Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

22/07/2019

Migrant workers forced out as one of Shenzhen’s last ‘urban villages’ faces wrecking ball

  • Some 150,000 residents of Baishizhou have to leave by the end of September to make way for malls, hotels and high-end residential projects
  • They worry about finding affordable housing in the city, and their children’s education
Urban villages like Baishizhou provide affordable housing, mostly for migrant workers. Photo: Phoebe Zhang
Urban villages like Baishizhou provide affordable housing, mostly for migrant workers. Photo: Phoebe Zhang
As their eviction deadline nears, all Chen Jian can think about is the wrecking ball – and where his family is going to go. He often dreams about the negotiations – with officials, real estate developers, landlords. On other nights, he cannot sleep at all.
“I’m mostly worried about my daughter – she starts secondary school in September,” said Chen, 41, who works as a quality supervisor for a foreign trading company.

His family of four lives in a cheap one-bedroom flat in Baishizhou, one of the last standing chengzhongcun, or “urban villages”, in the flourishing commercial zones of southern Chinese city Shenzhen.

The villages provide affordable housing – costing from a few hundred to a few thousand yuan per month – to a mostly migrant worker population that provides services and labour.
But Baishizhou, in the Nanshan district, will not be standing for much longer. Many tenants in the area have received eviction notices since June, telling them to move out before the end of September to make way for a real estate project led by Shenzhen-based developer LVGEM Group.
The developer bought the land and buildings from their landlords, and it plans to knock them down and replace them with malls, hotels, high-end residential projects and skyscrapers.
Some 150,000 people are affected, mostly migrant workers, and they will have to find new homes, change jobs or even move back home at short notice.
Chen Jian lives in a one-bedroom flat in Baishizhou with his wife, daughter and son. Photo: Phoebe Zhang
Chen Jian lives in a one-bedroom flat in Baishizhou with his wife, daughter and son. Photo: Phoebe Zhang

For Chen and more than 2,000 other families, their children’s education is the most urgent issue. He said they could move somewhere else nearby, but the rent would be more than four times higher. A cheaper area would mean a long walk to school for his daughter from the nearest subway station.

As the breadwinner, Chen’s monthly income of 12,000 yuan (US$1,750) has to cover the whole family. His wife takes care of their three-year-old son and their daughter, 12.

“If I were here by myself, I would just pack up my bags and go,” said Chen, who moved to Shenzhen from Henan province. “But I can’t – I have children, I would do anything for my children.”

Families who’ve lived in old Chinese town for generations being kicked out to make way for tourists
Urban villages are a phenomenon that grew from China’s rapid development. In the 1980s, soon after Shenzhen became the country’s first special economic zone, the local government expropriated mostly vacant land from villagers and allowed developers to build commercial properties there.
The locals invested the large sums of money they received into new living spaces in their villages, which they rented out to the migrant workers that flowed into the city amid a manufacturing boom.
These chengzhongcun emerged as a tangle of damp alleyways, where electricity and telephone wires hang like spiderwebs. They bustle with fruit carts, soy milk shops, cobblers, karaoke parlours, short-stay love hotels and hair salons offering massage services. The “handshake buildings” where people live are packed together so tightly that residents could reach out of the window and shake their neighbour’s hand in the opposite flat.
“I call this ‘voluntary urbanisation’,” said Duan Peng, an architect based in the city. Since he moved to Shenzhen in 2001, Duan has spent many days and nights in Baishizhou. He said its development was in line with the government’s urban planning policy, since it allowed migrant workers to live in a relatively prosperous area in the city centre rather than on its periphery.
“Handshake buildings”, where residents can shake their neighbours’ hands through the windows, are a feature of China’s urban villages. Photo: Phoebe Zhang
“Handshake buildings”, where residents can shake their neighbours’ hands through the windows, are a feature of China’s urban villages. Photo: Phoebe Zhang

Chen moved to Shenzhen with his wife in 2000, and both their children were born there. They moved to Baishizhou in 2008 after he was introduced to his landlord, who is from Chen’s hometown and rented him the flat for 650 yuan a month.

The rent has gone up by just 300 yuan in the 11 years they have lived there. They have watched as new developments sprang up around them – amusement parks, a golf course, malls and an area that is home to some of the country’s top tech companies including Huawei, Tencent and DJI.

