Archive for April, 2019

30/04/2019

Envoy says China opposes nuclear proliferation in whatever forms

UN-NPT-REVIEW CONFERENCE

Fu Cong (C), head of the Department of Arms Control of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, addresses the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), at the UN headquarters in New York, April 29, 2019. UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu warned on Monday that restraints on nuclear arsenals are weakening. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

UNITED NATIONS, April 29 (Xinhua) — China firmly opposes nuclear proliferation in whatever forms and participates in the political resolution of regional nuclear proliferation issues in a responsible manner, a Chinese envoy said on Monday.

For decades China has shown maximum transparency with respect to its nuclear strategy, exercised great restraint in developing its nuclear force and taken extreme caution in its policy related to the use of nuclear weapons, Fu Cong, head of the Department of Arms Control of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

China has consistently adhered to a nuclear strategy of self-defense; it has strictly honored its commitment not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States and nuclear-weapon-free zones; it has kept its nuclear force at the minimal level required by national security, he said.

As for the regional nuclear proliferation issues, the envoy said that China strives to maintain the momentum for dialogue and detente in the Korean Peninsula, and firmly supports the establishment of a Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) in the Middle East and of the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, Fu said.

The world today is undergoing major development, changes and adjustments, he said, adding that the call for peace and cooperation rather than war and confrontation has become the common voice of the international community.

Improving the universality, authority and effectiveness of the NPT remains the major trend of the times, Fu said.

In order to further strengthen the NPT’s role in preserving international peace and security, and to empower the NPT with a greater meaning of serving global development in the new era, the Chinese envoy proposed five suggestions.

The first suggestion is to continue to improve the international security situation. The international community should uphold the concept of building a community of shared future for mankind, discard the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game doctrine, and seek peace and security through cooperation.

Secondly, the Chinese envoy called on the international community to stick to the line of pragmatic and effective nuclear disarmament. “The complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons is in the interest of all humanity.”

The countries possessing the largest nuclear arsenals should, in accordance with the consensus of the international community and provisions of the relevant UN documents including the General Assembly’s resolutions, fulfill in earnest their special and primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament, keep and renew their bilateral nuclear disarmament treaties and take further steps to make drastic and substantive cuts of their nuclear weapons, he added.

The third and fourth suggestions are to keep the direction of consolidating political and diplomatic solutions to nuclear non-proliferation issues, and tap the enormous potential of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as an inalienable right empowered by the NPT, represent an important means for the international community to meet in unison the challenge of climate change, increase the driving force for global economic development, and achieve green development and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, Fu noted.

“At the same time, such cooperation should not be politicized. Much less should it be used as a tool for major power competition,” he added.

Fifthly, the envoy called for faithfully safeguarding the NPT mechanism. “It is imperative to increase dialogue and urge the countries concerned to accede to the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states without preconditions and further delay,” he said.

Since 1995, NPT review conferences have produced decisions, action plans, practical steps and measures to improve the effectiveness of the review process itself.

The NPT, signed in 1968 and effective since 1970, is the only treaty that contains legally-binding commitments to pursuing nuclear disarmament. A total of 191 states have joined the treaty.

Source: Xinhua

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30/04/2019

China upgrades 5th edition of its currency

BEIJING, April 29 (Xinhua) — The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, has upgraded the fifth edition of the renminbi (RMB), the Chinese currency, and on Monday announced the issuing of the new batch from Aug. 30.

The new issuance will include notes with a face value of 50 yuan (about 7 U.S. dollars), 20 yuan, 10 yuan and one yuan, and coins valued one yuan, 50 fen and 10 fen.

Compared with the current series in circulation, the new batch will see brighter colors and adjusted patterns with enhanced anti-conterfeiting feature, a PBOC official said.

The five-yuan note will not be in the upcoming issuance as new technologies on the note are still under testing. The 100-yuan note was issued in November 2015, which has shown improved anti-conterfeiting capability, said the PBOC source.

Financial institutions and companies with cash businesses are upgrading their machines to identify and adapt to the newly-designed RMB notes, the PBOC said.

