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Putin plots out post-election plans

Re-elected Russian President, Vladimir Putin has revealed his primary objective for his presidential term.
According to Russia Today, Putin will pay close attention to the following, saying:

1. “The main thing that we will be working on is of course the internal agenda. First of all we must ensure the growth rate for the economy and make it an innovative one. We must develop healthcare, education, industrial production, infrastructure and other branches that are crucial for moving our country forward and increasing the living standards of our citizens.
2. There are also issues connected with the national defence and security, we cannot do without them, but still the internal agenda is of primary importance today.
3. As for the defence expenditures, we have slated their decrease for this year and for the next year. This will not cause any problems for our defence capability, because the main investments into the development of the newest weapons systems have been made over the previous years.
4. We just need to bring some things to their logical conclusion, to continue the research and development that I have not spoken about yet.
5. There will be no increase in spending, no arms race. We have everything, we have secure reserves in this field.”

Putin believes that workforce productivity is a key issue that is the joint-responsibility of the nation.

Source: Russia Today

[VIEWPOINT] Mugabe and His Country: A Chinese Perspective

By Liu Yunyun (Assistant Executive Editor of Beijing Review)

It came as a big surprise to China that the long-time leader of Zimbabwe and an old friend of China’s had been confined and forced to resign in a “military coup,” despite the fact that many had long questioned whether the nation’s revolutionary leader could effectively lead the poverty-stricken nation to industrialisation and modernisation.

Though his resignation is deemed celebratory by many – some of his people and the so-called media elites from the West – his achievements and failures are part of the nation’s history and legacy which will remain true and significant in understanding this Southern African nation.

Mugabe visited China several times in the hope of finding support for his government and also the Chinese “secret” to success. But unfortunately, as our great reformer Deng Xiaoping had said to his entourage, after his meetings with Mugabe, “He won’t listen.”

China was once in the same international and domestic position as Zimbabwe: poor, backward, and with foreign sanctions. But eventually, after many twists and turns, it found out its own path for economic and social development, which is: making policy changes in accordance with its own national condition without blindly copying others’ way of governance.

READ MORE: Zimbabwe: Domestic Rivalries, US-China Competition Underlie Political Crisis

When it became evident that the former Soviet Union socialist approach could not help Zimbabwe, Mugabe did not draw lessons from the failure of the “big brother,” but instead, continued down the road of proactive policies in various fields, including the land ownership.

Looking back on history, there are some lessons to be learnt from the rise and fall of Mugabe: reform the system when it is necessary; put aside ideological debate while focusing on development; set up a legal base for transition of power and tenure system. Nonetheless, it’s always easier said than done. It is widely expected that his successor can move the nation forward, however difficult it now seems.

Resigned or not, Mugabe has been, is now, and will always be China’s good friend, and so also his country, Zimbabwe. As China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, China has always adhered to the principle of not interfering in internal affairs of other countries and respects Zimbabwean people’s choice and the choice of Mugabe too. China is committed to cooperation with Zimbabwe to improve the well-being of its people regardless of who its leader will be.

Robert Mugabe’s Resignation Letter

President Robert Mugabe yesterday announced that he was stepping down as the president of Zimbabwe. His official resignation letter was read out by Zimbabwe parliamentary Speaker Jacob Mudenda in Harare where a discussion of an impeachment motion was set to be held.

State House

Harare

Zimbabwe

21 November 2017

The Honourable Jacob Mudenda

Notice of resignation as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe

In terms of the provisions of section 96 (1) of the constitution of Zimbabwe, amendment number 20, 2013. Following my verbal communication with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda at 13:53 hours, 21st November, 2017 intimating my intention to resign as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 (1) of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe with immediate effect.

My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire to ensure a smooth, peaceful and non-violent transfer of power that underpins national security, peace and stability.

Kindly give public notice of my resignation as soon as possible as required by section 96 (1) of the constitution of Zimbabwe.

Yours faithfully,

Robert Gabriel Mugabe President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Image: CNN

China pursues deeper relationship with the Philippines

Ralph Jennings
Displayed with permission from Voice of America

China is stepping up aid to the Philippines, including a proposal to seek oil together offshore and a gift of arms to help Manila fight a Muslim rebel insurgency, indicating that both sides want an extra-firm friendship despite an unsettled maritime dispute.