How the eviction of Beijing’s migrant workers is tearing at the fabric of the city’s economy
But away from the shiny new developments, 150,000 migrant workers from all over the country are packed into 2,500 buildings in Baishizhou, where rents and services are affordable.
The urban village is full of people like Chen. Small business owner Wang Fang came to Shenzhen from northeast China in 2003 and has lived in Baishizhou ever since. Six months ago, she signed a three-year lease on a commercial space and opened a dumpling restaurant, but she is worried about the future.
“I can’t go back home, I already have a Shenzhen hukou,” she said, referring to the household registration document that gives access to public services. “I don’t have land there any more and can’t make a living there [as a farmer].”
She has not been told she has to leave the restaurant, but Wang and her two sons have until the end of September – when the building’s water and electricity will be cut off – to vacate their flat.
“It’s only a matter of time before the business is shut down as well,” she said.
Small shops and street vendors line Baishizhou’s bustling alleyways. Photo: Phoebe Zhang
Small shops and street vendors line Baishizhou’s bustling alleyways. Photo: Phoebe Zhang

According to an online poll of 1,031 Baishizhou residents this week, about half said they may have to find another job, and more than 600 were concerned about their children’s education. The survey, conducted by Shenzhen University urban planning professor Chen Zhu, also found that 70 per cent of those polled planned to find another flat in the city, while 28 per cent would leave.

Duan said the evictions and redevelopment would inevitably affect the surrounding areas, as well as the residents.

“The prices of services in the neighbourhood will increase, because many of the workers [now providing those services] will move far away, and rents will increase as well,” he said.

But for many such redevelopments, while the government, landlords and village officials might be consulted, the tenants are left out.

“Most of these residents, their voices and their interests aren’t on the negotiating table – their losses aren’t calculated in the real estate developer’s demolition costs,” Duan said.

A receptionist at LVGEM said he was not aware of any complaints about the redevelopment, while emails to the company went unanswered.

Meanwhile the developer’s partner, Baishizhou Corporation, told Southern Metropolis Daily it would provide legal services, rentals support and school buses for tenants who will be displaced.

But it is not enough for migrant workers like Chen. Like many of those facing eviction, he fears he will have to pay more rent, and there may not be a school bus service in his area.

He mentions a slogan plastered on walls in the city, “Once you come, you’re a Shenzhener” – part of a government campaign to lure talent and investors.

Chen said he worried that Shenzhen wanted only hi-tech workers and luxury residential compounds in the city, leaving little room for low-income workers.

“Despite what the slogan says, you ask yourself, are you really a Shenzhener?” he said.

Source: SCMP

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22/07/2019

Cambodia denies deal to allow armed Chinese forces at its naval base

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China will be able to place armed forces at a Cambodian naval base under a secret pact between the two nations, the Wall Street Journal said on Sunday, although Cambodian officials denied such a deal had been struck.

The agreement, reached this spring but not made public, gives China exclusive access to part of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand, the Journal said, citing U.S. and allied officials familiar with the matter.

Such an arrangement would boost China’s ability to assert contested territorial claims and economic interests in the South China Sea, challenging U.S. allies in Southeast Asia.

Chinese and Cambodian officials denied such a pact existed, the Journal said.

“This is the worst-ever made up news against Cambodia,” Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen told the pro-government news site Fresh News on Monday.

“No such thing could happen because hosting foreign military bases is against the Cambodian constitution.”

Cambodian defence ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat told Reuters the report was “made up and baseless”.

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “As I understand it, the Cambodia side denied this.”

But he declined to respond to repeated questions whether China also denied the report.

“China and Cambodia are traditionally friendly neighbours,” Geng told a news briefing.

“We have cooperated in various areas. Our cooperation is open, transparent, and mutually beneficial and equal. I hope the relevant parties do not overinterpret it.”

Hun Sen’s strongest regional ally, China has poured billions of dollars in development assistance and loans into Cambodia through two-way frameworks and its Belt and Road initiative.

The initiative, unveiled by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, aims to bolster a sprawling network of land and sea links throughout Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

It has attracted a flood of Chinese commercial ventures in Cambodia, including casinos and special economic zones.

This month the U.S. Defense Department suggested China may be attempting to gain a military foothold in Cambodia, in a letter to Cambodia asking why the nation had turned down an offer to repair a naval base.

In a statement, the State Department urged Cambodia to reject such an arrangement, saying the nation had a “constitutional commitment to its people to pursue an independent foreign policy”.

