China mainland launches new air route over Taiwan Strait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SINGAPORE

>>  Chinese VP attends state funeral of Lee Kuan Yew

By Bao Xuelin

 

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s special envoy and Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao

(left) pays respect to Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore’s

Parliament House, on March 28, 2015.   Photo by Then Chih Wey

 

 

Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao on Sunday of March 29 attended the state funeral of Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew as a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Li conveyed deep condolences for the passing of Lee on behalf of President Xi, the Chinese government and the Chinese people.

President Xi expressed his sadness on Lee Kuan Yew’s departure in the message to Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Xi said Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew is a strategist and statesman respected across the world.

Expressing his respect to Lee Kuan Yew, Xi said, Lee was also an old friend of the Chinese people and the founder, pioneer and promoter of China-Singapore relations.

Lee and the old generations of Chinese leaders jointly set the direction of China-Singapore ties, said Xi, adding that Lee made great contributions to enhancing friendship of the two peoples and broadening bilateral cooperation.

Stressing that China attaches great importance to the development of friendly cooperative relations with Singapore, Xi said, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of both diplomatic relations, China is willing to work with Singapore to continue traditional friendship between the two countries, consolidate their good-neighborly ties and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation so as to benefit the two countries and peoples.

During his three-day visit in Singapore, Li paid tribute to Lee Kuan Yew at the Parliament House on Saturday, and met with Singapore’s President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean respectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAUSANNE, Switzerland

>>  Chinese FM arrives in Lausanne for nuclear talks

By Nie Xiaoyang

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Switzerland’s lakeside city of Lausanne on Sunday of March 29 to join the ongoing Iran nuclear talks in an effort to push forward the expected framework agreement.

Wang is expected to hold bilateral talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov respectively later on the day, sources close to the Chinese team told Xinhua.

Mogherini, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had arrived in Lausanne on Saturday while British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Lavrov are planned to arrive on Sunday.

With all the top diplomats of the P5+1 (namely the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany) gathering in Lansanne, there are increasing signs that a framework agreement might be reached before the March 31 deadline.

The six major world powers have been negotiating with Iran very frequently since the beginning of 2015 in an effort to put Iran’s nuclear program under international control.

On November 24 of 2013, the P5+1 and Iran reached a first-step agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, the Geneva 2013 Joint Plan of Action, which demanded Iran to suspend some sensitive nuclear activities in exchange for limited sanction relief to buy time for the diplomatic effort to resolve the issue.

Since then, the P5+1 and Iran have twice missed self-imposed deadlines for a final and comprehensive accord, in June and November respectively. The negotiators then set March 31 of 2015 as a new deadline for a political framework agreement and June 30 for the final deal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAUSANNE, Switzerland

>>  Chinese FM calls for efforts to “seize opportunity” in Iran nuclear talks

By Zhang Miao

 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi(center) attends the plenary session on Iran’s potential

nuclear framework deal in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 29, 2015. Foreign ministers

from major world powers on Sunday night kicked off a plenary session to further bridge

gaps on Iran’s potential nuclear framework deal.   Photo by Zhang Miao

 

 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday of March 29 called on all sides to seize the opportunity to show flexibility and political decision to push the Iranian nuclear negotiations into fruition.

Wang arrived in Lausanne on Sunday morning and made the remarks during an one-hour bilateral talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“Important progress have been made in the Iranian nuclear talks, and it is in every party’s interests, including Iran, to reach a comprehensive agreement,” Wang said.

China, which upholds a fair, objective stance, will continue to contribute positive efforts to advance the negotiations, he added.

During the talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Wang called on all sides to seek negotiation room amid focused sticking points, and to bridge gaps to find solutions which are acceptable to all parties.

Wang also held intensive bilateral talks with his counterparts from France, Germany, European Union and Russia to negotiate towards Teheran’s potential framework deal.

He said the marathon talks has entered the home stretch, all sides should work together to make a decisive political decision.

