China-Hong Kong union needs sense of inclusion


Hong Kong. -Bloomberg pic

China is a different global power

The Chinese way of ruling

While the China-Hong Kong union still sits uncomfortably at times two decades on, the road ahead is slowly but surely being paved.

IT’S lunch time in Hong Kong, but the soya sauce chicken rice seller at Queen’s Road in Shek Tong Tsui is looking distressed as the crowd isn’t up to expectations.

Rental is high in Hong Kong and customers are obliged to share tables in small eateries like the one I was in.

Once eagle-eyed restaurant owners spot the conclusion of a meal, patrons are swiftly handed their bills, subtly suggesting they leave the premises to make way for incoming customers. Otherwise, they’d earn short shrift from irate staff.

Life is hard in HK and most residents feel that it has become much harder.

The older ones are more tolerant and patient because they have lived through the country’s high and low points. They include those born in China who came to the island with their parents.

Retired civil servants complain of promotions bypassing them because the top posts were reserved for the whites under British colonial rule. They felt humiliated and have never forgotten this marginalised treatment.

The young ones are becoming angrier now. They see HK deteriorating, reflected in their inability to buy a flat the size of a car park lot, because something even that small would probably cost millions of ringgit.

HK is a crowded city where space is at a premium. Space, meaning a hole in the sky. Landed properties are for the super rich in a land where being rich alone isn’t enough.

Regular visitors to HK will tell you that the streets are filled with people for a simple reason: it can be claustrophobic living in a 400sq foot – or less – flat.

HK residents sometimes joke that they need to leave their flat to provide “privacy” for newly married children who sometimes can’t afford their own homes and still need to live with their parents.

“The walls are too thin, and it is best we give them some space, you understand what I am saying, right?” said my HK friend as we chuckled about the reference while dining on dim sum.

The waiting period for public housing is five years, if you are lucky, and it’s not uncommon to see an entire family living in one room in many parts of downtown HK. Apparently, more than 200,000 people live in subdivided homes.

Forget politics for a minute and let’s talk facts. An international survey reportedly showed HK sliding 12 places to an embarrassing 41 as a liveable city for Asian expats, its worst ranking in a decade.

“We call ourselves Asia’s world city, but Asians have given us the thumbs down as a liveable city. That’s a paradox that should shame us,” the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper reported.

Over the last two decades, HK people have found themselves priced out of the home market. The cost of living has gone up, but the standard of living has dropped sharply.

The smog has worsened and there are regular reports of hospitals overflowing in the winter months every year, ushering in the routine flu outbreak.

The competition for space is a serious concern in HK. The resentment towards China is simply because people in HK have found it hard to compete with the deluge of mainlanders.

Each time I go to HK, I can’t get past the sight of long queues of people from China – with deep pockets – at luxury goods outlets at Central.

“Last year, 65 million tourists flooded Hong Kong. That’s only about 10 million fewer than for the whole of the United States. Almost 80% who came were mainlanders, most of them day trippers who swarmed residential areas to buy groceries, ruining the quality of life for locals.

“How can life quality improve if you add the four million mainlanders who come monthly, on average, effectively raising Hong Kong’s population to well over 11 million?” pondered columnist Michael Chugani in the SCMP.

Milk powder is a favourite item of the mainlanders when it comes to groceries because of food safety concerns back home. Every mum and pop shop in HK seems to share a similar inventory.

HK people are loud and opinionated. And often crude and crass even, especially, when speaking in Cantonese.

This is a city of very hardworking and motivated people. It’s commonplace for a person to be doing two or three jobs to ensure ends are met, but these people also acknowledge the city has long passed its prime, with stats indicating its lost position as one of Asia’s top cities.

It has surrendered its edge as a financial hub to Shanghai and even nearby Shenzhen.

Chronicling the events of the last two decades reveals how those fortunes changed. Imagine that in 1997, China was very much reliant on HK, largely because the global superpower had not yet made it into the ranks of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which was stunting and limiting its export trade.

So HK’s position as a channel for entrepôt trade was exploited to deliver mainland-made goods to the rest of the world via its ports, and crucially, by circumventing the WTO’s trade restrictions. But that all changed when China entered the organisation in 2001, and from then HK began to play a diminishing role. The island went from handling half the republic’s trade in 1997 to a measly 12% today.

“In terms of total size and wealth, Hong Kong has also shrunk relative to China, which has experienced more than three decades of astoundingly high economic growth. In 1997, Hong Kong’s economy was one-fifth the size of China’s, and its per capita income was 35 times higher. By 2018, Hong Kong’s economy was barely one-thirtieth the size of China’s. Hong Kong is still richer, but the gap is narrowing, with its per capita income now five times higher than China’s,” claimed the New York Times International.

And to exemplify China’s newly accrued wealth, on a trip to Guangzhou, my jaw dropped when I saw the homes of the mainland Chinese in a sprawling gated property built by Forest City.

The HK film industry has nearly collapsed. With only the TV dramas in Cantonese keeping some actors home, most HK movie stars and singers have moved to China, where they are better paid and command bigger audiences.

Some still struggle to speak fluent Mandarin and drop their Cantonese accent, but most have successfully made the transition.

Knowing the realities of the huge China market, and not wanting to offend their audience, most of these big names opted to stay away from the recent HK protests. Pro-Beijing Jackie Chan was lambasted for pleading ignorance of the protest march.

Still, HK has its assets, though. It has an efficient administration system and remains an important channel. In China, tighter capital control measures are making it increasingly difficult to access outside money, the SCMP said.

“Hong Kong is also a top offshore yuan trading centre, leading the way for wider use of the Chinese currency in trade and finance – a priority for Beijing as it pushes for the yuan’s internationalization.

“… Hong Kong can also do more down the road. It can foster an ecosystem for the yuan currency, developing derivatives and indexes to convince people to hold the yuan in larger amounts,” Oliver Rui, a professor of finance and accounting in China, was quoted.

But China needs to do more to secure the faith of the islanders.

HK people understand and accept they are a part of China. There is no turning back and nothing is going to change that.

Hoisting British flags may be the manifestation of frustration for the idealistic young, but it won’t change their destiny.

