[Stop-traffic] News/China: China to sponsor anti-human smuggling initiative at Asia-Europe summit

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/China: China to sponsor anti-human smuggling initiative at Asia-Europe summit
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Oct 30 2000 - 09:49:02 EST

China to sponsor anti-human smuggling initiative at Asia-Europe summit
Agence France Presse, October 11, 2000

BEIJING (AFP) -- China plans to sponsor an initiative against international
crime -- in particular human smuggling -- at the Asia-Europe summit (ASEM)
to be held in Seoul next week, a foreign ministry official said Wednesday.

"The initiative on combatting transnational crime is intended to enhance
cooperation between Asia and Europe in this field," said the official, who
declined to be named.

In the past year, China has been under the international spotlight on human
trafficking with a series of groups of Chinese illegal immigrants
discovered in Europe, North America and Japan.

The most gruesome discovery was that of 58 immigrants who suffocated to
death in an air-tight tomato truck arriving in Dover, Britain in June.

The foreign ministry official on Wednesday was quick to stress people
smuggling was not just a Chinese problem.

"It's a common problem, both in Asia and Europe and is not exclusive to any
member states," he said.

China also will co-sponsor with European partners three other initiatives:
environmental protection, sustainable forest development, and
anti-corruption, the official said during a background briefing.

The anti-corruption initiative, proposed by China and Britain, would
involve comparing notes on how ASEM states can work together.

This would particularly involve joint crackdowns on "abnormal business
practices," such as a foreign companies bribing local governments, the
official said.

China has been rocked by corruption scandals over the past two years, with
the biggest case -- a 10-billion dollar smuggling ring involving hundreds
of government officials -- still being tried in southern China.

But the foreign ministry official said the initiative was not aimed
directly at China's internal corruption problems.

"We're seeing a more globalized world. It's more and more important for
there to be efforts to fight corruption, to enhance cooperation between one
country and other countries and all the partners in ASEM process feel the
same need," the official said.

Asked whether there were any major problems between China and Europe, he
said: "If you are talking about relations between China and Europe in the
context of the issues being dealt with in ASEM, I don't see much problems."

"I think basically partners in Asia and Europe see eye to eye in many of
the issues."

The official denied Beijing had any influence in South Korea's decision to
refuse a visa for exiled Chinese dissident Wang Dan, who had applied to
visit Seoul from the United States this week.

"One basic principle governing the foreign policy of China is
non-interference in the affairs of other countries so I'm sure the decision
whether to issue or not to issue a visa belongs to the Korean government,"
he said.

The Chinese delegation to ASEM will be headed by Premier Zhu Rongji and
will consist mostly of foreign and trade ministry officials, including
foreign minister Tang Jiaxuan and trade minister Shi Guangsheng.

Zhu is expected to hold bilateral discussions with South Korean officials
and is also scheduled to meet with leaders from several countries on the
sidelines of the summit.
Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

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