Source: Xinhua

30/04/2019

Xi holds talks with Nepalese president

CHINA-BEIJING-XI JINPING-NEPALESE PRESIDENT-TALKS (CN)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) holds talks with Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari in Beijing, capital of China, April 29, 2019. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)

BEIJING, April 29 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari in Beijing on Monday.

China highly values the development of bilateral relations, and supports Nepal’s efforts in safeguarding national independence, sovereign and territorial integrity, and in exploring a development path suited to Nepal’s own conditions, Xi said.

He expressed appreciation for Nepal’s long-time firm support on issues related to China’s core interests and major concerns, and Nepal’s active participation in the Belt and Road Initiative.

China and Nepal should strengthen cooperation in infrastructure construction, and continue to advance the construction of cross-border economic cooperation zone, Xi said, adding that China is willing to continue to support Nepal’s economic and social development.

Xi called on the two countries to intensify exchanges among legislative institutions, political parties, youth, think tanks and media, consolidate public support for China-Nepal friendship, and advance the friendly cooperative relations to a new level.

Bhandari said that China’s prosperity and stability present opportunities to Nepal, and her country is willing to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with China in various fields.

She said that Nepal adheres to the one-China policy, and that Nepal will not allow any forces to engage in anti-China activities by using the territory of Nepal.

The two heads of state attended a ceremony for the signing of bilateral cooperation documents after the talks.

Source: Xinhua

30/04/2019

Chinese embassy in Paris warns tourists to beware the beautiful bandit … and other sneak thieves

  • Notice says holidaymaker found his wallet and mobile phone missing after being asked for directions by an attractive woman on the Champs-Élysées
  • Warnings come just days after Beijing withdraws invitation to join navy’s anniversary parade for French frigate that sailed through Taiwan Strait
Chinese tourists have been warned to be on their guard when visiting France. Photo: AFP
Chinese tourists have been warned to be on their guard when visiting France. Photo: AFP
Chinese visitors to Paris have been warned to be on the look out for a bewitching blonde who preys on the good nature and naivety of tourists to relieve them of their valuables.

According to a series of notices posted on the website of the Chinese embassy in the French capital, the alluring larcenist is just one of a number of con artists and crooks that prowl the city in search of easy targets.

Holidaymaker “Shen” became their latest victim earlier this month, the mission said.

“On April 1, a Chinese citizen surnamed Shen was appreciating the beautiful scenery at Avenue des Champs-Élysées, when a blonde approached him and asked for directions,” according to one of the notices posted on the site on Thursday.

The Arc de Triomphe stands at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, where a Chinese tourist identified only as “Shen” was allegedly robbed on April 1. Photo: Xinhua
The Arc de Triomphe stands at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, where a Chinese tourist identified only as “Shen” was allegedly robbed on April 1. Photo: Xinhua

“Although Shen was curious why the blonde would chose a foreigner like him for directions, he still replied as he had made some travel preparations.”

It was only after the woman had walked away that Shen realised his mobile phone and wallet were missing, it said.

Cherish the love: China and France should disrupting ties, Beijing says

Pickpockets and sneak thieves are a threat to all visitors to France, but the Chinese are often regarded as prime targets because of the belief they carry lots of cash and valuables, the embassy said.

As well as the Champs-Élysées, tourists were warned to take extra care when visiting attractions like the Palace of Versailles and Sacré-Coeur, and when travelling on the subway.

“Be aware of strangers in public places and on public transport, and always pay attention to your belongings,” the embassy said.

The notice about Shen did not say if he had reported the suspected theft to the local police.

Pickpockets and sneak thieves are a threat to all visitors to France, but the Chinese are often regarded as prime targets, the embassy said. Photo: AFP
Pickpockets and sneak thieves are a threat to all visitors to France, but the Chinese are often regarded as prime targets, the embassy said. Photo: AFP

According to the Paris Region Tourism Board, China accounts for the third largest number of visitors to France after the United States and Britain. Chinese tourists made 1.1 million trips to the country in 2017 and the figure is forecast to grow to 2 million by 2022.

While most experience trouble-free trips, there have been reports of Chinese visitors to France being robbed or even assaulted in recent years.

