A region evolves with rising China


South-East Asia’s complex big power relations demand careful and considered understanding, where frequent complications and familiar gut reactions do not help.

WHEN countries have difficulty relating to a rising China, part of the problem lies in not understanding where China is heading and not knowing what it will become.

The sheer scale of China’s development and the weight of its trajectory mean that the impact of its rise on the rest of Asia and the world is bound to be considerable and profound.

As a frame of reference, the future of today’s China is often seen in the context of its past: a “Middle Kingdom” entity, the heart of an Asian tributary system, a regional superpower with global pretensions whose once closed-door policy is opening to the world.

Yet none of these references fits because modern China’s pace of change is as rapid as it is vast. Not only is it a post-Deng China, it is now into the fourth- and fifth-generation leadership of post-Dengist society.

A sense of a likely future China may then be deduced through elimination, by discarding what it is unlikely to be.

These include a communist superpower, a nation shaped by a distinct ideology, and one led by a powerful charismatic individual. But what of those things, admittedly few, that it will still be?

One of these is rule by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), particularly since single party rule continues to be a central bastion of the status quo. Yet even this requires qualification, if not some revision, and is already subject to much speculation.

The CCP has had to undergo some redefinition as circumstances evolve. The state socialism it championed underwent a social(ist) market phase to emerge as state capitalism.

Ideology continues to be diluted as dogma fritters away. Conservatives and reformists both within and outside China agree the trend is irreversible if not also inevitable.

Just about the only thing that a future China is still certain to be is a unitary state. But even this has to be qualified again.

What is now regarded as Greater China – the People’s Republic of China on the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan – are unlikely to be fused into one singularly cohesive whole anytime soon.

Yet they are moving together towards a unitary economy, the basis of the modern nation state. Such a trend is beyond the protestations of democrats and the comprehension of many strategists.

At the same time, provinces are slowly moving towards greater autonomy in economic matters, including in dealings with neighbouring countries. A country as large as China cannot endure too long under strict centralised rule.

And China has endured longer than all others, with the country now into its fifth millennium of continued statehood. These trends and movements take time and may seem imperceptible for other countries, but they are par for the course with China’s enormous timelines.

For decades now, Chinese authorities have also introduced elections at local levels with invited inputs from the Carter Center. Voting has been practised in village and provincial levels, and despite occasional fits and starts the trend is towards a controlled political opening with assured stability.

All of this contributes to the near-incomprehension of today’s China on the part of external observers. A survey of their attitudes, assumptions and responses in any given week attests to this reality.

Questions of whether China (meaning Beijing) can ever govern Taiwan, or even understand Hong Kong, are typical. The real risk of observers not seeing the wood for the trees is ever-present.

A debate of sorts has emerged over China’s likely reaction to a possible win by Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in next January’s election. Pessimists who fret over their own cynical pronouncements fail to realise that China is playing for bigger stakes than petty party feuding.

China’s interest in Taipei is Taiwan, not necessarily a Kuomintang (KMT) Taiwan. A lately declining KMT under President Ma Ying-jou has sufficiently energised pragmatists in Beijing to be diplomatic towards the DPP.

Another perennial issue is the presumed rivalry between the US and China. Although competition exists between them, they have more in common than at variance for now and the foreseeable future.

Their shared interests include international security and a single global economy in which both hold the largest stakes. Rivalry in these core areas compromises the interests of both without enlarging opportunities for either.

An understanding of that basic reality is shared between US and Chinese leaders, but apparently not by Japanese ones. The Abe administration is still stuck between old wartime anxieties and proudly snubbing Beijing.

However, China should also not expect anything but Abe’s cancellation of a visit on Sept 3. The occasion, with Western leaders absent, is being presented by some in China as celebrating its victory over Japan.

China: Military parade not aimed at any country

China says its upcoming September 3rd military parade is part of commemorations for the 70th anniversary of its victory in the war of resistance against Japanese aggression, and is not specifically aimed at any country.http://t.cn/RyzoMBy

Nonetheless, the Abe government remains an activist one in provoking competition with China over military issues. Its White Paper released last month inflates China’s maritime military capabilities and even conflicts with US calculations.

