Archive for ‘Japan’

14/07/2019

Will Narendra Modi’s snub of Xi Jinping’s belt and road derail China-India ties?

  • The Indian prime minister refused to back the Chinese leader’s ambitious global infrastructure vision at a summit last week, but the apparent snub is not getting in the way of amicable ties between Asia’s two biggest economies
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BRICS Summit at the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Center in 2017. Photo: AFP
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BRICS Summit at the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Center in 2017. Photo: AFP
Their informal summit in Wuhan last year created all the right optics; even their chemistry seemed on point. So, when 
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

and

Chinese President Xi Jinping

met last week on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the bonhomie seemed like it was there to stay.

But a day later, cracks appeared to emerge. India, holding on to its long-stated position, delivered a public snub to China by refusing to endorse its ambitious, trillion-dollar 
Belt and Road Initiative

(BRI) in the SCO summit’s Bishkek declaration.

Now, after equal parts public bonhomie and disagreement over the BRI, where do 
India-China ties

finally stand? Somewhere in the middle, by all indications.

With just 10 days before Xi and Modi meet again at the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral meeting on the sidelines of the

Group of 20 (G20) summit

in Osaka, there have been increasing signs that both countries may now be trialling a fresh approach to diplomacy – one that neither sidesteps contentious issues nor does it allow differences to derail ties.

Chinese President Xi Jinping leads other leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: Russia’s Vladimir Putin and India’s Narendra Modi at the 2018 summit. Photo: Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping leads other leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: Russia’s Vladimir Putin and India’s Narendra Modi at the 2018 summit. Photo: Xinhua
Such an approach would delink the thorny issues – like the

decades-old border dispute

and the BRI – from other non-contentious issues of cooperation in other sectors.

But the jury is still out on whether it will pay off, especially given the historical distrust and the baggage that both countries carry.

ROAD BUMPS GALORE

In the last week alone, there have been at least three flashpoints in the Sino-India relationship.

While the dust was still settling on India’s refusal to sign the Bishkek declaration endorsing the BRI, reports emerged that the 

Maldives

was expected to scrap plans to build jointly with China an ocean observatory overlooking the Indian Ocean. The news came a week after Modi had visited the Maldives capital Male in early June.

For Modi 2.0, India’s US-China balancing act just got trickier

The Maldives’ decision to build the observatory was first mulled in December 2017, raising the Indian establishment’s hackles as it would have given China a presence in the region.

Another irritant between India and China has seemed to be the proposed 16-nation 

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

(RCEP). India has been lukewarm on the free-trade bloc, frustrating the Chinese. Indications have been that China is likely to push for a 13-member bloc at the coming RCEP meeting in Thailand on June 20, excluding India.

BRI and border issues have not managed to overshadow the remaining business between the two countries Narayani Basu

Yet, despite all this, there has been no let down in engagement levels between Modi and Xi. Both leaders are expected to meet at the RIC summit on June 29 to 30, and have at least two more meetings planned this year alone – an informal Xi-Modi summit in India
in October and the BRICS summit on November 13 to 14.
For Narayani Basu, a New Delhi-based author and independent foreign policy analyst with a special focus on China, such sustained engagement between the two countries signals a new level of maturity.
“There has been a fairly successful attempt at delinking historical geopolitical and territorial issues from issues which are economic in nature,” Basu said. “As a result, the BRI and border issues have not managed to overshadow the remaining business between the two countries.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan. Photo: Xinhua
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan. Photo: Xinhua

STRONG LEADERS, STRONGER AGENDAS

The approach might also have to do with where both leaders currently stand.

Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have freshly emerged from a landslide

victory in the Indian polls

. Through the campaign, Modi portrayed a hardline image of himself and his government, especially on issues of national security. Similarly, Xi has emerged as a stronger leader since his reappointment last year – his approach marked by a higher-than-ever emphasis on economic nationalism and connectivity. Modi made a reference to this in his SCO meeting with Xi.

Basu said Sino-India ties were also being guided by the personalities of both leaders – strong, with harder-than-before agendas.
Did Japan and India just launch a counter to belt and road?
“They both came back on agendas based on consolidation of power, protection of sovereignty and nationalism. These are all issues that will not allow either side to blink easily. “So, even as both leaders are looking to move forward, they also do not want to compromise on their core issues – primary among them being territorial sovereignty,” she said.

The message is loud – India’s opposition to the BRI does not mean India will allow adversarial relations to develop between the two Sana Hashmi

In his SCO summit speech, Modi brought up territorial sovereignty as a thinly veiled reference to China’s BRI, saying India only supported connectivity projects that are based on “respect of sovereignty” and “regional integrity”.
Sana Hashmi, an analyst with Perth-based think tank Future Directions International and author of China’s Approach Towards Territorial Disputes: Lessons and Prospects, agreed that India was not letting historical issues get in the way of its relationship with Beijing.
Hashmi noted that India’s main objections to BRI revolved around one component – the China-
Pakistan

Economic Corridor (CPEC), which runs through the disputed region of Kashmir.

