failed to fulfill its full powers since plenary meetings of current Parliament, which was formed in accordance with the Constitution of Mongolia, and its meetings of standing committees, sub-committees and interim committees are functioning normally and resolving pressing issues of economy and society in time. A majority group in the Parliament discussed this matter and also expressed that it stands on above mentioned position. Through this letter, I am conveying my disagreement with You on self-dissolution of the Parliament." ^ top ^

Draft resolution of Mongolia's international security and nuclear-weapon-free status approved (Montsame)
On November 1, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) of the United Nations General Assembly approved a draft resolution of Mongolia's international security and nuclear-weapon-free status. In 1992, Mongolia declared its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone, received support from the General Assembly. Since 1998, the resolution has been approved biannually. The General Assembly called on other UN Member States to continue to cooperate with Mongolia in taking the measures necessary to consolidate and strengthen Mongolia's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, the inviolability of its borders, its independent foreign policy, its economic security and its ecological balance, as well as its nuclear-weapon-free status. Mongolia's nuclear-weapon-free status has a great significance for actions of the international organization in disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. In 2017, the 25th Anniversary of Mongolia's nuclear-weapon-free status was marked and Secretary-General António Guterres sent a congratulatory message in which he noted that Mongolia's nuclear-weapon-free status is 'unique'. He also highlighted that the UN highly appreciates the achievement of the Mongolian Government and its people towards nuclear-weapon disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons. ^ top ^


LEW Mei Yi
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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