At the same time, China needs to wake up to the fact that only 3.1% of those aged between 18 and 29 in HK see themselves as broadly Chinese (China nationality). This compares to 31% in 1997, according to a report based on a survey by the University of Hong Kong.

And we know that many of those who took part in the recent street protests included secondary school children, some not yet even 18 years old.

Even though China has overtaken HK, particularly from an economic standpoint, Beijing needs to foster and maintain a sense of inclusion, especially when the islanders don’t feel they are a part of China.

There was a time when HK residents laughed at mainlanders, calling them the disparaging “Ah Chan”, or village simpletons. However, mainlanders are growing richer and more powerful now. But like all good “bosses”, China needs to treat the island’s residents with respect, and it needs to motivate and win over their hearts and minds. China must make them proud to be Chinese citizens.

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Impractical move: China is generally aware that the Hong Kong people cannot sustain any form of protest because rent and bills need to…

 

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Let’s talk economy – the sequel of education


The pump-prime our financial situation, we need a massive investment to revamp and rebuild our education  

 

Moving forward We need a complete revamp of our school curriculum as well as new,
well-designed and well-operated places for our children to learn in.

 

I WAS not done the last time, so let’s continue our talk about the economy.

In the last article, I wrote that we must spend our way out of the recession and we must act now. We have to spend it on the right things, for the right reasons, using the right people, at the right value.

In the ’80s, we spent on massive highway infrastructure and got ourselves out of the recession. As I said, today we need a different solution that will hit various sectors that will have an overall impact not just on themselves, but also our fundamental way of life.

Where then shall we stake our economic salvation to spark growth in our economy and blaze a path to recovery of the Malaysian nation as a progressive one that will pave our way to be developed?

I say we build on education. Fundamental education. We reform, revamp and rebuild our education infrastructure, systems, administration and human resources. To be specific, primary and secondary education.

Think about it – the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is to be built at a cost of RM44bil. Imagine the number of people, companies and all and sundry subsectors that will benefit from a massive capital investment like this in education, not just in the short term but in the long term as well.

Today, Malaysia has in actual fact, a dilapidated, outdated and obsolete – primary and secondary – education infrastructure and system. Our administration and human resources are geared towards upholding this obsolete education model. We need a full revamp and rebuild.

Most public schools are in shambles – old and poorly constructed and poorly maintained buildings; run-down facilities with no air conditioning in this tropical climate. Basically, the hardware of our schools needs a total replacement.

We also need a full revamp of the teaching software – the administration and teaching human re­sour­­ces currently operating our education system. Over the last 30 years, our obsession with seemingly racist policies and religious fundamentalism has produced an ethnic and religious-centric education system, curriculum and teaching profession and administration that is not capable of producing a scientifically and technologically advanced and humanistic progressive majority.

Why else would we have people in government and authority making stupid pronouncements that liberalism and pluralism are dangers to our society?

If you don’t believe our education is so bad, I give you Exhibit No.1: a public university that proclaims so-called religious-based “scientific findings” such as that the various geological age of the Earth did not happen. And you know your education system is in trouble when your professors start theorising that dinosaurs were actually ‘djinns’.

We need a complete revamp of curriculum – what should be taught and not taught in our public schools and who are really qualified to be teachers and administrators for the education of our children. And we need new, well-designed and well-operated places for them to learn in.

For half of the ECRL budget, say RM20bil, we can start the investment and pump-prime the economy beyond our wildest dream. In addition, this spending will fundamentally change the majority of our society to one that is modern and progressive instead of the one we have today, backwards and inward-looking.

It would be something we could call The Great Malaysian Education Revamp Investment.

I would take this initiative away from the current Education Ministry. A ministry that has produced this failed education system cannot be entrusted to carry out a revamp of this nature. An academic, especially one who is steeped in an education based on religious beliefs, is not equipped to lead a major reformation and capital investment initiative. This is a major professional corporate-level investment initiative.

It has to be carried out by a select group of corporate and education professionals supported in the team by various governmental functions on-loan from ministries such as Works, Finance and Legal. This must be a one-stop centre special projects task force. This task force should be separated into

two segments, namely Education Reform and Infrastructure Rebuild.

It is really not that difficult to see what kind of schools we need, both in terms of infrastructure and curriculum. Go to the international schools in this country which cater primarily for children of first world countries – get their blueprint, work with them to understand why they do what they do and implement them.

Look at their infrastructure, see what they have as teachers, what and how they teach, their content and curriculum, and how they administer – and copy them.

If you want to become develop­ed, follow those who already are. Life is that simple.

To all you ethnocentric and na­­tiona­listic purveyors of such pride, I have this reminder. You do not go to Nasa and say, “Show me how to build the Saturn V rocket so I can get to the moon and then decide I need to modify its fuel mixture because I need the ingredients to reflect the national identity.”

That doesn’t work. You will be blown to pieces at the launchpad, which is exactly what happened to our education system the day we decided to do that. You want to reflect national identity? Don’t change the fuel. Paint the fuel tanks with our flags, that’s all.

I hope people get the hint.

Hence, this is what we should be investing in – a developed educational infrastructure, curriculum, teaching resources and a small but efficient administrative capability of international standards. Let’s spend tens of billions on it as capital investment. The rewards will be astronomical and will be far reaching all the way into generations.

It will fundamentally change our society. Imagine international schools for our public school system for primary and secondary education. Imagine the society that creates. Imagine, imagine!

So you may ask, what then should we do with our current infrastructure and resources? You do not move from your house in the ghetto to a spanking new bungalow in the suburbs and bring along your old furniture, do you? You transition only the ones that can fit into this new home and leave behind all the rest.

Sounds harsh? Of course it is. If something or someone is capable enough to be part of a developed infrastructure and resources, you test them and take it with you. If they don’t, you leave them behind. Eventually, close them down one by one until the entire ghetto is gone. Then you bulldoze all of them down.

Some will say that what I am saying is utopian, idealistic or not achievable. Here is my answer to that. Look around the world. Don’t look around underneath our tempurung. Changes are everywhere and they are coming fast. This is the 21st century. You either get on with it or you are going to be left behind. Industries are closing down and being replaced by those we never even imagined before. Never imagined.

