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Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Remnants of Socialism: PRC and its Fraternal Four

It is current policy for the Peoples Republic of China to establish and develop friendly ties and cooperative relationship with all countries on the basis of the sometimes abused Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (mutual respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefits, and peaceful coexistence). These relations, it is said, “are never based on social systems or ideologies”.

But some countries are more equal than others.

The PRC maintains special relationships with four other remnants of the former 'Socialist Camp’ – the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Republic of Cuba - whose sole ruling parties maintain ‘fraternal’ links with the Communist Party of China.

While these relationships are sometimes strained, as experienced during the PRC’s 1979 foiled
invasion of Vietnam and the later clashes in the South China Sea, they continue to offer the ‘Fraternal Four’ the opportunity for intimate deals with the PRC outside of the constraints of international arrangements and alliances such as the Korea 6-party-talks and ASEAN.

'Socialist Camp' round-up

Cuba: The PRC and Cuba will expand their mutually beneficial co-operation to benefit both peoples, visiting President Hu Jintao said in his talks with Cuba's President Fidel Castro in Havana (23 Nov). Castro spoke highly of Cuba's traditional friendship with the PRC, adding that the Communist Party of China has demonstrated that "socialism will definitively remain as the only real hope for peace and survival of our species." The PRC is now Cuba's third-largest trading partner, accounting for 10 percent of the island's foreign trade. Under new accords, Cuba will begin provide 4,400 tons of nickel annually to the PRC from next year. The PRC has agreed to invest $500 million in a new nickel plant in Moa, allow Cuba a 10-year extension to repay four interest-free loans provided between 1990 and 1994, during Cuba's severe post-Soviet economic crisis, finance one million television sets for the Cuban market and donate $6 million to Cuban hospitals.

Vietnam: The Vietnam-PRC Friendship Meeting Programme for young people was launched in Guangxi (28 Nov) by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee and the China CommunistYouth Union Central Committee. The two groups stressed that the friendship is a "significant factor in the success of each country's revolutionary cause". In Nanning (2 Nov), some 200 Vietnamese enterprises are to participate in the first China-ASEAN Trade Fair which includes a China-ASEAN conference and a Vietnam-China business forum.The state-controlled Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry has held a number of seminars on construction of two economic corridors involving the PRC's southwestern Yunnan province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and five Vietnamese localities of Hanoi, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Lao Cai and Lang Son. Bilateral trade, which reached $4.6 billion last year, is expected to surpass $5 billion this year.

Laos: The PRC and Laos will "further strengthen cooperation" through the official visit of premier Wen Jiabao to Laos during the 10th ASEAN summit, Ambassador Liu Yongxing said (26 Nov). Bilateral trade was $63.95 million in 2002 and reached at $110 million last year. The target is $200 million in 2005. Chinese-funded companies have taken about one third of the Lao market of construction projects and the PRC has become the seventh largest investors in Laos. About 97 percent of the motor cycles used in Laos are imported from the PRC. Amongst other projects, the PRC has built a national cultural museum and a hospital in Luang Prabang, the five-star Don Chan Palace Hotel in Vientiane and a Sino-Lao cement joint-venture has "already taken one fourth of Lao's market share". Besides trade and economic cooperation, the two countries have "also strengthened bilateral cooperation in national defense, public security, culture and education".

DPRK: Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, said PRC-DPRK relations have seen steady progress and that the PRC government will "consolidate and deepen the bilateral friendly cooperation in all areas" (20 Oct). Separately, PRC president Hu Jintao also said that,"under the guidelines of carrying forward tradition, facing the future, being good neighbors and friends and strengthening cooperation, China will continue to step up exchanges and cooperation between the Communist Party of China and the Workers' Party of Korea." The PRC is the DPRK's biggest source of fuel oil and aid. On the matter of the DPRK's attitude to the continuing postponement of the 6-party-talks on its nuclear program, the PRC is assuring the USA, Russia, Japan and South Korea that the DPRK is committed to the dialogue but not yet ready to resume due to perceived "US hostility" (30 Nov).

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