Three firms, including China’s state-owned offshore oil driller CNOOC are awaiting Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature to explore for fuel reserves under a 7,120-square-kilometre tract of water off the Philippine west coast.

Last week the Armed Forces of the Philippines said on its website China had donated 3,000 assault rifles, with 3 million rounds of ammunition, to help the military fight the ISIS-sympathetic Maute Group rebels in a war-torn southern city.

The transactions, alongside infrastructure aid from China, indicate that both countries want as much from each other as the other can accommodate. They made peace only in 2016 after four years of squabbling over maritime sovereignty.

China pursues an oil exploration partnership

Officials in China “would want as much they can get,” said Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Philippine advocacy organization Institute for Political and Electoral Reform.

“I would say the Filipinos are very nationalist in their position, particularly with regards to the South China Sea, but then the friendship I think is well received here.”

Beijing is chasing stronger alliances around Southeast Asia to ease hostility over its claims to nearly the whole South China Sea. A world arbitration court said in mid-2016 China lacked a legal basis to assert those rights.

The Chinese claim overlaps the exclusive economic zones of four Southeast Asian states including the Philippines. Those countries chafe at China’s passage of ships and buildup of artificial islands for military infrastructure.

Chinese aid

China is offering aid and investment to rival claimants Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, as well as to the Philippines. But President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila welcomes China with special enthusiasm as part of his shift away from dependence on the United States.

Chinese success in exchanging aid for political tolerance anywhere in the Asia hinges on the other side’s interest, said Song Seng Wun, Southeast Asia-specialized economist with the private banking unit of CIMB in Singapore.

“It is always a case of the other side (being) more welcoming,” Song said. “On the case of the Philippines, obviously you have a president, and he really wants to do it, so you’re talking about playing the Chinese off the Americans.”

US / Philippines

The United States has been an ally of the Philippines since its colonization of the Southeast Asian country ended in 1946. China opposes the U.S. military presence near the disputed sea, however, while Duterte resents Washington’s criticism of his deadly anti-drug campaign.

But Duterte swung back toward the United States last week with a pitch for more economic partnerships.

China may have donated the rifles, the second installment of its kind, to offset U.S. aid, analysts say.

The United States does joint naval patrols with the Philippines and since 2002 it has placed 50 to 100 special forces on the southern island Mindanao to help control violent rebels such as the Maute Group.

China becoming more popular

Filipinos’ positive sentiment toward China has risen 17 percentage points since 2014, the Pew Research Center said last month. Positive sentiment toward the United States fell from 92 to 78 percent over the past two years, it found.

China pledged $24 billion in aid after Duterte visited Beijing in October. Three months later China and the Philippines agreed to $3.7 billion in Chinese investment covering 30 projects.

China competes as well with Japan for aid and investment in a $167 billion, five-year Philippine effort to modernize infrastructure. Japan, a U.S. ally that has its own political disputes with Beijing, is vying with China for alliances around much of developing Asia.

“If you look at the (official development aid), you’re seeing more from the Japanese than the Chinese,” said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist with Banco de Oro UniBank in Metro Manila.

Philippines still wary

Filipinos want China’s aid, an outgrowth of the $11.2 trillion Chinese economy, as long as it comes without political strings such as conceding disputed tracts of sea, scholars in Manila say.

Prior Chinese efforts at joint maritime oil exploration with Southeast Asian states have failed before because of questions about who would own any discoveries.

China’s CNOOC owns 51 percent of the Calamian oil field being considered for joint exploration now, while Philippine National Oil Company has 28 percent. Jadestone Energy of Singapore has another stake.

China and the Philippines have discussed offshore oil cooperation since late last year.

“Everyone’s waiting at the sidelines,” Ravelas said. “It’s really the devil is in the details. Basically, what would be the revenue share? What will China bring to the table?”

– Repubhub/ Voice of America
– Image: Voice of America

BRICS Media Forum to be held in Beijing this week

Displayed with permission from China Daily

BEIJING – The BRICS Media Forum, to be held in Beijing from June 7 to 8, will be attended by the leaders of 25 media groups from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The attendees will discuss topics including multimedia innovation for media development, as well as media outlets’ duty and social responsibility.

The forum next week aims to improve the high-end dialogue platform for the mainstream media of BRICS countries, as well as advance innovation and promote fairness and justice of international public opinion.