Since Saturday, foreign ministers from six major countries and Iran joined the Iranian nuclear talks in their final efforts to hammer out a framework agreement before the March 31 deadline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAUSANNE, Switzerland

>>  P5+1 foreign ministers hold plenary nuke session in Lausanne

By Zhang Miao

Foreign ministers from major world powers on Sunday night of March 29 kicked off a plenary session to further bridge gaps on Iran’s potential nuclear framework deal.

The negotiation, chaired by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, joined by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French Foereign Minister Laurent Fabius, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond as well as German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The session marks the first meeting of top diplomats from P5+1 countries (namely the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany) in the “final stage” of the nuclear talks which resumed since Thursday, a sign that a possible framework agreement might be within reach.

A series of bilateral talks between foreign ministers were taking place over the last two days. On Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Iran, the United States, France, Germany, the EU and Russia.

Wang on Sunday called on all sides to seize the opportunity to show flexibility and political decision to push the Iranian nuclear negotiations into fruition.

From the beginning of 2015, the six major world powers have been negotiating with Iran almost nonstop, round after round and meeting after meeting, in an effort to put Iran’s nuclear program under international control in return for easing of sanctions.

On Nov. 24 of 2013, the P5+1 and Iran reached a first-step agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, the Geneva 2013 Joint Plan of Action, which demanded Iran suspend some sensitive nuclear activities in exchange of limited sanction relief to buy time for the diplomatic effort to resolve the issue.

Since then, the P5+1 and Iran have twice missed self-imposed deadlines for a final and comprehensive accord, respectively in June and November last year, and the negotiators then set March 31 of 2015 as a new deadline for a political framework agreement and June 30 for the final deal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARUSHA, Tanzania

>>  Africa-China forum calls for African nations to make their own investment policies

By Zhang Ping

The Third Africa-China Young Leaders Forum concluded on Sunday of March 29 with the call for African countries to make their own policies which will help in promoting regional macroeconomic stability, a very fundamental aspect in improving people’s welfare.

Wrapping up the forum, Tanzania’s Vice President Mohammed Gharib Bilal stressed on the need for African policy makers to produce good investment policies.

“While we looking at these opportunities, it is a fact that we cannot run away from the new global development approaches. The important thing is for African countries to make their own policies which will help promote our macroeconomic stability,” Bilal said.

He said that many natural resources are being discovered in many parts of Africa such as oil, gas, precious minerals — gold, diamonds, uranium, high value gemstones and other metals.

“But in some countries these have turned to be curse rather than a blessing because people from within and outside are fighting over these resources year in year out,” the Tanzanian VP said.

Bilal said that Africa has to maintain the attained level of economic management for long so that this can inculcate the spirit of trust, “here good governance and accountability, transparency, fight against corruption and rule of law must be exercised to the fullest.”

“Young leaders from Africa and China have to put into considerations the logic of being able leaders of the future facing the challenges and opportunities facing our countries and the world at large,” he told the gathering of 400 participants from 40 countries.

Bilal asked African youth to copy the Chinese model in terms of socio-economic development, “China has always been a dear brother of Africa and has passed the same routes as Africa is passing now. ”

The international forum was co-organized by Tanzania’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and Communist Party of China (CPC) under the theme of “Friendship, Cooperation and Development”.

Secretary General of CCM Youth League Sixtus Mapunda said the forum was the first to be held in Tanzania.

He said in the past the Africa–China Young Leaders Forum was been held in Windhoek, Namibia and Beijing, China.

During the meeting, it was agreed that African and Chinese youth must continue to nurture the current relations with the focus on friendship, cooperation, in all aspects towards people’s developments.

The forum which was opened by the Chairman of African Union (AU) and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, created a platform for regular interaction and cooperation between young people of Africa and China.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAIROBI

>>  Sino-Africa infrastructure cooperation: not just jobs, but chances to change life

By Feng Qidi

After two years of searching, Sharif Mutunga finally got a laborer job for Kenya’s ongoing standard gauge railway project constructed by a Chinese firm.

“The pay is better compared to similar works elsewhere,” he said. “The job has changed my perspective on life and I am optimistic that my future will be bright”.