It added, “We are concerned that any steps by the Cambodian government to invite a foreign military presence in Cambodia would threaten the coherence and centrality of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in coordinating regional developments, and disturb peace and stability in Southeast Asia.”

Cambodia denied reports last November that China had been lobbying it since 2017 for a naval base that could host frigates, destroyers and other vessels of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

Source: Reuters

22/07/2019

Chandrayaan-2: India set to re-attempt Moon mission launch

The rocket that will carry the Chandrayaan-2 satelliteImage copyright EPA
Image caption The rocket weighs as much as a fully-loaded jumbo jet

India is set to re-attempt the launch of its second lunar mission a week after it halted the scheduled blast-off due to a technical snag.

Chandrayaan-2 will be launched at 14:43 local time (09:13 GMT) on Monday, space agency Isro said.

It added the spacecraft was ready “to take a billion dreams to the Moon – now stronger than ever before”.

The space agency hopes the $150m (£120m) mission will be the first to land on the Moon’s south pole.

The countdown on 15 July was stopped 56 minutes before launch after a “technical snag was observed in [the] launch vehicle system”, according to Isro. Indian media have reported that a leak from a helium gas bottle in the cryogenic engine of the rocket was to blame.

The fuel from the rocket was drained and the scientists resolved the glitch.

“It was a simple to fix [but it was] a serious problem that could have resulted in total failure,” says a source at Isro.

Isro thanked people for supporting the mission despite the delay.

What is this mission all about?

India’s first lunar mission in 2008 – Chandrayaan-1 – did not land on the lunar surface, but it carried out the first and most detailed search for water on the Moon using radars.

Chandrayaan-2 (Moon vehicle 2) will try to land near the little-explored south pole of the Moon.

The mission will focus on the lunar surface, searching for water and minerals and measuring moonquakes, among other things.

India is using its most powerful rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III), in this mission. It weighs 640 tonnes (almost 1.5 times the weight of a fully-loaded 747 jumbo jet) and at 44 metres (144ft) is as high as a 14-storey building.

Graphic showing the launch vehicle with different parts labelled
The spacecraft weighs 2.379kg (5.244lb) and has three distinct parts: an orbiter, a lander and a rover.

The orbiter, which has a mission life of a year, will take images of the lunar surface, and “sniff” the tenuous atmosphere.

The lander (named Vikram, after the founder of Isro) weighs about half as much, and carries within its belly a 27kg Moon rover with instruments to analyse the lunar soil. In its 14-day life, the rover (called Pragyan – wisdom in Sanskrit) can travel up to a half a kilometre from the lander and will send data and images back to Earth for analysis.

“India can hope to get the first selfies from the lunar surface once the rover gets on its job,” Dr K Sivan, the Isro chief, said before the first launch attempt.

Media caption Is India a space superpower?

How long is the journey to the Moon?

The launch is only the beginning of a 384,000km (239,000-mile) journey – Isro is still hoping the lander will touch down on the Moon on 6 or 7 September as planned, despite the week-long delay of the launch.

The journey of more than six weeks is a lot longer than the four days the Apollo 11 mission 50 years ago took to reach the Moon- and land humans on the lunar surface for the first time.

In order to save fuel, India’s space agency has chosen a circuitous route to take advantage of the Earth’s gravity, which will help slingshot the satellite towards the Moon. India does not have a rocket powerful enough to hurl Chandrayaan-2 on a direct path. In comparison, the Saturn V rocket used by the Apollo programme remains the largest and most powerful rocket ever built.

“There will be 15 terrifying minutes for scientists once the lander is released and is hurled towards the south pole of the Moon,” Dr Sivan said.

Graphic: How India's Chandrayaan-2 will reach the moon
He explained that those who had been controlling the spacecraft until then would have no role to play in those crucial moments. The actual landing, he added, was an autonomous operation dependent on all systems performing as they should. Otherwise, the lander could crash into the lunar surface.

Earlier this year, Israel’s first Moon mission crash-landed while attempting to touch down.

Site of successful moon landings graphic showing where other countries have landed on the moon
Who is on the team?

Nearly 1,000 engineers and scientists have worked on this mission. But for the first time, Isro has chosen women to lead an interplanetary expedition.

Two women are steering India’s journey to the Moon. While programme director Muthaya Vanitha has nurtured Chandrayaan-2 over the years, it will be navigated by Ritu Karidhal.

