China unveils J-10; Russia to return Yinlong (Tarabary) Island and half of Heixiazi Island; Beijing hopes Darfur situation wont be complicated by the attempted prosecution of al-Bashir
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  • China unveiled its most advanced fighter aircraft, the Jian-10 in Beijing during the week. The aircraft, a joint production of the China Aviation Industry Corporation (CAICI) and the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute (CADI), boasts of Pili-12 air-to-air missiles, among other advanced features. It had entered into service in December 20061.

    Reports noted that Russia was all set to return a territory measuring 174 sq. km. on its northern border with China. The two countries would sign an agreement to this effect during the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Beijing. As per the agreement, Russia would return Yinlong Island (Tarabary Island) and half of Heixiazi Island, which were at the confluence of the Heilongjiang and the Wusulijiang rivers that served as the natural border between the two countries2. Xinhua also referred to a foreign policy paper approved by the new Russian President Dmitry Medvedev which states that Russia would expand its bilateral ties with both India and China, while “pursuing the fundamental line to strengthen interaction in dealing with pressing international issues and to boost mutually beneficial bilateral ties in all areas, especially in trade and the economy3.”

    On the Darfur issue, the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed the hope that the situation would not get complicated by the attempted prosecution of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Beijing noted that it was deeply worried by the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) attempted prosecution of the Sudanese leader. An ICC prosecutor had in the previous week sought the arrest of al-Bashir, charging him with having committed war crimes in Darfur4.

    Meanwhile, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MICIVIH) has awarded the sixth Chinese peacekeeping team a “peace medal” for its contributions to the peace process in Haiti. The Chinese team was expected to return back in mid-August5.

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry has dismissed indications of any diplomatic politics behind the invitation extended to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi to attend the inaugural ceremony of Beijing Olympics on August 8. The Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated that a head of state or government should be invited by the Olympics committee of that country as per the rules of the International Olympics Committee (IOC). This was in response to various newspapers reports in India which noted that the invitation indicated a soft approach to the Congress Party chief6.

    In domestic developments, the Chinese government formulated a set of guidelines for a new round of institutional reform of the State council - the country’s Cabinet, in an effort to build up service-oriented, responsible governance, based on law and a clean government for the nation. This was disclosed by an official in charge of the General Office of the Central Government Set-up Committee. These initiatives are seen largely as an effort in implementing the mandate of the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) which attempted to readjust the functions and duties of the various central government departments7.

    The spokesperson of the Taiwan’s President’s office, Wang Yu-chi reiterated his country’s desire to continue and procure defensive arms from the United States. The statement was in response to the comments made by the US military chief, Adm. Mike Mullen that there was “no pressing need” for arms sales to Taiwan8.