MonitorsPublished on Jan 14, 2016
Automatic passenger drone flies in China

< style="text-decoration: underline;">Volume VI; Issue. 2


China urges resumption of dialogue, negotiations on Korean nukes

All sides concerned should work ­together to bring the Korean nuclear ­issues to the negotiating table, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said on January 12. It is imperative that dialogue and negotiations are resumed to promote denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and to safeguard peace and stability in Northeast Asia, Hong told a daily news ­briefing on the same day. Hong's remarks came in response to mounting calls for tougher sanctions on North Korea following its announcement last week that it had carried out a successful hydrogen bomb test. The test, if confirmed, is the fourth nuclear test conducted by North Korea. The previous three were carried out in 2006, 2009 and 2013. China "firmly opposes" the nuclear test, the foreign ministry said. The objective of ­denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the ­international nuclear non-proliferation regime should be upheld, Hong said, adding that peace and stability in the ­region must be maintained. North Korea said the ­nuclear test was not intended to be a provocation or threat.

Source(s): Global Times, January 13, 2016

In Taiwan's south, calls for independence from China as poll looms

In a gritty suburb of Tainan in southern Taiwan, a city known for its fierce anti-China sentiment, Huang Hsien-ching, was stacking election flyers and inspecting campaign trucks rigged up with megaphones before upcoming island-wide elections. As a rookie candidate for the fledgling Free Taiwan Party - one of a number of smaller, radical groups advocating independence from China - Huang, a family doctor, says he's put $30,000 of his savings and his career on the line to try to fight back against what he sees as an increasingly assertive China. "More and more people want independence in Taiwan," said Huang, 61 with a buzz cut, in his campaign office fronted by a giant billboard of himself holding his arm aloft with the logo of a bird in flight. More radical, anti-China voices like Huang's persist even with the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) expected to sweep in a new president and parliamentary majority, and potentially reshape relations with China.

Source(s): Reuters, January 12, 2016

Taiwan tipped to throw out ruling party, elect first woman president

Taiwanese voters are expected to elect opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen as president when the island goes to the polls on January 16, in a move many believe will strengthen its hard-won democracy.With the island preparing to hold its sixth presidential election since 1996, opinion polls suggest voters fed up with a lacklustre economy and the performance of the Kuomintang over the past eight years will gravitate towards Tsai, chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party, over Eric Chu Li-luan, the KMT chairman.This would underline that transitions of power are normal in Taiwan’s system and therefore strengthen the island’s democracy, observers believe.

Source(s): South China Morning Post, January 11, 2016

Effort to revive Afghan peace talks begins in Pakistan

Delegates from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States held talks on January 11 to try to resurrect efforts to end nearly 15 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan, even as fighting with Taliban insurgents intensifies. The officials met in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, to launch a process that they hope will lead to negotiations with the Taliban, who are fighting to re-impose their strict brand of Islamist rule and did not attend the talks. The Pakistani prime minister's foreign affairs adviser, Sartaj Aziz, said the primary goal should be to convince the Taliban to come to the table and consider giving up violence. "Participants emphasized the immediate need for direct talks between representatives of the Government of Afghanistan and representatives from Taliban groups in a peace process that aims to preserve Afghanistan’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity," the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Source(s): Reuters, January 11, 2016


Chinese inspectors on political mission to test party cadres

Inspectors will assess how well cadres are toeing the Communist Party line as teams fan out across the country in response to President Xi Jinping’s repeated calls for political loyalty. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in an article on Sunday that inspection tours were political, rather than operational, missions, and their function was to examine whether party agencies abided by the Central Committee’s line. Inspection tours have been given new life under Xi’s signature anti-corruption campaign and credited with unearthing evidence used in many high-level corruption cases, including the “landslide graft” in Shanxi province.

Source(s): South China Morning Post, January 12, 2016

Xi reshuffles military headquarters

China has reshuffled its top armed forces agency, the Central Military Commission, as President Xi Jinping accelerates the massive, multilevel reform of the People's Liberation Army. The previous four military headquarters - staff, politics, logistics and armaments - were dismantled and their functions and duties are now shared by 15 new agencies under the Central Military Commission.Military leaders need to sharpen their political alertness and become better at discerning right and wrong in political matters, Xi added.