Where are the telephone operators at the exchanges today? They don’t exist anymore. Anybody using landline phones in homes lately? Are we holding a telephone or a camera? Or is it a miniature laptop or a recorder or a photo album or … oh well. I don’t know what it is anymore. Cry all you want, but the taxi industry is going to cease to exist. Satellite TV? Wait till 5G comes along.

Disruptions in industries are the norm. In the 21st century, it is moving at breakneck speed. Sometimes I wonder how long general medical practitioners or pharmacists, as we know them today, can survive, or even conveyancing legal practitioners.

Education is not a sacred cow, especially if we want our nation to survive. We either get on with the programme or we wait for our time to perish like that proverbial frog in the slow-boiling pot.

We must change or die. Going back to economics, we are actually living precariously on borrowed time on the credit of our oil money. The other parts of our economy chip in here and there, but it’s very much oil money today. We need to change that narrative now and produce citizens who can compete and create new economies for the 21st century.

We cannot have this education system that turns our people into sheep, rather than thought-provo­king industry creators and innovators. We need to stop this nonsense.

If we continue on this path, we will see the collapse of our civilisation. Sounds alarmist? No, I am being a realist. People complain that our university graduates are still earning starting salaries of those about 20 years ago. It’s true, but it’s not the employers’ fault. As Bill Clinton used to say, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

The economy will pay what its cost structure can stand for it to be viable. You can fix a minimum wage but if it cannot sell because no one can afford to pay for it, it will close down. And then no one gets paid. There is a reason the Human Resources Minister suggested that we look at African labour.

This is because our other neighbours’ wages have risen to that of what we pay that they don’t have to come to work here anymore. This is because our economy has not grown with the growth of our population, that’s why.

The signs are all there to see, but we refuse to see it. The worse thing is, our civil service and government-­linked company sub-economies have artificially provided shelter and complacency among the majority population, fully financed by taxpayer debts and diminishing oil money. I guarantee you that the retorts to this article, as was to many of my articles, will come from such subsidised mindsets.

Today in Malaysia, mediocrity and unproductivity is rewarded. This cannot, and will not, last for long. We need to change our condition. That change must come with education. Since our economy needs vigorous pump-priming, we might as well go all in with massive investment in education. And in that, we need a true revamp and rebuild of our education.

Let’s just do it.

Siti Kasim is a proud liberal, a non-conformist and a believer in the inalienable rights of individuals to choose their own path as long as no harm is caused to others.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Sunday Star

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Can you spare a minute to look at this? http://chng.it/bbZwKBNg 1⃣ 网民重启老马当教长运动 2⃣支持者秒速联署反映惊人 3⃣这匹马不行就换另一匹马 4⃣你签署了吗?

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Declining performance of Malaysia’s civil service, World Bank report

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Hong Kong’s social problems stem from British rule, faces risk of Beijing rule as UK’s ‘toothless threat’ against China


https://youtu.be/OISpOGZJ5pA

China urges UK officials to stop making wrong remarks on Hong Kong

The Chinese way of ruling https://youtu.be/BPV8mBAiuZ0

https://rightwayspro.blogspot.com/2019/06/a-destiny-tied-to-china-tackling-it.html

 Graffiti reading ‘Cancel Functional Constituencies’ is seen on lawmaker desks after protesters entered and vandalised the chamber of the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong in the early hours of July 2. — Photos: Bloomberg
Graffiti reading ‘Cancel Functional Constituencies’ is seen on lawmaker desks after protesters entered and
vandalised the chamber of the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong in the early hours of July 2. — Photos: Bloomberg

LAST Monday, I watched the live telecast of protests in Hong Kong in horror as hundreds of protesters forced their way into the Legislative Council building, ransacking the chamber and defacing the emblem of the Hong Kong Government.

July 1 marked the 22nd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, when British colonial rule and humiliation ended, but it turned out to be one of the city’s darkest days.Protesters were seen waving large Union Jack flags in the middle of the chamber, searching for documents and destroying computers. Watching the TV footage was worrying and mind-boggling. Western media, including CNN, reported that there was no leader – but to me, the chaos seemed organized.

Hong Kong, which had been under British colonial rule for 155 years before 1997, is now under the jurisdiction of China. Hence, the display of the British flag lent credence to Beijing’s accusation that Britain was one of the Western forces behind the series of protests in Hong Kong.

In vandalising the building and its interior, protestors showed a complete disregard for the rule of law – the core value of keeping public order in this international financial centre.I continued to monitor the news on various international news channels until past midnight, when the armed police finally moved in in heavy trucks to clear the rioters. A key reason the police stayed away from confronting the rioters was due to a directive from China’s President Xi Jinping to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam that “there must not be blood”, according to local newspaper Apple Daily.

Before marching to the Legislature on Monday, protestors had already taken to the streets previously in an attempt to disrupt a flag raising ceremony carried out by officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (as Hong Kong is formally known under China’s rule), but they left after a scuffle with the police that left many hurt.Peaceful pro-democracy street marches on July 1 have been an acceptable annual routine ever since the 1997 handover. This year, however, the situation was tense due to massive demonstrations in earlier weeks against the tabling of an amendment Bill to Hong Kong’s extradition law.

The Bill was first proposed by the Hong Kong government in February 2019 in response to a 2018 murder of a woman by her boyfriend while the Hong Kong couple was visiting Taiwan. Since Hong Kong has no extradition treaty with Taiwan, which is part of China, the Hong Kong boyfriend could not be sent to Taiwan to face the law.

The Bill, based on United Nations model used in the West, is meant to target fugitives suspected of one or more serious crimes. But it rules out targetting people based on political and religious grounds. In essence, the Bill is meant to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a sanctuary for fugitives and criminals.

However, anti-China activists have argued that this Bill will facilitate the sending of suspects to Beijing, whose law is harsher. They say it will destroy the Western rule of law and freedom now enjoyed by people in Hong Kong.

This wider interpretation has spread fear among ordinary residents, who are grappling with the high cost of living and housing in Hong Kong. The main objective of the Bill seems to have been overlooked completely.

Among the vocal protestors are pro-democracy activists, advocates of Hong Kong independence, China critics and dissidents, opposition politicians, and people who conduct shady commercial deals and crimes on the mainland. Also unhappy with this Bill, according to several YouTube narratives, are Taiwan and foreign governments with regional intelligence headquarters in Hong Kong who fear being rooted out from this centrally located “paradise” which gives them much needed “immunity”. Perhaps this is the reason why Western forces have been supportive of the protests.The upheaval has forced Lam to suspend tabling of the Bill.