He is one of the 8,000 Kenyans who have been employed at different sections of the 472-kilometer railway that will run from the coastal town of Mombasa to the capital Nairobi.

The project, believed to be one of the largest infrastructure projects in Kenya’s history and with an estimated cost of 3.8 billion U.S. dollars, will need more than 30,000 Kenyan employees at its peak, said China Roads and Bridge Corporation, builder of the railway.

Along with cheap consumer goods, mega infrastructure projects and exotic food, China has also brought to the continent what many Africans want most: jobs.

Statistics by the end of 2013 show that there are more than 100, 000 Africans working in over 2,500 Chinese companies that are doing business in Africa, covering finance, telecommunication, energy, manufacturing and agriculture.

According to a Reuters report in 2010, the Chinese founded Imboulou Hydroelectric dam hired 2,000 Congolese out of its total 2,400 workers, while China’s state-owned Sinohydro said last year its Grand Poubara dam project in Gabon has 1,000 workers, with 700 Africans.

A survey by the China Africa Business Council in 2013 showed its 193 member companies in Africa had over 34,000 local employees comparing to 6,400 Chinese workers, an average ratio of 2 Chinese to every 10 African workers.

China-Africa trade had expanded 10 times to more than 210 billion dollars in 2013. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the figure is expected to reach 400 billion by 2020. More jobs will be created to meet the needs of this fast-growing trade.

After years of operating in Africa, Chinese companies has also found themselves in need of more educated local staff, such as engineers, technicians and managers.

Eovis Kagiha had also got a job at the railway project four years after college graduation, but he is a safety officer, with a salary sufficient “to make a comfortable living”.

He hoped to apply what he has learnt from the Chinese work ethic to start his own firm in the future, like thousands of Africans who had grown rich with skills learnt from working with Chinese.

China is also expected to promote cooperation with Africa on labor-intensive industries to help the growth and prosperity of “Made in Africa” and make investment the pivot of a closer, more inclusive and sustainable China-Africa economic and trade relationship.

This trend, with the Chinese-supported industry zones in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zambia and Mauritius will help Africa create more employment opportunities urgently needed by its youth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUENOS AIRES

>>  As Argentinians’ trade with China grows, so does interest in Chinese

By Ye Shuhong

A growing number of international trade experts in Argentina are interested in learning Chinese, reflecting China’s expanding role in global commerce.

To meet the demand, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) foundation in Argentina will be offering a Chinese-language class for beginners starting in May.

Ezequiel Eborall, the foundation’s head of strategic planning, said that China’s increasingly prominent role in international trade and the interest that has generated among companies to expand their trade ties with the Asian nation led the ICBC foundation to offer the course as an additional tool in the formation of specialists in international trade.

“There’s a lot of interest in learning China’s language and culture,” said Yesica Rossi, the foundation’s head of outreach.

Learning Chinese is part of the larger process of becoming familiar with China’s history and culture, which they see as “key for Argentine companies looking to enter the Asian market.”

“The course is designed to be more than just a traditional language learning course,” said Eborall. “It aims to bring ( students) closer to understanding and appreciating a different culture.”

“We’ve seen that it is increasingly important to learn about the culture of other countries in doing international business. That’s why we have given special emphasis to the training of specialists in international trade,” added Rossi.

The course is divided into four modules: an introduction to the history and geography of China, and the Chinese language; the Hanyu Pinyin transcription system for phonetically writing down Mandarin using a modified Latin alphabet; basic grammar and vocabulary; and writing Chinese characters, or Hanzi.

China is Argentina’s second-biggest trade partner, after Brazil, and the second-biggest market for Argentine agro-industrial products.

During a recent reception at China’s embassy in Buenos Aires, marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Ambassador Yang Wangming called for closer political bilateral ties through greater cooperation and people-to- people exchange.

In early February, China’s President Xi Jinping and his visiting Argentine counterpart Cristina Fernandez agreed to strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations through a series of infrastructure projects, among other measures.

China is investing 4.714 billion U.S. dollars to build two damns in southern Argentina, and 2.099 billion dollars to renovate Argentina’s Belgrano Cargas cargo railways, an essential step in boosting its agro-industrial exports.