Source(s): China Daily, January 12, 2016


'Gloomy' trade prospects seen amid restructuring

China's foreign trade ran into difficulties last year, with imports and exports both experiencing year-on-year declines. Despite encouraging figures last month, the trade picture for this year remains gloomy, according to Customs data released on January 14. "The double decrease in imports and exports is due to economic slowdown and weak demand throughout the world," said General Administration of Customs spokesman Huang Songping. Huang forecast that China's foreign trade this year will remain at the same level as last year, despite encouraging numbers in December, when exports increased 2.3 percent to 1.43 trillion yuan. Weak global demand and the dropping prices of bulk commodities have contributed to the decrease in trade.

Source(s): People’s Daily, January 14, 2016

China to launch new fuel price adjustment system

China's top pricing regulator is to introduce a more flexible method for pricing domestic fuel, with adjustments allowed if the international oil price fluctuates between $40 and $140 per barrel. The pricing of liquefied petroleum gas will be solely market-based, according to a statement released by the National Development and Reform Commission on January 13. Under the new pricing system, the commission has lowered domestic gasoline and diesel prices by 140 yuan ($21) and 135 yuan a barrel, respectively. These cuts are equivalent to a 0.1 yuan reduction for standard gasoline and 0.11 yuan for standard diesel. Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, said, "with sufficient supply and increased production capacity of domestic enterprises, the government will be able to see how this is implemented and further extend the pricing systems to other areas," .The commission said that while China may not lower fuel prices further amid global falls - with oil plunging to a 12-year low of about $30 a barrel - the main concern is protecting the nation's energy security and promoting the use of resource conservation and new-energy development to combat air pollution.

Source(s): People’s Daily, January 14, 2016


Beijing to shut 2,500 polluting businesses

Some 2,500 small enterprises in four southern districts of Beijing will be closed by the end of this year to improve air quality, according to a media report. The businesses are in districts including Fengtai, Fangshan, Tongzhou and Daxing, which have seen more severe air pollution than the northern part of the capital. The Beijing municipal government said large-sized ventures that were major polluters and high energy consumers have been moved out of the city although Xinhua News Agency reported that small businesses such as restaurants, hostels and automobile repairers had been to the detriment of residents' health.

Source(s):The Xinhua News Agency, January 11, 2016

Lunar mission moves a step closer

China has developed the manufacturing techniques for a key part to be used on its super-heavy rocket that will fulfill the nation's manned missions to the moon.The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, working with other Chinese institutes, has developed a super-large interstage ring to be used to connect stages of the rocket, tentatively called the Long March 9.The development was announced in a news release by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the country's major space contractor.

Source(s): The Xinhua News Agency, January 11, 2016

Automatic passenger drone flies in China

Chinese drone maker Ehang on January 7 unveiled the world's first drone capable of carrying one passenger, which might help achieve the long-standing dream of automated short-to-medium-distance everyday flights. The electrically powered Ehang 184, unveiled at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, can carry a single passenger weighing up to 100kg for a 23-minute flight at sea level at a speed of 100 km per hour, the company said.

Source(s): South China Morning Post, January 8, 2016

China’s internet regulator vows to make CPC ‘strongest voice in cyberspace’

China's internet regulator has vowed to make the views of the ruling Communist Party the “strongest voice in cyberspace”, as part of efforts to strengthen its tightening grip on the net in the world’s most populous country.The Cyberspace Administration of China also said after a two-day meeting that a priority this year would be “using Chinese views, Chinese plans to lead to a transformation in the governance system of the internet globally”.

Source(s): South China Morning Post, January 7, 2016


Bo Zhiyue, "Is China's PLA Now Xi's Army?", The Diplomat, January 12, 2016

"Will Taiwan vote sway cross-Straits peace?", Global Times, January 11, 2016

"Optimistic consumption data reveal China’s economic vitalityPeople’s Daily Online, January 13, 2016

Guntram B. Wolff, "Addressing the Populist Challenge in 2016", Caixin Online, January 12, 2016

Andrew Jacobs, “Manchu, Former Empire’s Language, Hangs On at China’s Edge”, The New York Times, January 11, 2016

Dan Harris, “How to Avoid Being Held Hostage in ChinaForbes, January 11, 2016

Clive Thompson, “How a Nation of Tech Copycats Transformed Into a Hub for Innovation", Wired, December 29, 2015

Stephen Chen, "World’s biggest radio telescope and first-ever quantum satellite: China’s top 5 scientific plans for 2016", South China Morning Post, December 30, 2015


  • Pratnashree Basu
  • Swagata Saha

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