Besides the US, Taiwan and Japan, the other barometer of China’s rise as seen through its foreign relations is Asean.

China regards Asean wariness of its territorial assertiveness as limited and negotiable, since not all member countries have rival claims to offshore territory. But Beijing may seriously be underestimating Asean’s sense of solidarity, given not just Asean’s community-building agenda but also its common resolve to develop community cohesiveness.

The established links between China and Asean’s newer CLMV members (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) are both limited and fraying in places. Beijing needs to rebuild trust and good faith within Asean as much as in North-East Asia.

China has thus emphasised multi-level, multi-sectoral joint ventures both bilaterally and collectively. Its proposals for a Maritime Silk Road and a One Belt, One Road link to Europe are backed by the China-Asean Maritime Cooperation Fund, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development (Brics) Bank and China’s own solvency.

On the ground however, Asean collectively seeks enlarged trade volumes with China. However, China’s currency devaluations and the subsequent jolts to regional currencies compromise these goals.

With Indonesia, China is extending cooperation in fighting drug trafficking as Jakarta favours using the yuan for bilateral trade. With Malaysia, China is building linkages in education and industrial development.

Thailand’s post-coup government is seen as leaning towards China, thanks in part to a US snub. Now Thai-Chinese ties are growing over purchases of stockpiled Thai rice and even the prospect of a Kra Isthmus canal.

China’s relations with Vietnam and more so the Philippines will require more time and work. Ironically, Unctad trade data identifies the Philippine economy as the biggest regional beneficiary of China’s rise.

Beijing’s ties with the other Asean countries may be less complicated but still require attention and constant tending. Its record of fully understanding Asean is not impressive.

Overall, Beijing’s relations with Asean and its member nations are economic, diplomatic and socio-cultural, without political interference in their domestic matters. This contrasts with Washington’s largely military posturing and its political pressures on issues of democracy and human rights.

China’s impact on this region is likely to remain non-political and non-military – differing from US interaction. This asymmetry makes up much of South-East Asia’s strategic status quo.

Whether and how it will endure, and whether it deserves to remain, still have to be seen.

By Bunn Nagara Behind the Headlines

Bunn Nagara is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia.

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Abe Statement: Apology, Abapology or Abomb? Crafty rhetoric, insincere politics


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a statement in Tokyo on Friday marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. He acknowledged Japan had inflicted “immeasurable damage and suffering” on innocent people but said generations not involved in the conflict should not be burdened with continued apologies. TORU HANAI/REUTERS

BEIJING, Aug. 14 — As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe releases an official statement later Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of his country’s surrender at the end of World War II (WWII), he is standing at a critical crossroad.

Upon such a highly symbolic and closely watched occasion, Abe has a choice to make, and there is only one way that will lead him and his nation closer to the “normal country” dream he has so frequently shouted from the rooftops.

Choosing a wrong course — or keeping going astray, given his record on the sensitive history issue — will undoubtedly carry the second-term prime minister further away from a legacy in nation-building he so desperately needs, as his signature “Abenomics” is losing sizzle.

Any statement that flagrantly flouts the true history and fails to repent Japan’s WWII atrocities would be tantamount to Abe dropping a bomb upon his country’s international reputation and trustworthiness.

Such an “Abomb” would be particularly sad, as its sole victim would be Japan itself, Abe’s motherland, which is the only country in the world that has been A-bombed and still in the healing.

It would also be extraordinarily irresponsible and destructive, not only because its shock waves would blow the chances for his “normal country” ambition to come true anytime soon, but because its fallout would further ail Japan’s already morbid ties with its neighbors and stoke regional tensions.
If Abe possesses any reasonable level of sobriety, he will not throw an “Abomb” at his own country. Rather, judging from the trial balloons he has released of late, a more likely scenario is that the canny nationalist would offer an adulterated apology.

An “Abapology” — mentioning such key words as aggression and apology but placing them in a context that waters down their meaning, or releasing nuanced versions in different languages — would be regrettable.

Such a half-hearted apology would once again reveal Abe’s deep reluctance to face up to his country’s wartime crimes and take on the noble responsibility on his shoulders in seriously reflecting on the past in order to usher Japan into a world-assuring future.

A muddle-through approach of that kind would be not only unworthy of the great significance of the historic juncture, but indicative of a conspicuous lack of political and historical calcium, which explains to a large extent why Japan remains an “abnormal” country 70 years after WWII.

The only right way forward is for Abe to stop his rightist slide and provide a proper and unalloyed apology — explicit enough to demonstrate heartfelt remorse and a resolve to abandon his erstwhile troublesome attitude toward WWII history and help dispel the specter of distrust between his country and its neighbors.

Yet should history be any guide, even an apparently whole-hearted apology from Abe would not be enough. It is the least he should do. To realize his “normal country” dream and restore Japan’s standing on the world stage, he has to follow up with concrete actions.

By Deng Yushan (Xinhua)

Crafty rhetoric, insincere politics 

(China Daily)

A very cleverly worded speech. An impressive play of the words. That’s about everything we could say about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s latest statement on his country’s unseemly record in World War II.

Abe didn’t seem to deviate much from the well-received benchmark statement in 1995 by then Japanese prime minister Tomiichi Murayama. And the key points of that historic speech, including “aggression”, “colonial rule”, “remorse” and “apology”, did find their way into his speech, though with abundant ambiguity.

For many in his audience, his expression of “heartfelt gratitude” to those who have been tolerant of his country and helped it return to the international community might be an unexpected bonus – not unlike his pledge to “squarely face the history of the past”. That could be why some believe Abe has delivered more than what had been anticipated, given the discrepancies among its versions in different languages.

That East Asia just got around a potentially explosive occasion that could have escalated tensions is itself something to celebrate. For Japan’s vigilant neighbors, however, whether or not Abe included the salient points of the Murayama Statement in his speech is not just a touchstone to gauge his attitude toward history, but the bottom line as well. Once that line is crossed, Japan’s deteriorating ties with neighboring China and the Republic of Korea will slide past a point of no return, at least during Abe’s term in office.

Abe knows what will come next. So, even after provoking neighboring countries no end, he waved olive branches at them requesting meetings at the highest level. He is yet to get one, precisely because of his betrayal of the Murayama Statement’s spirit.

By incorporating the key expressions of that milestone statement, Abe may effectively silence some of his critics, whose latest demand was that his statement include the core Murayama expressions.

But make no mistake, he didn’t present an apology of his own. He merely stated the obvious truth that earlier Japanese cabinets had expressed “heartfelt” apologies for the atrocities committed by imperial Japan.

It would be naive to think the tensions paralyzing East Asia will thus be gone. That Abe didn’t cross the Rubicon, at best, means he was aware of the dire consequences of doing so and avoided it. And, that tremendous public pressure from home and abroad forced him to squeeze those words into his speech doesn’t mean he actually meant it.

Rhetoric counts when dealing with Japanese politicians, for whom whether or not the Abe statement includes those key words makes a difference. Japanese politicians’ infamous tradition of “slip of the tongue”, however, makes it even more important to see how they act.

Abe’s track record belies his claims of commitment to peace and good neighborly relations. That Abe and his advisers had reportedly struggled over whether or not to include Murayama’s expressions, that the ruling parties had not agreed on the exact use of the expressions in the final transcript until the very last moment, that Abe managed to avoid directly referring to Japan’s war as one of aggression and some of the perished Japanese as war criminals, and that his words became evasive when it came to Japan’s colonial rule and the “comfort women” issue all betrayed a sense of reluctance.

Needless to say, reading between the lines of the Murayama Statement and Abe’s speech even a casual reader can feel the difference in tones. In contrast to Murayama’s sincerity, Abe seemed eager to shut out the past, though its sophisticated wording did hit the sentimental sweet spot at some points. But that will not be possible until Abe acts sincerely to achieve real reconciliation.

Therefore, even after weathering an otherwise imminent crisis, East Asia will continue to struggle in the long shadow of history.

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Sorry is the hardest word for Abe


Abe

The news that the “draft of Abe’s statement contains an ‘apology'” made the headlines all day on Japanese broadcaster NHK on Monday. According to the report, the statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday will also include key expressions used in the 1995 statement by then-prime minister Tomiichi Murayama, including “apology,” “deep remorse,” “aggression” and “colonial rule.” This is so far the first report released saying that Abe’s speech will cover this positive content.