On June 10, as protests were fast gathering momentum, the state-owned Global Times said in an editorial that, “Some international forces have increasingly collaborated with the opposition in Hong Kong…. Washington has been particularly active in meddling in Hong Kong affairs, and some radical opposition members in Hong Kong are (working) hand-in-glove with the US,” it said.Global Times reported that two opposition groups visited the US in March and May to notify the Americans about the amendment to the extradition law.

After these visits, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Bill threatens the rule of law in Hong Kong. The British and Canadian governments also issued a joint statement disapproving of the Bill.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has, on several occasions, publicly warned foreign forces not to meddle in Hong Kong’s affairs.

The violence of the July 1 protests may have embarrassed Westerners who support Hong Kong demonstrators. But some attributed the violence to a lack of response from the government to opposition demands.

Despite widespread condemnation of the July 1 crimes, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that the Hong Kong protesters “have inspired the world” and their courage should not be ignored.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted on Monday: “… want to stress UK support for Hong Kong and its freedoms is unwavering on this anniversary day. No violence is acceptable, but HK people must preserve their right to peaceful protest.”

The next day Hunt warned Beijing that the Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984 and setting out the terms for Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty, was “to be honoured … and if it isn’t there will be serious consequences”.

As stated in the Joint Declaration and under the “one country, two systems” principle, socialism practised in mainland China would not be extended to Hong Kong. Instead, Hong Kong would continue its capitalist system and way of life for 50 years after 1997.

In anger, China responded by lodging protests with Britain over Hunt’s warning.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing had made “stern representations” over the comments, and accused Hunt of still harbouring “colonial illusions”.

“We called on the British, especially Hunt, to stop being overconfident and grossly interfering in Hong Kong affairs. This is doomed to fail,” Geng said.

Hong Kong became a British colony at the end of the First Opium War in 1842. Although it was returned to China in 1997, British and Western influence is still strong.

China’s state media reminded Hong Kong’s citizens of the disastrous consequences of past “revolutions” promoted in many countries by the West. When these countries were in turmoil and needed economic assistance, the Western countries shied away, various media said in their commentaries and editorials.

There were also reminders that the semi-autonomous territory’s destiny is tied to the mainland, and that Beijing has looked after the interest of Hong Kong well.

It is not known whether the arrest of people responsible for the July 1 riots will spark further major protests, but if Lam resigns and the situation gets out of control, Article 18 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law could be invoked to allow China’s military forces to take control, according to an analysis from the mainland.

Article 18 of the Basic Law reads: “In the event that the National People’s Congress decides to declare a state of war or, by reason of turmoil within Hong Kong that endangers national unity or security and is beyond the control of the government of the region, decides that Hong Kong is in a state of emergency, the Central Government may issue an order applying the relevant national laws in Hong Kong.”

“For those people demanding the resignation of Carrie Lam, you had better not allow her to quit, as her stepping down can be construed as Hong Kong being out of control,” says one YouTube commentator, Tey Kok Seng.

Another, Mei Han, says in a video: “Stop the ‘one country two systems’ principle immediately, take back Hong Kong now,” adding that she is organising an online petition that has collected more than 10,000 “support” clicks.

China has been patient with Hong Kong’s demands and protests, but it is also time for Hong Kong’s residents to respect the principle of “one country, two systems” that has brought prosperity and stability to the territory.

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During an interview Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt still refused to directly criticize the violent protesters who stormed and vandalized the Hong Kong Legislative Council. Instead, he superficially stated that the UK condemns “all violence” and warned China again. He did not elaborate on the “serious consequences” that he previously warned China that it may face, but said the UK is “keeping options open” over China.

Almost all analyses believe Hunt is putting on an air. Nobody believes the UK will send its only aircraft carrier to China’s coast. Nor would anyone believe the UK will punish Beijing at the cost of hurting trade with China. The UK has been dwarfed by China in military and trade. Hunt’s inappropriate statements make many British people nervous: Will Beijing cancel an order from the UK to warn British politicians?

If China-UK relations deteriorate, will expelling Chinese diplomats become a card for London? This was the way that the Theresa May government used to deal with Moscow when a former Russian spy was poisoned in the UK. BBC reporters asked Hunt about the possibility for expelling diplomats. But it seems more like these BBC reporters, who bully politicians for pleasure, were using the unreliable option to make things difficult for Hunt.

Launching a diplomatic war against China leads to nowhere. European countries will not stand by London on the Hong Kong issue. By worsening diplomatic relations with China, the UK will only isolate itself.

What’s important is that Beijing has done nothing wrong on the Hong Kong issue. It is obvious to all that China persists in the “one country, two systems” policy, and Hong Kong’s system is different from the mainland’s. The Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, proposed by Hong Kong regional government, was a small cause of the unrest. It was politicized and magnified by opposition factions. The situation escalated according to the logic under Hong Kong’s system, not that of the mainland. But such storming and vandalizing is not acceptable under Hong Kong’s system or any system worldwide.

Instead of blaming violent protesters, Hunt directed his ire against Beijing, which is based on his selfish interests to win the election. Hunt wants to defeat Boris Johnson. In charge of diplomacy, Hunt believes the Hong Kong issue is a chance that dropped into his and the UK’s lap. But this is not the 19th century when the Opium War broke out. The UK has gone past its prime.

Hunt knew that Beijing would sniff at his threat of “serious consequences.” But he still said it because he needed to play in front of voters. This is political fraud. Hunt obviously believes that the British people can be manipulated like a flock of sheep.

But Hunt’s stunt has no good effect. Many British people are more worried whether Hunt’s words would lead to “serious consequences” from China. Purpose and ability should match in diplomatic strategy, but Hunt is obviously outwardly strong and inwardly weak. Even the British people think his performance is amusing.

In a few short years, one minute the UK calls its relations with China the “Golden Era,” and the next minute it warns China of “serious consequences.” Although these statements are from different administrations and politicians, the UK still shows inconsistency in policy. The country also swung from side to side on Brexit. The UK’s politics have become politicians’ coffers and plots. They are undermining the UK’s image.