During the forum, there will be a BRICS Media Joint Photo Exhibition to show the development and cooperation achievements of BRICS.

Proposed by Xinhua, the forum is jointly organised by the mainstream media groups of BRICS countries.

China, which took over the BRICS presidency this year, will host the Ninth BRICS Summit in September in Xiamen, Fujian province.

-Repubhub/China Daily

China bicycle industry boom

China’s bicycle manufacturing industry is expected to explode due to the bike-sharing industry boom.
According to the China Daily, the demand for bicycles has shot up to an estimated 20 million bikes due to the growing bike-sharing industry.

China has the largest bike-sharing services compared to other nations and the service allows commuters to escape traffic gridlock and use bikes for as little as ($0.15) per hour.

Bike-sharing commuters use a mobile application like Uber (taxi app) to unlock bicycles and drop them off at their destination for the next commuter.

Chinese government revealed in the newspaper that in the last few years nearly 30 bicycle brands have sprung up, placing more than 3 million bicycles on the streets across China.

Liu Xuequan, who heads the association of the bike industry in Tianjin said the new business has given a push to a group of traditional bike manufacturers in the country.

“When there were no bike-sharing services, we had peak and slack seasons in production. But now, we are busy all year round,” an executive of a bike manufacturing company Flying Pigeon Zhang Jinying told the daily newspaper.
A BigData Research report released recently estimated that the number of shared bicycle users would reach 50 million by the end of 2017.

 

Xi: Innovation is ‘common focus’

AN BAIJIE
Displayed with permission from China Daily

President Xi Jinping meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Beijing on Tuesday. Feng Yongbin / China Daily

China and Israel will both benefit from cooperation, he tells Netanyahu

The establishment of a China-Israel comprehensive innovation partnership will bring more real benefits to the people of both countries, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday while calling for enhanced cooperation in scientific innovation.

“Israel is a world-renowned innovative country, and at the same time, China is also pushing forward innovation-driven development, so innovation has become the common focus of our two countries. It is also the priority for our cooperation,” Xi said while meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. Netanyahu is making an official visit to China from Sunday to Wednesday.

Noting that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China-Israel diplomatic relations, Xi said a comprehensive innovation partnership between the two countries will push forward such cooperation and make use of the two countries’ complementary advantages.

The president called for enhancing political communication, strengthening cooperation at all levels and boosting mutual understanding and trust.

The two countries should connect their development strategies, steadily push forward cooperation on major projects under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, and focus on cooperation in such areas as scientific innovation, agriculture, medicine and clean energy, he said.

Netanyahu told Xi, “Your decision to announce a comprehensive innovation partnership between China and Israel is a tremendously important decision, certainly for Israel and, I believe through our cooperation, for China as well.”

The Israeli prime minister said his country could be “a perfect partner for China in the development of a variety of technologies to change the way we live, how long we live, how healthy we live, the water we drink, the food, the milk we drink and every area”.

Xi, noting that China has close links with the Middle East, said peace and stability in the region are in line with the common interests of all parties, including China and Israel.

The peaceful co-existence of Israel and Palestine can not only benefit the two parties as well as the whole region of Middle East, but also meet the expectations of the international community, Xi said.

Netanyahu said Israel will continue to support the one-China policy.

He also said Israel is willing to play a role in cooperation with China on infrastructure under the Belt and Road Initiative, which Xi proposed in 2013.

Israel would like China to play a bigger role in Middle East affairs, he added.

“We know that you have great scientists, great industries and great capabilities, and we think that by working together, we can make the future better, for both our peoples, but I also think for all of humanity,” he added.

“We admire China’s capabilities, its position on the world stage and its history,” Netanyahu said.

China is Israel’s largest trade partner in Asia and its third-largest overall.

The two countries embarked on their first round of negotiations on a trade pact in September.

More than 100 technology executives have joined Netanyahu on the visit, with meetings planned with Chinese business leaders, according to Reuters.

On Monday, China and Israel also signed a number of agreements for cooperation in the areas of economy, science and technology, commerce and civil aviation.

China, India hold strategic dialogue in Beijing

February 23, 2017
Displayed with permission from China Daily

China and India held a strategic dialogue in Beijing on Wednesday, during which they pledged to enhance cooperation.

