|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
BEIJING -- China on Sunday abolished term limits on the presidency, opening a path for President Xi Jinping to rule the country as he pleases for decades to come, absent some unforeseen blow to his substantial political support.
The National People's Congress voted to remove a clause in the constitution limiting the president and vice president to two consecutive five-year terms. A total of 2,958 delegates voted for scrapping the clause. Only two delegates voted no, three abstained and one ballot was spoiled. The amendment vote required a two-thirds majority to pass.
The last major change to China's constitution -- which dates to 1982 -- enshrined the political ideology of former President Jiang Zemin. It drew 10 opposing votes and 17 abstentions.
The vote on Sunday was carried out by secret ballot, Shen Chunyao, a legislative spokesman, told reporters. The Communist Party, however, controls the legislature and the leadership's proposals are never rejected.
Vice President Li Yuanchao is not expected to stay on in his role. On Sunday, attention was focused on Wang Qishan, a Xi confidant who, according to some media reports, will be named vice president next week as part of the new leadership lineup for Xi's second term.
During Wang's five years as head of the party's anti-graft body, 254,419 officials were investigated for possible wrongdoing, according to government data. Probes involving officials of at least vice ministerial rank grew fourfold over the period, highlighting Xi's public commitment to weed out malpractice at all levels.
Xi's other posts, including secretary-general of the Communist Party and head of China's armed forces, carry no explicit term limits. The president's political ideology has also been written into the constitution with his name attached, making him China's third leader after Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping to receive that honor. Given Xi's knack for consolidating and maintaining power, the leader has an excellent chance of holding on to control of the party, state and military beyond 2023, when his second presidential term would otherwise expire.
Chinese state media have played down the abolition of term limits. Amending the constitution "is a major decision made by the CPC Central Committee from the overall and strategic height of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era," Xinhua quoted Xi as saying Wednesday. In a news conference after the amendment was approved, a government spokesperson said that concerns about a power struggle like that seen during China's Cultural Revolution were "invalid," in response to questioning by a foreign reporter.
But the official line aside, the removal of term limits is highly significant, dismantling one of the most effective checks on power in a country where citizens do not have the right to vote. Deng, a reformer, introduced the limits to curb abuses of power like those seen under Mao, who led the party as chairman until his death at 76.
Given the ease with which Xi has removed this check, some say absolute rule as party leader, a la Mao, may not be far off in China. If the next Communist Party congress in 2022 effectively abolishes the customary retirement age of 68 for senior officials, Xi could rule the party and state into the mid-2030s, when he would be well into his 80s....
The history and archaeology of Mongolia, most famously the sites associated with the largest land empire in the history of the world under Ghengis Khan, are of global importance. But they’re facing unprecedented threats as climate change and looting impact ancient sites and collections.
But deteriorating climate and environmental conditions result in decreased grazing potential and loss of profits for the region’s many nomadic herders. Paired with a general economic decline, herders and other Mongolians are having to supplement their incomes, turning to alternative ways of making money. For some, it’s searching for ancient treasures to sell on the illegal antiquities market.
The vast Mongolian landscape, whether it be plains, deserts or mountains, is dotted with man-made stone mounds marking the burials of ancient peoples. The practice started sometime in the neolithic period (roughly 6,000-8,000 years ago) with simple stone mounds the size of a kitchen table. These usually contain a human body and a few animal bones.
Over time, the burials became larger (some over 400 metres long) and more complex, incorporating thousands of horse sacrifices, tools, chariots, tapestries, family complexes, and eventually treasure (such as gold, jewellery and gems).
For Mongolians, these remains are the lasting reminders of their ancient past and a physical tie to their priceless cultural heritage.
Mongolia has reasonably good laws regarding the protection of cultural heritage. But poor understanding of the laws, and the nearly impossible task of enforcing them in such a large space with relatively few people and meagre budgets keep those laws from being effective. And laws can’t protect Mongolia’s cultural heritage from climate change.
The looting of archaeological sites in Mongolia has been happening for a very long time. Regional archaeologists have shared anecdotes of finding skeletons with break-in tools made from deer antlers in shafts of 2,000 year old royal tombs in central Mongolia. These unlucky would-be thieves risked the unstable sands collapsing in the shafts above them for a chance at riches, not long after the royal leaders had been buried there.
But many recent pits dug directly into burial sites around Mongolia, some that are more than 3,000 years old, suggest modern day looting is on the rise. For the untrained looter, any rock feature has the potential to contain valuable goods and so grave after grave is torn apart. Many of these will contain no more than human and animal bones.