Under such circumstances, we should not be too serious when dealing with the UK. Regardless of whether it shows a friendly or an opportunistic gesture, we should remind ourselves this will not be its first or last attitude toward China, and by saying that we mean it will be in a relatively short time, to be specific.

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Declining performance of Malaysia’s civil service, World Bank report


KUALA LUMPUR: The performance of Malaysia’s civil service has been declining since 2014, according to a World Bank report, which also expressed concerns about the sustainability of the country’s public sector wage bill.

The report, which came about following the visit of World Bank vice-president for East Asia and Pacific Victoria Kwakwa to Malaysia last December during which she met the Prime Minister, also ranked Malaysia lowly in its indicators for accountability, impartiality as well as the transparency and openness of its public service.

The report – which is included in the World Bank’s six-monthly economic monitor on Malaysia – will be formally launched today.

World Bank lead public sector specialist Rajni Bajpai said that while Malaysia was doing better than others in South-East Asia, there was a very “big gap” in the performance of its civil servants with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

She said the report decided to compare Malaysia with the OECD countries as it was hoping to move from a middle-income status country to that of high-income.

“When you compare Malaysia with others in the region, Malaysia has been doing pretty well but we see that the performance has stagnated.

“If you look at the indicator for government effectiveness, Malaysia is still above in the region but in 2018, the performance is below that of between 1991 and 2014.

“If you take the average of that period between 1991 and 2014, it was higher than that in 2018, which means the performance is declining,” she said in an interview.

There were also some indicators in which Malaysia ranked even below the region, said Rajni, adding that this included accountability, impartiality and the openness of its public sector.

“There is a strong perception … that recruitment of the civil service is not fair and neutral (with) Malaysia scoring very poorly on the indicators for impartiality in the government.

“It’s the lowest ranked, even below the region and way below the OECD,” she said, adding that the government in its election manifesto had suggested setting up an Equal Opportunities Commis­sion meant to tackle discriminatory practices in both the public and private sector.

“Malaysia also scores very poorly on the openness indicators. Malaysia is not a very open economy in the sense that data sharing is a very big problem.

“The government does not share of a lot of data, even within its own departments or with the citizens.

“And citizens’ feedback and voices are not factored by the government into the design of programmes,” she said, adding that the report would suggest the setting up of an institutional and legal framework for open data sharing.

Another indicator that Malaysia performed “not very well”, according to Rajni, was in digitisation and technological advances, which the government had not been able to integrate into its system to provide services.

The report, said Rajni, also focused on another critical element in Malaysia’s civil service, in that the recruitment, which was carried out by the Public Services Department, was overcentralised.

Describing Malaysia as one of the “most overcentralised”, she pointed out that in many countries, this function had been devolved to other departments and even state governments.

“Overcentralisation does not allow for the people who actually need the public servants to do certain jobs … because they don’t have the right people or the recruitment takes a very long time,” she said.

OECD countries, said Rajni, had been using a competency framework for the recruitment of their civil service, which defined the kind of roles and skills needed in the public sector, rather than taking in people generally for everything.

Among the indicators that Malaysia performed very well were for the ease of doing business – for which Malaysia is ranked 15th – and the inclusion of women in its civil service.

“Women occupied almost 50% of the civil service although there are some issues with women in higher management,” said Rajni.

Other indicators that were highlighted in the report included political stability, regulatory quality, rule of law and control of corruption.

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The hegemonic anxiety of America First


In the global political landscape looms a superpower with a military and economic might widely believed to remain unrivalled at least for decades to come.

Yet it appears that in recent years the hegemon — the United States, or specifically its national security apparatus — has grown increasingly restless. It sees the irrevocable collective rise of the developing world as a threat and refuses to accept what is natural and inevitable. That bodes trouble for all.

The peerless prowess that underpins the United States’ leading role on the world stage stems from a combination of political, economic, geographical and other factors, including a grand vision that allowed it to work with others to establish the current international system.

Yet that strategic sobriety has noticeably given way to a sense of superiority. Three decades of unipolar hegemony has induced a historically ill-founded but deeply entrenched belief in Washington that the United States is an exceptional country above all others, and international affairs should be managed in either the American way or no way at all. Its past success in nipping every serious challenger to its dominance in the bud has only deepened its complacency.

But now with the unstoppable growth and ascent of developing countries, it appears destined that the U.S.-led West will have to share the stage with “the rest.” Although the nascent shift is merely a logical outcome of history and does not cost Washington any of its legitimate interests, a self-inflicted anxiety is taking hold of what is called the national security state of America.

Hawkish decision-makers and opinion leaders are drowning out reason and morality in the United States and fanning the fear that America is losing what it is entitled to. Upholding the banner of “America First,” the current U.S. government has in a little more than two years shown the world how far it is willing to go in order to “make America great again,” although the United States remains the sole superpower in today’s world.

Global trade is so far a major battlefront. In the eyes of incumbent U.S. policy-makers, the laws of economics and trade are nothing but a hoax, and any country that has a trade surplus with the United States is ripping it off.

They have waged waves of tariff offensives against not only China, but also U.S. allies like the European Union, Japan, South Korea and Canada, slapping heavy levies on imported products ranging from steel and auto parts to toys and bikes, regardless of rising financial burdens on domestic consumers and businesses, and the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Washington’s assault on the rules-based multilateral global trading system is posing a serious threat to future global economic growth. Gita Gopinath, the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist, warned in May that “the latest (tariff) escalation could significantly dent business and financial market sentiment, disrupt global supply chains and jeopardize the projected recovery in global growth in 2019.”

The high-tech realm has also witnessed the United States scrambling to secure its supremacy. However, it is trying to do so not by sharpening its own edges in fair competition, but by employing the state power to drive out competitors.

Its unjustified crackdown on telecom equipment provider Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies under the excuse of national security is reminiscent of its erstwhile plot against Japan’s once booming semiconductor industry, and widely interpreted as an attempt to sabotage China’s standard-setting capabilities in such key areas as the next generation of mobile communications and ensure China’s permanent inferiority, at least in advanced technology.

In the realm of geopolitics, Washington’s hegemonic anxiety disorder has become even more conspicuous, especially in its policies on the Middle East and Latin America. In recent months, the United States has flirted with going to war against Iran and orchestrating a coup d’etat in Venezuela.