“But to make sure this does not affect the relationship, PM Modi and President Xi are meeting numerous times,” Hashmi said. “The message is loud – India’s opposition to the BRI does not mean India will allow adversarial relations to develop between the two.”

A NEED FOR EACH OTHER

Another factor that has likely prompted the new approach between India and China is their need for each other, particularly as both Asian powers navigate bumpy relationships with US under 

China is caught in a protracted

battle with the US over trade deficits

and is reeling from the tariffs imposed on Chinese imports to America. India, too, has seen a similar but smaller version of this trade battle play out – things have escalated especially since the Trump administration withdrew its preferential trade treatment towards India. Responding to this, India imposed tariffs on 28 US products over the weekend.

Move over, ‘Made in China’. It’s ‘Made in Bangladesh’ era now
In such a context, a stronger relationship between the two Asian giants might be in mutual interest.
Basu said the scope for the relationship to deliver on, especially economically, is vast.

“Despite the chemistry, India and China’s promises to each other on the economic front haven’t materialised on the ground. Major projects as well as investments in each country are stuck.”

Source: SCMP

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14/07/2019

Indonesia asks China for special Belt and Road Initiative fund

  • Indonesian finance minister working on loan structure and criteria
Indonesian President Joko Widodo asked Chinese President Xi Jinping for a special belt and road fund at the G20 summit in Osaka last week. Photo: Reuters
Indonesian President Joko Widodo asked Chinese President Xi Jinping for a special belt and road fund at the G20 summit in Osaka last week. Photo: Reuters
Indonesia has asked China to set up a special fund within its Belt and Road Initiative for investment in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, after offering China projects worth US$91 billion, Indonesian government officials said on Wednesday.
Indonesia has not been among the biggest beneficiaries of China’s trillion-dollar push to create a modern-day Silk Road.
Indonesia says this is because it has insisted that any loan within the initiative’s framework is done on a business-to-business basis to avoid exposing the government in case of default.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo made the request for a special fund during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sideline of the Group of 20 summit in Japan last week, Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said.
Japan still leads in Southeast Asia infrastructure race, even as China ramps up belt and road investments: report
Indrawati said she had been given the responsibility of coming up with the fund’s structure, including a proposal to China on the size of the fund and the criteria for loans from it.
“I am currently doing a study about its form, its mechanism, the size of it and of course the consequences of its costs,” she said.

Luhut Pandjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime affairs, said separately the fund should provide loans “with low interest in regards to investment in Indonesia, in partnership with Indonesian companies”.

Pandjaitan, who oversees belt and road projects in Indonesia, previously said the Indonesian government had offered China involvement in about 30 projects, worth US$91 billion, during the second Belt and Road Forum in April.

The most high-profile belt and road venture in Indonesia is a US$6 billion high-speed rail project connecting the capital, Jakarta, to the textile hub of Bandung, awarded to a consortium of Chinese and Indonesian state firms in 2015.

China expert lays out trillion yuan nuclear path for belt and road plan

The project has faced land ownership issues.

Another controversial project is a US$1.5 billion hydropower plant, funded by Chinese banks and being built by the Chinese state firm Sinohydro, in the heart of the Batang Toru rainforest on the island of Sumatra, which is home to the endangered Tapanuli orangutans.

Agus Djoko Ismanto, an executive of the power plant developer PT North Sumatra Hydro Energy, on Wednesday denied disrupting the orangutan habitat. He said 11 per cent of the construction had been completed and it was due to begin operation by 2022.

09/07/2019

‘We need to talk’: call for Chinese and Indian navies to communicate

  • Ambassador to China Vikram Misri says they will be ‘meeting more and more in common waters’, and more exchanges are needed
  • He also says preparations are under way for President Xi Jinping to visit India
The INS Kolkata arrives in Qingdao for PLA Navy 70th anniversary celebrations in April. The Indian ambassador called for more communication between the two navies. Photo: Reuters
The INS Kolkata arrives in Qingdao for PLA Navy 70th anniversary celebrations in April.
The Indian ambassador called for more communication between the two navies. Photo: Reuters
The Chinese and Indian navies should establish communication because they are increasingly operating within close proximity, according to India’s ambassador to China.

While the two nations’ militaries communicated extensively, it was mainly between their land forces, and that should be extended to the navies and air forces, Vikram Misri said.

“We need to talk about the two air forces and the two navies – especially the two navies – because we are operating in the same waters and increasingly in the coming years, we will be meeting more and more in common waters,” Misri said.

