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• The US and China Move to Block a UN Security Council Expansion
• US-China Strategic Dialogue Held in Beijing
• CNOOC’s Bid for Unocal Goes Bust; Company Sets its Sights on Other Targets
• Pirated Harry Potter Books Fly across China
• China Offers a Compromise Paper at Six-Party Talks
• Pig Flue Ravages Sichuan Province

Archive of Past News Summaries

The US and China Move to Block a UN Security Council Expansion

8-03: Both the US and China have agreed to block a proposed expansion of the United Nations Security Council. The proposed expansion would include Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan. The four nations want the Council expanded to include six nations as permanent members on the Council without a veto in addition to four nonpermanent seats.

On Tuesday—the same day that he was appointed Ambassador to the UN—John Bolton met with Chinese Ambassador to the UN Wang Guangya to reach a consensus on the issue. The two men have known each other for more than fifteen years.

A US official said Beijing and Washington have long shared a belief that proposals to expand the fifteen-nation Security Council would lead to tensions among the UN’s 191 members, harming any possibility for crucial UN reforms to be discussed at a world summit in New York next month.

The US and China have already expressed their opposition to the proposed expansion for different reasons, but this new agreement marks a new joint effort to prevent the proposal’s passage by the General Assembly, which would require a two-thirds vote in favor.

US-China Strategic Dialogue Held in Beijing

8-03: In Beijing, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick met with his Chinese counterpart Dai Bingguo to hold the US and China’s first strategic dialogue. The dialogue, established by both Presidents Bush and Hu, are aimed to maintain a stable and peaceful relationship between the US and China.

Coinciding with the six-party talks on North Korea, the strategic dialogue represents a show of confidence for China, as China’s delegates had the opportunity to talk with full candor about timely issues in the bilateral relationship. The talks covered a range of issues, including trade. An end to the US-China textile dispute was intended for a July eleventh meeting; however, no agreement was reached.

CNOOC’s Bid for Unocal Goes Bust; Company Sets its Sights on Other Targets

8-02: The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) called off its 18.5 billion bid to acquire the US Oil Company, Unocal. CNOOC spokespersons attributed the bid’s failure to “regrettable and unjustified” political hurdles.

The announcement cleared the way for Chevron Corporation of America to finalize its acquisition of Unocal with its cheaper bid of 17 billion. Unocal shareholders were scheduled to vote between the two companies on August 10, but CNOOC’s premature retreat has eliminated any real competition.

CNOOC had been planning on further increasing its bid, but argued that new stipulations in a proposed Energy Bill would have severely constrained the company’s possibility for success.

As a result of such pressure in the US, China has begun to set its sights in other directions. China may make contacts with European corporations, including BP, Shell and Total. IN particular, China may attempt to acquire the BG Group, given its abundant supply of natural gas and associated infrastructure, all of which China desperately needs to eliminate its dependence on coal. Other rumors suggest that CNOOC's ambitions could include a bid for Australia's Woodside Petroleum.

Pirated Harry Potter Books Fly across China

8-01: Small stands began selling pirated versions of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on Friday, July 29. Chinese Harry Potter enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to translate the novel from English into Chinese, so as to share the work with their fellow non-English-speaking Harry Potter fans.

Harry Potter has had enormous worldwide success, and China has proven no exception. Translated copies of “Ha-li Bo-te” have sold millions of copies. In fact, in 2002 one aspiring author produced a fake Harry Potter book, entitled Harry Potter and Leopard Walk-Up-to-the-Dragon.

The official Chinese copy, is due to be published in October by a veteran team of youth book translators; however, by that time, many fans will undeniably have accessed the story through unauthorized channels.

China Offers a Compromise Paper at Six-Party Talks

7-31: On Saturday, China released a proposal on broad principles for ending the North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The proposal aims to push the six-party talks out of their current rut and is aimed at guaranteeing a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

Diplomats discussed the draft without reaching a conclusion. The draft was perceived as a worthy attempt to pull together the lowest common denominator of views among the six parties. Intense talks have continued for five days but so negotiations here have turned out to be futile. The US and North Koreans have also held more than half-a-dozen bilateral meetings, but disagreement continues to fall on the same issues.

All argue that North Korea should denuclearize, but the “wording” of an official agreement continues to hold back progress. North Korea also wants security guarantees from the US in addition to aid. North Korea and the US are also at argument as to whether the North should be allowed to have a peaceful nuclear power program, which the US opposes on the basis that the materials could still be used for nuclear proliferation.

Pig Flue Ravages Sichuan Province, China

7-31: A “Pig Flu” has taken hold in China’s Sichuan province, leaving 34 dead and 28 sick, with more than 100 villages affected. Thus far, China has identified 174 cases of pigs infected with the bacteria streptococcus suis.

In response, the government has issued the shipment and distribution of more than 350,000 vaccines. Officials have gone door to door warning farmers not to butcher or eat the infected pigs but to bury them. Most of the 34 taken ill have been butchers and farmers.

Thus far the pandemic has been isolated to Sichuan. Exports of frozen and fresh pork have been halted. Pork is the favored meat in China, and more than 14% of China’s pork is produced in Sichuan.

Archive of Past News Summaries
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