Meanwhile, the current US government is seeking to reap the benefits of being what Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, called a “rogue superpower” while refusing to bear its due global responsibility. Its withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal has breached the global efforts to address many of the world’s most pressing challenges.

In the post-Cold War era, the West once believed that the world had entered a period of “Pax Americana,” where the United States would act as a builder of a rules-based international order and a guardian of peace. However, three decades later, Western countries are disappointed to discover that it has become a big bully pushing the world toward “Chaos Americana.”

Given the high stakes, the international community, including the sober minds in America, needs to work together to help Washington make peace with the current historical trend. After all, every nation is part of the planet, every people is entitled to pursue happiness, and every country has the right to developing its economy and technology.

As for Washington, it should, as US political scientist Joseph Nye has suggested, learn the importance of using its power with others, not just over others, in today’s increasingly interdependent world.

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Hegemonic practices of US will finally lead to failure

There’s a proverb in the western world that self-knowledge is the most valuable knowledge. However, some US politicians, who are just not able to have a clear knowledge of themselves and the global situation, are still stubbornly following the outdated hegemonic approach.

With the strategy of “America first”, these US politicians have never cared about the interests of other countries or the common welfare of global citizens.

They started the trade war under the excuse that the US is losing in its trade with China, but keep silent about the huge profits they have gained from the relationship. They make frequent statements that other countries have posed threat on US national security, but turn mute on their globally-reaching intelligence network. They strongly criticize international organizations such as the WTO, but make no mention of the fact that the US is a major founder and the largest beneficiary of the current global governance system.

White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro even said bluntly that other countries dare not to take retaliatory measures against the US because of the great power of the latter. Such arrogance revealed what truly lies under the slogan of “Make America great again”.

The bullying and arbitrary practices of the US are supported by the hegemonic logic of the country that US rules apply to the whole world and other countries must compromise to ensure US interests.

From the “economic aggression” theory by US Vice President Mike Pence, to the fallacy made by Navarro that Chinese commodities are mortgaging America’s future, and to the statement of former White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon that exporting of Chinese excess capacity gutted the upper Midwest of the United States, these US politicians take normal economic exchanges as “nails” and wish to hammer them. They are not willing to see the Chinese people live in a well-off society just like Americans do.

Under the banner of “America first”, some US politicians just cannot keep a lid on their impulses and even started attacking their allies. Not long ago, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel expressed her views on the cracking foundation of the post-World War II order and the deterioration of trans-Atlantic ties. The US is becoming a rival of global countries.

Why the US politicians are still dreaming about the “chosen nation” and “shining city upon a hill”? It’s because they still believe in the old philosophy that might is right, and perceives the world with a “law-of-the-jungle” mentality. Besides, they are taking international relations as a “clash of civilizations”.

This explains why the US government always calls itself a monitor of global orders and a judge of international relations.

With the irreversible trend of today’s multi-polarization, economic globalization, cultural diversification and social informatization, the US is still considering itself a savior of the world and taking the globe as its “backyard garden” where it can act arbitrarily and do everything it wants to. It is even making attempts to stop the building of a community with a shared future with the so-called “America first” policy.

At present, the US hegemony has aroused anger from across the world. Even some US enterprises are making adjustments in reaction to the pressure from the US government. A series of “made-in-America” companies including Harley-Davidson, Inc., have “escaped” from the US, and Exxon Mobil Corporation and Tesla are also building factories in China.

However, the US hegemony is nothing but a wishful thinking. According to American scholar Stephen Roach, the US had merchandise trade deficits with 102 countries in 2018, which reflected the extreme insufficiency of the country’s domestic savings – a situation caused by the rash approvals of budget deficit made by the congress and decision makers.

Some scholars attributed the inequality in the US to its wrong policies, rather than economic globalization. Unfortunately, some US politicians made wrong prescriptions, and called other countries a barrier on the way to “make America great again”.

Blaming the others for its own mistakes, the US will miss the opportunity for self-improvement and hurt the country and people via the diversion of domestic contradictions.

US scholar Robert Kagan argues that America’s decline is being actively willed by unnamed “politicians and policymakers”, and they are “in danger of committing pre-emptive superpower suicide out of a misplaced fear of declining power”.

No country in the world is willing to be manipulated by other countries in human history. Mutual respect, sincere cooperation and win-win benefits should be the principle held by each country when it comes to international relations.

Of course, it’s not easy for the arrogant US politicians to be aware of this. The bright side is that facts don’t lie and speak louder than words.

There is an idiom in China that ultimate power incurs humiliation. Any country that deviates from the path of win-win cooperation and sticks to zero-sum games, disobeys rules for fair competition and pressures others, and goes against the trend of economic globalization and resorts to conservatism will end up losing.

Hegemony will only consume the power of a nation and accelerate the process of its recession. Such cases are just prevalent in history.

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 Xi to hold meetings with world leaders at G20 summit –

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Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold multilateral meetings with leaders of BRICS countries, trilateral talks with leaders of India and Russia as well as meetings with leaders of African countries during the G20 summit in Japan from Thursday to Saturday,
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Fighting protectionism G20’s top task amid trade war

Amid an impasse between the US and China, the G20 summit in Japan offers a platform where US President Donald Trump will be able to talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping, if all goes well. It is too early to predict the outcome, but the summit has rekindled hopes that the two sides may resume trade talks after negotiations to reach a broad deal left hanging last month.

Fighting protectionism G20’s top task amid trade war

Amid an impasse between the US and China, the G20 summit in Japan offers a platform where US President Donald Trump will be able to talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping, if all goes well. It is too early to predict the outcome, but the summit has rekindled hopes that the two sides may resume trade talks after negotiations to reach a broad deal left hanging last month.

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A destiny tied to China – Tackling it the British way


Impractical move: China is generally aware that the Hong Kong people cannot sustain any form of protest because rent and bills need to be paid and protests don’t gain a voice, neither by yellow shirts nor umbrellas. — AFP

The future of the Hong Kong people lies with China but the challenge for Beijing is to make Hong Kongers feel that they are a fundamental part of the Middle Kingdom.