In November 2017, a group of 

tourists were attacked

in the car park of their hotel in the Val-de-Marne suburb of Paris after returning from a shopping trip. Their four assailants made off with nine bags filled with luxury goods.

A year earlier, 27 Chinese tourists were attacked by a group of six Frenchmen as they boarded a bus that was about to take them to the airport.
Source: SCMP
30/04/2019

Gone in 30 seconds: vandals smash and grab treasured ‘Lovebird’ stalactite in Chinese cave

  • Two men detained and a third wanted over destruction of formation at scenic spot that took millions of years to take shape
The men took turns to batter off the stalactite with a rock. Photo: Weibo
The men took turns to batter off the stalactite with a rock. Photo: Weibo
Police in eastern China arrested two men and are looking for a third who allegedly broke off a 4 million-year-old stalactite in 30 seconds before taking it from the cave where it had been on display.
Surveillance camera footage taken in the Natural Underground Gallery in Yishui county, Shandong province, on April 21 showed three men taking turns to hit the stalactite with a rock to break it off, news site Iqilu.com reported on Tuesday.
“We call that part of the stalactite the Lovebird, and Geography of China, a programme on China Central Television, came last year specially to report on the Lovebird,” Yang Feng, an executive at the gallery, told Shandong Business Daily.

“[The men] took a large rock to break the stalactite and caused serious damage. Now the tail of the Lovebird is gone.”

China, too, has lessons to learn from US terracotta warrior vandalism case, experts say

Yang said he could not put a monetary value on the stalactite because it took millions of years to form.

The vandals also damaged other parts of the gallery, surveillance footage showed.

The damage to the Lovebird was not discovered until the next day, when a tour guide reported that its tail was missing.

The stalactite took millions of years to form. Photo: Weibo
The stalactite took millions of years to form. Photo: Weibo

Yang said the damaged stalactite was less than 20cm long and 10cm wide. The gallery did not call the police until Saturday, after a geologist they consulted told them it would take millions of years for the missing section to grow back.

“We are outraged. The stalactite is precious for geological study but worth nothing to most people because the part that has been broken off will darken and become an ordinary stone,” Yang said.

In 2017, a man was caught on camera destroying a 50cm stalagmite in a cave in Songtao county, Guizhou province.

The man made three attempts to kick the stalagmite on the side of the main path in the cave and eventually knocked off a 30cm tip. He then walked away without taking it, the footage showed.

The scenic attraction’s administrators contacted police, who found the man and fined him 500 yuan (US$74).

Source: SCMP

30/04/2019

Trade war: What you need to know about US-China talks

An aerial view of a port in Qingdao in China's eastern Shandong province on March 8, 2019.Image copyright GETTY IMAGES

The US and China are due to begin a fresh round of talks in Beijing on Tuesday as they edge closer to resolving their damaging trade dispute.

The discussions will be led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

Talks have dragged on for months, with both sides struggling to agree on key issues.

The trade war has hurt the economy and challenged the multilateral system that has governed world trade for decades.

There has been cautious optimism surrounding the talks in recent months but also a sense that both sides remain divided on some points.

How did we get here?

The US, which accuses China of unfair trading practices, imposed tariffs on $250bn (£193.2bn) worth of Chinese products last year.

Beijing has retaliated with duties on $110bn worth of American products.

Tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese goods were due to more than double at the start of the year, rising from 10% to 25%.

But both countries agreed to suspend tit-for-tat tariffs after they struck a truce in December, and began negotiations to work towards a deal.

US President Donald Trump recently said the US and China had agreed on “a lot of the most difficult points” but that “we have some ways to go”.

What are the sticking points?

Sticking points in negotiations in recent months have included how a deal would be enforced, issues around intellectual property protection, and how fast to roll back tariffs.

Gary Hufbauer from the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington said enforcement was a crucial issue, but remained optimistic about the prospect of a deal.

“China will make lots of promises, the US remains sceptical on implementation,” he said.

Still, he expects a deal to be announced by mid-May. The latest round of talks are expected to be followed by further negotiations in Washington on 8 May.

The US accuses China of stealing intellectual property and wants Beijing to make changes to its economic policies, which it says unfairly favour domestic companies through subsidies. It also wants China to buy more US goods to rein in a lofty trade deficit.