“I think it is important for us to develop those levels of understanding and communication,” he said. “There are some [navy and air force] exchanges now, but not as well developed as in the case of the land force.”
China and India have made efforts to repair their relations since a tense stand-off at the Doklam plateau two years ago, when communications between their forces along the border were seen as inadequate to contain the tension.
China and India have sought to repair relations after a tense stand-off at Doklam. Photo: AFP
China and India have sought to repair relations after a tense stand-off at Doklam. Photo: AFP

Misri said the two nations had made incremental progress, and opened new points where “border personnel can meet and exchange information, or exchange views about any particular situation”.

The ambassador was visiting the Indian consulate in Hong Kong over the weekend, six months after taking up the post and six weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was re-elected.

He said preparations were under way for Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit India, which was expected to happen in the fourth quarter, after they pledged earlier to strengthen cooperation.

Tensions between 

China and India

have periodically flared along their 4,000km (2,485-mile) border, resulting in a brief war in 1962. Relations have also been strained by China’s ties with Pakistan, and India’s concern over China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean.

India has also not signed on to China’s global trade and infrastructure strategy, the

Belt and Road Initiative

, which has projects that run through the disputed Kashmir region.

“Our concerns with regards to this particular initiative are very clear, and we have continued to share them very, very frankly with our Chinese partners,” Misri said. “I think there is understanding on the part of our Chinese partners with regard to this.”
Indian ambassador to China Vikram Misri said New Delhi’s concerns on the Belt and Road Initiative were clear. Photo: Xiaomei Chen
Indian ambassador to China Vikram Misri said New Delhi’s concerns on the Belt and Road Initiative were clear. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

But he said the two nations should not let their differences evolve into disputes, and they should focus on areas where they can cooperate.

One such area was maritime and investment cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, including infrastructure and disaster response. The US in recent years has focused on the Indo-Pacific region, and has asked its allies to send naval vessels to the area as a counterbalance to Beijing.

“We have made the point that our vision of the Indo-Pacific is not a strategy, which sometimes is a concern on the part of some partners, aimed against any particular country,” Misri said. “It is definitely not a military alliance in any format.

“It is on the other hand a vision that aims at economic and development cooperation with our partners in the Indo-Pacific space,” he said, adding that India was discussing such cooperation with China.

He also said trilateral meetings between China, India and Russia would become more regular after their three leaders met on the sidelines of the 

Group of 20

summit in Osaka, Japan last month, when they vowed to uphold multilateralism.

Those meetings would allow the nations to address challenges facing the international trading system and pushback against globalisation, but Misri said they should not be seen as a bid to counter the US, which is also involved in a trade battle with India.

India also had a trilateral meeting with Japan and the United States during the G20 summit.

“The fact that these countries seek us out also shows that they see value in engaging with India, and we have important issues to discuss in each of these settings,” he said. “None of our individual relationships is going to come at the cost of a relationship with any other partner.”

The ambassador said there could be a broader consensus on counterterrorism. Photo: AP
The ambassador said there could be a broader consensus on counterterrorism. Photo: AP

Misri also said there could be a broader consensus between China and India on counterterrorism. The two nations have clashed over Indian efforts to blacklist Masood Azhar, leader of the Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), at the United Nations, which China objected to for years – a move seen in India as being done at the behest of Islamabad.

Azhar was finally listed as a global terrorist by the UN in May, after JeM claimed responsibility for a deadly terror attack on Indian security forces in Pulwama in February, although the listing did not directly reference the attack.

“It could have happened earlier … but I’m glad that it did happen, and we hope to build on that – that should be taken as progress, and we hope to build on that in the coming years,” Misri said.

“Everybody is aware of the context in which the listing happened, and therefore, I don’t think it’s hidden from anybody as to what this was aimed at or who this was aimed at, or what the motivation for the action might have been.”

As for the tensions between India and Pakistan following the terror strike in Indian-controlled Kashmir, Misri said progress would be “largely dependent on Pakistan” and the actions it needed to take to address the “ecosystem of terror that prevails in different parts of that country”.

Source: SCMP

06/07/2019

China Focus: Peacebuilders in China-Japan friendship

TIANJIN/BEIJING, July 6 (Xinhua) — Even at the age of 100, Yang Enze, one of the founders of China’s optical communication, does not stop his research and teaching as a professor at Tianjin University.

Besides his pioneering achievements as the chief engineer of China’s first optical communication project for practical use in the 1970s, Yang is also known as a survivor and a witness of the war of Japanese aggression against China.

“I was admitted to Wuhan University in 1937, the year when Japanese troops attacked the Lugou Bridge, also known as Marco Polo Bridge, on the outskirts of Beijing, on July 7,” said the senior recalling the start of his academic study.