According to a press release issued by Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui and Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar co-chaired the dialogue.

The two sides agreed to cement coordination on international and regional affairs and properly deal with differences and sensitive issues.

They upheld that China and India have similar national conditions and share common interests, so there is huge potential for bilateral cooperation.

On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also met with Jaishankar. Wang said the two sides should advance strategic contact and reinforce mutual trust to contribute to regional and global prosperity and stability.

-Repubhub

Wang Yi Holds Talks with Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama of Nigeria

Wang Yi Holds Talks with Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama of Nigeria

Wang Yi expressed that as the largest developing country in the world and Africa respectively, China and Nigeria are each other’s important strategic partner. In recent years, bilateral exchanges in various areas have been constantly deepening and bilateral cooperation has been at the forefront of China-Africa cooperation, yet there is still enormous space left to be explored compared with the market potential of both countries.

Wang Yi put forward five proposals on implementing the consensus reached between the two heads of state as well as the outcomes from the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in the next stage and elevating bilateral relations to a new stage. First, adhere to the one-China policy to consolidate the political foundation of bilateral relations; second, stick to the principle of mutual benefit and win-win results to build an upgraded version of China-Nigeria practical cooperation; third, support Nigeria to improve its capacity in maintaining security and stability by focusing on cooperation in peace and security; fourth, uphold the bridging role of people-to-people and cultural cooperation to expand the non-governmental and social foundation of China-Nigeria friendship; fifth, safeguard the common interests of developing countries by insisting on the platform of international cooperation.

Geoffrey Onyeama noted that Foreign Minister of China always chooses Africa as the destination of his first visit every year, which demonstrates the great importance attached by China to Africa and China-Africa solidarity and friendship. Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari paid a successful visit to China, during which he reached a spate of important consensus with President Xi Jinping. The Nigerian side is willing to take effective measures with China to well carry out these consensus. Currently, the country is devoted to accelerating industrialization process, improving people’s welfare and gradually shaking off the dependence on oil for diversified economic development. It is hoped that during this process, China can offer strong support. Nigeria agrees with China’s five proposals on bilateral cooperation in the next stage, holding that both sides enjoy tremendous potential in cooperation in railway, highway, hydropower development, military security and other areas. The Nigerian side is willing to further enhance exchanges and cooperation in various areas with China and hopes that more Chinese enterprises can participate in Nigeria’s national construction.

Wang Yi stated that a few days ago, the Nigerian side asked Taiwanese offices in Nigeria to remove their “false names” and “false plates”, move out of the capital city as well as reduce power and personnel and reiterated its adherence to the one-China policy, which China highly appreciates. Geoffrey Onyeama said that relevant measures of Nigeria aim at fulfilling the promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari during his visit to China and dealing with issues left by history that interfere with bilateral political mutual trust. It is hoped that both sides can take it as an opportunity to open up new prospects of bilateral cooperation.

The two Foreign Ministers also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern and agreed to further step up coordination and collaboration in international affairs between both countries.

After the talks, the two Foreign Ministers signed a joint statement on adhering to the one-China policy on behalf of respective government and jointly met the press.

This article first appeared on the website of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of South Africa.

BRICS agrees to disclose tax information

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have agreed to work within the OECD’s Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project. The project focuses on tax avoidance initiatives undertaken by individuals who take advantage of ‘existing loopholes’ that exist between different countries’ tax laws.

Tax officials who serve as representatives for the BRICS countries, are dedicated to their pledge to automatically share tax information between them.

Heads of revenue recently held a two-day meeting in Mumbai, India where it was concluded that these efforts would introduce ‘global standards to tax transparency’, putting a tight grip on tax evasion.

They also announced plans to implement the standards used by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the G20 on Automatic Exchange of Information.

“We recognise the importance of the exchange of information between competent authorities in preventing cross-border tax evasion and we resolve to exchange information, both on request and on automatic basis, and to adopt global standards on tax transparency,” noted the communique issued after the meeting.

Included in theBEPS project are all G20 countries, and another 40 developing countries.

The proposed start date for the exchange of information and the implementation of the OECD/G20 standards is 2018.

The final communique also said: “We will continue to work towards developing a framework of cooperation between our administrations to contribute to the economic growth of the BRICS countries.”

– BRICS Post