Archaeologists’ interest in these burials lie in the information they contain for research, but this is worthless on the black antiquities market. But to steer looters away from these burials would be to teach them which ones to target for treasure and so this strategy is avoided.
Archaeologists working in northern Mongolia in 2017 found hundreds of looted sites, including an 800 year old cemetery consisting of at least 40 burials. Each and every one of them had been completely destroyed by looters looking for treasure. Human remains and miscellaneous artefacts such as bows, arrows, quivers, and clothing were left scattered on the surface.
Having survived over 800 years underground, these priceless bows, arrows, cloth fragments and bones likely have less than a year on the surface before they’re gone forever. This is not to mention the loss of whatever goods (gold, silver, gems) the looters decided was valuable enough to keep.
The mummy race
Archaeological teams are currently working against climate change, looters, and each other for the chance to unearth rare mummies in the region that are known to pique public interest within Mongolia and abroad. A 2017 exhibit at the National Museum of Mongolia featured two mummies and their impressive burial goods - one of which had been rescued from the hands of looters by archaeologists and local police. Though they appeared not to have been particularly high ranking individuals, their belongings displayed incredible variety, artistry and detail.
The result of natural processes rather than intentional mummification as in ancient Egypt, some of these mummies are preserved by very dry environments protected in caves and rock shelters. Others are ice mummies, interred in burials that were constructed in such a way that water seeped in and froze - creating a unique preservation environment.
Both preservation environments produce artefacts that rarely survive such long periods of time. This includes human tissues like skin and hair, clothing and tapestries, wooden artefacts, and the remains of plants and animals associated with the burial.
As looters zero in on these sites, and climate change melts ice and changes the environmental conditions in other yet unknown ways, archaeologists are racing to locate, and preserve these finds. But with little infrastructure, small budgets and almost no specialised training in how to handle such remains, there’s some concern about the long term preservation of even those remains archaeologists are able to rescue.
Efforts to provide training opportunities, international collaborations with mummy experts, and improved infrastructure and facilities are underway, but these collections are so fragile there is little time to spare.
What Mongolia can teach us
The situation in Mongolia could help us to understand and find new solutions to dealing with changes in climate and the economic drivers behind looting. Humans around the world in many different times have faced and had to adapt to climate change, economic strife and technological innovations.
There’s truth represented by a material record of the “things” left by ancient peoples and in Mongolia, the study of this record has led to an understanding of the impact of early food production and horse domestication, the emergence of new social and political structures and the dominance of a nomadic empire....
Mongolia first joined the United Nations peacekeeping force in 2002 with the deployment of two unarmed military observers to the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara. Soon after that, it sent two more officers to the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, Mongolia has continued to expand its contributions to UN peace operations in hot spots around the world.
In 2006, Mongolia made its first sizeable contribution to UN peacekeeping when it deployed 250 military personnel to the UN Mission in Liberia, a West African country that was recovering from a violent civil war. Six years later, Mongolia undertook it largest deployment to date when it sent a full battalion of 850 troops to the UN Mission in South Sudan, where they continue to play an important role in protecting civilians.
Throughout its decade-and-a-half history in UN peacekeeping, Mongolian contributions to UN peacekeeping have been notable for their high standards of training and for the high number of women they deploy.
Mongolia has risen to become the 27th largest contributor to UN peacekeeping, with nearly 900 military and police personnel deployed in five operations. But they have not forgotten their first mission--they continue to send a handful of military observers to Western Sahara.
In Kabkabiya in the Darfur region of Sudan, Mongolia has for several years provided a Level Two Hospital to address this need. The unit consists of 68 personnel, 34 men and 34 women, and is responsible for providing UN personnel with health care, emergency resuscitation and stabilization, life and limb-saving surgical interventions, basic dental care and facilitation of casualty evacuation for more severe cases. It also administered vaccinations and other prophylaxis measures. In addition to serving UN staff, the Mongolian hospital unit treated more than 10,000 people from the local communities.
Since 2003, more than 14,000 Mongolian peacekeepers have served in UN missions around the world. Today, Mongolia deploys nearly 900 peacekeepers to five UN peacekeeping operations – in South Sudan, Abyei, Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Western Sahara. The Mongolian contribution consists of troops, police and unarmed military observers.
A key task of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) is monitoring the ceasefire observed by the parties since September 1991 – carried out by some 200 military observers.
In May 2017, more than 850 Mongolian peacekeepers were awarded the United Nations Medal for their commitment and service to the UN and the people of South Sudan during a ceremony in Bentiu. (news.un.org)
Mongolia and Turkey will celebrate their 50th year of diplomatic relations in 2019, in which they will seek to reach a new strategic level in ties and increase cooperation between their parliaments.