Source: The BBC

21/07/2019

Uygurs in Xinjiang didn’t choose to be Muslims, China says in white paper

  • Islam was forced on ethnic group ‘by religious wars and the ruling class’, Beijing says in latest report defending its actions in far western region
  • Uygurs’ ancestors were enslaved by the Turks, document says
Beijing has issued a white paper seemingly designed to defend its actions in Xinjiang where as least 1 million Uygurs are being held in detention centres. Photo: AFP
Beijing has issued a white paper seemingly designed to defend its actions in Xinjiang where as least 1 million Uygurs are being held in detention centres. Photo: AFP
Uygurs became Muslims not by choice but by force, and Islam is not their only religion, Beijing said in a white paper published on Sunday, as it continued its propaganda campaign to justify its controversial policies in the far western province of

Xinjiang

.

“The Uygur people adopted Islam not of their own volition … but had it forced upon them by religious wars and the ruling class,” according to the document released by the State Council Information Office.

Islamic beliefs were forced on the Uygurs during the expansion of Arabic states. This is a historical fact, the report said, though that did not undermine the Uygurs’ religious rights now.

The report said also that there are Uygurs who hold to faiths other than Islam, and others who do not practise any religion at all.

The paper also took aim at the Uygurs’s historic links with Turkey.

“Historically, the Uygurs’ ancestors were enslaved by the Turks,” it said, citing a history of conflicts between the two groups dating back to the 8th century.

China promotes Xinjiang as tourist idyll

The white paper was issued amid a campaign by Beijing to justify its policies in the restive region, which is home to more than 10 million Uygurs, most whom are Muslim.

Earlier this month, the ambassadors of 22 countries signed a letter calling on Beijing to halt its mass detention of Uygurs in Xinjiang, the first such joint move on the issue at the UN Human Rights Council.

The signatories included envoys from Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, Japan and Switzerland. The United States, which quit the forum a year ago, did not sign the letter.

China responded by issuing a letter signed by the ambassadors of 37 countries, including several Muslim majority states like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, backing its policies in the region.

Beijing said the show of support was “a powerful response to the groundless accusations made against China by a small number of Western countries”.

UN experts and activists say at least 1 million Uygurs and other Muslims are currently being held in detention centres in Xinjiang. China describes the facilities as training and education centres that aim to stamp out religious extremism and provide people with useful skills. It has never said how many people are being detained in them.

The United States has repeatedly criticised Beijing over its policies in Xinjiang.

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump met victims of religious persecution from around the world, including Jewher Ilham, a Uygur woman whose father Ilham Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014 after being found guilty of promoting separatism.

“That’s tough stuff,” Trump said after hearing Ilham’s account of her father’s ordeal.

China describes the detention camps in Xinjiang as training and education centres. Photo: AFP
China describes the detention camps in Xinjiang as training and education centres. Photo: AFP
In January, US lawmakers nominated the imprisoned economist, writer and former professor at Minzu University in Beijing, for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize in a bid to pressure China to stop its crackdown on the minority group.
Sunday’s white paper is the latest in a string of similar documents published recently by Beijing as it seeks to defend the legitimacy of its policies in Xinjiang. In a document issued in March, it said that over the past five years it had arrested nearly 13,000 “terrorists” in the region.
Xinjiang camps defended at UN human rights forum
Neither the March report nor Sunday’s white paper mentioned Beijing’s other controversial policies in the region, such as the collection of DNA samples and extensive surveillance on local people.
“Xinjiang has borrowed from international experiences, combined them with local realities, and taken resolute measures against terrorism and extremism,” it said.
The measures have been effective, it said, though did not elaborate.
Over the past year, China has increased its efforts to defend the camps, including organising strictly controlled visits by selected diplomats and journalists to see the people who live in them.
State media has also released videos showing seemingly happy and healthy people inside the camps in a bid to counter accounts of harsh conditions and abuse published by the Western media.
Source: SCMP
21/07/2019

India floods: Tired tiger takes nap in resident’s bed

A tiger lying on a bed in Assam stateImage copyright WTI
Image caption The tiger was seen relaxing in a bed in Assam state

A female tiger which fled a wildlife park in India’s flood-ravaged state of Assam was found relaxing on a bed inside a local resident’s house.

She is believed to have fled the Kaziranga National Park, where 92 animals have died in recent days amid heavy flooding.