The incident marked the beginning of Japan’s full-scale war against China during World War II and triggered China’s full-scale resistance against the invasion.

Ahead of the 82nd anniversary of the incident that falls on Sunday, Yang said because of the war, his university in central China’s Hubei Province was relocated to southwestern province of Sichuan to avoid the enemy forces. “Even in Sichuan, there were a lot of Japanese bombings, but none of the students missed any of the classes as long as there was no air-raid siren,” he recalled.

It was at that time he and many of his peers cemented the belief that the country needed advanced science and technology for reconstruction and revival.

“I have always kept in mind late chairman Mao Zedong’s words that it was Japanese militarists’ crime that was to blame for the war, not Japanese civilians, ” Yang said, noting that he still gets in touch with many Japanese scholars.

He established the first optical communication laboratory in Tianjin in 1985, when he was invited to teach at Tianjin University. In Yang’s career, he has made friends with several leading experts from Japan at international conferences and even kept friendship with some of them.

Also in Tianjin, Morita Naomi, a Japanese language teacher in Nankai University, works as a consultant to the school’s research institute of Zhou Enlai-Daisaku Ikeda.

“By involving in the research of the friendship between the late Chinese premier and the Japanese philosopher, I want to search for the core factors that help consolidate the friendship between the two peoples,” said Naomi.

She came to Nankai to pursue a master-degree study in Modern Chinese and Chinese Literature in 2010 and has stayed ever since.

When she first arrived, she had troubles even in learning Chinese phonics. Now she can read and speak Chinese fluently, write beautiful Chinese characters, and study ancient Chinese literature independently.

As a teacher, she feels frustrated that most of her Chinese students are more likely to be attracted by Japanese animation and games rather than Japanese literature.

According to the school’s statistics, nearly half of the undergraduates in the 2019 class of Japanese major chose to work in Japanese-funded enterprises or Japanese-related enterprises after graduation.

Naomi said Japanese visitors to China are more likely to choose destinations like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Peking University in Beijing impresses young Japanese most.

According to a report released by the China Tourism Academy, China received 2.69 million Japanese visitors in 2018, making Japan China’s fourth largest source of foreign tourists. In the same year, Chinese made 9.06 million outbound visits to Japan as a direct destination.

The academy released the report at the 2019 China-Japan Tourism Forum Dalian held on May 26, which focused on promoting win-win cooperation on cultural exchanges and tourism between the two countries.

China and Japan agreed to push forward bilateral relations along the right track of peace, friendship and cooperation, at the summit of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies held in Osaka, Japan, in June.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and Japan has also entered the Era of Reiwa. It is also the China-Japan Youth Exchange Promotion Year, for promoting friendship and cooperation in a wide range of areas between the two peoples.

“We keep the wartime memory not because we bear the hatred, but because we want the younger generations to cherish what they own today and move towards a better future,” said 70-year-old Zhen Dong, who on Friday visited an exhibition on Beijing’s past, held in Beijing Municipal Archives.

Zhao Hongwei, a professor with Tokyo-based Hosei University, said when it comes to the bilateral relations between China and Japan, it is very important to promote the free trade agreement and expand the markets of both sides.

Source: Xinhua

05/07/2019

Shanghai begins new waste sorting era, as China eyes cleaner image

  • The city’s ambitious waste and recycling rules took effect on Monday, aiming to emulate successes of comparable policies in Japan, Taiwan and California
  • President Xi Jinping has urged China – the world’s second-biggest waste producer after the United States – to sort rubbish better
Recyclables such as plastic must be separated from wet garbage, dry garbage and hazardous waste under the new rules in Shanghai. Photo: AFP
Recyclables such as plastic must be separated from wet garbage, dry garbage and hazardous waste under the new rules in Shanghai. Photo: AFP
At 9pm, Li Zhigang was sitting in front of his fruit shop on a bustling street in central Shanghai’s Xujiahui area, peeling the thin layers of plastic from rotten pears and mangoes.
“This is so much trouble!” he mumbled to himself while throwing the plastic into one trash can and the fruit into another.
In the past, Li simply threw away what could not be sold with the packaging on, but from July 1 he could be fined up to 200 yuan (about US$30) for doing so.
Like Li, many of the tens of millions of residents in the eastern Chinese city have been complaining in recent weeks that the introduction of compulsory 
household garbage sorting

is making life difficult, but at the same time have been having to learn to do it.

Calls for garbage sorting have brought little progress in China in the past decade, but Shanghai is leading a fresh start for the world’s second-largest waste producer with its new municipal solid waste (MSW) regime, observers have said.
China generated 210 million tonnes of MSW in 2017, 48 million tonnes less than the United States, according to the World Bank’s What a Waste database.

