China offered to mend Japan's damaged embassy and consulates after the anti-Japanese assault demonstrators and subsequently announced that Vice-Premier Wu Yi would pay Japan visit. But the sniping resumed Tokyo and Wu abruptly canceled a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, citing urgent matters back home. After Japan blasted Wu for bad manners, China said real reason for Wu's early departure was Koizumi's comment that China should stay out the Yasukuni shrine issue.
Meanwhile, President Hu Jintao met with senior members Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party, warning them about Yasukuni visits. A debate has since been brewing within LDP ranks: whether separating Class-A war criminals from the general population of war dead the shrine might appease China. Koizumi has stayed out of the discussion, which may be just as well. A survey by the influential Asahi Shimbun found nearly half of Japanese voters of the opinion that their prime minister was mishandling the China issue and should end the shrine visits.
The East China Sea dispute, bubbling away for months, yielded encouraging signs. China rejected Japan's request to halt gas field exploration in the disputed waters, but Japan agreed to consider a Chinese proposal for joint gas development, and both sides agreed to more talks in the future.
Amid the diplomatic twists and turns, it emerged that Japan will reportedly spend about US$1.9bn to build a chemical weapons disposal center in the Haerbaling district in Jilin province to destroy Japanese chemical weapons left there after World War II. Most of Japan's remaining wartime arsenal is believed to be buried there. Under the UN Chemical Weapons Convention, Japan has until 2007 to clean up.
In a bid to build energy stocks and stability in the former Soviet states in Central Asia, China and Uzbekistan signed a raft of agreements on trade, high technology and, of course, energy – including a deal creating a US$600m joint venture between China National Petroleum Corp and Uzbekistan's state oil company. China rolled out the red carpet for Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov, criticized by the West for, among other things, a May 13 crackdown that reportedly left 169 dead.
Foreign ministers of Russia, China and India met last month to discuss joint efforts to night terrorism and boost economic ties in what analysts say was a move aimed at countering US influence in Asia. The discussions encompassed security in the Middle East and North Korea, and Russia's role in supplying more oil to China and India.
Security Council dispute
Calling it a "dangerous move" UN ambassador Wang Guangya voiced China's opposition to a resolution that would give Japan, India, Brazil and Germany permanent seats in an enlarged UN Security Council, saying the move would "split the house and destroy the unity" of the body. Brazil, Germany, India and Japan formed a group called G4 to lobby for permanent seats on the Security Council. Wang said China favored the alternate plan, proposed by Italy, Mexico and Pakistan to expand the Security Council to 25 members, but without adding permanent members with veto power.
China confirms diseases After denying the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, the ministry of agriculture confirmed cases in Beijing's rural Yanqing county, Sanhe city in Hebei province, and the western region of Xinjiang. Officials also said the number of wild birds in Qinghai province believed to have been killed by the "H5N1" bird flu strain had topped 1,000, many times the earlier reported 178.
An unidentified senior officer in China's security service has defected in Australia and has been granted refugee status after claiming he witnessed human rights abuses by other agents, including the death of a dissident by torture, his lawyer said. The officer is the third Mainlander seeking political asylum in Australia after Chen Yonglin, a Sydney-based diplomat, and policeman Hao Fengjun, sought defection there. Both men have said 1,000 Chinese spies are operating in Australia, a charge that China has denied.
In one of China's worst floods in years, torrential rains and heavy flooding left at least 200 dead or missing in Hunan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces. In hardest-hit Hunan, over 4.7m people were affected and three cases of typhoid were reported. As of June 3, economic losses in the three provinces were estimated at nearly US$300m; the toll claimed 69,000 homes, while some 198,000 were damaged, forcing the evacuation of 215,000 people. The disaster wiped out crops over 200,000 hectares of farmland and claimed 30,000 livestock, reports said.
China's N.Korean refugees
A United Nations human rights investigator, urged China to protect North Korean refugees instead of sending them home, where he said they were certain to be persecuted. The UN envoy, Vitit Muntarbhorn, also said the international community should pressure China to fulfill its obligations under the International Refugee Convention, to which it is party. US Senator Sam Brownback has threatened to seek sanctions against China if it did not stop repatriating North Korean refugees.
Aid targets minorities
The central government said 630,000 poor would receive employment training and cash as part of a program to help minorities. The aid targets 22 minority groups in Inner Mongolia, Tibet, Heilongjiang, Yunnan and Xinjiang. Between 2002 and 2004, Beijing allocated US$14m to develop these regions but the State Ethnic Affairs Commission said investment in the next five years would be "Much more than this figure."
China as global dump
The environmental group Greenpeace warned that China has become a major dumping ground for hazardous electronic waste generated by domestic manufacturers, and to a lesser degree, for waste exported illegally from the US, Japan and Europe. Up to 4,000 tonnes of toxic high-tech waste is discarded in the world every hour, Greenpeace said, without citing how much of it ended up in China, the world's largest electronics producer.
China pollution to worsen
Luo Yi, a vice-director of the State Environmental Protection Administration, said deterioration of China's environment would multiply ?five to six times, given the current development strategy? and population projections of 1.46bn by 2020. He said acid rain, largely caused by coal burning, affected one third of China's land mass. Just as worrying: Luo said 90% of China's rivers flowing through cities, and 75% of the country's lakes, are badly polluted.
China school flood
Floodwaters that swept through a packed primary school in the town of Shalan in Heilongjiang province may have killed 200 people, mostly children. China described the downpour as the worst in the area in 200 years. The town's officials were being investigated for "negligence offering timely rescue", state media reported.
Russia, China in pact
After 40 years of border talks, China and Russia finally reached an agreement in early June: it calls for the two sides to share the last of the disputed areas, a group of islands totaling 375 sq km.
Richer and poorer
Excessive drinking and smoking, poor diets, stress and sedentary lifestyles account for 44% of cases of cancer and heart and respiratory disease in China, state media reported, citing a survey. With one-third of Beijing's populace suffering from "unhealthy lifestyle? diseases, the findings suggest China is moving from developing to developed status – although it has some distance to go yet. In developed economies, 70-80% of heart disease and cancer deaths are said to be caused by unhealthy life-styles.
HK's new leader
China's Communist Party pick, Donald Tsang, was officially elected by a Beijing-appointed 800-member election committee. Hong Kong's former No 2 man began his new job immediately, and will serve two years, completing the term of his predecessor, Tung Chee-Hwa.
China over-arming: US
In its report accompanying a 2006 defense spending bill, the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee recommended barring the Pentagon from buying goods or services for five years from foreign companies selling advanced weapons to China. The report said China's recent military buildup "exceeds its legitimate security needs."
Drug smugglers nailed
State media reported that three Malaysians accused of smuggling seven kilograms of the drug ketamine into China in January, could face death if convicted. The three were snared in the biggest drug bust so far this year. Use of the anesthetic ketamine is on the rise in China's club scene, thanks reportedly to growing numbers of foreign smugglers from Southeast Asia.
Reporter called a spy
China announced that a reporter for the Singapore's Straits Times newspaper admitted to spying for a foreign intelligence agency. The wife of the man, Ching Cheong, said he was detained in Guangzhou after someone gave him documents about former Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang, who died in January. A foreign ministry official denied his detention was related to Zhao.
Gay web site closed
China shut down a news and information Web portal (www.gaychinese.net) serving the country's lesbian and gay community because Beijing considers the site's content too explicit, according to the site manager.