Officials from a wildlife conservation group arrived at the house and created a safe escape route for her.

She was guided in the direction of the jungle.

According to the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), the tigress was first spotted next to a highway on Thursday morning, some 200 metres away from the national park.

She was likely to have been disturbed by the busy road and ended up seeking refuge in the house, which is located near the highway, it said.

Tiger in residence's houseImage copyright WTI
Image caption The house owner fled as soon as he saw the tiger

Rathin Barman, who led the rescue operation, said the tigress entered the house – which is next to a shop – at 07:30 local time (02:00 GMT) and slept throughout the day.

“She was very exhausted and had a nice day-long nap,” he told the BBC.

The house owner, Motilal, who also owns the adjoining shop, fled the house along with his family members as soon as they saw the tiger walking in.

“The great thing was that nobody disturbed her so she could rest. There’s a lot of respect for wildlife in this region,” Mr Barman said.

“[Motilal] says he will preserve the bed sheet and pillow on which the tiger rested.”

WTI officials were later called to the scene and began preparing a safe escape route for her.

They blocked traffic on the highway for an hour and set off firecrackers to wake the animal up. She eventually left the house at 17:30 local time, crossed the highway and went in the direction of the forest.

Media caption Floods cause death and destruction in north India

Mr Barman said it was not clear if she had actually entered the forest or if she had just “walked off into an adjoining area”.

The Unesco-recognised Kaziranga National Park is home to 110 tigers, but none of them have died in the flooding.

Animals killed in the park include 54 hog deer, seven rhinos, six wild boars and one elephant.

Monsoon floods have devastated the eastern states of Bihar and Assam, killing more than 100 people and displacing millions.

The monsoon season, which lasts from June to September, has also wreaked havoc in Nepal and Bangladesh.

Source: The BBC

19/07/2019

China mulls naming peony as national flower

BEIJING, July 18 (Xinhua) — China has launched an online poll to solicit public opinions on whether to name peony or another plower as its “national flower,” according to the China Flower Association (CFA).

Based on suggestions from an expert team, the association listed 10 candidates including the peony, chrysanthemum, orchid, Chinese rose and narcissus.

Recommending the peony as China’s national flower, the CFA said in an online statement that the flower has been widely planted around China with a history of more than 4,000 years and has long been called “king of the flowers” in the country.

Prerequisites to be nominated as China’s national flower include originating in the country with a long history, being elegant in both shape and color, and being able to represent Chinese culture, according to the CFA.

The flower to be named should also have a profound cultural connotation and be extensively utilized.

By Wednesday afternoon, nearly 600,000 people had joined in the vote on mobile social media platform WeChat, the association said.

Source: Xinhua

19/07/2019

Chinese peacekeeping helicopter unit to Sudan’s Darfur awarded UN peace medals

SUDAN-DARFUR-CHINESE PEACEKEEPING CONTINGENT-UN PEACE MEDALS

Anita Kiki Gebe, deputy joint special representative of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), awards UN peace medal to a soldier of the 2nd China Medium Utility Helicopter Unit (CMUHU02) in El-Fashir, Sudan, July 17, 2019. The 140 officers and soldiers of the 2nd China Medium Utility Helicopter Unit (CMUHU02), a peacekeeping contingent to Sudan’s Darfur, were awarded UN peace medals. (Xinhua)

KHARTOUM, July 18 (Xinhua) — The 140 officers and soldiers of the 2nd China Medium Utility Helicopter Unit (CMUHU02), a peacekeeping contingent to Sudan’s Darfur, were awarded UN peace medals.

At the award ceremony on Wednesday, Anita Kiki Gebe, deputy joint special representative of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), spoke highly of the devotion of the Chinese helicopter unit to the peace and stability of Sudan.

“The second Chinese peacekeeping helicopter unit to Darfur demonstrated their outstanding professionalism and excellent service in their mandate,” said Gebe, also one of the presenters of the UN award.

Their “outstanding work has enhanced the friendship between China and Sudan and the world nations,” she added.

Equipped with four Mi-17 helicopters, the CMUHU02 in UNAMID is mainly tasked with 24-hour air patrol, battleground reconnaissance, personnel movement, casualty evacuation and material transportation.

So far, the Chinese helicopter contingent to Darfur has carried out 636 sorties, rescued more than 280 people and delivered 3,800 passengers, 220 tons of cargo, 16.6 tons of dangerous goods such as weapons and ammunition.

Source: Xinhua

18/07/2019

China allocates disaster relief supplies to flood-hit Hunan

BEIJING, July 17 (Xinhua) — China’s disaster relief authorities have dispatched a second batch of supplies to areas hit by floods and rainstorms in central China’s Hunan Province.

A total of 8,000 folding beds, 8,000 sets of folding tables and chairs, and 5,000 quilts were allocated by the the Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) and National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, to support local government’s relief work, the MEM said Wednesday.

The Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters earlier launched an emergency response as Hunan Province has been suffering from severe rainstorms and floods.

The first batch of supplies included 1,000 tents, 10,000 quilts, 5,000 folding beds, as well as 6,000 sets of folding tables and chairs, according to the MEM.

Source: Xinhua

17/07/2019

China-Latin America cooperation benefits both peoples: spokesperson

BEIJING, July 16 (Xinhua) — The cooperation between China and Venezuela and the cooperation between China and Latin America adhere to the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefits, and benefit both peoples, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Tuesday.

Geng Shuang made the comments at a press conference in response to report that Craig Faller, head of the United States Southern Command, said China was the largest creditor country of Venezuela and made Venezuelan people carry a debt burden.

Geng said U.S. officials repeatedly attacked China’s cooperation with Venezuela and Latin America recently, but their arguments were full of loopholes and could not stand up to scrutiny.

He said that the cooperation between China and Venezuela and the cooperation between China and Latin America adhere to the principles of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, and focus on common development, which have brought tangible benefits to the people of both sides and promoted local economic and social development and are widely welcomed by the people of Venezuela and Latin America.

If the United States really cares about the development of Latin America, it should take practical measures to help boost local economy and improve people’s livelihoods, Geng said.

“China-Latin America relations is equal, mutually beneficial, innovative, open, benefiting the people, and not exclusive,” Geng said. “We hold a positive attitude towards cooperation with all sides including the United States in Latin America, and hope the U.S. side also has the same attitude.”

Source: Xinhua

17/07/2019

MoU on China-Ireland STI cooperation signed in Dublin

IRELAND-DUBLIN-CHINA-STI COOPERATION-MOU

Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang (L) shakes hands with John Halligan, Irish minister of state for training, skills, innovation, research and development, after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Dublin, Ireland, July 15, 2019. An MoU aiming to strengthen the science, technology and innovation (STI) cooperation between China and Ireland was signed here on Monday. Under the MoU, which is valid for five years, both sides have agreed to strengthen STI cooperation in areas including advanced materials, information and communications technology (ICT), life sciences, food and agriculture. (Xinhua)

DUBLIN, July 16 (Xinhua) — A memorandum of understanding (MoU) aiming to strengthen the science, technology and innovation (STI) cooperation between China and Ireland was signed here on Monday.

The MoU was signed here by China’s Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang, and John Halligan, Irish minister of state for training, skills, innovation, research and development.

Under the MoU, which is valid for five years, both sides have agreed to strengthen STI cooperation in areas including advanced materials, information and communications technology (ICT), life sciences, food and agriculture.

To ensure the implementation of the MoU, a mechanism of Joint Committee Meetings (JCM) on STI Cooperation will be established between the ministries which will hold the JCM on a regular basis.

The first meeting of the JCM was convened following the signing of the MoU, during which representatives from both sides talked about the two countries’ cooperation in science and technology.

Noting this year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, Wang said China and Ireland enjoy closer cooperation and have witnessed fast development in joint research and academic exchanges.

To strengthen the two countries’ STI cooperation, the Chinese minister called on both sides to strengthen exchanges and share experiences at the strategic planning level, set priority areas for cooperation, and promote pragmatic cooperation through various ways.

He said China and Ireland should make better use of the China-European Union (EU) cooperation platform to promote people-to-people exchanges and research and development cooperation between scientific institutes, universities and enterprises of the two countries.

In his opening speech at the meeting, Halligan said that Ireland views China as an important STI cooperation partner and that STI cooperation is conducive to the enhancement of the scientific research level of the two countries.

Halligan said that the mechanism as well as the meeting will provide a good platform for future bilateral STI cooperation.

Ireland is willing to promote the development of Ireland-China STI cooperation under the China-EU cooperation framework, he added.

Source: Xinhua