Speaking to Daily Sabah in an exclusive interview during his visit to Ankara on 7 March, Parliamentary Speaker M.Enkhbold said: 'Mongolia aims to reach a strategic level in relations with Turkey.' He added that his fourth official visit to the country is significant for social and political ties and cooperation between the parliaments.
M.Enkhbold visited Turkey from 6-9 March upon an invitation from his opposite number Parliamentary Speaker İsmail Kahraman, and also held a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He cited Turkey and Mongolia's historic and cultural ties and that parliamentary cooperation between the countries started in 1994. During the visit, the two sides signed the 2018-2020 Action Plan for the implementation of the protocol on inter-parliamentary cooperation signed in 2014 between the two parliaments.
Commenting on the failed July 15 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, in which the parliament building was bombed, M.Enkhbold said that his government followed the incidents with concern that night. 'The Mongolian government has always stood with Turkey in its fight against terrorism,' M.Enkhbold said. He added that the Mongolian government has also been tackling requests from Turkey to take steps regarding the future of some schools affiliated to the Gülenist FETÖ organisation.
Touching on the economic ties between the countries, M.Enkhbold said a free trade agreement needs to be signed in order to reach the goals set for the trade volume.
MANILA, March 9 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Friday it has secured 190 million U.S. dollars in total funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for its climate change projects in Cambodia, Mongolia, and Tajikistan, shoring up the bank's efforts to increase its climate financing for the Asia and Pacific region.
"ADB has an ambitious plan to provide annual climate financing of 6 billion U.S. dollars by 2020 from its own resources," said Bambang Susantono, ADB vice-president for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development.
"The funding from GCF will complement this effort and help our developing member countries address the effects of climate change and meet their commitments under the Paris climate agreement," Susantono added.
In 2017, the Manila-based ADB delivered over 4.5 billion U.S. dollars in climate finance from its own resources, of which 3.6 billion U.S. dollars was for mitigation and 930 million U.S. dollars for adaptation, and mobilized an additional 696 million U.S. dollars from external sources.
The ADB said the new funding, comprised of 85 million U.S. dollars in grants and 105 million U.S. dollars in concessional loans, was approved during the 19th meeting of the GCF board on February 27 to March 1 in Songdo, South Korea.
In Cambodia,the GCF will provide 30 million U.S. dollars in grant and 10 million U.S. dollars in loan to complement ADB's loan of 90 million U.S. dollars to help develop climate-friendly agribusiness value chains.
"GCF funds will be used for enhancing the resilience and productivity of target crops, rehabilitating production and post-harvest infrastructure to climate resilient condition, and for reducing the carbon footprint along the value chains by promoting solar and bioenergy," the ADB said.
In Mongolia, the GCF funding of 50 million U.S. dollars in grant and 95 million U.S. dollars in loan will supplement the 399 million U.S. dollars from ADB and other partners to provide Ulaanbaatar's peri-urban areas (ger areas) with 100 hectares of eco-districts that are low carbon, climate resilient, and livable and 10,000 green housing units that are energy efficient, affordable, and utilize renewable energy.
In Tajikistan, a GCF grant of 5 million U.S. dollars, combined with an equivalent grant from ADB, will support capacity building of the national weather forecasting entity, the State Agency for Hydrometeorology, to produce timely and accurate forecasting of climate-related extreme weather events.
The first GCF board meeting of 2018 approved 23 projects, valued together at 1 billion U.S. dollars of GCF funding.
ADB is one of 59 entities accredited to the GCF that can channel GCF resources to projects and programmes in developing countries. GCF, based in Songdo, South Korea, is a global fund created to support the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change. It was established in 2010 by 194 governments....
8 Reasons Why Mongolia's Capital Ulaanbaatar Might Be The Place for a Trump-Kim Summit www.thediplomat.com
In his recent article “8 Questions the Trump Administration Must Answer Before the Summit With Kim Jong-un,” The Diplomat’s Ankit Panda included the location of the meeting. “Trump should not be willing to sweeten the already-sweet concession of a summit by traveling to North Korean soil to see Kim Jong-un.” The most likely solution to that challenge is Panmunjom, as Panda notes, but should the Trump administration look elsewhere, Mongolia’s capital of Ulaanbaatar emerges as the obvious choice for a meeting location.
In his book “Art of the Deal” Donald Trump included a focus on “Enhance your Location” as one of the 11 pathways to successful negotiations. As it now is emerging that a Trump-Kim meeting may still be tied to conditions, it is not unlikely that the location for the meeting is among those conditions.