Yet over the past few days, a number of Japanese media have been quoting a variety of inside information saying that Abe’s remarks will not include terms like “apology.” As the day that marks Japan’s defeat in WWII approaches, how Abe will talk about it has been placed under global public scrutiny.

Abe’s statement will reflect the future path of the country. If he only reflects on the wartime past but tries to blur the nature of the war by refusing to apologize, or avoiding mention of “aggression,” the nation will face serious doubts over whether it is planning to ditch peaceful development, and means to reshape the political and historical pattern that formed after the war.

Abe has always been beating about the bush, trying to lower the world’s anticipation of him echoing the spirit of the Murayama Statement. Not long ago, his cabinet voted through revisions of the country’s security rules, which has triggered quite a few domestic protests. His domestic support rate has tumbled sharply, causing him unprecedented pressure since he assumed office as prime minister for the second time.

Abe might compromise, and add those key words from the 1995 Statement. Yet this is not as certain as a compromise to political pressure, rather than his own moral and political responsibility. His historical revisionism is known by all, and opportunism is universally considered as his main principle to adjust strategies over historical issues. Hence, there is a good chance that he may rewrite his statement draft at the last minute.

Accordingly, instead of the real historical recognition by Abe’s administration, the speech will more likely mirror Abe’s scheming and calculating among all the pros and cons in the power structure of the Asia-Pacific region.

Even so, a statement that can be accepted by the international community is still worth welcoming.

Abe’s political logic is weird. He should realize that the US is Japan’s biggest obstacle on the path toward becoming a “normal state.” But he won’t let go of the rivalry with China. Some suspect that Tokyo is eager to stay in the good graces of Washington, letting its guard down and seeking a chance to get rid of its control. However, Japan is unable to make that work.

Abe will find that his ability falls short of his wishes over his strategy in the Western Pacific. We hope he will make the right choice for his statement, whatever the reasons. And history will judge him fairly.

– Global Times

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By-laws governing strata property management in Malaysia, part 2


General duties of a proprietors according to the Third Schedule of Strata Management Regulation 2015

Strata management

WHILE last week’s article covered the general by-laws under the Third Schedule of the Strata Management Regulation 2015, this week, we look at what is required and prohibited by the proprietor who is the house owner.

General duties of a proprietor

• Promptly pay to the management corporation the charges and contribution to the sinking fund relating to his parcel, and all other monies imposed by or payable to the management corporation under the Act;

• Promptly pay all quit rent, local authority assessment and other charges and outgoings which are payable in respect of his parcel;

• Permit the management corporation and its servants or agents, at all reasonable times and on reasonable notice being given (except in the case of an emergency when no notice is required), to enter his parcel for the purposes of:

a) checking for leakages or other building defects;

b) maintaining, repairing, renewing or upgrading pipes, wires, cables and ducts used or capable of being used in connection with the enjoyment of any other parcel or the common property;

c) maintaining, repairing, renewing or upgrading the common property; and executing any work or doing any act reasonably necessary for or in connection with the performance of its duties under the Act or the regulations made thereunder or for or in connection with the enforcement of these by- laws or additional by-laws affecting the development and forthwith carry out all the work ordered by any competent public or statutory authority in respect of his parcel other than such work for the benefit of the building or common property;

d) repair and maintain his parcel, including doors and windows and keep it in a state of good repair, reasonable wear and tear, damage by fire, storm, tempest or act of God excepted, and shall keep clean all exterior surfaces of glass in windows and doors on the boundary of his parcel which are not common property, unless the management corporation has resolved that it will keep clean the glass or specified part of the glass or the glass or part of the glass that cannot be accessed safely or at all by the proprietor;

e) maintain his parcel including all sanitary fittings, water, gas, electrical and air- conditioning pipes and apparatus thereof in a good condition so as not to cause any fire or explosion, or any leakages to any other parcel or the common property or so as not to cause any annoyance to the proprietors of other parcels in the development area;

f) forthwith repair and make good at his own cost and expense any damage to his parcel if such damage is excluded under any insurance policy effected by the management corporation and to carry out and complete such repair within any time period specified by the management corporation, failing which the management corporation may carry out such repair and the cost of so doing shall be charged to the proprietor and shall be payable on demand;

g) not use or permit to be used his parcel in such a manner or for such a purpose as to cause nuisance or danger to any other proprietor or the families of such proprietor; not use or permit to be used his parcel contrary to the terms of use of the parcel shown in the plan approved by the relevant authority; and

h) notify the management corporation forthwith of any change in the proprietorship of his parcel or any dealings, charges, leases or creation of any interest, for entry in the strata roll; and use and enjoy the common property in such a manner so as not to interfere unreasonably with the use and enjoyment thereof by other proprietors.
Follow our column next week to learn of the general prohibitions of proprietors, power of the management corporation and changes to by-laws that are possible.

BY Datuk Pretam Singh Darshan Singh, a lawyer by profession, has previously worked as Senior Federal Counsel, Deputy Public Prosecutor with the Attorney General’s Chambers and legal advisor to several government departments and agencies. He is currently the partner in a legal firm while simultaneously serving as President of the Tribunal for Home Buyers’ Claims. Leveraging his vast knowledge and decades of experience and knowledge, he contributes articles to local and international journals, besides delivering lectures and talks in relevant forums.

Email your feedback and queries to: propertyqs@thesundaily.com

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MH370: Aircraft debris found on La Reunion is from missing Malaysia Airlines flight


Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) attends a press conference on the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Aug. 6, 2015. Verification had confirmed that the debris discovered on the Reunion Island belongs to the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced here early on Thursday. (Xinhua/Chong Voon Chung)

Video: http://english.cntv.cn/2015/08/06/VIDE1438813440891595.shtml
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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) — Verification had confirmed that the debris discovered on Reunion Island belongs to missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced early Thursday.

“Today, 515 days since the plane disappeared, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370,” the prime minister said.

“We now have physical evidence that, as I announced on 24th March last year, flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” Najib said.

“This is indeed a major breakthrough for us in resolving the disappearance of MH370. We expect and hope that there would be more objects to be found which would be able to help resolve this mystery.”

The airlines will update the families and cooperate with the authorities, he added.

The prime minister said his country remains dedicated to finding out what had happened on board the flight. “I would like to assure all those affected by this tragedy that the government of Malaysia is committed to doing everything within our means to find out the truth of what happened.”

Meanwhile, the Malaysia Airlines said the finding had been confirmed jointly by the French Authorities, the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA), the Malaysian investigation team, the technical representatives from China and the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) in Toulouse, France.

The debris was discovered on Reunion Island on July 29 and was officially identified as part of a plane wing known as a flaperon from a Boeing 777.

Prior to the latest discovery, a massive surface and underwater hunt had failed to find the plane in what has become one of the biggest mysteries in the aviation history.

The plane went missing on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 on board, most of them Chinese. – Xinhua

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Beijing wins to host Winter Olympics 2022


Beijing Winter Olympics 2022

http://player.cntv.cn/standard/cntvOutSidePlayer.swf

http://english.cntv.cn/2015/08/01/VIDE1438381810003714.shtml

Chinese captital celebrates victory

The National Stadium, or Bird Nest, is seen with giant illumination showing a message celebrating Beijing and Zhangjiakou’s winning of the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

http://player.cntv.cn/standard/cntvOutSidePlayer.swf

http://english.cntv.cn/2015/08/01/VIDE1438395244275676.shtml

Beijingers celebrate Olympic victory

Beijing last night was the scene of jubilation and cheering. People celebrated the news from Kuala Lumpur.

Games offers new drive to opening-up

Beijing and Zhangjiakou have won the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. It’s great.

Seven years after Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Games, Chinese people get to embrace the Olympics again. Many still remember the passion and joy after winning the 2008 Games. Our optimism and happiness has come alive again. Chinese society is still actively seeking to host major international sports events. Such sentiment fits the country’s rising momentum.

Countries in the developed world are no longer enthusiastic about holding the Olympics like they once were. They have their own calculations. But over 90 percent of people in Beijing and Zhangjiakou support their cities’ hosting of the Winter Games. Such high rates of support is generally true in other parts of the country in hosting major international sports events.