“If we say China is now classifying its waste, then it’s Shanghai that is really doing it,” said Chen Liwen, a veteran environmentalist who has worked for non-governmental organisations devoted to waste classification for the past decade.

“It’s starting late, comparing with the US, Japan or Taiwan, but if it’s successful in such a megacity with such a huge population, it will mean a lot for the world,” she said.

A cleaner re-sorts household waste left at a residential facility in Shanghai. Photo: Alice Yan
A cleaner re-sorts household waste left at a residential facility in Shanghai. Photo: Alice Yan

Household waste in the city is now required to be sorted into four categories: wet garbage (household food), dry garbage (residual waste), recyclable waste and hazardous waste.

General rubbish bins that had previously taken all types of household waste were removed from buildings. Instead, residents were told to visit designated trash collection stations to dispose of different types of waste during designated periods of the day.

Companies and organisations flouting the new rules could be fined 50,000-500,000 yuan (US$7,000-70,000), while individual offenders risked a fine of 50-200 yuan.

The city’s urban management officers will be mainly responsible for identifying those who breach the rules.

Huang Rong, the municipal government’s deputy secretary general, said on Friday that nearly 14,000 inspections had been carried out around the city and more than 13,000 people had been warned on the issue since the regulations were announced at the start of the year.

As July 1’s enforcement of the rules approached, it became a much-discussed topic among Shanghainese people. A hashtag meaning “Shanghai residents almost driven crazy by garbage classification” was one of the most popular on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform.

“My daughter took a box of expired medicine from her workplace to the trash collection station near our home yesterday because she couldn’t find the local bin for hazardous waste,” Li said.

While the measures force a change of habits for most people, they bring opportunities for some.

Du Huanzheng, director of the Recycling Economy Institute at Tongji University, said waste sorting was crucial for China’s recycling industry.

“Without proper classification, a lot of garbage that can be recycled is burned, and that’s a pity,” he said. “After being classified, items suitable to be stored and transported can now be recycled.”

G20 set to agree on ways to reduce plastics in oceans

Shanghai’s refuse treatment plants deal with 19,300 tonnes of residual waste and 5,050 tonnes of kitchen waste every day, according to the municipal government. By contrast, only 3,300 tonnes of recyclables per day are collected at present.

Nationwide, the parcel delivery industry used more than 13 billion polypropylene woven bags, plastic bags and paper boxes as well as 330 million rolls of tape in 2016, but less than 20 per cent of this was recycled, according to a report by the State Post Bureau.

Prices of small sortable rubbish bins for home use have surged on e-commerce platforms, while bin makers are also developing smart models in response to new needs.

Some communities are deploying bins that people are required to sign in with their house number to use, and are equipped with a “big data analysis system”. The system records households have “actively participated” and which have not, so that neighbourhood management can publicise their addresses and make house visits, according to a report by Thepaper.cn.

In a residential community in Songjiang district, grocery store owner Nie Chuanguo has found something new to sell: a rubbish throwing service.

He has offered to visit homes, collect waste and throw it into the right bin at a designated time. He charges 30 yuan a month for those living on the ground and first floors, 40 yuan for those on the second and third, and 50 yuan for the fourth and fifth.

“This service will start from July 1. Many people have come to inquire about it,” he said.

According to Du, waste classification is not only about environmental impact or business opportunities. “Garbage sorting is an important part of a country’s soft power,” he said.

For China, it was an opportunity to improve its international reputation, he said. “In the past, Chinese people were rich and travelled abroad, but they threw rubbish wilfully, making foreigners not admit we are a respected powerhouse.”

He added: “It’s also related to 1.3 billion people’s health, since the current waste treatment methods – burying and burning – are not friendly to the environment.”

Shanghai’s part in tackling waste comes amid President Xi Jinping’s repeated calls for the country to sort waste better.

“For local officials, it is a political task,” said Chen, who heads a waste management programme in rural China called Zero Waste Villages.

Huang said the president had asked Shanghai in particular to set a good example in waste classification.

In March 2017, the central government set out plans for a standardised system and regulations for 

rubbish sorting by 2020

, with a target for 46 major cities, including Shanghai, to recycle 35 per cent of their waste by then.

In early June, Xi issued a long statement calling for more action from local governments.

However, it was a long process that required input from individuals, government and enterprises, Du said.

“Japan took one generation to move to doing its waste sorting effectively, so we shouldn’t have the expectation that our initiative will succeed in several years,” Du said.

How China’s ban on plastic waste imports caused turmoil

“The lessons we can learn from Japan include carrying out campaigns again and again, and paying close attention to educating young pupils about rubbish classification.”

Chen echoed that Shanghai’s waste sorting frenzy now was only a beginning.

“What we can see now is that people are being pushed to sort waste by regulators, but what’s next? How shall we keep up the enthusiasm?” she asked.

She suggested that how well officials worked on garbage sorting should be included in their job appraisal, and that ultimately people should pay for waste disposal.

“The key to waste classification, going by international experience, is making polluters pay,” Chen said.

Most of Hong Kong and Taiwan’s dumped plastic bottles come from mainland

There is plenty of experience for Shanghai to learn from in California, where unrecyclable waste is charged for at twice the price of recyclables, and Taiwan, where people are charged only for disposal of residual waste, according to Chen.

Taiwan has one of the world’s most impressive recycling rates, with nearly 60 per cent of its waste between January and October last year having been recycled, according to the Taipei government.

The daily amount of garbage produced per person during that period was about 0.41kg – down substantially from 1.14kg in 1997 – the government said.

Hong Kong has tried to copy the Taipei model over the years but failed, with a recycling rate of MSW slightly above 30 per cent in recent years, according to official data.

The city has recently postponed a mandatory 

waste charging scheme

until late 2020 at the earliest. Under its plan, 80 per cent of household waste will have to go into designated bags and will be priced at an average of 11 HK cents (1 US cent) per litre.

On Friday, Shanghai officials admitted that there were plenty of challenges involved in
sorting and transport.
Zhang Lixin, deputy chief of the municipal housing administration, said: “Many property management companies fear the difficulties brought by garbage sorting or are reluctant to implement the new rules.”
The administration trained the heads of more than 200 companies across the city in April, he said.
“We do find that some cleaners and rubbish trucks mix the waste, despite residents being asked to throw different types in different bins,” said Deng Jianping, head of the city’s landscaping and city appearance administration – the government department spearheading the initiative.
In the interests of curbing such practices, they could face fines of up to 50,000 yuan or even have their licences revoked, he said.
Source: SCMP
04/07/2019

Sri Lanka could help Chinese manufacturers offset trade war impact

  • Development minister leads high-level investment forum in Beijing
  • Points to free trade agreements and preferential duty deals to offset trade war pressures for Chinese factories
Sri Lankan Minister for Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama at the Sri Lanka Investment Forum in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: Simon Song
Sri Lankan Minister for Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama at the Sri Lanka Investment Forum in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: Simon Song
Sri Lanka is wooing Chinese manufacturers, urging them to make use of its preferential duty-free treatment by the US and Europe as a way to offset the growing tariff pressure of the trade war.
The country’s development minister, Malik Samarawickrama, was in Beijing on Wednesday as part of an investment forum at the Sri Lankan embassy attended by dozens of Chinese businesspeople.
“China has invested heavily in infrastructure and they are assisting us to invest in ports, roads, railways, water supplies and so on. Now we would like China to get involved in setting up their manufacturing plants in Sri Lanka, primarily for the purpose of exports,” he said.
“They can make use of the preferential market access we have – we have duty free access to the European Union countries and we have free trade agreements with Pakistan, Singapore and India. And, since the cost of manufacturing in China is going up, we would like the Chinese to look at Sri Lanka for their manufacturing and we want it to be exported back to China.”
Sri Lanka, bruised from Easter bombings, seeks US$1 billion loan from China
Along with trade officials and diplomats, Samarawickrama, one of Sri Lanka’s most senior government ministers, was also keen to boost investor confidence following the deadly Easter Sunday bombings in Colombo which killed 253 people.
“Let me assure you, absolutely, Sri Lanka is safe for investment,” he told the dozens of representatives from Chinese state-owned and private companies who attended the forum.

“We must bring to your notice that none of the industries have been affected as a result of the bombings and none of the export orders were cancelled or delayed. This is a testament to the resilience of the economy.”

China is one of Sri Lanka’s largest trading partners and – sometimes controversially – the largest financier of its booming new infrastructure. Other big lenders to the island nation are the Asian Development Bank and Japan.

Earlier this year the Sri Lankan government signed a US$989.5 million loan agreement with China’s Export-Import Bank for a major new motorway project. And last month Sri Lanka’s finance ministry confirmed it was in talks with the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for a further loan of nearly US$1 billion for energy and motorways.

