Posts Tagged ‘Wen Jiabao’
Chinese premier makes four-point proposal on ASEAN Plus Three cooperation…Yellow Dragon puffed ASEAN
BALI, Indonesia, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) — Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao put forward a four-point proposal Friday on ASEAN Plus Three (10+3) cooperation.
Speaking at the 14th ASEAN Plus Three Summit, Wen lauded the important role of 10+3 cooperation in successfully navigating the international financial crisis, maintaining fairly fast economic growth and financial stability and deepening economic integration in East Asia.
However, East Asian countries, to varying degrees, faced the arduous task of adjusting economic structures, improving people’s lives and enhancing the capacity for sustainable development, he said.
In order to enhance cohesion, increase internal growth momentum and deepen cooperation to improve the ability to defuse risks and raise the economic competitiveness of the region, Wen proposed taking the following steps:
First, the 10+3 should accelerate trade liberalization and facilitation in East Asia, he said.
China was ready to accelerate the process of building the East Asia Free Trade Area and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia in a pragmatic way and looked forward to the support of all parties in this endeavor, Wen said.
Second, the 10+3 needed to raise financial and monetary cooperation to a higher level.
“We should make the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization more effective and expand its function from crisis rescue to crisis prevention,” the Chinese premier said.
The 10+3 should actively promote the building of the Asian Bond Market, facilitate the issuance of local currency-denominated bonds and carry out more research on new areas, such as settlement of regional trade in local currencies, he said.
His third proposal was to increase input in East Asia connectivity to lay the foundation for East Asia integration.
As his fourth point, Wen urged the 10+3 countries to shift the growth model and promote sustainable development in East Asia.
The 10+3 process should enhance cooperation in science and technology, new energy, energy conservation and environmental protection, food security and health, he said.
East Asian cooperation was “at a crucial stage,” and it was in the interest of all the 10+3 countries to “uphold ASEAN’s centrality, pursue the goal of development, mutual benefit and win-win outcomes and continue to promote East Asian integration with 10+3 as the main vehicle”, Wen said.
Other 10+3 state leaders present at the summit were of the opinion the grouping had weathered the tests of the international financial crisis, demonstrating its enormous vitality as well as a broad prospect for its future development.
They voiced the belief the 10+3 countries would boost practical cooperation, implement the consensus they had reached, improve their ability to defuse risks and promote sustainable development so as to benefit all peoples in the region.
Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, has revealed how his family were “constantly persecuted” during the darkest years of Chairman Mao’s rule, in a speech that may be a warning to the hardline faction within the Communist party not to repeat the mistakes of history.
The speech, delivered in front of students at Mr Wen’s alma mater, the Nankai high school in Tianjin, recalled the paranoia and fear of life in China at the end of the 1950s as a deeply divided Communist party hunted down its opponents.
“I was born into an intellectual family in Yixing, north Tianjin in 1942. My grandfather ran a school in the village. It was the first primary school to admit girls, against pressure from the local landlords. Many of the teachers were university graduates and some became professors after 1949,” said Mr Wen, delving into his past for the first time publicly.
According to a transcript published in China’s official state media, Mr Wen said he had carried his grandfather’s body to hospital. “He died of a cerebral haemorrhage in 1960. The school he taught at had kept his files, filled with one self-criticism after another, written in small neat characters,” he said.
At the time, the Communist party had forced intellectuals, many of whom had been educated abroad or had worked for the previous government, to “revise their thinking” through self-criticism until they became ideologically sound.
After inviting them to speak out about China’s problems, Chairman Mao performed a u-turn and attacked those who were bold enough to voice their opinions publicly.
“After I went to high school and university, my family suffered constant attacks in the successive political campaigns,” added Mr Wen.
“In 1960, my father was also investigated for so-called ‘historical problems’. He could no longer teach and was sent to work on a farm on the outskirts of the city tending pigs. My father was an honest man, hardworking and diligent throughout his life.”
China’s top leaders rarely, if ever, discuss their personal history or family lives. And the attacks by Chairman Mao on 550,000 intellectuals at the end of the 1950s remain a deeply sensitive, and strictly-censored, topic.
However, analysts said Mr Wen was sounding a warning to hardliners within the Communist party about the perils of maintaining an iron grip and refusing to reform the country.
The attacks on Mr Wen’s family came at a time when the Communist party under Mao was split internally over how to set a path for the country, with liberal and hardline factions taking opposing views. In the end, liberal forces lost out, much to China’s subsequent woe.