Chinese people long for progress and more contact with the outside world. Many people consider the hosting of major sports events an opportunity to enhance a city’s development level and help it become more international.

But there are also many who oppose hosting the Winter Games. Some of them are just following the voices of popular Western-style opponents. Others have their marginal reasons. But these opinions are not mainstream in China.

It is great that many stadiums and other pieces of infrastructure built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics can still be of use for the 2022 Games.

The 2008 Summer Games can be seen as a coming-out party for China. China has made significant progress in the seven years since it hosted the event. China’s GDP leapt from the third place globally to second. Chinese people have seen more of the world.

To be frank, when Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Games, many Chinese people were nervous that they might mess up the event. That is why the 2008 Games emphasized pomp and ceremony in order to demonstrate China’s capabilities.

This time when we host the Winter Games, we may be able to be more relaxed, focusing on the beauty of the sports instead of laboring ourselves in ensuring a perfect event. We can try to make the 2022 Games a big party.

The 2022 Winter Games is also likely to bring concrete benefits in the coming seven years. “Olympic blue” may become a new target in dealing with air pollution. A high-speed railway between Beijing and Zhangjiakou is likely. Winter sports may become more popular.

The Winter Games will become a lasting drive for China’s further opening-up. Chinese society will seek greater balance between outside criticism and China’s own principles and traditions. This project will help China further integrate with the world. – Global Times

South China Sea Conflicts won’t affect Asean Cooperation


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Challenges we face are temporary

TIANJIN: China is confident that the conflicts at the South China Sea will not affect cooperation with Asean, says Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin.

He said China had been insisting on negotiation and consultation with the countries that also claim sovereignty in the disputed waters, and emphasising on working with Asean to uphold safety and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

“The challenges we are facing now are only temporary. There are broad prospects in the cooperation between China and Asean,” he said.

Liu was speaking to reporters together with Thai Foreign Ministry deputy permanent secretary Noppadon Theppitak after co-chairing the China-Asean senior officials’ meeting on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC) here.

China and several countries in South-East Asia, including Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Vietnam, assert overlapping claims on the resource-rich South China Sea.

Disputes have erupted with the claimants blaming each other for building military and civil facilities on the contested reefs.

Anti-China riots broke out in Vietnam last year when China deployed an oil rig in a section of the South China Sea claimed by both countries.

The Philippines has sought international arbitration to resolve the dispute, a move criticised by China as a betrayal to the commitment to solve the issue through dialogue and negotiations.

As tension continued to flare over the disputed waters, China has openly warned Japan and the United States against meddling in the conflicts.

On Tuesday, China carried out a live-fire drill in the South China Sea to “improve its maritime combat ability”, Chinese national news agency Xinhua reported.

Citing navy sources, Xinhua said dozens of missiles and torpedoes, as well as thousands of shells and bombs, were fired during the drill.

Expressing confidence that the conflicts in the South China Sea were “manageable”, Liu said there was no need to worry.

Without naming any countries in particular, he reminded third parties not to intervene and condemn China on the issue.

“The South China Sea is not an issue between China and Asean, but China and some countries in the grouping.

“Over the years, through the formulation of the DoC and the efforts to draw up a Code of Conduct (CoC), China and Asean have worked together to maintain peace and stability as well as to uphold freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea.

“China is confident and determined to work with Asean to jointly manage the issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, Noppadon said China and Asean had agreed to begin a new phase of consultations on the CoC and work towards its early conclusion.

He added that Thailand would submit a draft possible outline of the CoC for the consideration of the next joint working group, which would meet in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in October.

The meeting yesterday also witnessed the agreement to establish hotline communications between the Asean and Chinese foreign ministries to respond to emergencies at sea.

Malaysia was represented by Wisma Putra secretary-general Datuk Othman Hashim and three other officers in the meeting.

When approached, Othman said the meeting was peaceful and constructive.

“We discussed extensively on what we have achieved so far, and what has to be done for the future.

“We are working together with other Asean members for the implementation of the DoC and the development of the CoC,” he said.

Malaysia, which is the chair of Asean this year, will host a series of meetings, including the Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Asean Plus Three Foreign Ministers Meeting, from Aug 1 to 6.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has confirmed his attendance.

BY THO XIN YI The Star/Asia News Network

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