Did Japan and India just launch a counter to China’s Belt and Road?
The surge of Chinese investment has raised concerns that Sri Lanka could become caught up in the rivalry between China and India as Beijing seeks to expand its influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean.
Last month, Sri Lanka signed an agreement with India and Japan to jointly develop the East Container Terminal at the Port of Colombo, which some observers said could become a competitor to the China-funded Hambantota Port, and was perhaps a sign that the island nation was seeking to neutralise the growing influence of China.
Samarawickrama denied claims the involvement of Japan and India in Sri Lanka’s biggest port project was to counter China’s influence.
Under the agreement, he said, the terminal was owned by Sri Lanka Port Authority, with a 51 per cent stake, while Japan and India would develop the remaining 49 per cent.
“We need the expertise from Japan,” Samarawickrama said. “We need the Indians to get involved in the operation because 75 per cent of the transshipment cargoes in the Colombo port come from India and India is extremely important to us.
“They are the operators of the terminal and they are not building any ports.”
Source: SCMP
01/07/2019

Spotlight: Xi’s trip to Osaka drives multilateralism, G20 cooperation, global economy

JAPAN-OSAKA-XI JINPING-G20 SUMMIT

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the 14th G20 summit held in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019. Xi called on G20 to join hands in forging high-quality global economy while addressing the 14th G20 summit held in the Japanese city of Osaka. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

BEIJING, June 29 (xinhua) — Attending the summit of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies and holding meetings with his counterparts, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a three-day visit to Osaka, Japan, which has proved a success with expanding consensus on the promotion of multilateralism and providing direction for both the G20 cooperation and global growth.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks while noting that the 14th summit happened at a historic moment when chaos and uncertainties have brought the world to a critical crossroads, and that Xi’s tight diplomatic agenda marked China’s continuous efforts as a reliable and responsible major country to help with broad visions and workable solutions.

Envisioning a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind, Xi’s efforts were focused on promoting multilateralism, partnerships, mutually beneficial cooperation and joint development, which helped expand consensus, push forward cooperation, and increase confidence in global peace and development.

According to Wang, Xi’s speech at the G20 summit struck an extensive chord and China’s ideas received widespread support. In addition, the world is happy to see that Xi’s meetings with other leaders will help shape healthier major-country relations, that new opportunities will come with the new measures Xi announced for China’s further opening-up, and that Xi and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed that the two countries will restart trade talks.

WIDE CONSENSUS

During his trip to Osaka, by upholding multilateralism, the Chinese president guided the dialogue and discussions towards the direction of cooperation and inclusiveness in order to achieve win-win results.

Xi made four overseas trips since the beginning of June, setting a record for the history of the diplomacy of The People’s Republic of China, Wang said.

Xi put forward a four-point proposal in his speech at the summit, including exploring driving force for growth, improving global governance, removing development bottlenecks, and properly addressing differences.

Those proposals have outlined the direction to tackle the challenges facing the world economy, which is conducive to creating greater space for the global development and a better environment for international cooperation, Wang said.

With joint efforts, the G20 summit in Osaka has voiced support for multilateralism. It has been proven that upholding and practicing multilateralism is not just China’s choice, but a consensus and wish of the majority of countries in the world, Wang said.

Besides, on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Xi also attended a meeting of BRICS nations, China-Africa leaders’ meeting, China-Russia-India leaders’ meeting, and held a series of bilateral meetings.

During the meetings, Xi urged more efforts to promote global governance based on the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, safeguard the international system with the UN at the core and the international law as the foundation, preserve the multilateral trade regime with the World Trade Organization at the core and the rules as the foundation, promote multilateralism and free trade, push forward the democratization of international relations, and build an open world economy, Wang said.

Meanwhile, Xi met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with the two sides reaching a 10-point consensus to promote the development of bilateral relations.

When meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Xi said the more complex and severe the situation is, the more necessary it is to highlight the UN’s authority and role.

Xi also exchanged views and reached new consensus with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on bilateral relations and the Korean Peninsula situation. Xi’s meetings with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will promote the in-depth development of China-Europe relations, Wang said.

Xi also met with Trump, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Indonesian President Joko Widodo during his visit.

COOPERATION, NOT CONFRONTATION

As China’s legitimate and lawful rights have been undermined by a series of unilateral and protectionist measures by the United States, China has to adopt necessary counter-measures, Wang said.

During the summit, Xi, at the invitation of his U.S. counterpart, met with President Trump, stating China’s stance on fundamental issues concerning the development of bilateral relations, and conducting candid communication over major challenges facing the two sides, Wang added.

Summing up the experience and illumination in the past the four decades since China and the United States established diplomatic ties, Xi said the two sides both benefit from cooperation and lose in confrontation, and that cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation.

China and the United States have highly integrated interests and extensive cooperation areas, and they should not fall into so-called traps of conflict and confrontation, Xi said.

On issues involving China’s sovereignty and dignity, China must safeguard its core interests, Xi stressed.

For his part, Trump said he values the good relationship with Xi and that it is of great significance for the two heads of state to maintain close contacts.

The U.S. side attaches importance to its relations with China, and harbors no hostility towards China, Trump said, adding that his country is willing to cooperate with China and that he hopes for better relations between the two countries.

During the meeting, Xi also reiterated the position of the Chinese government on the Taiwan issue, urging the United States to stick to the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiques.