If there is a history lesson that the Chinese can learn from British Malaya in handling the Hong Kong protests, it’s that the British administered their colonies well and without the need for any heavy-handed approaches, even they robbed these colonies of their rich minerals.

YOU’VE got to hand it to the British because they are really the masters at the game. Anyone who has studied basic Malayan history would know that officials during colonial times merely identified themselves as advisers.

They were British civil servants, but they called the shots.

Adding insult to injury, the Malay Rulers – as the Sultans were called then – were “led” to believe they still ran the states.

Under British Malaya – a set of states on the Malay peninsula and Singapore under British rule between the 18th and 20th centuries – British colonial officials had the last say on almost everything except religion and customary matters, which they cleverly left to the palaces.

So, in theory, the Rulers held their positions, kept their perks and all royal protocols befitting royalty, but their wings were clipped.

These were the federated states, but in the case of Straits Settlement states, British governors were appointed.

So, the famous Malacca Sultanate, with its rich lineage of Sultans, found itself having a governor, a Caucasian, as did Penang and Singapore.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad put it aptly when he said last week in his speech in Britain that “Malaysia is a member of the Commonwealth, but there is nothing much in common with the wealth dominated by certain countries”.

“The British acknowledged the Malay Sultans as Rulers, but the Sultans never ruled. Therefore, when they criticised us as dictators, I don’t think they really meant it,” he said.

There was more. Under British rule in the 20th century, the British introduced repressive laws such as the Internal Security Act (ISA), used against communist insurgents.

Under the ISA, a person could be held for 60 days in solitary confinement and up to two years’ extension without trial.

Despite this, the British told the world, with a straight face, that they taught us, the natives, principles of justice, democracy and fairness, and that we all cried when they abandoned us when the Japanese invaded Malaya in 1941, and when we gained independence in 1957.

Our first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, kept the law when the Union Jack was lowered in 1957, which marked our independence.

Not many Malaysians are aware that the British imposed the ISA. Of course, during that era, only the radical left-wingers, with communist tendencies, were detained.

One ISA detainee, who was imprisoned under the British and then under the Malaysian government, said: “With the British guards, they would cheerily come every morning and wished the detainees a good day.” That was the difference.

Fast forward to 2019 and the massive turnout in Hong Kong against the controversial extradition Bill, with proposed amendments allowing for criminal suspects to be sent to China, has made international news.

It has prompted concern in Hong Kong and elsewhere that anyone from the city’s residents to foreign and Chinese nationals living or travelling through the international financial hub could be at risk if they were wanted by Beijing.

Basically, Hong Kong residents would rather face HK courts than be deported to mainland China.

Many have no faith in China’s judicial system compared to the British-style HK courts, which inherited the British legal system, and where most of the judges and lawyers are also British-trained.

The HK people can’t be blamed for their anger and suspicion since the international community has read of Chinese nationals being short-changed, or even neglected by the courts in the pursuit of justice.

And we can even read of income tax defaulters, under investigation, being hauled off to undisclosed locations, while dissidents have been taken away, and disappeared without a trace.

This bad press, verified or otherwise, would have scared many people, even though one wonders how many of these HK protesters believe, in their hearts of hearts, that they would ever get arrested and sent to China.

But the irony is that under British rule in HK, like many governments, the British widely used the law as a tool to consolidate control of Hong Kong in the hands of a privileged minority.

Legal expert Richard Daniel Klien wrote that “the British enacted legislation which in some respects instituted two sets of laws – one for the Europeans and another for the Chinese. Laws were passed to ensure no Chinese would live in the most desirable parts of Hong Kong, which the British wished to preserve as their exclusive enclaves.

“In a land in which ninety-eight per cent of the population were Chinese, English was the official language.

“The Chinese language was not permitted to be used in government offices.

“Laws regulating conduct were written exclusively in English, a language which the vast majority of the population could not understand.

“The astonishing truth of the failure of the Hong Kong Chinese to develop a significant pro-democracy or pro-independence movement, while other British colonies obtained independence long ago, testifies to the success of the British laws in accomplishing the goal of continued colonial rule over this land of six million inhabitants.”

MK Chan wrote in a law review report that “to most people in Hong Kong, the preservation of the existing legal system is of crucial importance to the high degree of autonomy the post-colonial Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is supposed to enjoy under Chinese sovereignty according to the “One Country, Two Systems” formula.

“However, this widely shared perception is flawed for one simple reason: the legal system in Hong Kong today has its own serious defects. It is not only alien in origin,” and “markedly different from the legal system in the People’s Republic of China but also defective and inadequate”.

No protest has gained voice, neither through yellow shirts nor umbrellas. And no protests were staged because the British didn’t allow elections during the colonial rule from over a century and a half.

The 1995 Hong Kong Legislative Council election for members of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong was only finally held that year – it was the first and last fully elected legislative election in the colonial period before the nation was returned to China two years later. So much for democracy and freedom.

No HK resident protested that only the white men could hold top posts in government bodies, places where there were many qualified HK civil servants who could speak and write in English better than their superiors.

To put it bluntly, there was not even a squeak – and we know how corrupt the HK police were in the 1970s – about the force being headed by Britons.

To be fair, the British transformed HK from a barren island to an international hub, with a working administration system that has won the confidence of the international community.

However, the responsibility of the British ended in 1997 when HK was handed over to the Chinese. It has lost its right to tell the Chinese what to do.

But what has brought this resentment towards China, from HK Chinese people, and perhaps, even a yearning, for British rule?

Not long ago, it was reported that some localists had taken to thumbing their nose at “China’s heavy-handed meddling” by waving the British flag at football matches, booing the Chinese anthem and chanting “We are Hong Kong! Hong Kong is not China!” in English.

Reports have also surfaced about a small Hong Kong-United Kingdom Reunification Campaign, which angled for a return to British rule but ultimately dismissed as quirky.

Then there are HK people who talk about the “good times” under British rule.

If there is a history lesson which the Chinese can learn from British Malaya, it’s that the Brits administered their colonies well and without the need for any heavy-handed approaches, even as they robbed these colonies of their rich minerals.

Reports of Beijing’s transgressions in the territory, such as the kidnapping by mainland agents of local booksellers, or the National People’s Congress purportedly stepping into local judicial cases, won’t win the hearts of the HK people.

