Briefs, January 27, 2013

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 January, 2013, 5:33am


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Domestic agenda comes first for China

China's new leadership will focus on modernising the country before it increases Beijing's role in international affairs, a top official told the Davos forum yesterday. Zhang Xiaoqiang, a deputy director of China's National Development and Reform Commission, said at the World Economic Forum meeting panel discussion that the whole world would benefit if China completed its development programme. "I think that the new leader of the Chinese government and the Communist Party has emphasised the strategic agenda for China in the future is to realise the modernisation of China," said Zhang. Former British prime minister Gordon Brown, also on the panel, argued that China should take a more prominent role in global affairs. But Zhang said China was already playing a global role and urged patience. AFP


Philippines accuses China of harassment

Philippine president Benigno Aquino has accused China of harassing two Philippine fishing boats in disputed waters in the South China Sea, allegedly driving one out that had sheltered from rough seas. Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Aquino said the two incidents near the Scarborough Shoal, called Huangyan Island by China, had led to Manila seeking United Nations arbitration this week over the territorial dispute. Aquino, who did not say when the incidents occurred, said "Chinese vessels" approached to within nine metres of a Philippine fishing boat near the shoal. A second Philippine boat was driven out by Chinese vessels shortly after it took shelter near the shoal, he added. AFP


Successful flight for Chinese-made Jumbo

A successful test flight of the first domestically developed jumbo air freighter has been carried out, Xinhua reported yesterday. The Yun-20, or Transport-20, is designed for long-distance air transport of both cargo and passengers, Xinhua reported. "The successful maiden flight of Yun-20 is significant in promoting China's economic and national defence build-up, as well as bettering its emergency handling such as disaster relief and humanitarian aid," Xinhua said, adding that further test flights are scheduled. China is determined to reduce dependency on foreign firms such as Boeing, Airbus, General Electric and Rolls Royce for the country's soaring demand for planes and engines. Reuters


Intentional homicide trials for Tibetans

Two Tibetan men were put on trial yesterday for intentional homicide for allegedly inciting self-immolations in Sichuan province, Xinhua reported. Xinhua said Lorang Konchok, 40, and his nephew Lorang Tsering, 31, are accused of encouraging eight people to self-immolate and that three of them — Tsedrup, Tsenam and Jokba — died from burns last year in Sichuan's Aba prefecture. Almost 100 Tibetan monks, nuns and lay people have set themselves on fire since 2009, calling for greater religious freedom and the return from exile of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. AP


Xinjiang to take action against separatists

Nur Bekri, chairman of the Xinjiang regional government, said the northwestern region would take pre-emptive action against separatists to maintain social stability. Speaking at the opening of Xinjiang legislature's plenary, he also said the region's economy is expected to have grown by 12 per cent last year. Xinhua