The closer business tie is manifest in the DHL shipping lists that the containers exported from Argentina to China witnessed significant growth in the past five years.

The international logistic giant has thus launched a new website, headlined as DHL BUSINESS CHINA, to specially serve increasing Argentine business people who have an itch to try their fortune in the biggest emerging market.

Based on last year’s experience, Eborall said he expects between 15 and 20 students to enroll in the May 7 to July 23 course, “the ideal number for studying a language from the beginning.”

Argentine professor Federico Youtchak, a devotee of Chinese culture and language who has studied in China, will be teaching the class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABU DHABI

>>  UAE central bank partners with China’s UnionPay

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and UnionPay International (UPI) of China said on Sunday of March 29 they have signed a deal for linking with UAE-Switch, a service that connects ATMs across the Gulf Arab country, state news agency WAM reported.

The agreement was signed to allow the use of UnionPay cards at all ATMs connected to the service, according to the report.

The deal was inked by deputy governor of the UAE Central Bank Mohammed Ali Bin Zayed Al-Falasi and China UnionPay President Shi Wenchao.

Falasi expressed delight on this joint cooperation as the number of Chinese citizens, residents, tourists and business people is steadily increasing year on year.

The agreement will allow UnionPay card holders access to over 4,800 ATMs in the UAE, he added.

There are 350,000 Chinese nationals living in the UAE and over 4,000 Chinese businesses are operating in the Gulf state. Dubai alone attracted last year 25 percent more tourists from China than in the previous year.

In 2013, a total of 275,675 visitors from China came to Dubai, according to the official tourism body DCTCM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIENTIANE

>>  China beats Singapore 5-0 in AFC U-23 qualifier

By Steven Cleary

China whitewashed Singapore 5-0 in its second AFC U-23 qualifying match in Laos’ capital on Sunday of March 29.

Midfielder Li Yuanyi gifted China 1-0 lead only two minutes into the game.

Some promising chances followed intermittently but were repelled by Singapore’s keeper Zharfan.

The 39th minute saw midfielder Feng Gang lift China to 2-0 lead.

The second half saw China maintaining domination, though multiple attempts on goal came to naught until a foul on midfielder Chang Feiya brought a penalty which was cashed by Xu Xin in the 58th minute.

Eight minutes later, China’s substitute Zang Yifeng added another to the total.

Wu Xinghan sealed the win at 5-0 in the 79th minute.

Frustration began to show for Singapore as the match dragged on with two yellow cards in quick succession to captain Iqbal and keeper Zharfan, the latter resulting in a penalty which was denied by the cross bar.

China coach Fu Bo rated his team’s performance at 70 percent, signalling what he saw as an improvement on the first qualifying match against Mongolia which also ended in 5-0 on Friday.

“This time we controlled the ball much better than last time, Singapore were stronger than the Mongolia, so our players had to improve their skills,” Fu said.

“We scored very early which was helpful in terms of the players’ ability to exert to control in the very hot weather.

“In such weather if you can score earlier it will help the players to control the match, otherwise some times players get nervous and lose patience.

Singapore coach Bok Kok Chuan paid credit to his team despite the loss which sees them facing off against Mongolia on Tuesday for pride.

“The boys gave their everything,” he said.

A win in its final qualifying match against Laos on Tuesday would see China guaranteed a spot at the 2016 AFC U-23 Championships in Qatar.

The tournament also doubles as Olympic qualifier, with the continent’s top three teams in Qatar to head to Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HANOI

>>  DPRK team claims victory at volleyball tournament in Vietnam

By Zhang Jianhua

A team from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) beat its Vietnamese rival 3-1 on Sunday night of March 29 to become the champion of the VTV-Binh Dien International Women’s Volleyball Cup held in Vietnam’s central Quang Tri province.

Specifically, DPRK’s 4.25 Sports Club defeated Vietnam’s LienVietPostBank — the champion of last year’s event, with 25-23, 18-25, 25-23, and 25-21 in the final match.