Beijing must put on a softer face and display plenty of patience in dealing with HK. There is really no rush for China, especially with risking an international black eye at a time when it can ill afford to do so.

Yes, China is concerned about how its billion people will react if they see these hot-headed HK protesters abusing policemen.

The lessons from the breakup of the Soviet Union – and the wounded pride and dignity that follows – are always etched in the minds of Chinese leaders.

When CNN and BBC reporters talk about individual rights, they have no idea what Beijing or even the Chinese diaspora think.

But the people of HK must also accept the harsh reality – HK is now China’s sovereignty, and more and more of its independence, or even importance, will slowly fade away.

China doesn’t need HK as much as it used to as a strategic financial hub, because Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, have even eclipsed the former island nation. No matter how big or how long these protests run for, China knows the HK people don’t have the stamina, because rent and bills need to be paid, and protest sittings on streets don’t last anyway.

And the other blow is the British government’s refusal to grant citizenship to the 3.5 million Hongkongers born there under the British flag.

China needs to work harder on winning hearts and minds, and to make the HK people feel they are a fundamental part of China, and Chinese culture and pride.

HK people have always been independent because they were brought up differently and under different sets of political and legal systems, and that must be understood. There is no need to ramp through any laws, indicating that the HK people are unhappy.

The destiny of the HK people lies with China, and not Britain, but the challenge for Beijing is to make the people of HK feel those sentiments and be proud of it.

And speaking of extradition, let’s not forget that the US is also seeking to get WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange extradited from the UK for alleged crimes under the Espionage Act 1917, of which remains unclear.

He is the first journalist to have the book thrown at him for whistleblowing.

That’s not all. The US wants Huawei chief financial office Sabrina Meng Wanzhou to be extradited from Canada over charges which smell suspiciously like trumped up accusations. – by wong chun wai

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N. Korean Glorious welcome for Predident Xi, China to support security, development concerns


 

Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held talks in Pyongyang Thursday where Xi received an unprecedented welcome. The talks touched on the China-North Korea relationship and the Korean Peninsula issue.

Xi, also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), kicked off his two-day state visit to the neighboring country at the invitation of Kim, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Xi said during the talks that the international community expects the DPRK and the US to keep pushing negotiations forward to reach a result, and China is willing to provide assistance to the DPRK in its “reasonable concerns on security and development.”

China is willing to cooperate with the DPRK and other parties involved in the issue to push the political solution, Xi noted.

Kim responded that the DPRK highly appreciated China’s contributions in pushing forward the peace process of the peninsula issue.

His country has made positive efforts to avoid tensions in the past year, but “relevant parties” haven’t offered any positive response, and this is not what the DPRK wants to see, Kim said. But North Korea is patient to keep communicating with “relevant parties” to find a solution that could be accepted by all parties, Kim noted.

Zheng Jiyong, director of the Center for Korean Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, said a key reason why the bilateral negotiations between North Korea and the US can’t move on is that Washington doesn’t want to offer a positive response to Pyongyang’s security concerns. Pyongyang feels insecure and so it is reluctant and suspicious to make more concessions, he noted.

“China is capable of making North Korea feel secure and protecting it from unreasonable bullying and threats,” Zheng said.

Lü Chao, a research fellow at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences in Shenyang, said that although the US prefers a bilateral mechanism, it still needs a third party to guarantee the implementation of denuclearization once it reaches an agreement with North Korea.

A third party or a new international cooperation mechanism is needed at this moment, Chinese experts noted, as the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan will take place at the end of the month, and five parties – China, the US, Russia, Japan and South Korea – of the Six-Party Talks, except North Korea, will gather in Japan, offering a good opportunity for them to discuss such an issue.

China is showcasing its unique influence over the peninsula issue to the US before the G20, Chinese experts noted.

At
the invitation of Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese president, Kim Jong-un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), paid an unofficial visit to China from March 25 to 28. During the visit, Xi held talks with Kim at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Xi held a welcoming ceremony for Kim before their talks. Photo: Xinhua

Unprecedented ceremony

From the welcome ceremony at Pyongyang International Airport to the unprecedented salutation at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, Xi received the highest-level reception in the capital of North Korea that shows North Korea attaches great importance to the China-North Korea relationship with firm traditional friendship, Chinese experts noted.

About 10,000 people participated in the ceremony at the airport to welcome Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Pyongyang citizens formed a long welcoming line alongside the highway from the airport all the way to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun. There were national flags and banners with slogans about friendship, unity and welcome everywhere in Pyongyang on Thursday.

This is the first time that a visiting foreign top leader received a salutation from the North Korean people at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, a magnificent building near the northeast corner of Pyongyang that serves as the mausoleum for Kim Il-sung, founder of the DPRK, and for his son and North Korean former leader, Kim Jong-il, who were both posthumously designated eternal leaders of North Korea, Xinhua reported.

Special relationship

“This is like three generations of North Korean leaders are witnessing a new milestone in the bilateral traditional friendship being forged by Xi’s visit,” Lü said.

After the ceremony, Xi and Peng moved into the Guesthouse of Kumsusan. Zheng said that the Kumsusan has unusual meaning in North Korea as it belongs exclusively to the Kim family. Kim was trying to emphasize his close and unique relationship with Xi.

“The ceremony is just like welcoming a family member and this also means the two parties and the two countries have a special relationship,” Zheng said.

Rodong Sinmun, the WPK’s flagship newspaper, said in an editorial Thursday that Xi’s visit to “the DPRK despite the urgent and important tasks due to the complicated international relations vividly shows that the Chinese party and government are placing great importance on the DPRK-China friendship.”

The history of the DPRK-China relations vividly records the comradely friendship between the leaders of the elder generation who closely cooperated with each other hand in hand on the road to accomplishing the cause of anti-imperialist independence, peace and socialism, the editorial said.

Xi said during the talks with Kim that the China-DPRK friendship is a strategic choice made by the two sides with a long-term and overall perspective and will not waver due to changes in the international situation.

It is a steadfast policy of the CPC and the Chinese government to maintain, consolidate and develop China-DPRK relations, he stressed.

The top leaders of China and the DPRK agreed during their talks to work together to create a bright future of inter-party and inter-state relations at a new starting point in history, Xinhua reported.

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