Mr Xi addressed some of these concerns last week at the Belt and Road forum in Beijing ahead of the trade talks.

He said China would boost efforts to secure intellectual property protection, increase imports of goods and services and ensure a fair trading environment for firms.

But what makes trade negotiations particularly difficult to resolve is the fact they are part of a broader power struggle between the world’s two largest economies.

China’s growing influence has put many Western governments – and particularly the US on the defensive. Some in China see the trade war as part of US efforts to curb its rise.

Against this backdrop, there is a view that the trade deal will not put an end to a US-China rivalry, which is already playing out in the technology sector.

What’s at stake?

The trade war is already having an impact on the world economy.

International Monetary Fund chief economist Gita Gopinath said the escalation of US-China trade tensions was one factor that had contributed to a “significantly weakened global expansion, especially in the second half of 2018.” The IMF cut its growth forecast for this year by 0.2 percentage points to 3.3%.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) also said tariffs imposed by the US and China last year had slowed economic growth in the world’s two largest economies.

Beyond the tangible economic fallout, some fear the trade war is challenging the multilateral system which has governed global trade for decades, including through the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“The system is already fragile. An all out trade war, in which both sides break their WTO commitments, will be very damaging,” Mr Hufbauer said.

Source: The BBC

30/04/2019

Boxed in: $1 billion of Iranian crude sits at China’s Dalian port

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Some 20 million barrels of Iranian oil sitting on China’s shores in the northeast port of Dalian for the past six months now appears stranded as the United States hardens its stance on importing crude from Tehran.

Iran sent the oil to China, its biggest customer, ahead of the reintroduction of U.S. sanctions last November, as it looked for alternative storage for a backlog of crude at home.

The oil is being held in so-called bonded storage tanks at the port, which means it has yet to clear Chinese customs. Despite a six-month waiver to the start of May that allowed China to continue some Iranian imports, shipping data shows little of this oil has been moved.

Traders and refinery sources pointed to uncertainty over the terms of the waiver and said independent refiners had been unable to secure payment or insurance channels, while state refiners struggled to find vessels.

The future of the crude, worth well over $1 billion at current prices, has become even more unclear after Washington last week increased its pressure on Iran, saying it would end all sanction exemptions at the start of May.

“No responsible Chinese company with any international exposure will have anything to do with Iran oil unless they are specifically told by the Chinese government to do so,” said Tilak Doshi of oil and gas consultancy Muse, Stancil & Co in Singapore.

Iran previously stored oil in 2014 at Dalian during the last round of sanctions that was later sold to buyers in South Korea and India. reut.rs/2yo9Se6

China last week formally complained to the United States over the unilateral Iran sanctions, but U.S. officials have said Washington is not considering a further short-term waiver or a wind-down period.

The 20 million barrels is equal to about a month’s worth of China’s imports from Iran over the past six months, or about two days of the country’s total imports.

Iran says it will continue to export oil in defiance of U.S. sanctions.

A senior official with the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters: “We will continue to sell our oil.”

“Iran is now desperate and will deal with anyone with steep discounts as long as they get paid somehow,” said Doshi.

SOME OIL TAKEN

Some Iranian oil sent to Dalian has moved, according to a ship tracking analyst at Refinitiv.

Dan, a supertanker owned by NITC moved 2 million barrels of oil from Dalian more than 1,000 km (620 miles) to the south to the Ningbo Shi Hua crude oil terminal in March, according to Refinitiv data.

Ningbo is home to Sinopec’s Zhenhai refinery, one of the country’s largest oil plants with a capacity of 500,000 barrels a day and a top processor of Iranian oil.

Sinopec declined to comment.

The Iranian tanker was chartered by state-run Chinese trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, according to Refinitiv analyst Emma Li. The NITC official confirmed the oil was taken by Zhuhai Zhenrong.

Zhenrong was started in the 1990s and brokered the first oil supply deals between Iran and China. At that time, Iran was supplying oil to China to pay for arms supplied by Beijing during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Zhuhai Zhenrong still specializes mainly in buying Iranian oil.(reut.rs/2IHlvEx)

An official at the general manager’s office with Zhuhai Zhenrong’s office in Beijing said he could not immediately comment. The company did not reply to a fax seeking comment.

For now, more Iranian oil is heading to China, with the supertankers Stream and Dream II due to arrive in eastern China from Iran on May 5 and May 7, respectively, Refinitiv data showed.

Some of this crude may be from Chinese investments into Iranian oilfields, a sanctions grey area.

Whether China will keep buying oil from Iran remains unclear, but analysts at Fitch Solutions said in a note “there may be scope for imports via barter or non-compliance from … China.”

Muse, Stancil & Co’s Doshi said the only way to get the Iranian oil out of Dalian now was by cheating.

“Only rogue parties might try to cheat the system and try to pass the Iranian oil at Dalian as something else via fraudulent docs. But I doubt this is easy or can amount to much in terms of volume.”

(MAP: Iranian supertanker frees some oil from China storage in March, tmsnrt.rs/2W1FJvK)

Source: Reuters

30/04/2019

Beast from the east – Indian mountaineers reckon they’ve found Yeti footprints

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Mountaineers from the Indian army on a expedition in Nepal have found mysterious large footprints in the snow that they think belong to the Yeti, or the abominable snowman, the military said on Tuesday.

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ADG PI – INDIAN ARMY

@adgpi

For the first time, an Moutaineering Expedition Team has sited Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast ‘Yeti’ measuring 32×15 inches close to Makalu Base Camp on 09 April 2019. This elusive snowman has only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past.

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Largely regarded by the scientific community as a myth, the Yeti is part of Nepali folklore and is said to live high in the snow-capped Himalayas.

In a tweet accompanied by pictures, the Indian army said it had sighted footprints measuring 32 by 15 inches (81 by 38 cm) close to a camp near Mount Makalu on April 9.

“For the first time, an #IndianArmy Mountaineering Expedition Team has sited Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast ‘Yeti’” it said in a tweet, not explaining how a mythical beast could leave footprints.

Located on the border between Nepal and China, Makalu is among the highest mountains in the world and stands near the Makalu-Barun valley, a remote wilderness that has also been surveyed by researchers hunting for the Yeti.

Tales of a wild hairy beast roaming the Himalayas have captured the imagination of climbers in Nepal since the 1920s, prompting many, including Sir Edmund Hillary, to go looking for the creature.

In 2008, Japanese climbers returning from a mountain in western Nepal told Reuters they had seen footprints, which they thought belonged to the Yeti.

And although they carried long-lens cameras, video cameras and telescopes, they hadn’t seen or taken any photographs of the creature.

But scientists have found little evidence of the Yeti’s existence so far. In 2017, a group of international researchers studied multiple purported Yeti samples collected from across the Himalayan region and concluded they belonged to bears.

In 2008, two men in the United States said they had found the remains of a half-man, half-ape, which was eventually revealed to be a rubber gorilla suit.

Source: Reuters

29/04/2019

China to improve health services for elderly people

BEIJING, April 28 (Xinhua) — China will work to build a sound system of health services for the country’s senior citizens, according to the country’s top health official Sunday.

Ma Xiaowei, head of the National Health Commission, said at a national conference on elderly affairs that the system that covers health education, disease prevention and fitness, disease treatment and rehabilitation, as well as daily care, long-term services and hospice care for the elderly in both urban and rural areas, will be improved.

The system needs to properly define the target groups and providers of such services as well as the contents of the services, Ma said.

The financial issue should also be considered, the official said.

As of the end of 2018, China has a population of 249 million aged 60 or above, and the number is expected to exceed 300 million in 2025, according to Ma.

Source: Xinhua

29/04/2019

China to hold gathering to mark centenary of May Fourth Movement

BEIJING, April 28 (Xinhua) — China will hold a gathering to mark the centenary of the May Fourth Movement at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, will attend the event and deliver an important speech.

The event will be broadcast live by China Media Group and on http://www.xinhuanet.com. It will also be rebroadcast simultaneously on major news websites including people.com.cn, cctv.com and china.com.cn as well as on news apps run by People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency and China Central Television.

Source: Xinhua

Note: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Fourth_Movement – (May 1919, student protest that resulted in massacre).

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