The U.S. stance has not changed and it continues to pursue the one-China policy, Trump said.

When talking about the China-U.S. trade frictions, Xi emphasized that the essence of the China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation is mutual benefit and win-win, and that the two sides will eventually have to find a mutually acceptable solution to their differences through equal dialogue and consultation. Trump agreed with Xi in this regard.

Trump said the differences in such fields as economy and trade between the two sides should be properly settled, and that the United States will not add new tariffs on imports from China.

The most important consensus reached between the two heads of state is that China and the United States agree to continue to advance a China-U.S. relationship featuring coordination, cooperation and stability, Wang said.

They announced the restart of economic and trade consultations between their countries on the basis of equality and mutual respect. These significant consensuses send positive signals to the international community and global markets, Wang said.

As long as the two sides follow the principles and consensus established by the two heads of state, firmly grasp the correct direction of bilateral ties, expand cooperation based on mutual benefit, manage differences on the basis of mutual respect, and properly settle all problems that exist or will likely happen in bilateral relations, there is hope of a long-term and steady growth of the China-U.S. ties, and of more benefit to the two peoples and the people from other parts of the world, Wang said.

BRIGHT FUTURE OF CHINA

During the G20 summit and meetings with other world leaders, Xi explained China’s development philosophy and cooperation proposals.

According to Wang, Xi stressed that China is confident in pursuing its path, handling its own affairs well, achieving peaceful co-existence and win-win cooperation with all other countries, which has enhanced their understanding and support for China.

Stressing that the Chinese economy is registering a stable performance with good momentum for growth, Xi introduced a clear attitude and the latest measures on opening up the Chinese market, expanding imports, improving business environment as well as advancing free trade arrangements and regional economic integration, Wang said.

The Chinese president said China is breaking new ground in opening-up and pressing ahead with high-quality development.

Meanwhile, during the summit, Xi invited all interested parties to join the Belt and Road Initiative, amplifying the positive effects of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

Xi also advocated international cooperation in innovation so as to benefit more countries and people, Wang said.

According to Wang, all sides are optimistic about China’s development prospects, and believe that the new round of reform and opening-up measures announced by Xi are sincere and substantial, and the high-quality cooperation on building the Belt and Road corresponds with the trend of the times and the aspirations of people in the world.

It has been once again proven that China is a driving force for world economic growth, promoting openness in the world and providing a major market for other countries to explore business opportunities, Wang said.

Source: Xinhua

28/06/2019

Japan’s Abe and China’s Xi Jinping meet amid trade war fears

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi JinpingImage copyright AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping has met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a time of warming ties between the two nations.

Relations have historically been strained, but concerns over US trade policy and North Korea’s nuclear programme have shifted them closer.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of the forthcoming G20 summit in Japan.

“I want to open up a new age of Japan-China relations hand in hand with President Xi,” Mr Abe told reporters.

The pair agreed to work together to promote “free and fair trade” following a “very frank exchange”, a Japanese official said.

It is the first official visit Mr Xi has made to Japan since becoming president in 2013. At the outset of their talks on Thursday, Mr Abe invited him to return on a state visit next year.

“Around the time of the cherry blossoms next spring, I would like to welcome President Xi as a state guest to Japan,” he said. “[I] hope to further elevate ties to the next level.”

What did the leaders discuss?

Japan and China are by far Asia’s largest economies and the talks on Thursday focused strongly on business.

Last year, the two sides signed a deal to maintain annual dialogue and to co-operate on innovation. This time around, officials say, they pledged to develop a “free and fair trading system” in a “complicated” global economic landscape.

Media caption North Korea has been called out for evading UN sanctions

Another topic on the schedule would probably have been North Korea. While China is North Korea’s biggest trading partner, both Tokyo and Beijing want it to abandon its nuclear programme.

Mr Abe has only very limited leverage on the matter and will try to sway both the US and China to keep Tokyo’s interests in mind in any negotiations.

The G20 summit will begin on Saturday, but the main meeting is likely to be overshadowed by the many bilateral talks that are set to happen on the sidelines.

For example, Mr Xi will meet President Trump as China and the US try to resolve their trade dispute.

Do Japan and China get along?

In the past, relations have been tense. While the two countries do have close trade ties, politically things have been much more fragile.

Japanese and Chinese flagsImage copyright EPA
Image caption Japan and China have not always had warm relations

Japan’s World War Two occupation of parts of China remains a very emotional issue. There are also several ongoing territorial disputes between Tokyo and Beijing.

But tensions with Washington over its protectionist trade policy have driven Japan and China into an unlikely friendship.

In 2018, Mr Abe hailed his high-profile visit to Beijing as an historic turning point. Both leaders have since promised to establish positive, constructive, relations.

Source: The BBC