Less than twelve hours after news about a Trump-Kim meeting before May emerged the former president of Mongolia, Ts Elbegdorj tweeted, “Here is an offer: U.S. President Trump and NK leader Kim meet in UB. Mongolia is the most suitable, neutral territory. We facilitated important meetings, including between Japan and NK. Mongolia’s continuing legacy – UB dialogue on NEA.”
Here are eight reasons why Ulaanbaatar would be the right location:
Neutrality. Mongolia has pursued a position of political neutrality or of friendly relations with all its regional neighbors since its democratic revolution in 1990. In 2015, there were even discussions about pursuing a formally neutral status for the country.
Friendly relations with the United States. From 1990 on, Mongolia has built friendly relations with the U.S. that have seen many high-level exchanges of official visits, U.S. aid investments, building on the U.S. perception of Mongolia as a scrappy democracy in a tough neighborhood.
Friendly relations with the DPRK. Mongolia’s foreign minister D Tsogtbaatar was just in Pyongyang in early February, and North Korea has contracted thousands of workers out to labor in Mongolia over many years. Perhaps most significantly from the DPRK’s perspective, hundreds of children were evacuated to Mongolia during the Korean War and that emotional connection continues.
The meeting will take place in Asia. Ulaanbaatar is easily reached by a North Korean delegation, requiring only a flight over Chinese territory or railroad travel via China or Russia. For a U.S. delegation, Ulaanbaatar is almost as equally easily reached from Japan or South Korea, requiring, again, only a flight over Chinese territory.
Past interactions. DPRK officials have interacted with third-party governments in the recent past and Mongolia has frequently included North Korea in events that its government has hosted. There have thus been meetings between the Japanese and DPRK governments in Ulaanbaatar in 2007 and 2012. In 2017, the Mongolian government hosted the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asia. North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho participated in the meeting and in several quiet bilateral meetings with officials from participating countries. These meetings have been successful because of the level of comfort with Mongolian hosts that DPRK officials have felt.
Substantive credibility. Nuclear non-proliferation is among the main issues surrounding a Trump-Kim meeting. Mongolia’s status as a nuclear-free zone was formally recognized in 2012.
Ulaanbaatar would be acceptable to U.S. and DPRK allies. Surely, the South Korean government prefers a location that would see them involved more directly, but Mongolia is likely an acceptable compromise. Japan has appreciated Mongolia’s offers to act as a go-between in the past and a relocation of the meeting away from the Korean peninsula may offer more opportunities for the abductee issue to remain on the agenda. It seems unclear whether Presidents Xi or Putin would have a preference for any particular location, but Ulaanbaatar is likely acceptable to both.
Capacity. While Ulaanbaatar would be challenged by the hundreds of officials that would be required for the of a meeting, similar meetings have been held there in the past, most recently the Asia Europe Meeting in summer 2016. Note that tourism flows to Ulaanbaatar at the end of an extremely cold winter there in May are limited, so hotels and airplanes would likely be able to accommodate the visiting press corps as well.
Barring any intervention from Dennis Rodman, it would seem that any search for a meeting location beyond Panmunjom points to Ulaanbaatar.
Dr. Julian Dierkes is an associate professor at the Institute of Asian Research of the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada where he teaches in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs. He and Mendee blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca.mongolia. Follow him on Twitter @jdierkes. Mendee Jargalsaikhan is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of British Columbia. His dissertation examines the development of Mongolia’s democracy. Follow him @MendeeJ....
At the PDAC International Convention being held in Toronto, Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi (ETT) reported that as of March 2017, ETT's coal export made up 14 percent of China's total coal imports.
After exporting 8.5 tons of coal in 2017, ETT says it plans to export 10 tons in 2018, and has already exported two tons of coking coal as of February 2018. ETT is working to issue an IPO this year, and to carry out technical upgrades at Baganuur JSC in order to double the Baganuur mine's yield by 2020.
Baganuur supplies 50 percent of domestically consumed coal and 60 percent of the central region's demand. In 2017, Baganuur extracted over four million tons of coal and earned 126.6 billion MNT, and plans to extract 4.1 tons of coal in 2018.
ETT reported that Erdenes Mongol LLC plans to export energy as part of its Shivee Energy Complex project. ETT representatives at PDAC also spoke about the possibility of establishing a wealth fund, which would protect the company from economic and market fluctuations and contribute to economic stabilization Since 2010, the Government of Mongolia has been building the basis for strengthening a green economy, and according to state, private, and international stakeholders, the government has been actively engaged in supporting green development.