“My childhood was spent in war and hardship. The poverty, turmoil and famine left an indelible imprint on my young soul [ ...] I realised only science, truth-seeking, democracy and hard work can save China,” said Mr Wen.
As the 69-year-old gets ready to step down next year and hand power over to a new generation of Chinese leaders he has made a flurry of speeches calling for “urgent” political reform and the loosening of the party’s iron grip on the state.
However, there is little sign that reform is forthcoming. Some have suggested that Mr Wen is merely trying to paint himself on the right side of history, while others have noted that he lacks a broad enough power base within the party to effect any change.
Liu Shanying, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Mr Wen’s speech might be read as an attempt to warn China’s future leaders not to repeat the mistakes of history.
“As far as I recall, this is the first time that Wen Jiabao has discussed the political persecution of his family. He had not mentioned it even in his memoirs. Of course politicians are different from normal people and every word they say has a meaning,” he said.
“When he talks about his childhood suffering, I think he means that he does not want to see China return to that era. He, and many other Chinese are victims of that era, and he is expressing the desire for peace and stability to calm down some of the other elements in the party,” he said.
“It also shows his discontent with the recent sixth plenum, about how to restructure China’s culture and the continuing need for control over public opinion,” he added. Mr Wen’s speech was also read by some as a pledge that he would continue to push his reform agenda even in retirement.
4 November 2001, the Telegraph by Michael Moore-Shanghai
22/7/2011 by Douglas Gillison PhnomPenh, Time—Like a roving picaresque novel, the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables have been released since November in chapters, focusing on specific countries and distinct themes. When the anti-secrecy organization turned its focus to Cambodia last week — dumping nearly 800 missives from the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh online in 24 hours — the public was at last treated to a candid record of U.S. efforts to grapple with the rising influence of China here — and by extension in Southeast Asia as a whole.
When the Obama Administration took office in 2008, it was keen not to present itself as China’s direct strategic adversary. Instead, officials said they were reviving American diplomacy in Asia while maintaining an aversion to “competition and rivalry” which could thwart cooperation with Beijing thirty years after it normalized relations with the U.S. But if it isn’t competition and rivalry on display in the cables disclosed last week, it is something very near to it. Though the picture offered by the WikiLeaks archive is incomplete, with the bulk of material generated since 2006, the dispatches show a growing anxiety among U.S. officials about the inroads that Beijing is making in Cambodia.
Beginning in 2006, the embassy began paying increasingly detailed attention to Beijing’s relations with Phnom Penh. In April that year, the embassy was irked when Prime Minister Hun Sen praised a $600 million Chinese aid package announced during a visit by Chinese premier Wen Jiabao as coming “without strings.” According to an unclassified cable, this was “a slap” at other aid donors, who, unlike China, placed conditions of accountability, reform and transparency on aid. “Despite all the hoopla… much of the assistance is old news and announced more than a year ago,” said the cable. (Hun Sen has repeated this view in the years since.)
Four months later, the embassy briefed the State Department’s human trafficking office after sending a Chinese-speaking intern and an official of Asian descent from its political/economic section to pose as customers at “sex establishments catering to the Chinese” where they queried managers, staff and Chinese businessmen. “Prices range from USD 20 to USD 150 depending on the type of service and ethnicity of the girl,” a cable said. “At one bar, the manager tried to sell her daughter to” embassy officials.
By 2008, celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Cambodia’s diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic really caught the U.S. Embassy’s attention. In late December, less than a month before President Barack Obama took office, the embassy cabled Washington with a breathless inventory of Chinese activities here. Describing a crescendo of lavish attention and warmth, the cable said China was set to achieve a “new apogee” in relations with Cambodia and the region: “Cambodia’s ‘Year of China’ looks to become its ‘Century of China.’” (See TIME’s top 10 leaks.)
That year, King Norodom Sihamoni attended the Beijing Olympics and the Chinese Embassy hosted a royal banquet. China pledged $256 million in aid, mostly in soft loans, “the highest single-donor-country contribution to Cambodia ever.” Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi had visited in February, announcing $55 million in aid and $1 billion in pledged commercial investment. New Chinese roads and dams proliferated, with China as the leading planner and financier of Cambodia’s ambitious hydropower program that will have potentially devastating environmental consequences.
Though Hun Sen had claimed China’s beneficence came with “no strings,” it became clear in 2009 that the Chinese could call in extraordinary favors. That year, the Americans watched in dismay as, under heavy pressure from Beijing, Cambodian authorities flagrantly violated international law by wresting 20 ethnic Uihgur asylum seekers out of the U.N.’s hands and bundling them off to China where the faced execution for deadly riots in China’s Xinjiang region. Within 48 hours, China had pledged $1.2 billion in assistance to Phnom Penh as an apparent reward. The U.S. Embassy swung into high gear, recording minute-by-minute the movements of Cambodian police, the apparent failures of the local and regional U.N. refugee agency officials and private confrontations with the Cambodian government.
Last year, the U.S. Embassy staged a week of cultural events celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations of Cambodia. In a cable prior to the festivities, the embassy said it hoped Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would attend to help demonstrate “that our commitment to Cambodia is not eclipsed by the growing influence of China.” Clinton did not attend, but she did visit Cambodia in October as part of a regional tour three months after the celebrations. During her visit, the Chinese took the opportunity to announce $600 million in financing for a new rail link to Vietnam.
“The list of Chinese visitors is so long that the Chinese Embassy’s political and economic officers complained to [embassy officials] that they never get any rest,” said a cable in 2008, before the Uighur deportations. The upshot was that the Cambodians maintained a “steely pragmatism by which Cambodia balances China with others, including the U.S.” but uses China as a “blank check.”
A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy, which sits prominently on a Phnom Penh thoroughfare named for Mao Zedong, said the events of 2008, at least, were perhaps misread by the U.S. Embassy. “China is a good neighbor of Cambodia. A lot of aid and a lot of help for a good friend is traditional,” said Yang Tian Yue, director of political affairs. “To help the friend does not mean not to give the opportunity for the other friend of Cambodia.”
Indeed, to all appearances, U.S. relations with Cambodia have not suffered as a result of the country’s growing ties with Beijing. The new U.S. Embassy, a sprawling two-hectare campus completed in 2006, has its own prominent spot in the capital directly opposite Wat Phnom, the hilltop pagoda from which Phnom Penh takes its name. The U.S. has expanded the nations’ military ties, multiplied the number of high-level visits and sought Washington lawmakers’ approval to devote a growing share of the U.S. aid budget to health, human rights and rule-of-law programs in Cambodia.
At her initial meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen in January 2009, current U.S. Ambassador Carol Rodley noted, according to a classified cable, the warmth of her reception was a sign of the importance Cambodia placed on its relations with Washington. “Gushingly,” the cable said, the premier claimed “he spends more of his time with the American ambassador than with any other members of the diplomatic community.”
So far, most of the Cambodian establishment appears to have greeted the disclosures with equanimity. However, Hor Namhong, the foreign minister, on July 14 summoned the embassy’s new deputy chief of mission to denounce a classified 2002 cable as “full of unacceptable maligned indictment” because it repeated allegations that the minister had in the 1970s committed crimes at a Khmer Rouge labor camp for “intellectuals” and returnees, at least 16 of whom were exterminated by Pol Pot’s secret police. (Hor Nahmong has repeatedly sued over the accusations but flouted a summons in 2009 to testify before a special tribunal investigating the Khmer Rouge regime.)
For the world’s small cadre of Cambodia scholars and journalists, the WikiLeaks disclosures offered rare dish. As they had in other countries, American diplomats had privately recorded downright catty descriptions of public figures, describing the foreign minister as “sclerotic” and labeling the businessman Kith Meng, a ranking member of the Khmer oligarchy, as a “ruthless gangster,” while saying Beijing’s relations with King Father Norodom Sihanouk, the father Cambodian independence, were “more or less the ‘property of China’ and will revert to the PRC upon Sihanouk’s death,” just like the residence China’s leaders had built for the former King in Beijing.
Virtually all Southeast Asian nations are eager to maintain good relations with both China and the U.S., which serves as an alternative to the growing muscle flexed by Beijing. But, according to Sophie Richardson, an expert on Chinese foreign policy and Asia advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, the U.S. response to China’s growing clout here has been uneven. “In some key instances, the U.S. appears to be engaging with China in a race to the bottom, not an effort to uphold real and rhetorical commitments to human rights and political reform,” she said. “On other occasions, however, the U.S. has on principle vocally defended key human rights issues in Cambodia that neither Phnom Penh nor Beijing cares much about… Cambodia is just one of several countries in which the U.S.’s apparent uncertainty about how to grapple with rising Chinese influence is playing out.”