DPRK’s 4.25 Sports Club recorded all six wins during the tournament.

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan’s Astana defeated Vietnam’s VTV Binh Dien Long An 3-1 to claim the third place.

Team Vietinbank from Vietnam won against China’s Fujian 3-1 to rank the fifth place, while Tien Nong Thanh Hoa, another team from Vietnam, took the seventh place after defeating Japan’s Tenri University 3-1.

The annual competition kicked off on March 21 with the participation of four leading Vietnamese teams, and five international teams from China, DPRK, Japan, Kazakhstan and Malaysia.

The nine teams competed in a round robin format in two groups at the group stage, with the top two teams from each group qualified for the semifinal round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING 

>>  Chinese officials urge HK to bear “state concept” in mind

By Wang Di, Zha Wenye and Li Huiying

The interpretation and enforcement of Basic Law in Hong Kong must be based on the “China position”, with the state concept in mind, a Chinese official said on Sunday of March 29.

Adopted on April 4, 1990, by the Seventh National People’s Congress (NPC) of China and took effect on July 1, 1997, the Basic Law is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

“The HKSAR system is aimed at realizing better state governance and protection of the fundamental interests of all Chinese people including Hong Kong compatriots,” Zhang Rongshun, NPC Standing Committee legislative affairs commission vice-chairman, said.

Zhang made the remarks at a symposium held to mark the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Basic Law at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

“It’s not a tool to be manipulated in order to wrest the ruling power from China and make Hong Kong an independent political entity,” he added.

The intention to isolate the Basic Law from the Constitution or confuse their relationship is nothing but an excuse to turn HK into an independent or semi-independent political entity, said Rao Geping, deputy head of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies.

“Efforts should be made to educate people on ‘one country, two systems’ and Basic Law in Hong Kong, especially the young,” Rao said.

Maria Tam Wai-chu, a Hong Kong barrister who was involved in the drafting of the Basic Law, also urged improvement to HK residents’ national awareness at the symposium, saying some people do not have a strong “sense of state”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China mainland launches new air route over Taiwan Strait

By Qian Chunxian and Lin Jianyang

A new flight route, M503, was put into operation on Sunday of March 29 over airspace in China’s southeastern region.

Flight 857 of Hong Kong-based airlines Dragonair was the first plane to fly the route on its Pudong (Shanghai)-Hong Kong flight.

On Sunday, 33 passenger planes are expected to fly the new path, according to the mainland’s civil aviation authorities.

M503 is one of several routes that will take planes over the Taiwan Strait from Zhejiang Province and the cities of Fuzhou and Xiamen in Fujian Province.

The route is designed to ease air traffic congestion amid increased flights over the Yangtze River and the Pearl River delta areas.

M503 was designed in cooperation with the United States and other countries, and approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The route was set within the Shanghai Flight Information Region instead of the Taipei region, and it maintains a safe distance from the Taipei region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHIJIAZHUANG

>>  Chinese army urged to implement “Four Comprehensives”

By Liu Tong

A Chinese military leader has urged the army to learn and implement the strategic layout of the “Four Comprehensives” put forward by President Xi Jinping and improve ideological and political work.

During an inspection trip to the People’s Liberation Army troops in Hebei and Shanxi provinces, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) Xu Qiliang said learning and implementing the “Four Comprehensives” is a major political task for the army.

The negative impact of the corruption case of Xu Caihou, a former CMC vice chairman, must be cleared up, he added.

Xu also urged the army to study CMC chairman Xi Jinping’s speeches on national defence and military building and to resolutely follow the central leadership and Xi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHIJIAZHUANG

>>  Former Party official in N China under investigation

By Han Xiaojing and Qi Leijie

Chen Gui, a former party official in a city in north China’s Hebei Province, is being investigated for alleged serious law and discipline violations, according to Hebei’s anti-graft authority.

The discipline inspection commission under the provincial committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) confirmed on Saturday that Chen, former chief of the Hengshui City Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), was under investigation.

Chen was removed from his post in 2010, but the details of his violations have not been made public yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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