Currently, the Government of Mongolia is working on integrating green development concepts into legislation and regulations. State procurement is now focused on green development and amendments to the Law on Procurement are being developed. In addition, the government hopes to set green development criteria for the development and implementation of bigger state-funded projects. The green development initiatives and efforts of Mongolia's commercial banks are well acknowledged internationally, and several days ago an international sustainable funding association rated Mongolia and its commercial banks as progressive. The Green Climate Fund has confirmed that it will be allocating 145 million USD in financing to Mongolia's green development projects.
Representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have arrived in Mongolia to assess opportunities to implement the Food For Progress Program in Mongolia. Thomas M. Szymanski from the USDA stated that countries that are eligible for the Food for Progress Program are given access to modern resources to improve their agricultural production, increase trade in agricultural products, and receive financing of 15 to 20 million USD over a five-year period for agriculture projects.
During the visit, the USDA representatives will meet with officials from the private sector as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations to learn about the current conditions and trends in Mongolia's agriculture sector, and to look for opportunities for cooperation and potential investment.
D. Tsolmon, Director of the Livestock Genetic Resource Center, introduced the U.S. visitors to the activities of the center and spelled out three concrete proposals for providing support: assistance in purchasing genetic material for breeding high production livestock, as well as donor animals; equipping the center's molecular and genetics research laboratory with critical equipment; and involving Mongolian researchers in specialized training.
Kh.Battulga, President of Mongolia has sent an official letter to US President Donald Trump asking support in two things.
Exempting Mongolian sewn and knitted products from taxes and quotas.
To cooperate returning offshore money to Mongolia
Furthermore, Z.Enkhbold, Chief of Staff of Mongolian President has held a meeting with some Congressmen and has discussed exempting Mongolian products from taxes and quotas.
Eleven Asia-Pacific countries have just signed the trade pact formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Although the US pulled out last year, the deal was salvaged by the remaining members, who signed it at a ceremony in the Chilean city of Santiago.
Chilean foreign minister Heraldo Munoz said the agreement was a strong signal "against protectionist pressures, in favour of a world open to trade".
The deal covers a market of nearly 500 million people, despite the US pullout.
In the absence of the US, it has been renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Extraneous adjectives aside, its supporters say it's hugely significant, and could be a model for future trade deals.
What does it do?
Its main purpose is to slash trade tariffs between member countries.
But it also seeks to reduce so-called non-tariff measures, which create obstacles to trade through regulations.
There are chapters which aim to harmonise these regulations, or at least make them transparent and fair.
There are also commitments to enforce minimum labour and environmental standards.
It also includes a controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism, which allows companies to sue governments when they believe a change in law has affected their profits.
Who's in it?
In alphabetical order: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The US is conspicuously absent.
President Donald Trump fulfilled an election promise by pulling out in January last year, labelling the deal a disaster for American workers.
In short, the biggest winners are expected to be in Asia, while the wealthier countries, on balance, are not expected to receive as much of a boost.
The Peterson Institute for International Economics says Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Vietnam will each receive a bump of more than 2% to their economy by 2030.
New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Australia will all grow by an additional 1% or less.
The same study says the US could be a big loser, foregoing a boost to its Gross Domestic Product of 0.5% (worth $131bn).
What's more, it could lose an additional $2bn because firms in member countries have an incentive to trade with each other instead of with American companies.
Donald Trump isn't the only one who has failed to be convinced of its value, though.
Unions (particularly in wealthier member countries such as Australia and Canada) say the deal could be a job killer or push down wages.
Some economists have also suggested that free trade agreements are rigged by special interests, which makes their economic value far more dubious.
Is there any point without the US?
Yes, but there's no question the deal is diminished without the involvement of the world's largest economy.
The remaining nations' economies account for more than 13% of the global economy - a total of $10 trillion dollars.
Australia's Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, says the deal has been set up to allow it to admit new members, possibly including the US.
However, the revised agreement dropped about 20 of the original provisions (mostly those insisted on by the US), suggesting a US re-entry would require some intense negotiation.
And although Donald Trump is on record saying he'd be open to a substantially better deal, his broader hostility toward trade pacts would suggest it's a remote possibility.
Could the UK join?
Sure, why not? There's nothing banning it, even if most of the members are on the other side of the world.
Australia, at least, has indicated that it's open to the idea, and the UK's International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, has signalled some interest in joining after the UK completes its departure from the EU.
But it's unlikely that membership would provide an immediate replacement for its EU trading partners after Brexit.
That's because the region isn't a major destination for UK exports.
TPP: Could UK really join Pacific trade group?
Brexit: UK could join Pacific free trade zone, says Liam Fox
And while growing new markets would arguably be the whole point, it's unlikely to happen overnight.
The signatories accounted for less than 8% of UK exports last year, according to research by the Observatory of Economic Complexity at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology....