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Outlook Weekly: Reflections on the Korean Peninsula

Outlook Weekly, in the 23rd issue of 2009, published an article by Zhu Kechuan, a researcher in Xinhua Research Center for World Affairs, regarding the current situation of the Korean Peninsula. It criticized the U.S., Japan, and South Korea’s approach to North Korea. Zhu argued that right now, the U.S. is falling into the mire of financial crisis and is also facing the hard-to-clean mess of Iraq and Afghanistan. "The U.S. government should think about that; it is not an easy thing to use hegemonism to ‘fix’ another country no matter how big or small and how rich or poor that country is." Zhu also stated, "Japan should also be clear: You can’t cheat the world to wash off the historical responsibility for Korea or take this opportunity to break through the constraint of ‘Peace Constitution’…South Korea should reflect too: What benefits do the government and people get from its changing the policy of national reconciliation since last year?"

Though China is always a strong backer of North Korea, the article also criticized North Korea: "What is the best way to achieve the dream of a ‘strong big country?’ Using ‘super-tough’ to respond to other countries’ ‘tough’ will get North Korea nowhere. Nuclear weapons can indeed scare people, but they still failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union."

Source: Outlook Weekly, 23 rd issue of 2009

China May Discount J10 Fighter Plane

Eastday Website, the largest portal site in Shanghai, reported that China is likely to sell its J10 fighter plane on the international weaponry market at a discount. The Eastday report is based on a report from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Eastday Website is partially owned by state-owned enterprises. The Rajaratnam School report stated that most of China’s weapon offerings lack technical competitiveness. Its buyers are limited to a few developing countries. To expand its weaponry sales, China may offer its J10 fighter jet at a discount. J10’s performance is similar to Israel’s Lavi fighter jet or the U.S. F-16C. Pakistan and Iran are likely to be the buyers of the J10.

Source, Eastday Website, June 5, 2009

Behind China’s Largest Overseas Investment

The International Herald Leader published an article on the collapse of Rio Tinto’s controversial deal with China’s state-owned aluminum company, Chinalco. The Chinalco’s deal, valued at $24.3 billion, would have been China’s largest investment in a foreign company. Rio recently announced to would combine its large iron ore operations with BHP Billiton instead. 

The International Herald Leader blamed the scrap of the Chinalco deal on political reasons, mainly western countries’ anti-China mentality. The article stated that many politicians in the Canberra Congress raised the issue as jeopardizing Australia’s national interests. “The loss of the Chinalco Rio deal is not a loss of market competition, but rather a sacrifice resulting from a new form of ‘Cold War’ thought.” 
[Editor’s Notes: After Rio’s deal with Chinalco was announced, Australian businessman Ian Melrose spent $200,000 on television advertising, using images from the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protest to warn that the Chinese government-owned Chinalco should not be allowed to raise its stake in Rio Tinto to 18 per cent thereby increasing its control of Australia’s resources.] 
Source: International Herald Leader, June 8, 2009

China Loosening Controls over Domestic Enterprises’ Overseas Purchases

Nanfang Daily reported that China has made policy changes to smooth the process for domestic enterprises to buy properties overseas. There are three check points for such purchases: National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) – checks on whether the investment is in line with national interests; Ministry of Commerce – checks on trade balance, anti-trust, WTO suit, etc; and State Administration of Foreign Exchange – approves use of foreign currencies. The Ministry of Commerce has relaxed their control.

In 2009, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange published “Foreign Currency Management Regulations on Domestic Enterprises’ Overseas Investments (Draft of Soliciting Opinions),” which changed the funds source verification process from approving before the investment to recording after the investment.

The Ministry of Commerce published “Measures for Overseas Investment Management” in March. The regulations have the following changes: 1. Ministry of Commerce will only review and approve a limited number of large overseas investments. 2. The process is simplified so that most companies only need to submit a form and receive an investment certificate in three working days. 3. The financial viability and feasibility of the investment is left to the company to decide.

Source: Nanfang Daily, June 2, 2009

Employment Challenge for College Graduates

Xinhua republished an article from China Youth, which states that as of June 4, only 2.75 million college graduates, 45% of the total number of graduates this year, have received job offers. To ease the unemployment pressure, the government is creating basic level positions in the countryside, remote towns, and less-developed areas and encouraging the graduates to go there.

Source: Xinhua, June 5, 2009

China Emphasizes Maintaining Stability during the Tiananmen 20 Year Anniversary

The Hong Kong China News Agency reported that all mainland media remained mute during the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre. Chinese officials promoted maintaining social stability (Editor’s Note: that translates as no protests or petitions) to keep June 4 quiet. The report listed a few examples:

At end of the May, Liu Qi, Beijing City Party Secretary went to the Beijing West Train Station to check the implementation of the “maintaining stability” work there. On June 2, Zhang Gaoli, Tianjin City Party Secretary said that maintaining stability is a top priority and challenged the Tianjin officials to  make Tianjin the “safest” area in China. On May 31 and June 1, Wang Yang, the Party Secretary of Guangdong Province visited the maintaining stability pilot center for the township’s comprehensive appeals offices and stated that stability is the number one responsibility (for the government).

Source: Hong Kong China News Agency, June 4, 2009

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